Greetings, blog readers!
(This picture is on my desktop. *grin*)
If you remember, I have been raving about a book (one that I have yet to read) and an author for a while now. From Darkness Won, by Jill Williamson, the last in "The Blood of Kings epicness", as one person put it.
You've read my review (here), so I have no need to rave about it on this post. And raving (good as it is) is not what I came here to do. In actuality, I have conducted my first interview--with Jill Williamson! And I get to share it with you. Buckle in, folks.
Please welcome Jill Williamson, all! *widespread applause*
Why do you write? And why do you specifically write speculative fiction?
"I want to tell exciting stories to teens that inspire them to grow into men and women of integrity. I want to put my love for God within the pages of my stories and show the readers that life is fulfilling when you know your maker.
"I’ve always loved reading fantasy novels. But when I first started writing, I wrote nonfiction articles for teens. Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness really opened my imagination to the possibility of writing something Christian. I had never read Christian fiction before that book. When I did start writing, I didn’t set out to write something speculative. I just wanted to write something entertaining for teens. I wrote a teen spy story first. Then I wrote a story about a cloning lab. Then I wrote my first fantasy novel. I remember being so frustrated because I kept hearing that new writers needed to figure out what genre they wrote, and I didn’t have a clue what my genre was. Was it fantasy? Science Fiction? Urban fantasy? Contemporary? Adventure? At Mount Hermon in 2007, I went to Jeff Gerke’s class on speculative fiction and was pleased to discover that I was writing in the same genre. It was called speculative fiction. What a relief!"
When was the first time you were infected with the writer's virus and felt the symptoms?
"I wanted to speak to teens. I discovered that sometimes, people hire speakers based on articles written by the speaker. So I looked into writing articles. Then the new Harry Potter book came out, and a new barrage of debates within the church community flared up as to whether or not the books were bad for Christians to read. The debate inspired me to write my own blockbuster-style novel for teens that glorified God. Once I started that spy kid story, I was hooked and didn’t want to go back to writing articles aver again!"
Who's your favorite wordsmith?
"I have too many favorites to single one out. In no particular order, I love Jane Austen, Ted Dekker, Lisa Samson, Robert Liparulo, Caroline Keene, C.S. Lewis, Frank Peretti, Jenny B. Jones, Rick Riordan, Brandilyn Collins, J.R.R. Tolkien, Suzanne Collins, Michael Crichton, Cathy Gohlke, Anthony Horowitz, Caroline Cooney, John Grisham, Megan Whalen Turner, Melody Carlson, Nicolas Sparks, J.K. Rowling, Francine Rivers, Randy Ingermanson. The list goes on and on. I enjoy stories that make me laugh, cry, or stay up all night because I can’t put the thing down."
If you were to become proficient in the use of a certain weapon from your novel, what weapon would you pick? And who would you choose to train you?
"I’d want to use a bow, and I’d want Kates to train me (I don’t know if I could stomach Inko! Lol). I think a bow would be a good weapon for me. It would keep me far enough away from my enemy—or dinner—that I’d be able to run away if need be. LOL"
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
"World Class Chocolate from Baskin Robbins. It’s a swirl of chocolate and white chocolate ice cream."
What is the best tip on writing you would give to an aspiring writer? (Aside from "read a lot", which seems to be a common one.)
"Write, write, write. Get into a critique group where you feel you are learning. And finish that first book. Many new writers tend to get stuck writing that first book for years. Then they get so close to it they can’t let go. Train yourself to be a writer by doing the hard work of completing a full manuscript. Then go back and rewrite it. And rewrite. And when you are done, put it down and write another book. Then write another. Then another.
"One of my favorite writing quotes is from Michael Crichton. He said, “Books aren't written - they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.” It’s so true."
How much do you write in a typical day?
"It depends. If I’m not in the middle of a book, sometimes I don’t write at all. I might be promoting instead or blogging. I try never to write on Sundays. If I’m working on a book, I try to write for three-four hours a day. Sometimes more. If a deadline is close, I might write all day long for weeks straight."
What is the strangest experience you've had as a writer?
"Winning the Christy Award. I wanted to win it, but I didn’t really think I would. When I saw my name scroll by on my TV screen, it was so strange. It felt like it was happening to someone else."
How did the epic saga we now know as The Blood of Kings Trilogy get published?
I’d met Jeff at the 2007 Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s conference and used his editorial services on a different novel. When I saw he was at OCW, I submitted my manuscript to him hoping to glean wisdom. I was surprised when he wanted to meet with me. I was even more surprised when he wanted to read the full.
“Why does it have to be YA?” he asked.
As soon as I got home, I looked over the book and sent it off. A few months later I got an email from Jeff that said: “Do you happen to be by a phone right now so that I can call you?”
And that was the beginning of a new adventure."
Mrs. Williamson has been gracious enough to also provide a book to give away on Teenage Writer! But this giveaway is unique: the winner gets a choice between any one of her three books. If you haven't heard or read The Blood of Kings trilogy, then (should you win), you can choose to receive By Darkness Hid, book one. If you've read the first two, then, by all means, ask for From Darkness Won! Only one book is being given away, however; but that book is a choice of the three Blood of Kings books.
To enter, all you need to do is post a comment and answer one of the three questions below. If that is done, you are automatically entered in the giveaway! **NOTE** You will not be entered in the giveaway if you do not comment or you do not answer one of the questions.
1) Who's your favorite author?
2) Where's your favorite place?
3) Who's your favorite fictional character?
Fire away, readers! Make this the biggest giveaway yet! This giveaway ends May 6.