Friday, March 27, 2015

Interview with historical thriller author K. Williams

We’re ending the week with an interview with historical thriller author K. Williams about the novel OP-DEC: Operation Deceit.

K. Williams will be awarding a grand prize of a paperback of OP-DEC: Operation Deceit (US only) to one randomly drawn winner and a digital copy of the book to 10 randomly drawn winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, K.Williams embarked on a now twenty year career in writing. After a childhood, which consisted of voracious reading and hours of film watching, it was a natural progression to study and produce art.

K attended Morrisville State College, majoring in the Biological Sciences, and then continued with English and Historical studies at the University at Albany, home of the New York State Writer’s Institute, gaining her Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, K interned with the 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging her interests in social movements and art. At the same time, K’s first book project, Blue Honor, was underway. Blue Honor originated as a creative final project and independent study, regarding the civil war, which places fictional characters into a non-fictional realm, to display the social realities of the time. Topics include gender limitations, racial disparities, and the trauma of war. Now, Blue is both a full-length novel and an adapted spec. To see some of her favorite causes, click here.

Following Blue, K worked on the screen spec 8 Days in Ireland and also the spec for the first incarnation of The Trailokya Trilogy, then called Faith Fallen. After publishing Blue, K produced her second novel OP-DEC:Operation Deceit, to rave reviews by Kirkus Indie, NY Indie and Midwest Book Review.

Currently, K has completed the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program for Film Studies and Screenwriting at Empire State College (SUNY), and is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. K continues to write and is preparing to release her new series The Trailokya Trilogy, a work that deals with topics in Domestic Violence and crosses the controversial waters of organized religion and secularism. A sequel to OP-DEC is in the research phase, while the adaptation is being shopped to interested film companies.

Excerpts of these and more writings can be found here.

Welcome, K. Please tell us about your current release.
OP-DEC is my second historical novel and stands out as my favorite in my catalog thus far (I have six books (three yet unpublished but written, including the sequel to OP)). Most spy thrillers take place in either modern times or the iconic 1950s, post war. Instead, I wanted to show the harrowing exploits of a class of military personnel who have the biggest impact on how operations turn out – the intelligence class. The game of secrets is necessary and important part of any conflict, and it quite possibly is the reason that the German forces were unsuccessful in sustaining their domination of Europe. They didn’t value intelligence as much as the Allied forces and research shows a structure mired in suspicion that could have benefitted from greater trust. Thankfully, that did not come to pass.

What inspired you to write this book?
My love of the time period has been a long one. I have memories of watching documentaries with my father. Being awed that my grandfather had served in the Merchant Marine (lying to join) and heartbroken that he lost a brother during the course of the war. There is something about the generation that pulled us through the conflict and liberated Europe that seems absent from subsequent generations and whatever that is, it is inspiring. I wish I could put my finger on it exactly. That respect and interest culminated in a very comical, bizarre and auspicious dream one night that gave rise to the narrative.

Excerpt from OP-DEC:
“Carsten stood with his pistol pressed to the temple of her attacker’s head. The expression on his face rivaled her father’s usual mien. He spoke in measured German and the man backed up. Carsten’s gaze flicked to her and he murmured gentle assurances. The hate was clear in his eyes, but his concern had taken away its energy.

Claire’s attacker put his hands up and lowered onto his knees before Carsten’s pistol. Claire pushed along the wall wanting to be as far from the horrible man as possible. Carsten reached his hand out to her, keeping his gun and eyes on the man who’d sought to violate her. Carsten pulled her to him, and she buried her face against his shoulder.

“Hauptmann,” Kohl’s voice called, trying to deescalate the situation.

He stood over the only other surviving perpetrator, who knelt with his hands clasped behind his head and sniveling.

Carsten spoke again. Then his gun reported. Multiple times.

They stood for several moments in the silence that followed. Claire wept quietly against Carsten’s shoulder not looking at the scene. She knew he’d shot the remaining men.

Soon, other soldiers and passerby crowded the entrance.

“You cause me so much trouble, Fräulein,” Carsten’s voice came.

The soldiers coming into the alley looked confused by the three dead soldiers at the feet of the suited men. Kohl stepped forward, attempting to explain, holding his hands up and his pistol dangling from his thumb harmless. It did little good. The gathered soldiers dragged them back to the command tents at the port to answer for the crime.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m polishing up OP-GHO: Operation Ghost, which will be the sequel to OP-DEC. I will be releasing the first installment of a trilogy I finished early last year in April: The Trailokya Trilogy, Book 1: The Shadow Soul. After that—maybe a sequel to Blue Honor, my first novel, perhaps something else historical or maybe I will continue with the fantasy world of my trilogy. I haven’t yet decided.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Reflecting back I think it was the moment that a professor of mine said: “If you write—then you are a writer. That is all it takes to be a writer. So write. The other stuff will come.” Or some such mix of those words. Professor Jill Hanifan, University at Albany English Professor…she was an inspiration. One of my poems that I shared with her while I was secretary of the graduate program there (well after graduation from the English Bachelor program), she said it reminded her of Charlotte Bronte. Professor Hanifan is a poet, and that was a lofty compliment!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full time and I work another job full time. I know! I write when the mood takes me or not (this could be into the wee hours of the morning when I have to be up early for work the next day). If my mood is sour, I haven’t been writing—life happens. I support my art by working as a secretary for a college. It provides me time to focus on other things so the work can ruminate, listen and experience so that I’m not quarantined from life and have things to write about later. If I were able to write full time, I am afraid that being a recluse would be the norm. I’m a total introvert and love being so for most hours of the day (with my dog). Cutting off completely however, that might turn out to be more of a nightmare than a dream come true. That said, I do prefer more time alone than with others (unless they’re dogs).

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Post it notes. Scrap paper plotting. Lying down to go to bed and popping back up to write a note on a scrap of paper in the dark and finding it legible in the morning. Or—maybe it’s that my dreams churn out some pretty amazing story lines.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actor, probably. I wanted to pretend to be someone else and go on adventures. I didn’t really want to be anyone other than myself, so maybe all that pretend play was just me really wanting to go on those epic adventures I saw in the movies, or read in my books. I was comfortable with who I was—I just wanted to do interesting things, exciting things.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read about me and my work. I hope that you’ve enjoyed my answers and will seek to learn more. Thank you to Lisa Haselton for the opportunity to share.


Thank you, K! Happy writing.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

What'd be the author's dream cast if the book were made into a movie?

Kelly Williams said...

Thanks for having me today! I look forward to your readers comments and questions.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your latest release.What was that moment like when you held your first published book, or any of them / I am sure it is just as phenomenal !

Kelly Williams said...

I cried, Deanne. I really cried. I had struggled a long time to try and find a home for my first book (Blue Honor) and I was lucky to find CreateSpace who would put it out for a small fee. It was up to me to find an editor and proofer and designer. That was a really tough project, from the years I put in, the rejections, the near miss with Penguin Books...Then, things just rolled like kismet...the timing was right. I was able to get it into shape, an event came along to provide the horse photo on the cover, and then they shipped my first proof and I cried. The struggle was over and my work was real. A real book.

Thank you for asking this! This makes me all warm and fuzzy thinking about it. How surreal! How 'finally!' it felt.

I was in better control of myself when OP-DEC was completed. But, now, what makes me weepy, is to hear someone read the words aloud, like for an audio book. That is just...That is really something. I can hardly believe that the words are mine.

Kelly Williams said...

Thank you to Lisa for the hosting. Congrats to the winners and big thanks to Goddess Fish for everything!