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Q&A with author Billie-Jo Williams

7/19/2012

Billie-Jo Williams1. What was the inspiration for your current novel?

Most writers usually have a lovely, light-hearted or noble reason, but mine was dreadful stress, pure and simple. After all, writing is cheaper than therapy. If you read about my main character Kai Canarbis’ dreadful experiences, you essentially experience the pain I endured whilst working full time, attempting to fulfil four different roles, in an office that demanded too much from someone too young, whilst writing even longer hours in addition. I’ve always written for pleasure, but The Destiny of Dragons: The Book of Wrath was inspired by stress and then became an outlet for that same stress. I hope that makes Kai’s issues recognisable and that readers can sympathise/empathise with him.

2. When did you take up writing?
Again, it was through necessity. I used to be an avid action and fantasy reader, however, my parents’ divorce, when I was 10, led my mother, sister and I to squat in a house my dad was having built, which didn’t possess any electricity and it was easier to write than read by poor light. Autobiography anyone? I dabbled with various genres, but didn’t hit upon
what I truly enjoy writing – epic fantasy – until I was about 16. After approximately 50 large manuscripts of practice, mainly whilst completing a university degree, which was completely non-writing related, I finally hit upon my current, favourite series when I was 27. Six years later and the nine books are finally completed…ish. I haven’t been privileged to possess the time to publish until now.

3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
I’m so impatient I used to rush the scenery to get to the action. Now, after many years of writing and appreciating character driven stories, I yearn to create credible individuals you can relate to, based in vast, vivid, beautiful worlds. I definitely prefer detail, as a believable environment is just as important as a character, considering it’s the world they exist in, even a character in its own right. Setting can enhance characters’ merits, drive a plot, motivate events, prove a retreat and more.

4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
I have so many! That’s why you write, right? To bring these amazing people to life, after they’ve yammered to be set free from your mind. Handsome, heroic and selfless, whilst vulnerable at the same time, Kai Canarbis did inspire my current series, however, it’s not like me to like such a good natured character. As the series progresses, I introduce many other heroes who I might just like a little better due to a little bit of darkness in their souls. Just wait for Gnarls Hasketh and Rhyddion Pentrebane, as well as Soren and Sirocco Lazarus. They’re Heaven sent.

5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
I was once member of a writing group, where I received some essential pointers, which transformed my naïve writing. In my genre, show not tell is probably the best advice I’ve had. The best feedback I receive, on a constant basis, is from my best friend, one of the few people to have read everything I’ve ever written, when she simply, continually demands “NEXT!” That simple demand for more, without any complaint, without even the
care to provide feedback, because she was so absorbed by the story, is so heartening and keeps me writing. By continuing to write, I learn every day, from every word, every book. I have also come to adopt the phrase “Long live books in all formats,” as it’s opened my eyes to self-publishing.

6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
It would probably make more sense for me to have a schedule for not writing. There’s never a spare moment when I’m not scribbling on paper, on the laptop, on the pc, designing book covers, editing, formatting, coding, promoting, submitting, working on the website and more. If I’m out and about, with no writing materials, I have been known to write on my own arm. Hypergraphia perhaps…?

7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
I never plan things. My stories always hail from a great character or even just a name that occurs to me. An intriguing
secondary character, I never got around to exploring, might inspire another book. I love completing a series and then filling the facts in behind, essentially writing backwards. I think every series should be done that way, because then you’re aware of your characters’ past, present and futures, and can plant subtle clues through the series, which become delightful upon second reading. I often plough through the plot regardless of complex issues, but when I discern the solution to a long-standing problem, which ties it all together, it’s pure bliss!

8. Can you name three or four of your current favourite books?
I don’t read a lot, as I enjoy writing far too much. I do enjoy dipping into a quick read, normally historical biographies,
manga and plays; I have eclectic tastes! I’m currently dallying with Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater, but then that’s just inspired a future horror project.

9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
I havee just completed the ninth and final book of the epic action adventure fantasy romance Destiny of Dragons series, so am editing, although scribbling a small tenth sequel to the series keeps me sane in those moments I can’t be on the laptop. I’ve only just published book one, so it’s early days and I’m busy promoting, but I intend to publish a book from the series every six months and the monstrous book two needs to be edited, in order to be uploaded in November!

10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
Regarding writing: Read outside your genre and write because you enjoy it. Don’t create characters that are black and
white, but shades of grey. Don’t treat the reader like an idiot.

Regarding editing: Don’t treat your work preciously in all aspects, including ruthlessly removing what doesn’t fit in or
doesn’t move the story on. If a chunk of writing doesn’t fit, but you truly believe in its value, you can always use it elsewhere, even if it’s on the website. Produce the best product you can and, although you shouldn’t rely on agents and publishers (you can approach them whilst self-published after all), only pursue publication after experience and feedback, otherwise it doesn’t reflect your true capability and may be a
waste.

Regarding promotion: When you finally do publish, promote yourself confidently, as I find writers are far too shy! Take
advantage of all the free sites. Be honest about your work, as others will certainly be honest in return! Be proud of your accomplishments! Finally, be friendly, polite and professional to everyone online, as there are some amazing people who can help you become all you can be.

Snowbound - Cover
Book title: The Destiny of Dragons: The Book of Wrath
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series status: Book #1 of #9. Book #2 to be released November 2012. Entire series
completed and every successive book to follow at six monthly
intervals.
Retail price: Variable.

Available at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.es, Amazon.fr and Amazon.it. Only available on ebook at present. Available on further sites mid- August 2012.

Story Overview:
Damned by greedy Emperor Azmyth and his weak heir, Prince Len, the Imperial Capital of Ay is
winked out in one terrible moment by the mysterious Dark Destruction. Ill-prepared for the rigours of leadership, Prince Len leans upon Kai Canarbis, his Personal Protector, but as Kai spirits the unworthy Imperial Heirs through the
disintegrating Empire, in search of sanctuary and support, they have to endure the karma of the Vallely dynasty’s crimes.

Caught in arrogant, naive Len’s web, Kai seeks to disentangle his master out of an impending sticky mess,
his only reward being his blossoming romance with Princess Anna. However, having been badly wounded by the herald of the Dark Destruction, even the incredibly accomplished Kai falls victim to circumstance.

A desperate, but doomed quest to save the Empire leads across land, sea and ice, into Enemy-occupied
territory, but as the unfathomable Dark Destruction continues to ravage the realm, there may not be an Empire remaining for anyone to claim…

To get in touch with Billie-Jo Williams, please use a Communication Crystal or ask a Messenger
Fox. Alternatively (and probably a little more successfully) try these links:

Author Website:
https://sites.google.com/site/destinyofdragons/
Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheDestinyOfDragons
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5848928.Billie_Jo_Williams
Twitter: @acorok (author) and @destinyofdragon (book)

She can also be found on Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and YourBookLaunch.com.

Comment

Maggie
7/24/2012 11:13:03 pm

I’ve read this book and it’s good! Well written, especially from such a young author and after reading this I can see what went into the process. Imaginative impressive stuff. Can’t wait for the next.

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