Sunday, August 23, 2015


Today, THE FREE CHOICE E-ZINE welcomes author Nicholas Ahlhelm. Considering all the credits to your byline, let's start with your current project.

Author Ahlhelm
NICHOLAS AHLHELM: That would be Lightweight: Beyond, the third novel of that series, which is currently funding on Kickstarter. The novel continues the adventures of Kevin Mathis, the costumed hero known as Lightweight from his first two books which encompassed his first year as a super-powered hero. Volume Three transports him to new surroundings on the planet Nill where the more cosmic side of his universe will be expanded.
At the same time, back on Earth, the friends he left behind seek to continue his legacy, but their own work will uncover the secret history of another figure that used the Lightweight name in the 1940s.

TFCE: What incentives are available for contributors?
NICHOLAS: The Kickstarter has pre-orders available for the e-book and the print edition, as well as a wide variety of other rewards. People can receive t-shirts, special appearances in the book, original art by cover designer Brent Sprecher, and they even can create a villain for an appearance in a future Lightweight novel. For more information, just go HERE.

TFCE: Kickstarter has become a very popular fund raising tool for all sorts of projects. What attracted you to the program?
Book 1: Cover by Sprecher
NICHOLAS: I brought the character to Kickstarter just over a year ago and funded the first two volumes of his adventures, Lightweight: Senior Year and Lightweight: Black Death. Since that time, the book has become my most popular release as a writer. I am terribly proud of Lightweight and want to continue his adventures, but production costs for these books are more expensive than any other series I have published. Because of this, a successful Kickstarter is necessary to keep the character’s adventures alive. Lightweight: Beyond is the initial result and if the Kickstarter proves wildly successful, it will lead to Lightweight 4: Golden Age and Lightweight 5: Universal as well.

TFCE: So who is Lightweight, and how did he come to be?
NICHOLAS: Lightweight originated about 25 years ago when I was just a teenager. At the time, I was mostly looking for a unique power set to development a teenage superhero around. But in the years since, I’ve built more layers on to the character and really fleshed out his friends Millie Bryant and Andy Case. But even then, it still took me twenty years to finally make Lightweight’s adventures happen in a substantial form.
I’ve loved superheroes since I first watched Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Super-Friends at three or four. They still constitute some of my earliest memories. They instilled a love for heroic fiction in me that grew through my entire life. I’ve written since I was young but it was only in the last few years that I have made a serious effort to bring my novels to the masses. I’ve written new pulp, action and super powered fiction for a variety of small presses now and have no plans to stop anytime soon.

Book 2: Cover by Sprecher
TFCE: Considering your love of superheroes, why writing instead of drawing or some other form of creative expression?
NICHOLAS: I think the shear number of ideas I have is my biggest inspiration. For every idea I put to paper I have a dozen others, so it really takes drive to bring each of my novels or short stories into existence. Sometimes that is harder to make happen than others in a straight prose medium, but I know that ultimately I am creating something I want to share with the world and that helps drive the effort of putting words to a computer screen.

TFCE: Have you observed any influences on your writing style?
NICHOLAS: My technique is a bit all over the place. I grew up a weird mix of Stephen King, Jane Yolen and Piers Anthony, but in later years the sparse dialogue driven prose of Robert B. Parker has really spoken to me. Dialogue is often my favorite part of writing and I think it is such a powerful force for story progression, overlooked or downplayed by many.

TFCE: What would you consider your dream project?
NICHOLAS: My dream project really is what I’m doing now. I can list characters I would like to write stories about, but I have a love for Lightweight and the other heroes that are set in my Quadrant Universe far greater than the heroes of movies, television, comics, or toys. Even when I do take on anthology work or get offered a licensed character, those are just side projects between new stories set in my own world that I want to see expand over the years to come.

TFCE: So within the next few years you would be continuing on your current path?
NICHOLAS: Definitely! I will continue writing and expanding the adventures of Lightweight and the rest of the heroes in his shared universe. I don’t foresee stopping that ever. Money and other considerations might speed or slow my output, but I doubt I will ever stop bringing new adventures to life.

TFCE: Then, do you have any side work pending?
NICHOLAS: There is my Walking Shadows online serial and the ongoing adventures of Quadrant. My main focus right now is Lightweight: Beyond, but I am always working on other things which people can find on my website.
And of course, everything can also be found on my Amazon author's page.

TFCE: Well then, we better let you get back to writing. Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us today.
NICHOLAS: My pleasure.

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