Josh VanBrakle


Josh VanBrakle is an unrepentant lefty who is overjoyed to live in an age when authors can type their stories instead of handwriting them. His love of dragons, magic, and epic fantasy led to a dream of publishing a novel that refused to let itself get pushed aside.

While he has written stories since childhood, Josh is a late-bloomer to professional writing. He first trained in forestry and economics, and in his day job, he works for an environmental non-profit promoting rural land conservation. Originally from Hershey, Chocolatetown USA, Josh now lives in the Catskills region of upstate New York with his wife Christine and their two ill-behaved cats.

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Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
I was in elementary school. I grew up in a family where everyone, especially my dad, loved to tell stories. You could be talking about anything, and suddenly Dad would say, "That reminds me of a story." We'd all groan, but that was part of the tradition. The stories were always good.

When I got to school, then, it was natural for me to start telling stories just like we did at home. I found writing a great way to do that. It wasn't until middle school, though, that I started writing fantasy. That's when I read Tolkien for the first time. From those first pages, like so many nerds before me, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to write like that someday.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I actually started thinking about The Wings of Dragons ten years ago in high school. My school offered a creative writing course, which I took at the same time as a literature course. The lit. class talked about epics, so the pair of them got me thinking. That was the birth of Iren Saitosan and the world of Raa. Almost the entire story changed from then to now, but one thing did stay the same. I wrote one of the book's climactic turning points - the chapter "To Protect Someone Precious!" - in high school, and it only changed mildly for the published version ten years later.

Unfortunately, life intervened after high school, and I set the project down. I probably never would have come back to it, but by pure chance, in 2011 I happened to pick up a local newspaper advertising writing workshops hosted by a local author, Shannon Delany. On a whim I decided to go, and they changed my life. They inspired me to go back to those old ideas and refresh them with my new knowledge. I read every writing resource I could find, practiced the skills they and Shannon taught, and revised over and over again. I had a lot of help from my family and from the folks at my day job, who all supported me in my new project. Thanks to all of them, The Wings of Dragons released almost 2 years to the day from Shannon's workshops.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Josh VanBrakle online

Where to buy in print


The Wings of Dragons: Book One of the Dragoon Saga
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 88,910. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Against a backdrop of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic, lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master an imprisoned dragon spirit to survive this epic fantasy adventure and stop a revenge one thousand years in the making. "A fast-paced adventure...led by a compelling cast of characters." - ForeWord Reviews

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