Monday, June 22, 2015

Conversation 35: Kevin Wohler

Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations! I'm your host, February Grace, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce you today to a gentleman I have had the joy of interacting with on Twitter for some time now... author Kevin Wohler!

So glad to have you with us today, Kevin! In a few paragraphs, please describe who you are and what you do.

KW: A little bit about me: My name’s Kevin Wohler, and I’m a short story writer and novelist. Mostly, I write fantasy and science fiction. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had two short stories published in anthologies. The first novel in my Alchemist series should come out later this year.

My wife, Rachel, is an author, too—her pen name is R.L. Naquin. She wrote the Monster Haven series for Carina Press.

We live in Lawrence, Kansas, but only until we can move to Orlando, Florida. We have two grown kids, four cats, and a large collection of LEGO sets.

By day, I’m a technical writer. In addition to my writing, I also do a little graphic design and book formatting.

Q1: You are a man of many talents, filling many different roles in life: You have a full time career, you’re a husband, father, writer, friend to many. You fulfill all of these roles despite daunting physical challenges. What would you like to tell the folks reading today about what it is like to live with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI)?

KW: I was born with OI. I inherited it from my mother, though she didn’t know she had it. Growing up, I broke a lot of bones—mostly in my legs. My folks estimated that I had over a hundred broken bones before I hit puberty and started growing out of it. Living with OI is a challenge, but I look for the positive in it. There are kids out there with much more severe cases of OI than I had growing up. I am grateful for my independence, and the love and support of my family and friends.

Q2: Switching gears now, I smiled when I saw on your website that you engage in something regularly that your wife refers to as “LEGO Therapy.” Would you care to tell us how you got started with LEGO? What is the biggest and/or favorite project you’ve ever built?

KW:The “therapy” comes from our need to shut off our brains now and then and following the instructions in a LEGO set. My wife and I stumbled across a LEGO store in the mall a few years ago. On a lark, I bought a set—my first since childhood. Before I had finished building it, Rachel said she wanted to build something too. The next time we went to the store, we each bought a small set. Each set we finished led to another—bigger—one. Now we have too many LEGO sets and not enough shelf space to display them all. My pride and joy is the Plaza Cinema. I always wanted to own my own movie theatre.

Q3: As a music lover myself, I was also fascinated to learn that you enjoy music from the Big Band era. What is it about that music that draws you in, and do you have a favorite song/artist of all time?

KW: My music taste is broad and deep. I like blues, rock, Jimmy Buffett, movie scores, and Broadway musical soundtracks. I also have a love of big band era music that’s unusual for someone who grew up in the 1980s.

I think my love of old music was influenced by my love of old movies. Whether it’s old musicals like White Christmas and Singin’ in the Rain, movie soundtracks (like Sleepless in Seattle) or classic Disney movies, I have grown up listening to music from that era. I love Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and anything by Cole Porter.

My favorite music is from the World War II era. Maybe I’m a reincarnated soldier from the war. I don’t know. For some reason, “La Vie En Rose” by Édith Piaf hits me hard. I feel connected to that song in a way that transcends mere musical enjoyment.

Q4: Ah... Piaf's rendition is a go-to on my iPod. No one else can duplicate what she did with that song...

We also share another common interest: Disney! Anyone who knows me knows I am crazy for all things related to Disney. 

Have you ever had a particularly memorable experience when visiting one of the theme parks, or do you have another Disney related memory you’d like to share with everyone? 

What is it about Disney and all things related that appeals to you, specifically?

KW: For me, Disney is akin to a life philosophy. It’s about storytelling, and nostalgia for a simpler time. There’s no room for cynicism, only dreaming about a better tomorrow. When I was a kid, I grew up listening to Walt Disney promise us that anything was possible, and happy endings are guaranteed. I try to live my life with that kind of optimism. As Walt once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” 

My wife and I have a shared love of Disney. We met while working at the Disney catalog (way back in the ‘90s). When we married in 2005, we scheduled our honeymoon to coincide with Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. We were in the Disneyland hub on July 17, when they re-played the opening day dedication speech (“To all who come to this happy place, welcome…”). It was so moving. Everyone cried. I’ve never been connected to so many complete strangers. It was a magical experience, and one of the best trips I’ve had to any of the parks. 

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

KW: I collect Disney music. (Surprised?) I have many Disney film soundtracks and several collections of music from the theme parks. Whenever we go to the parks, I try to find a new CD to add to my collection. I also love compilations of famous musicians covering Disney hits. Rachel and I had Disney music at our wedding, including Billy Joel singing “When You Wish Upon a Star” and the Main Street Electrical Parade music as we walked up the aisle together.

That. Is. Awesome! As are you! Thank you so much for being our guest today, Kevin! It was a joy to have you here.

You can find out more about Kevin and his writing by visiting him at:

See you next time for another Clockwork Conversation: June Extravaganza Edition!