Interview with Simon Williams, Author of the Aona Series
Hello! And thanks for agreeing to be interviewed!
Now that I’m an Indie author myself – a very new one who doesn’t know what they’re doing – I’m fascinated to hear from other indie authors who’ve been at this longer than me. So have a variety of questions, and choose the ones you’d like to answer, and I (and I’m sure my readers too) will be fascinated to hear what you have to say 🙂
- Who has been the biggest influence upon your work?
A number of different authors have been firm favourites of mine over the years but I’m not sure how much they’ve each influenced my work. I haven’t consciously tried to emulate the styles of any existing author- I tend to only think about other authors when I’m reading their books.
- How long have you been writing? What made you start?
I’ve been writing to one degree or another since about the age of 5 or 6- as soon as I could physically write, pretty much. I guess I had an overactive imagination and I just used to come up with stories about anything and everything when I was a kid- obviously most of them were nonsense, but I remember being quite proud of them at the time. As time went on and I struggled into the grey miserable world of adulthood, I also discovered that I didn’t really have any particular talent for the world of “proper work” so I guess that made me even more determined to stick with it.
- What was your first book and what was it about?
That was so long ago I can’t even remember the title or even what it was about. Most of the stuff I wrote during my teens was awful. I honestly don’t remember 90% of it, and the other 10% I wish I couldn’t remember.
- What are you enjoying reading at the moment?
I’ve finally got around to the third book of Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch series, and I intend to read the fourth and final volume immediately afterwards. It’s excellent.
- Do you do anything to summon up inspiration – write to music, have a special writing hat etc?
Well, I don’t own any hats, but I do usually write with some sort of music on headphones (for the full surround in-your-head effect). It can be almost any sort of music except that misogynistic, violence-glorifying “gangsta” or “grime” stuff, or cheesy glam rock which I also can’t stand.
- What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read, or go for walks in the countryside, or listen to music. Sometimes, if I feel especially interesting I will even try and do all three at the same time.
- What works in progress have you got on the go at the moment?
I’m collecting together some short stories for a digital-only release which will be launched on September 29th. Some were written a long time ago and others more recently. This is something I’ve been planning to do for a while, and finally got around to doing.
I’m also working on the sequel to my YA sci-fi / fantasy novel Summer’s Dark Waters, currently titled The Light From Far Below. This is a challenge of a quite different sort for me- it’s become a pre-apocalyptic tale of urban paranoia which makes uneasy reading even for me, so it needs to be shaped appropriately for its intended readership- those poor folks who will have to contend with what remains of this world in the decades ahead.
Thirdly, my book for younger kids, which I’m reluctant to give any details about at this point in case it doesn’t see the light of day. It’s a big leap into the unknown in terms of writing style, and depending on what the beta readers think, it may be shelved. But I’d like to think it has some potential- so I’m aiming to complete it and then we’ll see if it wilts or blooms in the light of scrutiny.
I also have a standalone book in progress- it isn’t really fantasy in any conventional sense (I’m not sure what it is) but I’m pleased with what I’ve written so far.
- Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? What do you do then?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block. I just think the brain can only come up with a certain level of creativity at a certain rate- and sometimes you just have to wait for ideas to come along. We can’t operate on the “higher level” all the time. So I just keep at it (on what I call the lower level) and sooner or later the switch gets flicked in my head.
9: Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?
I’m pretty sceptical about “writing awards” – there seem to be hundreds if not thousands of them and almost every other author seems to like to describe themselves as “award winning” or “bestselling”. I’m more interested in what readers think of my work. If I can pull someone into my world and if it deeply affects them in a positive way, that’s really a reward in itself.
I’m not really seen as part of any clique or group or association so I very much doubt that I’d get put forward for an award anyway. But that’s ok. I write for readers to enjoy my work. Awards are forgotten over time. Books that profoundly affect the reader can last a lifetime in the memory.
10: What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?
I don’t think I’m actually “proud” of anything as such. I’ve enjoyed writing my works and I feel a certain sense of achievement, but “pride” feels like an odd emotion to me. I could probably be proud of other people depending on what they had done or achieved, but it’s not something I think about in terms of my own life.
11: Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?
I don’t have a single one, rather a list, including Alan Garner, Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Ian Irvine, Tad Williams, C J Cherryh, C S Lewis, Aldous Huxley and a number of others. I tend to read fantasy and fantasy-horror (sci-fi is something I tend to prefer in film), but I do read some character-based contemporary fiction- particularly John Irving, whose works I really enjoy.
12: Do you enjoy TV and movies? If so, what are your favorite shows/films? Do you find they inspire your writing?
I loathe most TV and the celebrity culture that infects it, but there are a few incredible series- off the top of my head I would say Twin Peaks (my vote for the greatest series of all time), Ashes To Ashes, Waking The Dead, League of Gentlemen, X-Files, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, Carnivale…
I couldn’t possibly list all my favourite films here but again off the top of my head, Blade Runner (best film ever- no, I won’t be watching the pointless “reboot”), Alien, Terminator 2, Jacob’s Ladder, Event Horizon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Inland Empire, A Field in England, Mulholland Drive, all three Lord of the Rings films (though I didn’t care so much for The Hobbit- too long-drawn out), Predator, Melancholia, Martyrs, Kill List, Wolf Creek, Nymphomaniac, Trainspotting, The Shining, 51st State, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (yes the original), Interstellar, The Box, District 9, Inception, Westworld, Moon, The Machinist, THX 1138, Solaris, Brain Dead (one of very few rom coms I love- maybe because it contains zombies)… many many others.
13: Where can we find out more about you and your writing?
Readers can find out more at any of the following links and networks:
- Website – simonwilliamsauthor.com
- Amazon page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00P0ZZYS8
- Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/simonwilliamsauthor
- Twitter: @SWilliamsAuthor
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6094097.Simon_Williams
- Summer’s Dark Waters:
- Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Dark-Waters-Simon-Williams/dp/1849145008/
- Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Summers-Dark-Waters-Simon-Williams/dp/1849145008/
- Oblivion’s Forge (Book I in the Aona series):
- Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Oblivions-Forge-Aona-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0082XW04G/
- Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Oblivions-Forge-Aona-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0082XW04G/