The Writing Life with Western/Fantasy Author Thomas Rottinghaus

Thomas Rottinghaus became fascinated with the written word and the power of imagination at a very young age, reading virtually everything he could get his hands on by authors as diverse as Jules Verne, Louis La’Mour, JRR Tolkien and Stephen King. He went on to study literature and writing at Colorado Mesa University, formerly known as Mesa State College, before pursuing a career in agribusiness. His writing blends genres into an entertaining amalgam of fantasy, westerns, science fiction and adventure. He resides in a small town in Colorado with his wife, Lisa, a very energetic blue heeler named Jake and a herd of cats.


What’s inside the mind of a western/fantasy author?
   Sand. Heat. Noise. Violence. Sweat. Mix it all together, add in a larger than life hero or two and a villain who may not really be so villainous.

What is so great about being an author?
   I can create anything in any world I want.

When do you hate it?
   I hate it when I have to confront the business aspects and the fact that only a handful of writers actually make living from writing.

What is a regular writing day like for you?
   There is no regular writing day. I write when I have time, or when the inspiration hits me.

Do you think authors have big egos? Do you?
   Some do. I don’t

How do you handle negative reviews?
   Send the reviewer hate mail, call in the middle of the night, egg their house, etc. I’m kidding. I look for something constructive in a bad review, then forget about it.

How do you handle positive reviews?
   Buy the reviewer dinner with lots of alcohol, send them cash gifts and cards on holidays. Kidding again. Take it as encouragement and move on.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?
   Disbelief.  Most people find it hard to believe that I can actually  read and write.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
   Take a break. I have a “real” job which requires a great deal of time, so I just step back and walk away from writing at times.

Any writing quirks?
   Sure, when I really want to get into it I play AC/DC really loud and just get lost in my story.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?
   I’ve had people around who see my writing as a hobby for most of my life. I just kept writing.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?
   Yes. When everything is flowing smoothly I love writing. But when I hit a snag, it becomes my enemy. 

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

   There are only two kinds of success as an author. Financial and critical. Some are talented enough to be both. But I would prefer financial.


Graywullf follows the exploits of a band of gunslinging lawmen known as magii’ri Warriors in a fictitious land called Norland. They must battle evil Wizards, Dragons and hordes of inhuman enemies to eliminate the corruption in their homeland. But in the end they must enlist the aid of the Dark Wizard Lynch, who is loyal to no one but himself.