100 Creatives

100 Creatives 2014: Will Ottinger, Novelist

Chances are novelist Will Ottinger won't die on a golf course in the next five years. At least not according to his own estimate of life expectancy after retirement (which is based on a completely unscientific sampling, we're sure).

Ottinger, who had a long career in finance, tells us that once it he left the business world it wasn't time for him to do less with his time, but something different. "I quickly realized there was more to an active after-business life than playing golf, coming home, watching television and going to bed. [People who do that] typically die within five years of retiring."

Instead of practicing his putting, Ottinger started writing. His first book, A Season for Ravens, was released earlier this year. Ravens reflects Ottinger's life long interest in history and is set in 1918. It's the story of three fighter pilots, each with their own personal demons, as they take part in the first ever aerial war.

Along with the three pilots (two American and one German), Ottinger created a host of other characters - wives, commanding officers, soldiers, friends - and they all ended up living in his head for a while.

"If you want to create realistic [fleshed out] characters for the readers, you have to make them realistic for yourself first. They became very real for me. My wife asked me 'Do these people live in your head? If they do, can we get you back on your medicine?' There was some sadness that all of these people, these characters that I've lived with for so much time are going away when I finished the book but really after a while, I [was] just so damn glad to get rid of them!"

Ottinger is already working on his next novel, and "bringing some new [characters] to life."

This story continues on the next page.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez