I’m particularly excited to welcome Jill Williamson to “Venturing to Other Worlds” today. She’s been a mentor to me and, as our friendship grows, I’m really happy for all of you to get to know her better.
Hi Jill! Welcome! As you know I’m a huge fan of your work, so I’ll try not to gush too much during our visit. Tell me a bit about where you’re from.
I grew up in Alaska with no electricity or running water. Thankfully it was the land of the midnight sun. In the summer I could stay up late and read by the daylight that wouldn’t go away. But in the winter there was nothing better to do than daydream I was somewhere—or someone—else. I think both these hobbies set me up to be a writer. I no longer live in Alaska, but the rest of my family does. It’s fun to go back and visit.
With so much time to read as a young adult, you must have favorite authors. Which author do you most admire? Why?
Brandon Sanderson is my new favorite author. I haven’t read a book of his yet that I didn’t really like. His books fascinate and amaze me by the depths of the storyworlds and magic he creates. He is so gifted at creating original ideas. Every time I read one of his books, I’m more amazed.
What is your favorite genre to read? Write?
My favorite genre to read and write is fantasy, but I do like to read many other genres. I like reading almost anything, and I do get tired of reading nothing but fantasy novels. When I do, I usually read a fast-paced novel like a mystery or a historical romance that I can race through and sort of clear my head of all the complexities of the many fantasy novels I’ve been reading. But I love fantasy novels and always go back to them.
Where did you get the idea for Captives?
A few years back, my ladies Bible study group completed Beth Moore’s study on the book of Daniel. As we learned about the young royals who were taken from Jerusalem to be inducted into the Babylonian culture, I couldn’t help but imagine how some of the teen guys in our youth group would fare in such a situation. This train of thought sent me brainstorming the story of Captives.
I wanted to write the story of three brothers, Mason, Levi, and Omar, and how each reacted differently to such an experience. Mason’s character would parallel Daniel’s. I wanted Levi to be searching for his fiancé and Omar to be the one who totally adapts to the Babylonian-like culture.
I also find that my inspiration often comes from studying God’s Word, especially themes. What spiritual themes do you prefer to emphasize?
I love writing about people who discover their purpose in life. I believe that everyone has something unique to offer in this world, and it’s exciting to help my characters discover what that is.
What has surprised you most about being an author?
How much work it is! Not only in the writing and editing but in all the business aspects. It’s really hard to take time off because when you come back, you have hundreds of emails, all wanting to be answered immediately, you have bills to pay, books to order, advertising and marketing to do. It never ends. And it’s a lot of work. When I started writing, I had no idea that I would be a small business owner. It’s a lot of work.
“A lot of work” is an understatement. What advice do you have for fellow writers (published and unpublished)?
Write, write, write. Make yourself finish a book. Many new writers tend to get stuck for years writing that first book. But a writer learns so much by completing a story and going back and rewriting it. So, train yourself to be a writer by doing the hard work of completing a full manuscript. Then go back and rewrite it. And when you’re done, put it down and write another book. Then write another. Then another.
Also, 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 write! But enjoy it. Try to have fun.
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.
And now the quote is one of my favorites, for Michael Crichton is absolutely right. Jill, thank you so much for visiting today.
Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. Growing up in Alaska led to a love of books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. Jill writes fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults. She loves working with teenagers and giving writing workshops, and she blogs for teen writers at http://www.GoTeenWriters.com. Jill is also a Whovian, a Photoshop addict, and a recovering fashion design assistant. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online at http://www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.
Other blogs: www.GoTeenWriters.com –a site where Jill teaches about writing
Facebook Author Page:http://www.facebook.com/jwilliamsonwrites
Readers of Jill Williamson FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/745051488841927/