TW in the AWP Spotlight

theodorewheeler3I’m proud to report that I’m being featured this month in Association of Writers and Writing Program’s In the Spotlight feature! Basically it’s an interview to highlight writers who “are making exceptional contributions to the literary community.” So that’s cool.

Mostly we talk about my work with Dundee Book Company, PTL Literary Pub Quiz, working as an adjunct creative writing professor, the literary scene in Omaha, and, of course, my own writing. I’ve done more than a few interviews over the last couple years, and I’d have to say this is my favorite so far. Being able to address so many different parts of my life in one forum is gratifying. Especially as the promo cycle for Kings of Broken Things is pretty much over, it’s nice to sit back a little bit to appreciate how much we’ve done of the last year. And then, surely, get back to work…

Read more here.

What is your organization’s vision? How do you see it growing ten years from now?
Many times I’ve imagined a future where the projects I work on could come together more seamlessly under a single roof, under the auspices of a bookstore-bar and community space that’s somewhat similar to The Wild Detectives in Dallas. Our bookstore has only been an entity for eight months, but I’ve been creating literary programming for years, most notably the three-years-and-counting run of Pageturners Literary Pub Quiz at our neighborhood bar, which just so happens to be in the spot of a former used bookstore and has a loose literature theme. Combining these efforts into a neighborhood retail bookstore that goes heavy on events and features a bar space that caters to readers and writers would be a dream come true. Book and bottle pairings, a basement or back-room pub that serves as a meeting place for the writing community: what’s not to love? Realistically, for now, we’re still trying to get our feet wet as booksellers. And waiting a couple years to see how this whole retail apocalypse thing plays out is probably wise as well.

When do you find time to write? 
Despite working full-time as a legal reporter, teaching adjunct, owning a pop-up store with my wife, and raising two kids, I find at least a couple hours a day to write. A big part of this is that I work from home for my day job. It’s much easier to sneak away to my other laptop at home than if I was in an office. (Or to skip a shower, for that matter, if that’s the only time left.) It’s also how I was raised. My parents were always busy with some home project or an amateur construction job or volunteering at their church. I’ve heard Joyce Carol Oates talk about how she’s so prolific because she grew up on a farm and learned to use every waking moment for labor. Not that I’m remotely in her orbit, but the idea resonates with me. I live a very different life than my ancestors, but I guess the essential avoidance of idle hands has made it through the generations.

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Largehearted Boy Book Notes!

lhbI was so stoked yesterday when Largehearted Boy posted the playlist I made for Kings of Broken Things. I’ve followed the Book Notes series for years now. It’s often a fun way to think about authors based on what music they see as an addendum to their books. The lists can be kind of hit-or-miss, honestly, depending on how much effort the author puts into the playlist and explanatory summaries, or if they have comically bad taste in music.

Given that I’ve long dreamed of having a playlist of my own featured, and that I didn’t want to embarrass myself, I spent many hours picking out songs that were important to me while writing the novel and arranging them in what’s hopefully a pleasing way. The list is somewhat eclectic, ranging from Scott Joplin to Rachmaninoff to Jenny Lewis. A DJ I am not (in fact, I was never a mix-tape kind of guy either) but I like what resulted.

Check out my playlist and let me know what you think!

Barnes & Noble Must-Read Indie Books

bn-ereader-iconSome more good news to share, as my novel Kings of Broken Things was named by Barnes & Noble a “must-read indie book coming this summer” on their B&N Reads blog. It was a surprise to find this one out and a nice honor. With pub day coming in exactly one week I’ll take all the help I can get. Plus, it made me feel justified in Googling my name right before bed last night. Ha.

Here’s what B&N Reads has to say about the book:

In a story set in 1919 that informs our understanding of the events of today, Wheeler focuses on three distinct characters as they make their way in post-World War I America. An immigrant finds prosperity and belonging in the new sport of baseball, a woman being kept by a married man searches for a way out of her constricting life, and a rootless man is drawn into a life of crime. As waves of traumatized soldiers stream home from Europe and black migrant workers head north seeking a better life, everything leads up to the Omaha Race Riots, an explosive moment in America’s history ripe for a literary examination.

My D.C.-AWP 2017 in Photos!

 

Imaginary Gardens Reading Series in April

Fyi, I’ll reading from Bad Faith at the Imaginary Gardens Reading Series on Tuesday, April 18 at 7pm, with poet Katie Berger. Put on monthly by Michael Skau at Mister Toad’s downtown pub, the series is in its third year. Originally a poetry series, Imaginary Gardens recently opened its doors to prose writers, and I’m certainly excited they did.

This will be my last event to promote Bad Faith before setting my sights on the August 1 release for Kings of Broken Things. Since I’ve already done a few readings in Omaha from the collection, I’ll try something new for this event, I promise.

On a more personal note, the writers group I’m in meets periodically at Mister Toad, so it will be fun to read my work in the space. Their back room is a great space to hang out and read. Usually that’s done quietly, but reading aloud will be fun too!

The event is free and open to the public.

Imaginary Gardens Reading Series
Tue April 18, 7pm
Mister Toad, 1002 Howard St, Omaha

Kings of Broken Things Cover Reveal!!!

I’m so excited to share with you the front cover of my new novel Kings of Broken Things, out from Little A on August 1!wheeler-kings-of-broken-things-final-front-cover

The cover turned out so well, I couldn’t be more pleased and excited to share the book with you all this summer. Thanks are due to Christina Chung, who did the illustration, and Vivian Lee, my editor at Little A, who painstakingly worked through many versions until this was just right. Their hard work paid off big time, in my opinion. What do you all think?

The book is now available for pre-order in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and audio editions. The audio edition is a new addition, for all you road warriors and commuters out there. If you’re so inclined, put in your order now and have the book arrive on August 1.

 

The Uninitiated’s Very Early 2017 Holiday Shopping Guide

Getting an early start on your 2017 holiday shopping list? Lucky for you, my novel Kings of Broken Things is now available for pre-order on Amazon at 25-40% off! The book really will make the perfect gift for family, friends, spouses, speed-daters, and any other folks you might become close with over the next thirteen months. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or X-Mas, or even Labor Day or Veterans Day or National Model Railroad Month–Kings of Broken Things will make the perfect gift for that special someone (or hobby enthusiast) in your life.

And if for some reason your didn’t finish shopping for the 2016 season yet, there are still copies of Bad Faith for sale too! BUY NOW!!!

Omaha’s Armistice Day Parade, 1918

I found this photo of the Armistice Day parade in Omaha on the awesome web site Influenza Encyclopedia, which has an extensive archive that details how the Spanish Flu epidemic decimated the US during the height of World War I. It’s really an impressive archive and is beautifully put together. Given that it’s Veterans Day today, it seemed appropriate to share a glimpse of what Omaha’s streets would have looked like about 98 years ago.omaha001

 

Solid Jackson Reading on Nov 4; More News

14606434_2126155184276951_2120107325737057729_nHi, all. A few notes to update, including that I’ll be reading on Friday November 4 at the new Solid Jackson Books location at 3925 Farnam Street in Omaha, starting at 7pm sharp. (See here for more info.) Joining me on the bill are poets Trey Moody (author of Thought That Nature) and Jeff Alessandrelli (author of This Last Time Will Be the First). The three of us were senior readers together for Prairie Schooner a few years back–more than a few now, I guess–so it will be great to share work from our first books and a special night all around, as Jeff and Trey recently moved back to Nebraska, and are new to Omaha.

In other Bad Faith news, a strong review of the book recently appeared on Necessary Fiction. Many thanks to Greg Walklin for his analysis here and excellent riffs off of the Nebraska Nice ad campaign. “Most of the characters in Bad Faith aren’t nice, and Wheeler plumbs that not-niceness throughout. The Pythagoreans talked of good as definite and finite, and evil and indefinite and infinite. Niceness may make for a slogan, and a friendly face to provide directions, but it is often just a veneer.”

Check out the Bad Faith book page here on the site for links to all the reviews and press the collection has received to date. I’ve been pleased with the reception the book has received, especially as a small press book, and am very grateful for the coverage. The book has been out for three months now, with a couple events still on the agenda. In addition to the November 4 Solid Jackson reading, I’ll also be reading at East City Books in Washington DC on Wednesday February 8, 2017, an off-site during the AWP Conference. This is the Key West Literary Seminar Workshop Alumni reading with Amina Gautier, Paula Whyman, Jay Desphande, and Sam Slaughter, something I’m thrilled to be a part of.

Also, if you check out my events page you’ll notice that I’ve already booked the first appearance to help launch my debut novel next year, as I’m scheduled to read from Kings of Broken Things on Friday, September 15, 2017, at the Writers Place in Kansas City.

Speaking of Kings of Broken Things, there’s been a lot of activity behind the scenes to get the book ready for publication next year. You can pre-order the Kindle edition for one thing, if you’re so inclined, with the bones of the page coming along over there. The publication date is set for mid August, and an audio edition of the novel is going into production too. How cool is that?! Copyedits were finished up last week and the process is moving along apace, with a cover and galley editions not too far off. !!! !!!