"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview with Jack Whitsel and a Review of Shadows of Kings

It is my pleasure to be included in the Shadow of Kings Blog Tour with author, Jack Whitsel. Jack Whitsel is a native Californian, but has made Oregon his home since 1982. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Finance from Portland State University, but studies medieval history in his spare time.  His favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction with a medieval emphasis. Shadows of Kings, the first novel of the Dragon Rising Series is the love child born of these two passions. Lets get to know Jack a bit better.

1-  Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

I am an avid lover of all things fantasy. When I write, I attempt to be more of a storyteller than writer – giving you a bard-like feel to the story. And my plots are primarily character driven, allowing my cast to take the story exactly where it needs to go.

Aside from writing, I spend my time with my two sons – who are the catalyst of my writing endeavors.

 2- I know you have a Degree in Finance from Portland State University. What made you decide to study medieval history?

I have always been romantically drawn to this period in history. Wars were won by sword and wits. Europe discovered its identity during this time – a history and legacy that seems so foreign to the fledgling United States. There was a brutality in the medieval era that was almost…poetic. That period was only a sea of grey – the world of black and white was rarely seen.

3-  What was the inspiration for Shadows of Kings?

 Of all the questions that are thrown at me, that one is always the most difficult. There has never been a solitary idea or moment that brought Shadows of Kings to life. However, I have three passions in my life – medieval history, all things fantasy, and my sons. Between the three, Shadows of Kings morphed into existence.

4-  Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us about it and when can we expect to see it?

I do. The tentative release date for Shades of Virtue is Spring 2013. Shards of Malice, Queens and Daggers, and Dragon Rising: The Guide to the Hugue and Vol Thaldane are still to be announced. All are part of the Dragon Rising Series.

5- What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy is my favorite. There is something about magic and monsters nixed with a medieval backdrop that makes my muse sing.

6- Do you have a favorite author? If so, why or why not?

The father of contemporary fantasy- J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings changed many things in my life on many levels. Tolkien inspired my imagination to create worlds and fill them with wonderful characters. And most importantly...his books encouraged me to keep reading the fantasy genre.

7- What do you do for fun and relaxation?

I love movies...I mean really love them. Outside the cinema, I enjoy my time with my sons- telling them stories about knights and wizards and playing x-box.

8- How can readers contact you?

You can visit my official website at http://www.jackwhitsel.com

Review of Shadow of Kings

Shadow of Kings
Jack Whitsel
Twilight Times Books June 2012
Kindle Edition

Instead of a brief synopsis of the book, I am including the book trailer.

   This is the first book in the Dragon Rising Series and a great read it is. At the beginning the story dragged just a bit and I was having trouble getting into it; but it eventually took off and it was full of action. This is a wonderful fantasy read and lovers of fantasy are sure to be pleased. The story is packed full of adventure, sorcery, witchcraft, fey, dragons, and other creatures. I have to admit I was having some difficulty keeping up with all the characters and all the different names of places in the story. I really think it would have benefited from having a map and a glossary of terms, places, and such in order to keep track of everything. Even with this issue for me, I was able to get through the story without much difficulty. Our protagonist Lucia, was a spoiled rich girl who was difficult to love in the beginning. As the story continues, she grows and develops into a most extraordinary young woman. Lord Boudouin faces many challenges and realizes one of his major mistakes by the end of the book. I, like other women, would have liked to have seen more of a romance between him and his mistress. This is the romantic talking in me. To much blood and guts in the story for this. The story is quite descriptive and you have no doubt what is happening during battle. It is not for the faint of heart. I will definitely be watching for the next book in the series, Shades of Virtues due out in the spring of 2013. If you enjoy a good fantasy read, check this one out.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reading and reviewing purposes.

I give Shadows of Kings 4 out of 5 stars


  1. Thanks for being a part of the SHADOWS OF KINGS Blog tour!

    Oceans of Love,


  2. Looks like a great read. As a fantasy lover I might check it out. Thanks!
    Nic from bookmark Reviews.

    1. Thanks, Nic!

      I hope you do. Thanks for visiting my blog tour!

  3. Jack, it was my pleasure. Nic, thank you for stopping by today.