Thirteen Questions with W. B. J. WILLIAMS
I have walked to the locations identified in the Maltese Falcon in San Francisco, eaten in Joe’s restaurant the same meal as Sam Spade, and taken photographs of the surviving buildings.
- What is the first book that made you cry?
The first book I read which brought me to tears was the Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson.
- What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Aspiring writers tend to get trapped into formulaic plot structures such as the “monomyth”, instead of writing a story built from the tension between what the character wants and the obstacles to achieving this.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
The one thing that destroys my ability to write is exhaustion. I have a very demanding day job, whose funds I need to pay for the needs of my family. Some days I come home from this job too tired to do anything but stare into empty space instead of writing.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
As I’ve many friends who are writers, I’ll mention Leo, Tracey, Helen, Alan, and Rich, all of whom have read stories of mine and offered constructive criticism.
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I can’t imagine a mascot, as I’m not a sports team, nor do I play one on TV. Avatar? Well, you could say that my most recent story was inspired by Cthulhu, nor not, as you will. Just don’t say it out loud seven times on the night of a new moon while walking naked in Western Massachusetts WHERE NO ONE CAN GO. IT IS MYTHICAL.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have four unpublished and one half-finished book. I am actively seeking publication for two of those unpublished books.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Not all books I’ve written have required research. When they have, I don’t wait on starting to write the book while I do my research, but plan to incorporate the research into a later draft.
- Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
I view writing as a spiritual practice, and all my writing is regarding the spiritual theme of reconciliation.
- What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
All my characters are sex positive. Even the unicorn. Especially the unicorn.
- What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
I write about my post-death experience mostly. That and kadath. Yes, especially kadath.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene I ever wrote was the scene where my protagonist tries and fails to torture the person he blames for the torture he suffered in prison.
- Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do not believe in writer’s block, as I’ve never been blocked when I’m not exhausted. I believe that stress and other factors can impede creativity, but too many people aren’t self-aware enough to understand what stress does to them.
W. B. J. Williams holds advanced degrees in anthropology and archeology. He is an avid historian, mystic, poet, and author who manages an information security program at a prominent New England firm. He is noted for his bad puns, and willingness to argue from any perspective. He is endured by his beloved wife and two daughters, and lives in Sharon Massachusetts. When he is not at home or at his computer, he can often be found haunting the various used bookstores of Boston.