I am thrilled to welcome Mick Williams to Chat About Books today!
Mick is a friend of mine, an excellent author, and a genuinely top bloke!
I hope you enjoy our interview as much as I have….
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Hi, I’m Mick! You know the phrase ‘much travelled writer’? That’s me! I was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and lived there into my ‘middle life’ until I met my wife and moved to Kentucky, USA. We lived there for almost a decade, moved back to England for three years, and then went back!! This explains why some of my books are set in England, and some in America.
I have seven books out at the moment, with another due very soon. I write in a few genres. A Reason to Grieve is a romantic comedy, Whatever It Takes, A Guy Walks into a Bar, Callie’s Eyes and Exodus are action thrillers, and Hope’s Game is a twisty type of sci-fi story. My latest book, Final Clearance, is a dark comedy and the next one, Dark Target, is a sequel to Exodus, another action-packed thriller.
Details for all of them are on my website http://www.mickwilliamsauthor.com
I try to write a little comedy and romance into all of my stories and, without any planning on my part, they all manage to feature a strong female character.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere! Articles in magazines, things in the news, overheard conversations, the idea of a character.
Final Clearance came about when I read that you should write what you know – I’ve worked plenty of jobs in customer service and always hated the fact that some customers treat retailers in a shocking fashion. The way some of them speak down to our poor folks had me think about someone who wouldn’t stand for it any longer and took the ‘necessary measures’ to deal with them 😊
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Hee hee – yes! I have a series about a group of military veterans (think ‘updated A-Team’) called The Old Farts Club. A few of the club are based on good friends of mine. Normally, I try to cast my characters as if they were in a film so that I can remember their appearance and abilities. Cory, from Whatever It Takes, is based on the fella I was talking to who gave me the original idea for the book– what would happen if you spotted a murder while you were hunting…and then the murderer spotted and hunted you?
How do you pick your characters’ names?
As above, some of my characters are named after people I know. In most cases, once I’ve cast my character, I’ll imagine what they’d be named, or give them a nickname. For instance, Dud from The Old Farts Club got his name after something he did when he served in the military; Sarge is named Sarge because he’s the oldest in the group and tends to take charge. No one actually knows Sarge’s real name! The weirdest name came to me in a dream. I dreamed about parts of the story for Callie’s Eyes, including her whole name, woke up and wrote it all down on a post-it note!!
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Honestly, it varies. I TRY to rough out an outline before I start, then write out the first draft to get the story out. Then, I go through it again to tighten it up and tidy up any plot holes and boring bits, then check it for typing mistakes, grammar and punctuation, and then send it to some trusted folks to read through and pick it apart. Once I get reactions and notes from my beta readers, I go through it once more and apply any changes that I feel are necessary, and then it’s time to let it out into the world.
With Callie’s Eyes, I just sat and wrote it from start to finish, with no outline or idea of where it would go other than the parts I’d dreamed about. Funnily enough, Callie is one of my favourite characters.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
In no particular order, and subject to change at a moment’s notice –
‘Early’ James Patterson, although his recent stuff is not up to the same standard!
I also love to read indie-writers – Mel Sherratt, John Pye, Mysti Parker, Tony Acree, Michael Knost – I could go on forever. I currently have the new books by JF Burgess and ML Rayner lined up in the ever growing To Be Read pile!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Wow, that’s a tough question. I’d ask Stephen King how he manages to churn out 500-page books without them getting boring, and I’d ask Lee Child how he gets away with writing sentences longer than some of my paragraphs!! And I’d love to ask Nick Hornby if his character from High Fidelity is based on his own experiences. That’s a brilliant book.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Massive. I always had a book to read. I grew up watching Dr. Who through the crack in the kitchen door (the Daleks terrified me) and I had a huge collection of Dr. Who books. I’ve always considered reading to be ‘writer homework’, so I still read a lot.
When did you start to write?
I wrote stories at school (and gave my English teacher chills on a couple of occasions), but never had the courage or discipline to actually sit down and try it until I was in my twenties. Nothing ever stuck, and it wasn’t until I went to a writing convention here in Kentucky called Imaginarium that I got the inspiration to REALLY try. The rest is history 😊
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Haha – I’d rewrite the ending to Stephen King’s 11/22/63 to make sure that it didn’t end and just carried on forever. It’s already a huge book, but it’s such a good story that I wanted to stay in that world. If you think Stephen King writes nothing but scary horror books, you couldn’t be further from the truth. 11/22/63 is a beautiful love story set against a premise where a guy goes back in time to stop the assassination of JFK. It sounds weird and shouldn’t work, but it’s one of my favourite books. It’s THAT good.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
See the previous answer! I’d also love to come up with a character like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, so I wish I’d written The Killing Floor, too. If I had to be honest, though, I have enough fun writing my own books – it’s a huge bonus that people seem to enjoy reading them!
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
The Cat Daddy? Wake Up and Smile? I have no idea! I have a hard enough time coming up with fictional titles!!
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Wow, can we have a party instead and invite a load of them?? Okay, I’d take Rob Gordon from High Fidelity into a Starbucks. In the book, he runs a record store (a PROPER record store with vinyls and cassettes) where the employees are all music nerds who consider themselves to be above their customers in terms of musical knowledge and taste. The book is his account and examination of his Top 5 break-ups, when his latest doomed love doesn’t even rank in the Top 5! He goes back to revisit each relationship and takes the music of the time with him. It’s brilliant and very insightful, with a stellar soundtrack.
I LOVE music of all kinds, so it would be interesting to sit and listen to the Starbucks record of the week, talk tunes, and get his opinion on the music of today.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I wasn’t a massive fan of cats until I got to spend some time around a gang of them, and then the fella I call The OC (The Original Cat), Thud, adopted me on a cold winter night. We now have two (Thud and Crash) and I can’t imagine the house without them. If you contact me, I’ll tell you the whole, beautiful story!
What are you working on right now?
I’m terrible at marketing (i.e. I don’t do it!) so I seem to be releasing my books into the world with nothing to get them noticed!
My next book, Final Clearance, is released on March 27th, so I’m trying (honestly, I am!) to do some marketing to promote it. I also have another book, Dark Target, which is currently with my publisher going through edits, so I know that I’ll soon have some work to do on that, too, and then the promotion that comes with that.
The reason I don’t get around to marketing is that there are a load of books that I want to write, and I can’t do both. I have ideas for the next four Old Farts Club books, plus I’d love to rewrite and re-cover my romantic comedy, A Reason to Grieve, since it seems a little dated to me now. I also have ideas for sequels to that!
If I sold more books, I could afford to write full time, but to do that? Marketing!!!
Tell us about your last release?
My last release was something a little different for me. Hope’s Game is a twisty sci-fi story (it would sit perfectly in the Black Mirror universe) that’s based on a screenplay by a good friend of mine, Craig Ostrouchow. Here’s the blurb…
Following the disappearance of his eight-year-old daughter, Charlie Green’s life spirals out of control. Divorced, unemployed and with a heavy drinking habit, all seems lost until he receives the offer of a lifetime…£10,000 to participate in research for a revolutionary Artificial Intelligence program.
In Project Mindspace, the only limits are what the mind can create. In his AI world called Under, Charlie meets Hope, a stunning seductress, who shows him how to maximise his time and imagination. Soon, however, the lines between the real world and make believe begin to blur.
With her ever-increasing influence, and as Under grows more confusing and dangerous with each visit, it’s left to Charlie to work out – what is Hope’s Game?
Like all of my books, it’s got a lot of humour to lighten the mood, and loads of twists and turns, and there’s a good chance I’ll revisit this world, too.
Do you have a new release due?
I do – let me tell you about it!!!! 😊
As I’m wont to do, it’s in another genre (I SWEAR I’ll settle one day!) . . . this one is a dark comedy that starts out as a murder story and then goes off on a chase with, hopefully, a nail-biting finale. Here’s the blurb for this one…
Young furniture salesman Brody Caulson cracks when an obnoxious customer pushes him too far and, in a fit of anger, he commits the ultimate crime.
As Brody battles newly awakened impulses for violence and retribution, a neighbor disappears, and her young son turns to him for comfort and support.
Appeasing an ever-suspicious boss and diverting visits from the local police, it’s up to Brody to avoid discovery and control his dark side long enough to find his missing neighbor whilst babysitting Javier.
But, as the life he knows unravels, he must make a decision – to get her back, he will have to kill again. Can he control his vigilante side, or be lost to the darkness forever?
I really enjoyed writing this story. It didn’t have much of an outline, I just kept writing to see what Brody would do, and how he’d get himself in and out of situations. Again, like all of my books, it has humour and a strong female character.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I’m making an exception this time!
I normally don’t do much, since I don’t market my books, so they creep out into public and then slink away quickly. I’ll jump on Amazon from time to time to see how it’s fairing, but that’s about it.
This time, I’m releasing on a Saturday so I can REALLY see what happens, how it moves and what, if any, reactions it brings. I’m very fond of the characters in this book, so I hope a lot of folks will pick it up and enjoy them with me.
I get a lot more pleasure from seeing the reviews that come in afterwards. I don’t think readers understand how important reviews are, not just to push the book on Amazon or Goodreads, but as a way of saying ‘yep, this was okay so you can go and write another one’!
Regardless of whatever happens, there’ll be wine.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
http://www.mickwilliamsauthor.com is my much-neglected website that’s run by my #1 son, Rob. Details and links for all my books are on there, along with a bio and a few bits and pieces, and a section where you can contact me. If you’ve read any of my books and enjoyed them (or not!) I’d love to hear from you.
I’m also on Facebook as Mick Williams Author, and I have one of those Twitter thingies and an Instagram that I have no clue how to use!
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
First of all, thank you to Kerry – for your friendship and support. It means the world. This has been fun!
Keep an eye on social media for new things happening. It’s exciting to be releasing two books so close together, and I hope that you’ll pick up one and like it enough to grab the next. None of my books have a lot of what my sister calls witty-woo in them (I don’t do sex scenes because I’m not that good at writing them, plus my mum reads my books!), only the bad guys really use naughty words, and I ALWAYS try to make even the bad stuff end with a smile! Either way, if you do read my work, I hope you that enjoy it and tell your friends 😊
Take care and be safe.