Jacob Whaler is the author of Stones Series. In his professional life, he has used words to build meaning into arcane corporate documents that control the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars around the globe. He has lived in New York City, Tokyo and Los Angeles before settling down in a more obscure (but beautiful!) part of the globe. Visit him here.
NAW- Tell us about your book, Stones Theory. How did you get the idea for it? What is it about?
The idea for the Stones Series of four books came to me from a fist-sized piece of obsidian I found half buried in the mud when I was six years old. I’ve always felt a fond attachment to that rock and carried it with me my entire life. A few years ago, I started to get restless about writing a novel. The actual idea came to me while riding on a chairlift on a beautiful ski day.
The series is about a twenty-something Matt that finds a Stone (roughly in the shape of a T-Rex claw) that he discovers is capable of manipulating time, matter and energy. Overnight, he is thrust into a battle with Dr. Ryzaard, who also has a Stone and wants to exploit its powers to the fullest to create his version of Paradise on the earth. The four books of the Stones Series chronicle this battle and bring it all to a conclusion.
NAW- What drew you to science fiction?
The works of Ray Bradbury were my initial introduction to the delights of SF. I read his books as a kid and immediately fell in love with his vast imagination. I wanted to do what Ray Bradbury did. Through the years, I’ve felt a fondness for science fiction and the way it can be used as a vehicle to delve into our deepest fears and joys. At some point, I decided I would write the book (which became a series of books) that I would want to read. The result was the four Stones Series novels: Stones (Data), Stones (Hypothesis), Stones (Experiment) and Stones (Theory).
NAW- How long did you take to finish the book? Did you carry out relevant research for the same?
The first book in the series took 18 months. The second book took six. The last two went fast, about four months each. I used the Web for constant research into history, theology, philosophy and physics. I ended up doing a fair amount of research about Japanese Shinto as well, since it plays such a prominent role in the books.
NAW- Tell us about the character of Ryzaard. How did you develop the character?
Ryzaard is the bad guy, but I wanted him to be more than just a stock character. I wanted the reader to understand him and feel sympathy for him. I found that, out of all the characters in the book, Ryzaard was perhaps the easiest for me to understand. Once I was inside his head, his world view made perfect sense. If you had cosmic power, wouldn’t you want to make the world a better place? That’s all Ryzaard is trying to do. In the end, I hope the reader understands, through the character of Ryzaard, how close any of us are to being just like him.
NAW- Is it difficult to get all the science related aspects right in your books? Do you have to research a lot for it? How do you go about it?
I did quite a bit of research of physics, black holes, electro-magnetic waves and that sort of thing using the Web (mostly Wikipedia).
NAW- Tell us about your other works.
The four books of the Stones Series is my first series to be published. I also write short stories from time to time and send them out for free to readers that go to my website (jacobwhaler.com) and join the Jacob Whaler Readers Club.
NAW- Tell us about your publishing journey.
I didn’t know anything about publishing when I started. I sat down and wrote the four books of the Stones Series in about two and a half years. Then I found out that the hardest part of publishing a book isn’t doing the first draft, it’s going back and doing all the rewriting and revision required to polish the book. I spent another year and a half doing that. It’s hard work! Writing isn’t always fun, and there are days when I don’t want to do it. But I find that if you can just find a way to get your fingers on the keyboard, the writing comes.
NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?
I love to ski, mountain bike, do yoga, travel and find people to help. Helping people in need is therapeutic and a source of great joy. I also love the country of Japan. I spent four years there, and learned to speak, read and write the language. I love to read Japanese SF and thrillers in Japanese. One of my favorite Japanese writers is Higashino Keigo. I’ve read most of his works. I put lots of my experience with Japan into the Stones Series novels. People tell me that the books make you hungry for gyoza and sushi.
NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any who you’d like to name as an inspiration?
Ray Bradbury. Dan Simmons. William Gibson. These three writers have been the most inspiring. I’ve found that reading their books makes me a better writer.
NAW-What are you currently reading?
This year, I am devoting my time to reading the works of unknown indie authors, so at the moment I’m reading The Devereaux Dilemma by Steve McEllistrem. It’s really good.
NAW- What will you be working on next?
I am currently working on another novel that should come out early next year. I can’t say too much about it right now, but it’s set in a futuristic version of Fukushima, Japan after years of environmental devastation.