What James Pfundstein is Up To

I’ve known James Pfundstein for years on the Classics list and didn’t know he did this sort of thing … from the BG News:

Professor James Pfundstein not only lectures on the classics to University students, but he also finds time to be a writer.

“Well, let’s say I have to [write], so I sneak it in somehow,” Pfundstein said. “Frequently at the end of the day, I should be going to bed but I stay up a few minutes longer and then it’s like three hours after midnight.”

Pfundstein said that writing and lecturing can even overlap in some aspects.

“I thought they were completely separate, because I would write about classics during the day, and talk about classics and myths and stuff like that, and then I’d go home and write these Morlock stories,” Pfundstein said. “The thing is though, that fantasy is really a type of mythology, or mythology is a type of fantasy. So I constantly find myself using mythological elements in my novels, and I also find myself using stories in my teaching.”

Pfundstein has written three books and multiple short stories, most under the pseudonym James Enge.

“What Enge means is narrow, that is, not wide,” Pfundstein said. “The reason I picked it is because some people who write fantasy complain about how confining the genre is, and how they don’t want to be typed as a genre author, but I write the genre because I like the genre. That’s why I picked Enge, but mostly it’s just because it’s short and people can spell it.”

Pfundstein has been writing since he was eight years old, he said. He started writing when he discovered that books were written by people.

“Tolkien has this introduction where he talks about how he wrote the book and why he wrote the book, and at that point I realized, ‘oh people write books,’ and after I got done with “Lord of the Rings” I thought I would do my own fantasy epic, five volumes, of which I got like 10 pages written,” Pfundstein said. “But at that point, my course was set, and I was always writing something on the side.”

Pfundstein tried several times to get his work published, but it seemed there wasn’t a market for the genre he was writing. Pfundstein writes sword and sorcery books. Sword and sorcery is a sub-genre of fantasy some may call the “dark side.”

There wasn’t a market for sword and sorcery until 2005, when a new adventure fantasy magazine came out, and his first short story was published.

In 2008, Pfundstein got an agent, and within two weeks had a contract to write two books for Pyr, a publisher of science fiction and fantasy.

“I actually sat on it for several months without reading it,” Lou Anders, Editorial Director for Pyr, said. “I started reading it, and it was fantastic. I couldn’t put it down from the first page, so I read it over the weekend and I made an offer the next week.”

Pfundstein has written three books with Pyr, all within the fantasy genre, that follow the story of a character named Morlock Ambrosius, a 400-year-old who lives in an imaginary world, Pfundstein said.

“[Morlock] is really beaten up. He’s a magical maker of great skill, he’s a warrior who’s extremely dangerous, but he’s been disappointed by life,” Pfundstein said.

Philip Peek, a professor of classics at the University, is reading Pfundstein’s book, “The Blood of Ambrose,” with his son.

“I think it’s terrific. I’m reading it to my middle son who’s eleven years old. We like to read at bedtime with our kids, and he is a huge reader of fantasy,” Peek said. “He loves the whole fantasy genre, and so I get the added pleasure of enjoying the book myself and reading it to him, and he’s thoroughly enjoying it.”

Pfundstein is working on a historical novel and another Morlock story as well. His books can be purchased on Amazon.com or at Barnes and Noble stores.


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