Guest author: Charles E. Yallowitz – Who’s in charge?

apocalypse-1325398_1280Thanks to Sue for letting me be a guest on her blog. Normally, I would be writing about fantasy or something magical because that’s my main genre.  Yet, it isn’t my only one and I have my smaller world to touch on this time.  In a few weeks, I will be releasing the sequel to Crossing Bedlam and diving back into the realm of adult language, wild violence, dystopian landscapes, insane characters, and sexual innuendos.  This tends to be my downtime project because it doesn’t have the heaviness of my other series.  I get to wrap myself in the crazy fun and just go along for the ride.

I should probably explain what this series is about before I go any further.  This is a world where the United States of America has collapsed because it appears the rest of the world voted to put them in a timeout.  Canada and Mexico put up walls and an international navy patrols the waters to kill anyone who tries to escape.  Those that were out of the country at the time are left alone unless they cause trouble and are shipped back.  Some people think criminals from other countries are being sent to the Shattered States too, but no real proof of that.  Oh, and somebody nuked Washington D.C. a few days after the blockade was established.  No more friends, federal government, or much else before chaos ensued.  The country has spent a little over 10 years as this lawless, insane landscape of death and survival.

Got your interest?  Good because that’s only the setting and has very little to do with the adventures of Cassidy and Lloyd.  She’s a mercenary who lost her mother and he’s the serial killer she busted out of prison to help traverse the country to toss her mom’s ashes off the Golden Gate Bridge.  This is where things went a little screwy for some readers.  Apparently, some people want these two to get involved in the big mystery of the world and figure out what went wrong.  Others want them to conquer the Shattered States or at least part of it.  Yet, none of this makes any sense for a pair that wants nothing more than to survive.  Why investigate the collapse of a nation when it can get you killed quicker than hunting down a bounty?  Why become a ruler and make yourself a target?  Neither of these ‘heroes’ have such aspirations, but it does seem like readers do.

This has made me wonder for the last year if authors should give readers everything they want and if readers should accept what they are given in fiction.  Both groups always have to meet each other halfway.  An author shouldn’t write a story that they don’t feel invested in while a reader shouldn’t demand such a thing.  For me, I won’t pursue a path if I don’t see the story there even if someone is telling me exactly what to do.  In this case, it feels like stuff is being projected on Cassidy and Lloyd that they have no interest in.  They were specifically created to be heroes who only wanted to survive in a deadly world.  My fantasy heroes are the ones who are out to save the world.  These two are more inclined to let he world burn as long as they have marshmallows and a high perch to stay out of the flames themselves.

It really puts an author in an odd position, especially if one wishes to please readers.  You have to decide if their enjoyment and requests are more important than what you wanted from the beginning.  To be honest, I’ve met more authors who continue marching forward with their original plan than those who switch everything upon request.  So this whole thing might be a moot point.  Yet, there are consequences for this like readers quitting on a series or getting complaints throughout the entire adventure.  Unlike when a character complains, you can’t silence a reader by conjuring duct tape or reminding them who brought them into this world.  I mean, you can make those threats, but there are these people called police officers that can put a quick end to your megalomania.

Don’t think readers are off the hook here either.  Trust is a big part of entering a series and following an author.  You need to realize that things happen for a reason and many authors have a goal in mind.  More importantly, you have to trust that they know the characters and can do things that will extend their use.  When you follow an author on a series, you need to be ready for a haul.  Not always a long one, but something that spans a few volumes.  If it isn’t the story then it’s the characters who keep getting into situations.  This is a big reason why the Bedlam Series tends to be written in a style where every chapter is like an episode of a TV show.  I can’t see it working any other way, which is something I hope the readers can see too.  A straight line of a plot and character development is fine, but it isn’t always the best path.

Besides, life is more like a rollercoaster than a boardwalk. Their mentalities aside, I could toss Cassidy and Lloyd into the big picture to satisfy those that continue to ask, but then I would lose them.  It’s a single, obtainable goal that puts them on a linear path and ends their journey once it’s in their hands.  Making them survivors, I can have them goal in multiple directions and handle various situations.  The first book was a journey to honor Cassidy’s mom’s dying wish.  The second, Chasing Bedlam, is a revenge-fueled rampage across the South because somebody was crazy enough to take their car.  None of this could have been done with characters who were thinking of bigger things.  At least, it wouldn’t have the same oomph since those types tend to be selfless and these two heroes are certainly not that.  I mean, they can be, but not to the level that you would need to save the world.  Maybe a small town if they feel like it and there’s a bar that they like in the area.

Read a teaser from Chasing Bedlam HERE.

1About the Author:


Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. ‘Legends of Windemere’ is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz


Crossing Bedlam by [Yallowitz, Charles E.]Crossing Bedlam

Charles E. Yallowitz

The United States of America has been crippled. Violently contained by a global military force and left without its leaders, the country has become shattered and chaotic. A decade has passed since the first strike and a new landscape has emerged where survival is more important than anything else. Who will uncover the truth behind the attack and revive this once great nation?

It certainly won’t be Cassidy and Lloyd since they couldn’t care less about that stuff. She is a young woman on a mission to honor her mother’s dying wish, which is to toss her ashes off the Golden Gate Bridge. He is an infamous serial killer she broke out of Rikers Island since hiring a bodyguard wasn’t working out. Not the perfect plan, but having an insane, oddly charming murder-junkie on your side is a plus in the Shattered States.

Bullets and swear words are going to fly as Cassidy and Lloyd travel coast to coast, facing one challenge after another . . . including Nebraska.

The second book of the Bedlam Series coming soon.

Follow Charles on his blog or on Amazon to be notified of its release!

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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52 Responses to Guest author: Charles E. Yallowitz – Who’s in charge?

  1. Great post, thank you :). I think the book should be read as is. I know some readers are picky (and I can be guilty of that sometimes) but I think an author should feel able to write the book they have in their head. The story is yours after all, not the readers and in most cases when the author does a good job then you get invested in a character and follow their journey whether it’s saving the world or finally making it to the supermarket. I think the only time a book goes wrong is when it doesn’t have much of a goal. I’ve read a couple of ‘bad’ books where it was a series of random events with little to piece the events together.
    This sounds like such an exciting series. :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Charles. I enjoyed the discussion of author and reader responsibility. I have to admit none of my readers tell me what to do, but do express levels of satisfaction and angst in their reviews. I’m not sure what I would do if someone came right out and expressed dissatisfaction with something. I guess I would plod along just like I do now. I think your Fantasy genre has a lot of folds dedicated to it and have definite opinions on how they want to see things go. I agree with your characterizations of Cassidy and Lloyd. They are no superheroes and art trying to cope with the situation. Thanks to Sue for the opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great topic. Some will express that they wanted something to take a different direction at times. It’s a fine line to walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tina Frisco says:

    This is a terrific post for so many reasons, not the least of which is it discusses a hot topic and is extremely well-written.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
    Charles Yallowitz is over at Sue Vincent’s blog today. Would any of you ever modify your story as a form of fan service? Join the conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Helen Jones says:

    Really interesting post, Charles 😀 I believe stories come to us as writers because they want to be told, so to change them due to reader pressure might lead to them losing their way or, even worse, leaving altogether. Stay true to the story as it comes to you. I like your point about trust being part of starting to read a series – trust that the author knows the characters and where they’re supposed to be going. You have such encyclopaedic knowledge of your series (at least based on the posts I’ve read) I can’t imagine any reader thinking you would lead them astray!


    • I’ll admit to forgetting things from time to time because there’s so much. Many parts are spontaneous too, so I have to be reminded or recheck the books. That’s only the details though. The leading astray assumption is rather common with series. People get into the story and make up the next scene in their head. I know a few people who like to think they’re getting on the same wavelength of the creator. This rarely ends well because you never know what twist will appear. As readers, we tend to think positive and happy endings. The author throwing a downfall in shatters that and you get the feeling that you’ve been betrayed. Truth is that this was probably planned long ago and built up to.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Helen Jones says:

    Reblogged this on Journey To Ambeth and commented:
    Charles Yallowitz is visiting Sue Vincent, with an interesting discussion about writing series and reader input. Head on over and check it out!


  8. L. Marie says:

    Nice to see you here, Charles. I know readers have opinions. But when they try to dictate what should happen in a book, that’s unfair. You know your goals for these characters and how you envisioned them. That’s what’s important.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Staci Troilo says:

    I’m going to take a hard line here and be stubbornly opinionated.

    Authors have to write the stories they’re inspired to tell. I don’t think a story will be as strong as it could be if the author compromises the message to please readers. Let the readers find pleasure and satisfaction in what the author creates, or let them craft their own stories. If fans want something else, they’ll have to create it for themselves. (I think this is how fan fiction came to be.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I cannot imagine being at the mercy of readers. What happens to creativity which started the whole process. Excellent post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. adeleulnais says:

    Thank you, Sue for guesting, Charles. I loved Chasing Bedlam, I shouted from the highest blogging point about it. The reason: exactly what Charles has said. Cassidy and Lloyd are two characters thrown together who want to survive. The breakneck dare devils are wonderful together and often had me laughing at their antics. What more could you want?
    There was a discussion my friends and I were having, as you do, about what you would do if there was a complete breakdown of society. I said; “Don’t worry I’ve been thinking about this since I was a kid. I have a plan.” Cue Bedlam.


  12. Great interview! I haven’t considered the reader wanting a story to go in a direction different than what I envision. I suppose that does happen. You really do have to decide for yourself. The story is yours ultimately.


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