Interview – James Ullrich
During the Official Launch Party for Jode Unforgiven, I had the pleasure of interviewing several other authors over the course of the evening. Since some people might have missed the party, I’m bringing the interviews over here.
As before, the lag on facebook leaves an interview a little discordant at times. So, I have moved comments around to better fit into a flowing conversation. No words are edited or changed. (Yes…even the typos are left in.)
And next up to bat we have James Ullrich. He’s a travel writer and so so much more. I’ve had the pleasure of watching his writing grow over the last couple of years. His latest novel Dangerous Latitudes is phenomenal. It’s got everything…train fights, continent hopping, some dude getting hammered with an antique astrolabe! EVERYTHING! And I saw it grow.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, James Ullrich. James, tell us a little about yourself!
– both novels were work-shopped as I wrote. MY critique group included the Great One Himself, one Scotty Schrier. it also included Lawrence Verigin and Eve Gruschow. We all had the extreme good fortune to be led and tutored by the one and only Don McQuinn. The man’s a legend and we were lucky to have him.
– Prior to coming to Seattle and being a writer, I worked as the Chief Managing Staff Writer for the Chicago Music Guide and served graduate internships in the Political Affairs Office of the US Embassy in London and the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. It was interesting, since starting to write seriously, I’ve been published in The New York Examiner, World War II Magazine, Aviation History Magazine, Renaissance, Global Aviator, Military Magazine, and Weider Publishing Group, and I’ve contributed European-based travel guide material on websites and blogs including Travel Addict, Vagabondish, Compass, Backpacker, InTravel, and Writer Abroad. I contributes a semi-weekly blog post to Vagablogging.
– And I can tell you that Scotty Schrier is awesome. every time Scotty was up for a grilling in our critique group. we knew were in for a treat.
– As in the novel, it’s known that he purposely misled others by giving false coordinates in order to ensure they did not beat him to “Z.” This may be why he was never found. Some of his letters and artifacts can still be seen in the archives of the Royal Geographic Society in London.
– As you said, the lead charchter’s a travel writer. He’s a loner, kind of laconic, and comes off as kind of gruff. But he’s a decent guy who strives to so the right thing, in the big picture. He’s got a good heart. That’s not to say he’s perfect. He’s profoundly curious, and that drives him. He’s driven to learn and explore, and bring that little slice of the world back to his readers. He sees it as a moral issue. And so sometimes—almost always, actually—gets him into more than he bargained for. His fortitude in the face of difficult circumstances and his desire to solve the mystery drive the stories.
– Like you said before, this is your second novel. The first was The Vanishers. And again I saw that one in development. It was an largely ensemble cast. How hard was it changing from a large centralized cast to just a handful of characters?