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A Talk With Billie Williams

Folks, I owe you a huge apology for this being posted late.  This sinus infection (not an excuse, an explanation) has really floored me this year.  To make it up to you guys, I'm going to share a special post from Billie with you tomorrow and save my review for Friday. 

Now, onto the interview (Hint:  Billie doesn't mind answering questions if you'd like to leave one in the comments section!)

Billie, you are such a prolific writer, I'm wondering how many hours a day you spend writing?

My day usually starts with my writing – I get up at 5 a.m. I do my reading/journaling and then write. By 9 hubby gets up so I make him breakfast and such. By 10 a.m. I’m at the computer typing in what I’ve written and then browsing, reading emails and etc until noon. So I guess in reality the concentrated writing is about 2 hours a day. If I get time I like to get two chapters a day on whatever current WIP (works in progress)I have . Later if I have a column(Whodunnit) to write for Voices in the Dark, Mystery Fiction.Net I do that. I try to post to at least one of my blogs every other day (that doesn’t always get done) A lot of my day is spent in various writing projects – whether that means social media like Twitter or Facebook, emails, groups or marketing – I love the process so I steal whatever time I can to write somewhere.

Your books fall in many categories, but suspense/thrillers dominate. What in your personality do you think makes this such a natural selection for you?

I’m a perpetual what if person…Since I am shy and I guess mostly an introvert, my adventure and exploration is done by writing. And if a topic makes for suspense/thriller I like to twist and turn and try to figure out what would my characters do it…what would happen if…and then what? I guess what I would never dream of doing in person, like my accidental sleuths do, I do vicariously through their adventures.

You tend to take on subjects many people avoid in fiction (such as dog fighting, adoption...). Have you ever received any flack from doing so? If so, how did you handle it?

Actually, no I haven’t received any flack from people. Its stuff that happens in real life, closing your eyes to it doesn’t make it go away. Reading about it, if it might give you some insight into how someone else handled it, even fictional characters, just might help you deal with it in your life…then I think my books have a purpose and those tough subjects are dealt with appropriately, which is always my goal. And the fact that most of my bad things happen off stage, as it were, I deal with the after affects – and the what to do next part of it. I try not to dwell on the abuse but the solutions.

Each of your books is earmarked to benefit a charity. How do you choose which one will benefit?

It all depends on the story itself. For instance my writing how to books I donate to the local libraries because readers tend to be writers – or want to be. Watch For the Raven is my only young adult book, so naturally I want it to help young adults of both genders the local 4-H club gets those donations. In the Bed and Breakfast series there are many rescue squad aids, so the local rescue squad gets those. It just so happens with Money Isn’t Everything, our local community action committee has a drive going to get Christmas lights for the main streets, and things the town can’t do – so I decided they should get some help and it will prove that money isn’t everything – community/family is most important. Fin, Fur and Fatal helps our local Veterinary Clinic, Ghost Music of Vaudeville – suggests historical preservation so the Historical Museum in town gets those and Ancient Secrets hinges on a South African visit to save the world as we know it—and a new book I have coming out in October (Diamonds, Death, Deceit)will benefit Missionaries of Africa…I have a list and updates for all my books on the donations page of my website if anyone wants to keep up with it. I try to update it as royalties come in and are paid out. It’s the theme of the book that suggests to me where the 25% of royalties should go. Right now I have a poll out for readers because my newest release to date Cauldron suggest several place it could benefit and I’d like some help to decide where to send that money…people can email me with suggestions they might have. I have three ideas so far: 1. Habitat for Humanity, 2. Alzheimer research, 3. Homeless Shelters Other suggestions or votes for these three are welcome.

Related to the above question: Do you feel that, as a writer, you have the ability to bring about change on a large scale? Why or Why not?

Change happens one step, one person, at a time. Everyone has the ability to affect change. I feel that as a writer I have a perfect opportunity to influence, or at least get people to think about what might be a good thing if people would cooperate. Like, can you imagine if everyone gave one dollar to help the homeless what a difference that would make. Or if one person decided to smile and give a warm friendly greeting to everyone they meet – the domino effect that might have? In the end though the only person I can change is myself, so if I be the best example I can be—I may be able to show others a way they hadn’t thought of previously. That’s like my donations in this economy – you can entertain yourself with a good read and donate to a good cause at the same time. I see that as a win, win situation.

I was delighted to find you write like I do--first in longhand and then first edit as you type the material in. Do you do this for a particular reason--convenience, greater inspiration, etc...? Have you always written like this or did you come upon this system after trial and error?

Part of it is necessity – my computer happens to be set up in our bedroom – and hubby sleeps at least four hours longer than I do – so if I write in long hand he gets to do what he likes while I get to do what I like. The other part is I find I am more connected to how I feel, what I want to say if I do it by pen and paper. I still have trouble writing on the computer – the thoughts don’t flow as easily. I’m answering these questions on the computer – non-fiction is easier J to do that.

Who is Billie Williams? I'm not looking for family, description, etc. here but rather the essence of you.

You’ve heard of Pandora’s Box haven’t you? (just kidding, I think) I am just me. I love to learn new things, I love to write, I’m shy—I care about people and animals. It hurts me deeply to see people or animals mistreated. It hurts me deeply to think someone is so depressed that they would consider ending their life. Natural disasters grab me by the insides, I know they can’t be prevented –but I hate to see the suffering it causes—Manmade disasters like the oil spills or arson in our forests – make me angry, but they also tear at the fabric of my life—it hurts. I feel helpless a lot of times. So I guess I am ordinary. I have enough of all that I need (though it’s hard to remember that sometimes) I value friendships, and my family—I want to succeed as an author, as a human, as a friend, wife, mother, grandmother – and whatever other title life gives me. Normal, ordinary, just me.

I know you've been asked numerous times about favorite author/books, so I'll let readers find your answers on some of your other stops. What I'd like to know is what music inspires you? Favorite performer? Favorite song?

I seriously love all types of music. But, it goes with my mood. Sometimes Jazz is just too much for me, but most times Kenny G and his light and beautiful saxophone are exactly the music I prefer. Actually, he’s my writing music. But I like piano music of any kind, and I like Beethoven, Bach, and especially Mozart. I like country western, I like Rock, I like everything….though I can’t listen to a steady diet of anything. Kenny G’s Greatest Hits album with Songbird and Silhouette are favorites for sure – but I like his album Breathless as well.

What does the future hold for you--writing, personally, etc...

Ah the future, I really wish I had a crystal ball. I want to finish my Accidental Zodiac Sleuths Series I have 5 more to go then I do the finally with all the sleuths in the final book solving one final crime. I want to write a good children’s book – I’m studying – but so far nothing has caught publishers attention.

I would like to visit several places: New York City, Oregon, Australia, Ireland, England, perhaps Montana and Wyoming – I’d like to move to Wyoming – a big ranch with hunting and fishing right out my back door, or close.

I would like to be a best-selling, internationally famous author, wouldn’t all writers.

Mostly, I am content with what I have and where I am, but I’d like to travel to visit all my Word Mage friends and other writers that I’ve *met* on line and through reading their books…I guess I’m open to whatever the future has in store for me. J

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers today?

I want to thank you for allowing me to visit your site this week and for your kind efforts on my behalf. I would like to invite your readers to visit my site, send me an email, and ask me questions or just chit chat. I love hearing from people and what they think. If you want to be a writer read, write, read and write some more. Ask questions of the authors you read, most of them are happy to share what they know. If you have an idea for a charity that needs help, I am always open to suggestions as to where one of my books might fit with a cause.

Be sure to leave comments on the blog so that you are in the hat for the drawing for some nice prizes. And Thank You all for allowing me to share me with you.

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Unknown said...

This interview is phenomenal both in questions and answers. For being shy, you certainly do excel, Billie.

Just like your writing, your style and voice, are one of a kind. I relate to so many things you say. I've read many of your books so I know what I'm talking about.

And, Joyce, this interview exceeds the normal. It's tops.

Pee Wee (S.K. Hamilton)

Annette Snyder said...

what a good idea to donate procedes based on theme of the book!

The Old Silly said...

Billie and I go back quite some years now, even though we've not been in close touch for a while. Really enjoyed this Q&A, thank you both, Joyce and Billie. Billie, I love your attitude about wanting the "best-selling" thing all writers do but are happy also just "being" a writer ... and a darn good one, prolific, and dedicated, too. Stay the course, hun!

Marvin D Wilson

unwriter said...

I agree with how bad things make one feel bad. You handle them well in your books. Chick Coreas return to forever is great music to write by.

I too write in longhand first and it does make the ideas flow better.

Unknown said...

Good Morning everyone - ok afternoon. Thanks to Joyce inspite of her sinus problems - she's the real trooper here!
Thanks Pee wee you are so sweet and always so lavish with your good words. I appreciate you - and your taking the time to stop by.
Hi Annette and thank you for your comments and visit as well. The donations just seemed to happen - and I feel good being able to give something back to those who are so generous to do for others as well...
Hey Marv--Haven't seen you around in a while. Thanks for stopping by and for your very kind and generous words. We authors are a tribe aren't we? Make it an amazing day.
And write like the wind!

Unknown said...

Hey Ron,
Didn't mean to exclude you from the last post - our posts must have crossed in cyber space. Thanks for the good words. I'll have to check out the musicians you recommend.

Fran Orenstein said...

Joyce, I commiserate with your sinus infection because I have been suffering for over 4 weeks now and it won't break. Wonderful interview, congratulations on a job well done.
Billie I learn things about you every time I stop and get off the tour bus. I can relate to your feelings about abuse of animals and chidren...the ones who can't defend themselves, sometimes I can't sleep at night if I read about it. The natural disasters are terrible, but I think Gaia is taking her revenge on what we have done to this beautiful planet we call home. Every disaster is a wake-up call, don't you agree?
Thanks for the look into your psyche.

elaine cantrell said...

I enjoyed the interview very much. Billie, I never thought of you as an introvert, though.

Katie Hines said...

Wow, what a prolific writer. So dedicated to your writing and having a schedule that you follow. I'm impressed, and wish you the best of luck with your writing although it sounds like luck isn't it as much as good, hard, elbow grease.

Janice said...

Hi, Joyce and Billie,

That was a great interview Joyce and great answers Billie.

I know how hard it is for you to leave the confines of your home, Billie, but you sure do let you mind wander out of your normal comfort zone. I commend you for that. Good job with your writing and your commitment to your craft.


Unknown said...

I wanted to thank all of you for your wonderful comments. I'm so glad Joyce asked the questions that let you see what I'm made of and that you like me. = )
It was kind of you all to stop by *see me waving to you all and smiling my biggest, most grateful smile.
Hope to see you tomorrow when Joyce has something more in store for us.

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