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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wolf by Jim Ringel Blog Tour

Johnny Wolfe carries his dog Sindra in a vial that he keeps in his pocket.  He carries her out of loyalty.  He carries her out of guilt.  He carries her because there are no more dogs in this world. And he carries her to connect to her feral nature, so that he might take her inside himself and feel her animal wildness. 

Johnny’s life is in shambles.  His sales career at Bulldog Enterprises is on the blink. On his way to work one day he comes across a colleague who is killed by a dog. But with dogs now extinct, how is this possible? Going through his colleague’s dead body, Johnny discovers the colleague is carrying a rather sizeable sales order. Figuring “he’s dead, I’m not”, Johnny decides to place the order as his own.

Except he can’t figure out what product the colleague is selling.  As he gets closer to understanding the product, Johnny starts to realize it has more and more to do with why the dogs might be returning, and why they’re so angry.

Then he starts to wonder if maybe the dogs know more about him and Sindra, and if maybe they’re angry with him.

Genre: Literary Horror
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: May 13th, 2014

Book Review

Wolf, by Jim Ringel is an exciting and descriptive novel of a world without dogs. Dog's are man's best friend; they greet us at the door after a long day, curl up at our feet when we're watching a movie, a life without dog's seems criminal. Jim's imagination takes us into a society where dog's were bred for every trait possible than killed when they weren't obedient. They were made extinct.

Wolf begins with action and intrigue as salesman Wolfe finds a co-worker in an alley with a dog. His co-worker Pinkie winds up dead and Wolfe ends up with a sales order worth millions for a product with an eight digit code, but no products are made with eight digit code. Wolfe is determined to fulfill the order and make the money. It is his bull headed search for the product that lands him in serious trouble time after time at the hands of some shady characters.

Jim's style of writing is filled with vivid descriptions that place the reader up front in the story. Every sight, sound, and touch are revealed in horrifying detail which serves to further the conspiracy leading to the unexpected ending. He carefully sculpted each character into a unique person with their own motives, leaving the reader and Wolfe trusting no one.

In my opinion Wolf is a parable for life without man's best friend, and how that absence creates greed.

About Jim Ringel

Jim Ringel lives in Boulder. When not writing fiction, he  can be found hiking, biking, and skiing in the Colorado mountains, or sitting still and meditating at home. He also does a lot of reading, and is a long-standing member of Denver’s Lighthouse Literary Workshop.

Interview with Jim

Elle: Tell a little about yourself.

Jim: I am a writer first and foremost. A reader next. I read everything I can, but particularly like plot-driven stories that are bent slightly toward horror. Professionally, I've done a little bit of everything―sales, television work, mediation, non-profit consulting, real estate.  You stick around long enough in life, you probably get to do every job at least once.

Elle: What can you tell us about Wolf?

Jim: Wolf is the story of Johnny Wolfe, a down-and-out salesguy with a failed marriage who obsesses about the death of his childhood dog, Sindra.  On the way to work one morning, Johnny comes across a colleague, Pinkie Buck, who has been attacked by a dog.  This is a weird event, since there are no more dogs in this world.  

After Pinkie dies from the attack, Johnny goes through the man's body, and finds Pinkie is carrying a rather sizable sales order. Johnny figures a large sales order is just the thing he needs, so he takes it.  But when he tries placing the order to collect the commission, he finds he can't figure out what product Pinkie was selling.  As he pursues trying to uncover the product, he discovers it has something to do with dogs, and why they're coming back, and why they're so violent.

Elle:  What was your inspiration for Wolf?

Jim: I like literary thrillers.  Writers like Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith, Megan Abbott, and I like spooky stuff like Brian Evenson and Shirley Jackson. So I wanted to write something like that, that worked the two together into a spooky thriller. Plus, I really like the humor potential of a salesman who doesn't know what he's selling, but selling it anyway. How many salesmen have we all dealt with like that?  And a lot of the book is an homage to my last two dogs―Sadie and Jones.  , I never had a dog as a kid, but have had several dogs throughout my adult life, and learned from them.  How they live in the moment. How they enjoy such simple things.  

In a real sense, Wolf  a play on the whole werewolf genre.  A lot of werewolf stories are about bringing out the side of us that we feel we should repress.  I wanted to write about turning into an animal as a means of tapping who we really are.  It's not the animal side we need to tamp down, it's the civilized life that is unnatural, and that we should learn to keep under wraps. So I was really inspired by a mix of all those elements.

Elle: Tell us a little about any other works you have published or will be publishing.

Jim: I am currently working on a six-book Buddhist detective series.  Each book takes place in one of the six different Buddhist realms―the Hell Realm, the Hungry Ghost Realm, the Animal Realm, the Human Realm, the Warring Titan Realm, and the God Realm. In each book, the detective Lama Rinzen must solve a crime, learn a life-lesson, and then die at the end so that he may be reborn into the next book, the next realm.

Elle:  How long have you been writing and how did you get into it?

Jim: I got into serious writing about 10 years ago.  The real turning point was when I was diagnosed with cancer. You're faced with something like that, and it makes you think about who you really are and aspire to be.  For me, the obvious answer, the hole I was feeling my life, was that I wanted to really explore writing, and not keep waiting to take it seriously. That's when I really started to move all the rest of my life aside so that I could write.

Elle:  What inspires your writing?

Jim: As a writer, it's hard not to hear news stories, or friend's mishaps, and not immediately start creating a story.  I'm inspired to write because I feel engaged with life around me. Our minds just naturally do that, right? We stop, sit, meditate, almost immediately our minds start creating little stories, about a sound we might hear, or an argument we recently had, or some pain we are feeling. I write because I get a kick out of thinking if this were to take place, what could possibly happen next. I am also inspired to write by just listening. There's rhythm in everything―the way the wind blows, or a sportscaster speaks, or the way the neighbor's dog barks incessantly.  Listening to the rhythm of these everyday occurrences inspires me to capture those rhythms in written form. I just like capturing them with a spooky story, or page-turner novel.

Elle:  If a fiction writer, are any of your novels based on events in your life?

Jim: I guess all my work swells up from the depths inside me.  I'm a Buddhist, and that influences my world view, and what I like to explore in writing. And some short pieces are loosely hinged on childhood events, or adult experiences. Writing is sort of a nice mix of exploring your own life while disguising that it's you. I guess I can't really say there's many actual life events in my writing, but all the rest of it's me.

Elle:  What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work?

Jim: I was very lucky to find Curiosity Quills Press.  My biggest challenge is that so many literary houses would tell me Wolf was far too genre, and genre houses would say it was far too literary.  I never knew what either meant. I guess that's how it is when you accept yourself and others reject you―it's hard to understand what they're saying. It's like that with women, I find. They don't like you because you go to too many baseball games, or drink too much, or drive too fast. I do think I do all those things just right.

Elle: Do you have a favorite author or book?

Jim: Anything by Graham Greene. An all time favorite read is John Gardner's Mikkelson's Ghosts, with Thomas Berger's Neighbors a close second.  I am now reading Crow Blue, but Adiana Lisboa, and really enjoying how quiet its mystery is.

Elle: Describe yourself in three words.

Jim: Meditative about Fear

Elle: Do you have any advice for inspiring authors?

Jim: I always think it's good advice to just listen. Hear the sound around you, because the way your writing sounds is truly what it's about. It's rarely what you say that evokes horror, or seductiveness, or drama, but rather the pacing and rhythm of your words. You can understand how that works by reading great writers, but you can also hear it all around you in everything life. In order to write well, you have to listen.

Where to find Jim

Where to find Wolf
Barnes & Noble
Amazon UK

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