Jonathon Wolfer grew up here on the shoreline, and after many years of living around the country, he's returned to his hometown of Clinton and back to the shoreline that first inspired him. Wolfer currently has two books available on digital downloads from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, "The Pen & The Sword" and "Friends & Monsters." He is using Kickstarter to help bring the former to print (just click on the link if you would like to help with funding).
Recently, Wolfer sat down with Guilford Patch at Perk on Church to chat about everything from his childhood, to Las Vegas, to painting bubbles, to the zombie apocalypse; the author was an open book (no pun intended).
Let’s start with the basics, did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Not for a while. I originally went to college, right in New Haven at Southern, for Studio Art. I was on the rugby team, and I took some time off here and there. I came back for a fifth year, and since I was in no rush to graduate, I took four creative writing courses and just fell in love.
When I was living out in Vegas, it really solidified my interest in writing.
Living in Las Vegas, sounds like an adventure, what was that like?
Well after college, I moved around a lot. I lived in New York City and LA. I rode my motorcycle from here to Vegas. Lots of nomadic acts on my part.
Living in Vegas was great, but if you have any sort of addiction, I could totally see it as being a problem. The hiking out in that area was great, and a lot of the areas were big snowboarding destinations.
What made you come back here to the Shoreline?
The driving force to come back was that my mother got sick and I came back to help take care of her. I have 7 brothers and sisters and they very frankly said to me, “you only come around when people get sick or die.” It struck a nerve.
Like a said, I have a bit of a nomadic, spontaneous streak. When I came back to be with my mom we had a candid talk about this. She just said, ‘I know, that’s just who you are.’
How was growing up on the Shoreline?
I grew up in Clinton and now live there, and I work nearby in Branford. I spent a lot of time in Guiford when I was younger. I think that growing up, I didn’t really appreciate the rich history it has to offer. Now, I can really grasp that aspect. The haunted houses around here are just awesome.
I grew up not far from Hammonasset, and my mom grew up in Indian Cove, where my uncle is now. Of all the places I’ve been, there’s no where like this. I can’t stand it when people ask, ‘so are you inspired by you’re surroundings here.’ The answer is so obvious. I mean, how can you look around here with all this nature and all this history and not be inspired. I still have dreams of riding through New England on my bike. That’s my next trip.
My biological father passed away when I was young. He was a tugboat captain, and he never spoke, and when he did, ever other word was a swear. He drove himself to chemo until four days before he died. My mom was tough too. I grew up with all my siblings, who frequently liked to torture me, as siblings will. I was a tough kid too. By the time I was 4, I think I had about 300 stitches. One of my earliest memories is me gushing blood from some sort of injury.
The day my dad passed away was right around the time of Haley’s comet, which had a big creative influence on The Pen and The Sword. It sparked my interest in celestial events and why they are the way they are. I’ve seen too many things to not believe in things like that, and other paranormal events.
So paranormal stuff, science and what not, you’re a fan?
I think we’ve just started to scratch the surface of science. Science can be so intriguing simply because it’s really so beautiful. I remember seeing a meteor shower in the desert in Vegas. Just amazing.
I’ve experimented for years on how to paint bubbles. When I cam back to take care of my mom, I had a lot of free time, so I played with my niece a lot with bubbles. Well, people have been trying to centuries to give color to bubbles, and it turns out that the key is sugar. Very scientific, and very compelling.
As far as paranormal activities go, I’m not as much interested in the scientific proof of what’s going on, but more in people’s stories. Like haunted stories.
What would you say is the main goal of your writing?
Really, it’s to get all that junk that up here in my head out. Every minute of every day, I’m inspired. I have to write. Even just sitting here, I’ve got a backstory for every person in this room up in my head. That’s just how I work.
Writing seems to come naturally to you, so what are roadblocks you face as writer?
Just having to do other jobs so I can pay rent. It becomes a matter of having enough time to write with balancing other obligations. I’ve moved from Coast to Coast three times now, so all the distractions that come with all that moving around.
As a writer of science fiction, and the growing popularity of shows like The Walking Dead and other zombie apocalypse Hollywood features, what are your thoughts?
I’ve heard all about the zombie apocalypse, and I am fully prepared for it. I don’t know if it will be an apocalypse as it’s being portrayed, but I’m getting ready for it anyhow. I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead graphic novels.
So what’s next, other than preparing for zombies?
I’m using Kickstarter to bring "The Pen & The Sword" to print. My goal is to help offset the costs with crowd funding this using the Espresso Book Machine at RJ Julia Booksellers and have it available for print at all the EBM's around the world.
Wolfer’s works are available for download on Kindle, Kindle app, Nook and nook app on all tablets and smart phones.