Wizard’s Key is one of those books I really wish I had the time to read. I did however have the privilege to interview the author, Mitch Reinhardt, and ask him a few questions regarding his book and being a writer.
When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
That’s a bit of a tough one for me to answer. I’ve always had a very active imagination. I would see scenes in my mind, just like watching a movie and I filed them away. Finally, in my late forties, I decided to do something about it. I wish I had started sooner.
Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
‘Wizard’s Key’ is the first of four books that will comprise The Darkwolf Saga. It’s a middle grade/young adult book about three teenagers who are thrust into a new world full of magic, monsters, knights, wizards, druids, and werewolves! All they want to do is return home but there are many dangers in their way. I’ve had the story buzzing around in my head for a long time. It just wouldn’t go away. I kept coming back to it and writing notes on paper or whatever I could find at the time. I didn’t think it was something I could ever finish, so I just continued collecting my notes. Eventually, I made up my mind to commit and write the first book. I wrote the first draft and was so proud of it, I really was. I didn’t know much about the process, so I enlisted the services of a freelance editor and she gave me a lot of good advice for writing my second draft and editing it. When I go back and read that first draft I laugh and cringe a bit because I made every mistake imaginable when I wrote it. That’s part of the process, just get it out on paper – or on your favorite word processor and then you go back and make it better.
What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
First of all, I hope the reader is entertained. I want them to find themselves walking beside the main characters step of the way. The message of the series is one of friendship and hope and how people who may not get along well can eventually become friends and learn to work together.
What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
Oh wow, now that is hard to answer! I can name a handful of the authors who inspired me and whose books I still enjoy reading. Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Hugh Howey, J.R.R. Tolkein, Fred Saberhagen, J.K. Rowling, Dean R. Koontz, John Flanagan, and more. As you can see my taste tends to extend from Science Fiction to Fantasy to Horror. I would like to add that Stephen King’s book, ‘On Writing’ is a must read for anyone who wants to write. It’s thoroughly enjoyable, inspiring, and full of fantastic advice. I keep it on my desk as a reference.
Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published? Read, write, and read some more. I think it’s important to read books in other genres to broaden your exposure as well. Make up your mind that you want to do this and then make the time to do it. We all have schedules with jobs and families, but if you have that desire write, to create something from nothing, you will find the time. There’s no secret or silver bullet to writing a book. If you commit yourself to writing you will get it done. Remember learning to write is a process, enjoy it!
Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this summer?
‘The House of Bradbury’ by Nicole Meier was an excellent read as was ‘The City of Mirrors’ by Justin Cronin.
Sawyer kept his eyes on the samurai armor as he walked around a stack of large crates. He was completely out of sight when Geoff heard a loud thump followed by Sawyer’s “Ouch! Damn, that’s heavy.”
Geoff’s heart nearly stopped.
“What happened? Are you okay?” he called with a higher pitch to his voice.
“Yeah, yeah,” grunted Sawyer. “What the hell is this?”
Sawyer held his hand out from behind a large stack of crates and beckoned Geoff to come over. Geoff hurried around the crates and saw Sawyer standing in front of a large object covered with a single white sheet.
“It’s huge. It must weigh a ton. I almost broke my toe on it.” Sawyer lifted the sheet from the tall object to expose a gray stone archway. It stood over seven feet tall and was cracked and chipped, and from the black, sooty residue that covered one side, it looked as if it had been in a fire. Even in such a damaged state, Geoff could see remnants of once beautiful carvings all around it. There were small figures that reminded him of gargoyles, and he was sure he could make out part of a dragon’s head at the top.
“What is it?” asked Sawyer.
Geoff ran a gloved finger along the cold, gray surface and shook his head. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen it before. It looks like either a doorway or perhaps it was once a window or mirror, maybe from a cathedral or something.”
“It was hidden behind all these crates. It must have taken a lot of big guys to bring it up the steps and put it here.”
Geoff looked at Sawyer. He was right. It would have taken a small army to heft this heavy stone archway and drag it up the steps, something Geoff would certainly have known about.
“How did they get it in here?” asked Geoff. “Look. You see this archway is much bigger than the door.”
Sawyer looked back at the door that led into the study and then back at the archway. “Yeah, you’re right. Maybe they used a crane and brought it in through a window.”
“No.” Geoff shook his head. “I would have noticed that. And besides, they would have had to take out most of the wall in order to get this thing in here.”
Sawyer shrugged with his arms out wide. “You got me. I have no idea how it got here, unless the Great Pumpkin left it last Halloween.” Geoff smiled and chuckled a little. He had never spoken to Sawyer this long and he liked Sawyer’s sense of humor. Geoff stepped closer for a better look at the carvings, “I’ve never seen this kind of sculpture before. I wonder who carved it. It’s very detailed.”
Apparently already bored with the archway, Sawyer walked back to the desk and peered into the box Geoff had been rummaging through earlier. “Looks like a bunch of rocks and dirt,” he said as he gently sifted through the bags and small boxes. He picked up the rectangular box and read aloud, “Characteristics do not match other artifacts found in the surrounding sediment and area. What characteristics would that be? Geoff, can I open this?” Geoff pulled his attention away from the archway and looked at Sawyer. He recognized the box Sawyer was holding. “Yeah, sure. Go ahead. It’s just some old rusty key inside, but be careful with it.”
“Key to a treasure chest, maybe?” asked Sawyer with exaggerated excitement. Geoff chuckled again and watched Sawyer open the box and pick up the clear bag containing the earth-encrusted key. He turned it over and looked at the other side. “Yep,” said Sawyer. “Just an old key.” He was about to place it back in the box when Geoff noticed he stopped and examined the key more closely.
“Hey, Geoff, this reminds me of some of the carvings on that archway,” he said as he walked over to Geoff and held the key up for him to see. Geoff took the key from Sawyer and looked at it.
“No. There, on the other side. Doesn’t that look like a dragon or snake to you?” asked Sawyer as he pointed to the small shape that caught his attention.
Geoff looked closer. The shape did indeed look similar to the carvings on the archway. He slowly opened the bag and removed the key. It weighed next to nothing in Geoff’s hand and it was as cold as the stone archway. He held the key up to what appeared to be the partial carving of a dragon’s head on the archway.
“Yep,” said Sawyer. “I thought so. I bet whoever carved that archway also made the key.”
“I think you’re right,” said Geoff. Now this was more like it, he thought. Geoff loved a good mystery and Sawyer had discovered an extraordinary one. Sawyer’s keen eye had revealed a connection between the key and the archway, but what exactly was their connection?
Geoff felt his heart pound and the hair on the back of his neck seemed to be standing up. A tingling sensation enveloped him, giving him a warm, energized feeling.
“Uh, Geoff,” said Sawyer, “what’s going on?” Geoff looked at Sawyer, who was backing away with an alarmed expression on his face.
“What’s happening? I feel strange. Sawyer, what’s happening to me?” asked Geoff
Sawyer pointed. “Whoa! Your hair…it’s standing up! And what’s that sound?”
Geoff raised his hand and felt his head. His hair was indeed rising from his head. He heard a slight rushing sound, like wind whistling through a keyhole. Suddenly Geoff felt a movement in his hand and he quickly looked down at the key he was holding. Bits of dirt and stone were starting to crumble and flake away right before his eyes, but there was something else—something beneath the fragments of stone and earth. It was smooth and white.
The doorbell rang.
Synopsis: The dirt-encrusted key didn’t look like much, but when bullied teen Geoff inadvertently activates it, he is suddenly thrust into a strange and beautiful world. It doesn’t help that he’s accompanied by Sawyer, his chief tormentor at school, but there is a silver lining in that intelligent, compassionate Jane is also with them. Soon the three teenagers encounter evil orcs, majestic unicorns, dangerous trolls, and a mysterious elven druid who doesn’t care for humans. Together, they must make their way back home before the new world they find themselves in erupts in war. Along the way, they’ll be tested to the limits of their endurance—and discover hidden powers deep within. But will those powers be enough to stop the ravenous werewolf that is stalking them?
Mitch grew up in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina and is currently a Business Analyst for an international software firm. An avid animal lover, he enjoys hiking, tennis, classic movies, and, of course, writing. He lives with his faithful coonhound, Murphy, who doubles as a proofreader – when he isn’t sleeping or digging in the backyard. Wizard’s Key is the first book of The Darkwolf Saga series.
To learn more about the series, please visit www.mitchreinahrdt.com
I hope you are able to check this book out. If you do, let me know what you think! Have a Great day 🙂