Interview with JM Williams

A.R. Do you write poetry, prose, or a mixture of both?
J.M.W. Prose only.

A.R. Have you every done any journalistic writing?
J.M.W. I do write academically, history and law, and have been published in a peer review journal.

A.R. What made you start writing?
J.M.W. In elementary school, we were encouraged to read and write. I had teachers who encouraged me to write, and once I got started, my mother became my first fan.

A.R. How old were you when you started writing?
J.M.W. Around the 4th grade (10 years old).

A.R. Where do you get your inspirations?
J.M.W. Mostly from nonfiction. I listen to a lot of science and history podcasts, and nonfiction audiobooks. Those give me the “what if” questions that I seek to answer in my stories. I also get ideas from music–usually a single scene that matches the song, around which I build the rest of the story. The ideas I get from nonfiction tends to be sci-fi, high concept, and the ideas I get from music tend to be fantasy.

A.R. What is the one thing you hate most about writing?
J.M.W. Having too many ideas and not enough time to write them all. Also, the way the industry works in general today and the difficulty new authors have in getting noticed.

A.R. What is the one thing you like most about writing?
J.M.W. The best thing in the world is riding a muse for four hours straight. It’s like being in another world, or a dream, and you don’t even realize what happened until it’s over.

A.R. When is inspiration most likely to strike you?
J.M.W. At the most inopportune times–in the car, in the bathtub, in bed. Whenever I don’t have any note-taking ability at hand.

A.R. Do you do any other sort of art?
J.M.W. I’ve been dabbling in cover design and other graphic art, more out of necessity than personal desire.

A.R. If you could invite any one other author or poet over for dinner, who would you invite?
J.M.W. Terry Pratchett. Maybe Mark Twain.

A.R. Why?
J.M.W. Followers of mine will know I am a huge Pratchett fan. I would love to learn how he came up with all his complicated and intricate plots.

A.R. If you received the bad news that you only had thirty days to live, what would you do?
J.M.W. I’d probably write a memoir or somehow document my thoughts on things for posterity. Part of my drive to be a writer is to have an effect on the world and to leave something behind.

A.R. Thinking about all of your characters, which one are you most like?
J.M.W. Most of my heroes have a piece of me in them. I imagine that’s true of most authors. I like to think of myself as having a heroic heart–I did join the military right out of high school. To me, being heroic is not about being strong or courageous, but rather it’s about doing the right thing and caring about other people.

A.R. What do you tell people that say “I want to be a writer.” ?
J.M.W. I ask them “How can I help?” — I love mentoring novice authors.

A.R. What do you want on your tombstone?
J.M.W. I don’t expect to have one. I’m sure I’ll be cremated, though I don’t know where my dust is going to end up yet. I’d like to be remembered for being kind and helpful.


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