Shippensburg student Josh Woltz publishes first book
Josh Woltz, who goes by J.R. Woltz on his book, is a sophomore art major at Shippensburg University, having transferred from Penn State University.
Recently he has had his first novel published through Amazon on its Kindle e-book shop, called “Dragonsfyre Trilogy: Mask of the Cavalier,” the first of a trilogy of novels he plans on writing.
“Dragonsfyre Trilogy: Mask of the Cavalier” is a fantasy epic on a massive scale. Woltz creates a world of faeries, wizards and knights in a steampunk-like environment.
Woltz has published articles in local newspapers and magazines as well as having painted commissioned pieces of art. He said he approaches his writing the same way he does his art; it has to be beautiful.
“I have to be moved on three levels. I have to be moved intellectually, I have to be moved spiritually and I have to be moved emotionally, in a positive direction,” Woltz said.
Woltz said the idea for the novel and trilogy were a decade in the making. He aims to create a fantasy novel that is drastically different to today’s fantasies, such as “Lord of the Rings” and “Grimm’s Fairytales.”
He spent last summer in Scotland where he drew inspiration for the second novel. His family is filled with Celtic ancestry, which he drew inspiration from and put into the making of his novels.
“I incorporate a great deal of my Celtic ancestors and culture into the book. The ancient belief system of the Celtics and the Druids is what I draw upon for the spiritually of the book. The book is highly spiritual in that respect, not religious,” Woltz said.
Woltz went into detail on how the novel and the trilogy will play out, without spoiling the story. He said the books would get larger as the series goes on, and he plans to write a companion novel for the book after the trilogy is done. The side novel would be a first-person historical account of the events of the trilogy.
He also went over the allegory that he puts into his novels. He talked for a while about how he incorporated many themes that comment on societies’ problems today.
Woltz explained how it is one of the biggest themes of the book in relation to technology, society and spirituality. He wants the reader to realize what is happening to our world and that we need to change it, such is the cause of conflict in the novel.
One of his hopes is to really pull the reader into the book and the world that he created. He wants the reader to not be able to put the book down and keep wanting more and the next novel.
Spirituality is a concept largely explored in his book. Woltz discussed how the world today has essentially lost the sense of spirituality and moved toward religion. Technology and its implications on society are present in the book as well.
“Right now we are dealing with technology that is no longer making our life simple.
Technology is running rampant and the technologists, the scientists, the engineers who develop this were so preoccupied with whether or not they could do something they never bothered to stop and consider whether they should.”
He went on to discuss how, in relation to the topic, we have various laws that now prevent us from using the same technology that is supposed to make our lives “easier.”
I asked Woltz what he could tell me about the book. He went into great detail about how it is a peaceful world, with no wars fought until an evil force makes its way into the world. The novel starts at the end of the first battle against this new evil, known as the battle of Gladenfell Tor. Sir Geoffrey Valhurst, a knight, rides his horse, Sanguine Mira, against the evil and his journey begins.
On his journey, Geoffrey works with the Divine Sisters, a council of deadly warrior Faeries. Woltz explained how these are not your average “tinker bell faeries,” but grown adult, immortal creatures cladded in metal armor wielding deadly scimitars. The reader also encounters Mesmer, a Grade Mage, time traveler and immortal. Mesmer is to be the main character in the companion novel.
While the book is available on Kindle, he was able to bring a print of the cover with him to the interview. He said he did the cover, and that the faerie on the cover was actually from a commissioned piece of artwork he once painted. Originally he had a computer-generated image in place of the faerie, but he and his sons were not enamored with the cover until she was put in.
When asked if there is anything he wanted the reader to know, he said, “I want them to read it very intuitively. I want them to read it, to be astute in their reading, to really think it through… The things that should be despised in this world are the things which are despised. The things which we should not have a problem with they don’t have a problem with.”
Woltz’s book is currently only available on Amazon’s Kindle store for $5.99, but he hopes that it is well received so that it will picked up for other e-readers and published in a physical copy.