Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview with Jill Williamson & A Giveaway

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 wasn’t trying to get published when I submitted my first chapter of my fantasy novel to Jeff Gerke at the 2008 Oregon Christian Writers’ Summer Coaching Conference. Marcher Lord Press’ submission guidelines were clear: no young adult novels.

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.


Eldra said...

Does the middle question mean a place in the real word or a fictional place?

No matter. I'll answer the first question. My favorite author is Kathy Tyers. It's probably left the biggest mark on me out of all the (fiction) books I've read.

Jake said...

Entry noted! One entrant and counting. :) Thank you, Eldra!

Noah Arsenault said...

Hmm, how about I answer all three? :P (Yes, I know it won't earn me more entries. :)

1.) My favorite author... hmm, so many to choose from! I think I'll go with Kerry Nietz. Worry not Mrs. Williamson, you are very close!

2.) My favorite place (as of now) is any new (as opposed to used) bookstore. (I haven't been around the country or overseas at all) :(

3.) Favorite fictional character - someone who's a prodigy/genius. Artemis Fowl comes to mind, as does Connor Finn in Airman.

Elisa said...

My favorite place to be is Portland OR. All the interesting places and people are so inspiring for photography and such. :D It is fun to sit at the counter of a pizza place, writing and just watching all the people pass by in front of you. ^_^
Does that count? :P I have never read these.... O.O

Elizabeth said...

1) Can't choose. Skip
2) A fantasy world in my mind...
3) Tied between Brambleclaw, warriors series, and Jax, from the Blood of the Kings Trilogy. I own the first two books but have yet to read the third. I love them!

Millardthemk said...

Gotta say I'm going with all three too..(I'm entering)

1) Who's your favorite author?:Unknown I admit. :( I can't ever decide!
2) Where's your favorite place?:Where fun sporting events are :D
3) Who's your favorite fictional character?: Nathan Shepherd from the Echoes from the Edge series.

Selina R. Gonzalez said...

1) James Scott Bell or Susan May Warren. I think... ;)

2) Depends on my mood, I 'spose. But wherever there's music is good.

3) Probably either Aragorn or Gandalf from LOTR.

I've read book 1 and have book 2 waiting on the book 3 would be perfect!

Mama Lusco said...

My favorite author is Frank Peretti....Jill's up there, too :) mamalusco at ortelco dot net

The Director said...

Interesting giveaway! I like!

I cannot resist: I MUST do all three ;)

1) My very favorite author, currently, is Rosemary Sutcliff. Or else, it's James Patterson. I have a high admiration for his work at this moment in time ;)

2) My very favorite place is a Young Life resort in Antelope, Oregon. It has many fond, fond memories, and driving there was when my writing "career" began.

3) Ooh..... gosh. Esca mac Cunoval of The Eagle of the Ninth. Or Frodo ;)

Jessica Slack said...

My favorite fictional character at the moment would be Halt from the Rangers Apprentice series

Bethany Slack said...

Hmm...My favorite authors are christian and have recent books out, like Bryan Davis. i'd have to say Jill Williamson is my favorite though. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll take a shot at this :)

1) Who's your favorite author?
That's a hard one. I think I'll go with Terry Brooks.

2) Where's your favorite place?
Another hard one. I think its a toss up between the Bridger Mtns in Montana or the Oregon coast (lived in both places).

3) Who's your favorite fictional character?
I love Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.

Hannah Joy said...

Ok, ok, I'll join the club and go with all three. (By the way, I've never read any of these books, so if I do win, I'd like the first one!)

1)As of now either Andrew Peterson or A.S. Peterson. But I have lots. :)

2) My favorite place...up on the mountains. Any, I suppose. But being on top of a mountain is amazingly awesome. :)

3) Favorite fictional character: Hmm...Peet the Sock Man from the Wingfeather Saga? Maybe Fin Button from the Fiddler's Gun books? There are too many!

Thanks for all the giveaways!

Seth said...

1) Definitely Tolkien. There's tons of greats-Dekker has quickly become one of my favorites-but Tolkien's world is just so expansive and amazing. Can't escape the call of the ring ;)

Cosette said...

1) Chuck Black- I have yet to read one of his book that I don't absolutely love.

2) Favorite place is the ski park in Ohio.

3)Favorite fictional character? I have a billion! How about Kit Tyler from the Witch of Blackbird Pond- or Gavin from Kingdom's Call.

Yeah. All three are good questions!

Christian A. Bergmann said...

Ooooh, I haven't ready any yet! They look really good, actually

1) A tie between Wayne Thomas Batson and Ted Dekker. However, David Baldacci is really awesome.

2) Malta - such a beautiful island!

3) At the moment Danny Hansen from Ted Dekker's "The Priest's Graveyard". That guy is seriously cool.

Anonymous said...

Her advice on writing was very good! It's so hard to let go on your first novel.

1.) Favourite writer: JRR Tolkien
2.) Favourite place: Paris is beautiful.
3.) Favourite character: currently Artemis Fowl, but that tends to change depending on what book I'm reading.

Christopher said...

I've already entered. You talked about us suggesting books for you to read and review. I'm not sure what you mean by excessive violence, but I'd think that the 100 Cupboards series isn't in that category. Although there may be some rather gory descriptions, it is written by a christian (N.D. Wilson). And they are excellent books.

Jake said...

All right, your entries are noted! I count this giveaway as a success already. Thank you so much, everyone!

Yup, that's good. :)

All right, will do!

You bet. ;)

Indeed! She's one of the best writers of which I know.

I'm not sure what I meant by that either. ;) I suppose books like The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon is the first book) are the limit of my standards for violence. By excessive violence, I mean REALLY excessive. Detailed torturing, very detailed description during battle, etc. Most Christian books don't go too far (though I've heard some Dekker books are very violent).

However, if my library has them, I'll be sure to check them out and review them. Thank you!

So, did you get the comment situation figured out, then? :)

Jake said...

Well, the library has them. I've placed a hold. :) Thank you for the recommendation!

Pathfinder said...

Wait. SOME Dekker books are violent? ALL Dekker books are violent.
They're not gory, and he's not ovely descriptive about it (With the exception of The Bride Collector). It's there to add to the story. If they weren't violent, they wouldn't be as deep. They wouldn't hit you as hard.
Okay, to the subject.

1). Favorite author: I can't choose; I have too many. (Batson, Hopper, Dekker...)

2). Favorite Place: Maybe the top of my favorite tree. (I don't think I'll ever really grow up)

3). Antoinette from The Door Within Trilogy. Or Nock, Bolt, Valithor, Mallik, Rogan... Nay, I can't choose this one either. I have too many favorites.

Lady Amber said...

I'm entering. I'm doing all of the questions.

1). Andrew Peterson (ONE of them)

2). An apple tree at my old house that I would sit and read in.

3). Peet The Sock Man

(Thank you Vrenith for typing it out for me!!) (except what I just wrote.)

Jake said...

I see. ;) Entry noted!

@Lady Amber
Welcome aboard, lass. Peet the Sock Man is amazing.

Gillian Adams said...

A giveaway! Sweet!

1. Favorite Author - You would pick such a difficult question! There are many authors that I love... but Tolkien is at the top of the list!

2. Favorite place? the back pasture when the sun is shining and the grass is swaying under a glorious spring breeze!

3. Favorite fictional character: This changes a lot depending on what book I'm reading at the moment... so I'm afraid I don't have one all time favorite. Ok, maybe Aragorn!

Imogen said...

Well, I'm Australian, so I don't know if I count in this giveaway, but I want to answer the questions anyway.

1)Who's your favourite author?
Argh! hard question. Rick Riordan is one of them, Jane Austen, John Flanagan...The list goes on and on.

2)Where's your favourite place?
Either stuck in a book or writing on my computer.

3) Who's your favourite fictional charcter?
Percy Jackson from Rick Riordan's series and Halt from the Ranger's Apprentice.

Well, that was fun!

Michelle Archer said...

Just for fun I am going to do all three.
1) Who's your favorite author? Robert Liparulo by far

2) Where's your favorite place? Asleep in bed or anywhere my friends are

3) Who's your favorite fictional character? Oh hard one. Either Aletha from The Map Across Time by C.S. Lakin or Alex Rider from Anthony Horowitz, or Nock from the Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. There are so many, even Charlie West from Homelanders by Andrew Klavan would be one.

Thanks Jake! And Jill!

Jake said...

To any non-US entrants:

I just heard from Mrs. Williamson regarding non-US entries. I emailed her about it, seeing as she is the one doing the shipping. She is, unfortunately, unable to ship anywhere outside the US due to the cost. My most sincere apologies. Hopefully in upcoming giveaways I can get books to such countries. Thank you for your understanding, readers.

Christopher said...

Yes Jake I did get the comment situation sorted. Thank you.

Everyone's Favorite Composer said...

1. My favorite author is currently N.D. Wilson

2. My favorite place is the forest at my friend's beach house

3. My favorite fictional character is Charlotte from the book Underground because she's so much like me.

Jake said...

Noted! Thanks for stopping by!

amber said...

1. gosh, i really don't have a favorite but one who i like right now is sibella giorello. 2. at home with my nose in a good book : ) 3. again, i can't choose just one but i like lucy pevensie from "the chronicles of narnia."

this book series is on my "to read" list - i'd love to win one of them!!


Jill Williamson said...

Wow! Thanks for all the comments, you guys! I wish I could send you all a free book. *sigh* And thanks to those of you who like my books already. That totally makes me smile.

I agree with all of you as to your favorite authors. I love those authors too.

To The Director-- I've been to Washington Family Ranch (formerly known as Wildhorse Canyon). My husband and I have taken teens to Young Life camp there. It's a wonderful place!

And Peet the Sock Man IS awesome!

Anonymous said...


Umm, my fav. Author is Jill Williamson! :D


- Ness

Melissa said...

I struggle with favorites questions... It is so hard to choose. But the first two Blood of Kings books definitely rank highly among my favorite books so I really want to read the third.

One of my favorite fictional characters is Breo-Saight in Edith Pattou's novel Fire Arrow.

Miss Pickwickian said...

I can't believe I missed this giveaway. :-P I've only read the first book because I haven't been able to justify the expense on the other two yet. Sniff sniff.