Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meet Author Jill Williamson

Please welcome Christy Award finalist, Jill Williamson.

Jill, tell us about your latest release, From Darkness Won (Blood of Kings, book 3)

Achan steps into his role and prepares for war. But war against whom? Could Esek still be alive? Has Lord Nathak taken Esek’s place? Or is the mysterious Hadad the true enemy Achan must confront? 

Vrell has her own agenda of serving Prince Oren as a healer, but when she is stormed and lost to the Veil, Achan does all he can to bring her back. His conversations with her are strange, though, as if she has no memory of who he is.

In a land consumed by Darkness, the fate of Er’Rets hangs in the balance as Achan endeavors to take the throne and end the reign of Darkness.

Who did you write your book for?

Teens. Teens are the best to write for. They are fast and loyal readers. When they find characters they love, they really get into it. Finding great books was so magical for me when I was young (It still is!), so I just want to entertain teens and get them excited about my stories. (I so agree :D )

What is the biggest benefit the reader will take away from reading your book?

That God is the desire of our hearts. No matter what we face, knowing him will make life more worthwhile. He created us for a purpose. If we want to know our purpose, we must discover him. Also that the Bible is God breathed and gives us all the answers we need for life. A lot of people just don’t know that.

Did you always want to be a writer?

No. Working in the fashion industry was my childhood aspiration. I went to college in Manhattan to finish my fashion degree, then my husband and I moved to Los Angeles so I could work in fashion and he could work in movies. After about three and a half years in our “dream jobs” and we’d both had it. It was The Devil Wears Prada for me, and Brad’s experience wasn’t much better. We had a talk one night and decided that it was okay to pursue other things. Brad went back to school to become a youth pastor, and I started my own wedding gown manufacturing business. The gowns were beautiful—and I still have two in my closet—but I discovered that fashion was not my calling.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

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.

Read, read, read. When you read, study what the author did. Look at their dialogue, action, punctuation, characters, plot, everything. Learn all you can. It will help you be a better writer and storyteller.

And try not to be impatient. Work on making each book the best it can be. When you finish a book, send it out. While you’re waiting to hear back, write another one. I wrote six novels before my first book was published. I’ve heard the same from many authors. So, try to have fun. I know it’s discouraging to wonder why you aren’t getting published. But God is in control. Randy Ingermanson once said it takes about a million words to get published. That was almost spot-on for me. A million words is ten 100,000-word novels! Or ten full rewrites of the same novel. But I think the ten-novel way is a lot more fun.

Are you working on anything now?

My next novel, called Replication, will release from Zonderkidz in January of 2012. It’s a young adult story about a girl who discovers her biologist father is covering up multiple secrets—all of which are named Jason. 

(So psyched for that one)

I’m also working on a new weekly podcast through my blog in which I’ll be reading By Darkness Hid, the first book in the Blood of Kings trilogy to listeners. People will be able to subscribe in iTunes until they download the entire novel—free. Check my website for more information. This is coming in June 2011.

What is your working style?

When I’m brainstorming something new, I tend to carry a notebook around with me everywhere. I just think and think and jot down ideas. I try to come up with an original premise. Then I try to come up with five sentences that encompass my beginning, my three act structure, and how the story will end. I spend some time coming up with character’s names and backstories, so I know who these people are. If it’s fantasy or science fiction, I must draw a map. If it’s contemporary, sometimes it helps to draw a floorplan of the main location. 

Then I outline a basic plot so I know where the story is headed. I try to write scenes, chapter by chapter. Once I feel good about where I’m headed, I start writing. I try to write the whole story as fast as I can. In a month or less if possible. Then I can take my time rewriting.

My typical writing day -- I briefly check my emails to see if there is something that needs to be addressed right away. If I’m working on a new book, I pick up where I left off. I try to write several pages a day. If I’m rewriting, I try to get through a few chapters a day. Then I try to read and critique a chapter or two for someone in my critique group. I go back to my email and try to answer them all. Depending on the time of year, I might have to work on marketing stuff or update my website or blogs.

Purchase From Darkness Won at
Jill is giving away a copy of From Darkness Won to one lucky soul. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. Good Luck!



Anonymous said...

Great interview, Jill! I enjoyed learning more about you. :-)

Please put my name in the book giveaway.

roccinpatterson said...

Great post! I'd love to win this book! Thanks, Cindy Patterson

Meredith said...

Great interview! I'd love to subscribe to By Darkness Hid on iTunes when it's available!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Linda Glaz said...

Good advice for young writers!

Amy said...

Would love to win. Please enter me. Thanks.


apple blossom said...

please include me in this giveaway thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Lisa Lickel said...

Woo-hoo! I agree with Shellie - so excited for a sneak peak at the upcoming stuff. I loved your first two books so much. I even had my nephew find you on Facebook to show him your books.

Ann Lee Miller said...

Wow, Jill, I can't even imagine writing a draft in a month! You go, girl! How long does the process take you from brainstorming until you turn the book in to your publisher?

Ronie Kendig said...

THANK YOU for the opportunity (well, two actually) to win Jill's new book! Great interviews.

Anonymous said...

I will love to read this

Ruth Ann Dell said...

I so glad you made a career change from working in the fashion industry to writing!

Please enter me in the book drawing.

Many thanks . . . Ruth Ann

Amanda Stephan said...

I loved hearing about you, Jill! Congrats on your new release, I look forward to reading it :)

amanda38401 at gmail dot com

Jill Williamson said...

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words! Lisa, thanks for telling your nephew about them. :-)

Meredith, I've got the iTunes subscription approved, so you can see the link on my blog site now. yay!

Ann, It takes me about six months to get the book ready to turn in.


Lady DragonKeeper said...

Very neat --I've been hearing about this trilogy online for a bit. I love fantasy series ... I'm guessing it's important to read this one in order?

Thanks for the chance to win!


Charity said...

I know I am late entering but I would love to get the chance at this book. I just recently started reading some of the CF Fantasy type books and this one looks good. Thanks!


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