Today I have the pleasure of welcoming JM Williams to Chat About Books!
JM Williams has recently re-released his fantasy novella, The Nightingale.
I will include purchase details later on. In the meantime I have an interview with the author himself for you all the enjoy…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Well, my name is JM Williams. Currently, I am the head of the Of Metal and Magic (OMAM) StoryVerse for my publisher Fiction Vortex. The StoryVerse is our concept of a collaborative shared universe, where multiple stories from multiple authors interact and intersect (think Marvel comics/films). My job as head is to manage the six other authors (e.g., being a deadline nazi) and also make sure that all the content fits within the canon and plot framework of our high fantasy world. In addition to writing two series for OMAM, I write other stuff on the side. I have published around 50 short stories in a wide variety of venues, self-published a couple story collections, and I am working on my second novella. I have a B.A. in English, with as much of an emphasis on writing as I was allowed, and an M.A. in History.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I get a lot of my ideas while listening to music or podcasts in my car. On the one hand, I will often get a specific scene from a piece of music, which I will then later expand into a full story. With podcasts, often some fun fact of science or history will get me thinking, and that will eventually turn into a story (most often science fiction). The idea for the novel I am currently writing came as I was listening to an audiobook biography of Genghis Khan by the wonderful Jack Weatherford.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Rarely. I wrote an SF short story once where the lead was based on a friend of mine, but this isn’t typical for me.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
I don’t worry about names so much for modern or SF, but with fantasy I have a basic procedure. First, I decide on a cultural reference for the people I am writing about, then I search for names from that reference base (for example, in my book In the Valley of Magic, the upper-class names are all Old Saxon and the lower-class names Old Norse). That way I can be sure that the names (and also exotic words) sound consistent. For book I am currently working on, all names and exotic words are derived loosely from Mongolian.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
There’s supposed to be a process?
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Terry Pratchett and uh…I honestly don’t read as much as I should. There are plenty of books I like, but Pratchett is the only one whose books I will grab anytime I see them. Maybe Douglas Adams. Tolkien?
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Again Pratchett, and I’d ask him if Death is all he suggested it would be.
Were you a big reader as a child?
A little. I read Jurassic Park and The Mists of Avalon in elementary school. I read a whole lot more if you count text-based video games as reading. The script for Chrono Trigger is supposedly 140k words!
When did you start to write?
I started writing stories, real and complete stories, in the 6th grade. This was due in large part to the encouragement of my teacher. Probably wouldn’t be doing this now if it weren’t for her.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Stephen King’s IT. I’d end it about a full third earlier. Man, that book was bloated.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I’ve got plenty of my own book ideas that need writing to be thinking about other people’s books.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Why Don’t You Just Pick a Career Field Already?
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I still have a crush on Cassandra Pentaghast from the Dragon Age video games. Don’t tell my wife. But really, I would love to have coffee with Scheherazade, the heroine of The Arabian Nights. Listening to her would be like taking a master class in storytelling.
Tell us a random fact about yourself
I have also been published academically, under my real name (which is TOP SECRET).
What are you working on right now?
My current novel, The Fierce, is an origin myth of sorts for the shared fantasy universe I manage. The main character is based in part on Genghis Khan and the story overall is influenced by Mongol history, Greek myth, and now most recently, the Arabian Nights. The book itself has a complex, multi-layered structure with an epistolary frame. And footnotes!
Tell us about your last release?
The last thing I released was actually a re-release of my fantasy novella The Nightingale. It is a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The book was first published two years ago by an indie publisher, Fantasia Divinity, but I have done some extra editing and made a new cover for this second edition.
Do you have a new release due?
I will be working on a re-release of my Of Metal and Magic novel Call of the Guardian, which was also first published almost two years ago. I need to make some adjustments to get the story back in line with the updated canon of our shared universe. I also hope to have The Fierce out by the end of the year. Additionally, I am putting together a fantasy novella based on a flash serial I originally published with Altered Reality Magazine. That one should be out relatively soon.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Eat, drink, and sleep too much. Publishing is tiring!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
You can follow my blog at: http://www.jmwilliams.home.blog
And lastly, you can tune into my writing podcast The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed, which I record with a fellow author named Richie Billing, available on a variety of platforms, including YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCETCYd6obiN5cytHRcEMFRw
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I love talking about writing and fantasy, and enjoy mentoring new writers. So, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
I am also looking for fantasy writers to pen some flash and short stories for the upcoming Of Metal and Magic website. So, if you read some of our work and enjoy our world, why not try writing something for us?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
King Gregor of Eriari is on the verge of his sixtieth year. The kingdom is tense, awaiting the selection of his heir from among the three royal siblings. Kari understands the feeling all too well. She has only recently learned that she will not inherit her family’s smithy, despite her skill being far superior to that of her younger brother. Everything is a mess and nothing seems fair. Princesses can inherit the kingdom, but village girls can’t even take over a forge. Kari wonders if she will ever find a place for herself. That is, until she stumbles upon something in the royal forest that changes everything…
A fantasy reimagining of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Nightingale is an epic tale of magic and intrigue, courageous heroes and cunning villains. Fast-paced and filled with colorful characters, this is one you won’t want to put down.
From readers of the First Edition:
“Williams stays true to the fairytale style of the source material, adding a dash of magic and palace intrigue for good measure. This could be a great book for young readers though it’s also enjoyable for adults.”
“The characters are warm and relatable, and the action is believable. If you like a slash-em-up, this isn’t for you. If you like real people working to make their world better, give it a try.”
“This reimagination is awesome, and its fast pace keeps you hooked to the end.”
“This retelling of the fairy tale ‘The Nightingale’ is filled with deception, intrigue and a cool cast of characters.”
happy reading 🙂