We're pleased to present author William Rockwell, and talk with him about his new release.
Q: So how did this novel come to be? Was it envisioned from the start as a bigger canvas, or did it expand organically out of an idea? Please tell us a bit about the origin.
Very often, ideas for novels come to me from events in my life. My new release, Not Privileged to Know, a murder mystery and political thriller, started as an idea about a woman who’s lost her way in the world without realizing it. My sister-in-law had passed away unexpectedly, and, as I tried to help my wife and family deal with this tragic event, the idea of a murdered twin, connected by more than birthday leapt into my mind. So, I gave them a psychic connection. When the twin is murdered, the protagonist, Corinne, is left alone for the first time in her life, and struggles to survive. Because of the unfortunate political corruption in our leaders, I decided to add an element of this and, since conspiracy theories abound everywhere, I wove in a conspiracy.
Q: Did you start with the germ of an idea and start writing to see where it went, or did you map a good deal out in your head (or even outline) before crafting?
I try to have both a beginning and a satisfying ending in mind before I tackle the meat of the story. Without dealing out spoilers, the ending seemed to fit the character’s (supposed) resolution of some of her problems, while revealing the basis and parties behind the conspiracy. I don’t necessarily write from a full outline like many authors. I find it easier to use a very broad outline, filling in the missing parts, chapter by chapter, as I write.
Q: What do you feel is the main theme(s)?
Self confidence in dealing with seemingly insurmountable obstacles is the main theme. After her twin’s death and lost connection with her, Corinne doesn’t think she can even continue her life, much less do anything constructive, but she is then confronted with having to try to solve her twin’s murder when the authorities close the investigation. She, however, is not sure she can handle it, but must. Trusting others also materializes in the story as Corinne learns she has aligned herself with the wrong people, and now must learn to trust new ones, but how can she choose? She has no idea, but must learn if she doesn’t want to become the conspiracy’s next victim. Excesses in life are evident in Corinne’s life, and she learns that these excesses have not only led her down the wrong path to true happiness, but may have even contributed to her twin’s death.
Also, True Love versus infatuation or superficial love.
Q: Why do you feel this is important, and what would you want a reader to take away from reading this book?
Besides Faith in God (Corinne had this belief, but had lost it as she succumbed to the temptations and pleasures in the secular life), one’s inner strength and support of those around us are all we have to support us in struggling with the problems of life. We also don’t know how strong we truly are until we face these struggles and find a solution to those problems, or have our friends lead us toward that solution.
Q: What makes a good book or engaging story?
A character faced with a quest, involving personal or a loved one's safety, or a threat to society as a whole. If the hero/heroine succeeds, all is well, but the threat of failure must be present around every corner for the reader to continue to the next chapter.
Q: Are there writers with similar themes to yours? Who are your influences (can be writers, or even artists, musicians, or others) and what is it about their work that attracts you?
Both Orson Scott Card and Alan Dean Foster have character-driven stories that entice one to continue to read, not only that book, but the subsequent novels with those characters as well. I still enjoy re-reading Roger Zelazny and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They have characters that never grow old, and books that demand re-reading.
Q: Is storytelling mostly entertainment, or does it serve other functions? Do you have particular goals other than telling a good story?
Entertainment is always number one in my book. If nothing else, the reader should enjoy curling up with one of my novels. There is always a theme in my novels, however. For example, my vampire love story, Generation Z, Birth of the Zompire, is a Good vs. Evil story with the Good represented by the Zompire (combination of vampire and zombie) fighting the Evil vampire, with all human society at risk.
Q: Any other goals you've set for yourself, professionally or personally?
I am a retired physician and love to travel. I would love to travel to some exotic places and write a story with that place as a background. I also would like to write some novels in the town in which I live (in Connecticut).
Q: Some writers write fast and claim not to rewrite much. Do you do this, or painstakingly revise? When you send the book off to the publisher, are you happy with it, or just tired of it?
I try to write every day. I have the ability to read multiple books at one time, and I find I can write the same way. That being said, I tend to write one chapter, and then go back to edit it once. I may switch to another story, or next chapter, depending on how the mood strikes me. Once finished with the novel, I re-edit it at least twice before sending it off for professional editing. Even then, I will re-read the novel, checking for words that could be more descriptive or action packed. This is the most painstaking part of my editing, and takes the longest, but makes for a better “read” in the end.
Q: Do you have good editors, and if so, how do they help you? Do they look for particular things? Do you have different people for different editing levels?
I have multiple editors. One is great for story line and flow. I get his edit back with entire paragraphs crossed out, or moved to another part of the chapter or story. Another is great with words and their exact meaning. This one gets it after my word editing. IE I had used fainting when I meant feigning, and missed it even with my word editing (done twice on this novel). A third editor checks for grammar, although I usually pick up these on my own multiple edits.
Q: If a writer came to you for advice, how would you help?
Write every day, even if you don’t feel like it…even if only for 15 minutes, and don’t be afraid to explore new characters or genres. It may expand your writing abilities and your reader base.
Q: Stories can be told by using a different medium. Can you see your book as a film, audio, etc.? How would that alter the telling?
I actually write every story as if it’s a film. I see the action of the story, see the “actor” performing before me. I think it brings the reader into the story as they read. I would love to have one, or more, of my stories made into film.
Q: What's the next step in your writing world?
I have another novel, a inspirational fantasy about Lucifer’s downfall in Heaven entitled, Heaven’s Conflict, The Rise and Fall of Angels, written, and plan to spend the summer with editors getting it ready for publication by Fall of this year. Beyond that I have other novels (mysteries) planned for future years. Then, there’s the sequels: both Not Privileged to Know and Generation Z, Birth of the Zompire, are the first of a planned trilogy. I know what happens in both, and have multiple notes I will refer to, but have not outlined them beyond beginning, a few events in the middle, and the ending that I am shooting for.
Q: Any other information you'd like to impart?
I enjoy reading outside the genres I write. I especially like submarine novels, either submarines in the future or one’s from WWII. I think this is a good idea to keep an author’s mind fresh. Of course, one has to read within your genre, and belong to organizations in that genre, but I (and presumably) other authors need to exercise their mind…like cross training.
Web page: http://billrockwell.net
Where to buy: Directly from my website: http://www.createspace.com/4224925
It’s also available from Amazon, and E-Retailers for E-Readers