Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Calvin Wolf ~ an interview and his novel ~ The Singularity

Calvin Wolf

 TITLE: The Singularity (The Hank Hummel Series)
RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2016
AUTHOR: Calvin Wolf
ISBN: 978-1539109747
IMPRINT: Devil’s Tower
KEYWORDS: Terrorism, nanotechnology, intrigue, economics and finance, espionage, science fiction, suspense
CATEGORIES: Thriller/Science Fiction
BOOK PAGE: http://www.ravenswoodpublishing.com/bookpages/thesingularity.html

Around the start of Ronald Reagan’s second term, I was born in the beautiful state of Colorado. Then, I was immediately carted off to grow up in the unique city of Midland, Texas – home of Big Oil and Big Football! After years of hot and dry, I decided I wanted to experience actual seasons, so I went off to the University of Wyoming. While there, I definitely got my share of winter! After six years and a Master’s degree, I headed back to Texas during the worst year of the Great Recession. At Texas Tech, I got certified to be a high school teacher. The spring of my student-teaching, while I was also working as a substitute teacher, I began writing. Right away, I was hooked! I landed a full-time teaching job that summer and, during my second summer off as a high school teacher, wrote my first novel, The College. After that summer, I have always taught summer school…but the novels just keep on coming! In the midst of launching a teaching career, I found the time to court and marry a beautiful artist and begin raising a bright and energetic son. Currently, I have completed eight novels, written over 2,000 articles and editorials, and am now the social studies department chair at my high school.


Q: How would you describe yourself as a color? Think personality here. Are you a light and airy pastel person, or more of a deep, dark, sultry and mysterious color?
A:  Definitely more of a dark and mysterious color.  Maybe dark maroon.  I had a favorite sweatshirt once that was dark maroon.  The color was rich and hid stains well.  I frequently dress in all black to hide sweat stains while teaching to the max…and to intimidate students.  When you teach high school seniors, a bit of fear can go a long way!

Q: Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A:  I’d say I’m more of a morning person.  There’s nothing like a good coffee buzz to get me going.  Sometimes I stay up late, but I’m pretty unproductive after ten o’clock.  If you read any good writing of mine, it must’ve been typed during a coffee blitz!

Q: Tell me one thing about each of the four seasons you like. It can be anything.
A:        Winter =  Snow.  Snow in west Texas is as valuable as gold!  Well, not really, but it is beautiful.  Not too deep, though – a good eight-inch snow that I don’t have to drive in is perfect.
            Spring            =  When the grass greens and the flowers bloom, and the afternoons get just warm enough. 
            Summer =  Maybe trips to the beach, but summer in west Texas is pretty brutal.  If you like getting tan, you can get as much as you can handle out here!
            Fall =  Leaves changing color, and when evenings grow chilly.  Autumn is my favorite season, especially if there’s a late-autumn snow or two thrown in.  Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays!

Q: Tell me something you would like your readers (fans) to know about you.
A:  Please feel encouraged to share your ideas with me!  I am a very collaborative person.  Oh, and I used to have a comic strip.  My original life dream was to be like Bill Watterson and draw Calvin & Hobbes.

Q: If you could morph into any creature what would it be?
 A:  A grizzly bear. 
            If you don’t mind me asking, why?   
A:  I would like to be big, strong, simple-minded, and hibernate.  Plus, they love sugary carbs, just like me.
Q: When you think of a garden, do you picture vegetables or flowers?
A: Vegetables.  Flowers are pretty, but I’m more focused on utility.  When I grew up, my parents tried to grow all their own tomatoes and peppers.  My wife today has a beautiful garden, but we get a lot of use out of our herb plants.  Fresh thyme!
Q: If you didn’t have to clean them, how many bathrooms would you have in your home?  
 A:  Two and a half.  I grew up in a house with two and a half bathrooms, and that extra half bath came in pretty handy!  I had a brother, so sometimes the bathroom was occupied and I needed to go.
                       How many if you have to clean them?
A:  Two and a half.  I’m pretty okay at cleaning bathrooms.  Trust me:  An extra half bath is worth it.

Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
A:  Either no sound or very soft TV.  My wife sometimes needs TV to fall asleep, so we watch Gilmore Girls at low volume and with the TV’s brightness turned down.  It’s a relaxing show, and very predictable now that we’ve seen it so many times!

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A:  My radio presets are a mix of whatever’s currently hot (rock, pop, light rap) and “classic” rock from the ‘80s and ‘90s.  Sometimes, on the Sirius satellite radio (only in my wife’s car), I will spend some time on the ‘60s and ‘70s stations.  Favorite song?  “Eye of the Tiger,” which I play during study sessions to motivate my students.

Q: If your life were a movie would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?
A:  Definitely a combination of comedy and drama with a pinch of both action and romance.  The comedy-to-drama ratio depends on my rapport with my classes.

Q: Tell me one thing that your spouse does that really endears him/her to you. One thing that annoys you. These can be tiny little things, actually the smaller the better.
A:  My wife is always learning new things, which is extremely impressive and endearing.  If I don’t know how to do something, I will try to stick with what I know.  My wife will research and learn.  She’s amazing!  As for annoying?  Sometimes she’s a night owl and does not want to come to bed.

Q: Did you like school when you were a child?
A:  I did.  I was pretty good at school.  As a high school sophomore, I finally found my niche in speech and debate.  My junior and senior year, I went to the state championships.  My senior year, I was the winningest member of the Lincoln-Douglas debate squad.

Q: Snack of choice – chips, pretzels, popcorn, or cookies, cake, candy? Or maybe you’re a healthy snacker - fruit, yogurt, nuts, raisins?
A:  I’m more of a chips and pretzels guy – savory snacks rather than sweet!  But I tend to stick with “real” food like sandwiches for snacks.  For dessert?  I’m partial to a bowl of sugary cereal like Reese’s Puffs or Frosted Flakes.

Q: Have you ever been too embarrassed to promote any certain titles to friends or family?
A:  Hmmm…not really.  But I do limit the sex content of my novels for that reason.  Before long, I’m sure, things will be more R-rated.  At first, I was afraid that everyone I knew would rush to read my novels, and that inhibited my writing.  As a high school teacher, I was also worried that anything PG-13 or more risqué would be discovered by all my students!  It turns out that most relatives and students either don’t have the motivation to delve that deeply into anything I’ve written, or have been too polite to bring up the inappropriate stuff.

Q: Favorite color?
A: Blue.

Q: Dress up or dress down?
A: Dress up.  It’s usually too warm to dress up in west Texas, so I relish the chance.  When I wear a nice button-down, I get compliments!  If I add a tie, I feel like a CEO or James Bond.

Q: Dine in or dine out?
A: I prefer to dine out, but I’m on a budget…so it’s mostly dine in!

Q: Coffee or Tea?
A: Coffee.  Heck, espresso.

Q: How do you feel about exercise?
A: I used to exercise six days a week when I was in college, both cardio and weights.  Now I try to jog twice a week.  I have a pull-up bar, but haven’t touched it in a few months.  Maybe tomorrow…

Q: Texting, love it or hate it?
A: I’m a late bloomer when it comes to texting, and didn’t send my first text until the spring of 2008.  I don’t hate it, but it’s a chore.


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: I started writing in elementary school, when I penciled a close copy of Jurassic Park that involved prehistoric mammals.  I just had stories to tell!  I wrote a book in a spiral notebook in late elementary school (5th/6th grade?), and then wrote a novel of sorts in WordPerfect 5.1 when I was in junior high.  I made a few high school attempts, and then abandoned novelizing until 2013, when I wrote The College.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A:  Probably when I jog.  The extra blood flow to the brain unlocks hidden idea areas.  That, and reading the news every morning.

Q: How did you come to write your genre of choice?
A:  I like to imagine how crazy the world could be with tomorrow’s technology.  It’s always fun to imagine what I would do when faced with a dangerous and outlandish scenario.

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: The middle.  I know how I want it to end, but how do I get there?  I’m also very weak on character development.  I try to make every character a “blank slate” everyman, which can backfire.

Q: Which element of book writing is most difficult for you?
A:  Character development. 

Q: What is your favorite part of writing?
A:   Making good, quippy dialogue that makes me laugh.  There’s something beautiful about good comic relief. 

Q; Now your least favorite part?
A: Editing.  I’m a hard-charging rough-cutter of a writer!

Q: Describe your favorite heroine? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A:  Hermione Granger

Q: Describe your favorite hero? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: James Bond

Q: Who's your favorite author?
A:  All-around favorite is Stephen King. 

Q: Your favorite title?
A: I Was an NKVD Agent

Q: Would you ever consider a joint project?
A:  I would…as long as I either did the vast majority of the writing or was doing a sort of independent literary cameo.

Q: Which of your own releases was your particular favorite?
A: The Socialist.  Quick, snappy, and had good character development.

Q: How do you handle a writer's block?
A:  Beer, pizza, and Wikipedia.

Q: Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
A:  Straight into the computer, usually in Google Drive.

Q: Are you a sit down and play it by ear kind of writer, or do you need a structured guideline, or maybe a little of both?
A:  Play it by ear.  Always.

Q: When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
A:  Beginning to end.  When I need a good scene, I trust my neurons to create it in the moment!

Q: Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?
A: I don’t always know.  The “movie in my mind” can change.

Q: Have your characters ever taken the story in a different direction than you had originally planned? Do you have a for instance, for us?
A:  They have.  Minor characters have become more prominent because I thought they added good stuff to the writing.  My characters of Roger Garfield, the criminal justice professor (unnamed), and the man in black (identity revealed in The Six) went from being bit players to being main characters in my last two novels.  Roger Garfield is a grizzled FBI agent, kind of old-school, and I liked that.  The criminal justice professor, a big jovial ex-cop, provides excellent comic relief…and was based on my favorite college professor.  As for the man in black, I needed a new antagonist who was very different from both Adam Pastorius (Syrian terrorist extraordinaire) and Ben (codename of a corrupt Russian spy).

Q: What geographical locations are your favorite and why?
A:  I like mountains, because I grew up visiting the mountains.  I am a former backpacking guide!  The accomplishment of climbing a peak cannot be beat, and nothing is as beautiful as a valley view or a mountain stream.

Q: Which holiday celebrations do you like to incorporate into your stories and why?
A:  Most of them.  I like to have a holiday season occurring as a subplot.  I think it makes the story more relatable.

Q: Generally speaking, is your work based on real life experience? If it's not would you want it to be?
A: My primary protagonist, Hank Hummel, is loosely based on myself.  He is a former high school teacher and writer, which hits close to home.  As for the action he finds himself in broiled in?  Not very realistic!  When I was a substitute teacher, I did have to break apart two eighth-graders in a fistfight…is that action-packed enough?

Q: How long does it take you to create a novel?
A: About four to eight months.

Q: Do you like to read the genre that you write?

A: I do.  I like to see who writes it best, and how their ideas compare to my own.

Q: How does the man in your life feel about the genre you write? Has he read any of your work?
A:  Well, the woman in my wife like the genre well enough.  I think she read my first novel, but then only parts of the other ones. 

Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A:  I just finished the sequel to The Singularity and put it on Smashwords.  It’s called The Six and runs just over 80,000 words.  It’s got a good plot, lots of energy, and doesn’t rush the ending!  Compared to some of my earlier writing, I would say it’s an improvement.  And I like the cover I designed!  If you need something to heat up the cold winter, you should read The Singularity and then The Six.  Heck, start with The College and work your way through the series!

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A:  The Singularity comes out on November 25, and it explores the marvels of nanotechnology integrated into the human body.  The good guys discover they’ve got the stuff in their blood…and the bad guys want every precious drop!  The corrupt government wants to control the situation, and the innocent protagonists get branded as enemies of the state.  Will they escape their pursuers and clear their names?

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A: Yes, I do. Here are the links.   

Author Links:

Buy Links:
AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4DA8Z
AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4DA8Z
AMAZON CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01LX4DA8Z
BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1124778318;jsessionid=D7E736412476DC27BA33434F3F862A19.prodny_store02-atgap05?ean=2940153510316
KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-singularity-3
IBOOKS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1162740395
CREATESPACE: https://www.createspace.com/6604787


As America struggles under a politically repressive bad dream, a high-tech innovation that has escaped from a government lab could become the ultimate nightmare.

Months after a devastating terrorist attack on the Human Capital Market servers on the University of Wyoming campus, a corrupt administration in Washington is looking to maintain its grip on the future by any means necessary. After a grieving father unleashes powerful forces the president would rather keep hidden, two falsely accused men struggle to find their families and clear their names while being hunted by the full force of the United States government…and two vicious ne’er-do-wells whose grudges run deep. As a desperate White House tries to track down its prized fugitives and keep a discontent public under control, new technology offers wonder and horror in droves. From omnipresent surveillance to secret prisons to trading equity in citizens’ wages on the new stock market, The Singularity is a fast-paced ride into a near future where anything is possible.

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