I’ve got a Meet the Author post for your today, and I’m delighted to be talking to Mick Williams. We’re talking about his obvious love of music, nearly getting shot and all about his great sounding books!
A few! So far, I’ve written a romantic comedy, some adventure/thrillers, one book described (accurately, I think!) as a ‘Bond’ book, and I’ve just finished something that’s close to being Sci-fi, but it’s more like something you’d see on ‘Black Mirror’.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I live in a beautiful town called Stone with my wife, Cathy, and two needy cats named Crash and Thud. Writing isn’t my day job, not yet, but I’m working on it! I was very fortunate to live in Louisville, Kentucky for almost a decade. I miss it and its people; it’s very similar to Stone, but everything is bigger! And, it’s the place that got me started on finally writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always written. I wrote short stories in high school and made a few attempts, through the years, to get started on a novel. Something always seemed to get in the way. Then, a few years ago, I attended a Writer’s Convention in Louisville called Imaginarium. I’d recommend it to anyone (writer or reader) close enough to get there. From Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, I was immersed in all things ‘writery’ and I finally MADE myself sit down and get something done.
How many books have you written and published?
Written – 6, published – 5.
Published, there’s the romantic comedy, A Reason to Grieve. Then three adventure/thrillers, Whatever It Takes, A Guy Walk into a Bar and Exodus, and a ‘roadtrip/family adventure’ called Callie’s Eyes. The links for all of these, if you’d like to check them out, can be found at mickwilliamsauthor.com.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to adapt a screenplay into novel. Hope’s Game is sitting here, ready to go, I just have to set everything up to release it. The blurb for that one goes like this…
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?
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Wow, that’s a good question! My books are like my babies; I love all of them, but for different reasons. There’s a character in Reason to Grieve named Doris. She’s a sixty-nine-year-old with a blue rinse and a brilliant sense of humour. I think she makes that book special to me. The banter between the main characters of Guy Walks into a Bar still makes me smile when I pick that up. I’d adopt Callie Logan from Callie’s Eyes in a heartbeat, and I’d love to hang with The Old Farts from Exodus (they might even let me join the club, although I’m not sure what skills I’d bring to it!). The relationship between Cory and Ashley in Whatever It Takes makes me go all mushy and the opportunity to adapt someone else’s hard work makes Hope’s Game very special. None of that really answers your question, though, does it???
If I had to REALLY push myself, by the tiniest margin I’d go for Guy Walks into a Bar…it’s written in a different style that I’ve not had chance to get back to yet, that I found a lot of fun to work with. It’s also the first one that someone else published. I’ve been very fortunate to make some amazing friends during this Writer Ride and, at Imaginarium, I met some very giving people. Two, in particular, are Tony Acree and Stephen Zimmerman. Both are wonderful writers, and also publishers. As a thank you for offering so much help, once I’d finished GWIAB, I took a printed copy to each of them as a thank you. When I later asked Tony for some advice, we met for lunch and he gave me a contract instead! I’ve had a wonderful relationship with Hydra Publications ever since and they did an amazing job with my story. It’s a beautiful book.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Haha…some of my names are mixed up names of family and friends. Mainly, though, I always ‘cast’ my characters so I can picture them in my head. The names can change a few times as I’m writing, but I normally look at them and name them as I see them. You know the thing…’Oh yeah, he looks like a Colin’! Some of my bad guys are foreign. In their case, I’ve studied popular names from their country and then moulded them into something that sounds mean or gives them an edge. Kyle Beck from GWIAB, or the Kostic twins from Whatever it Takes are perfect examples.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Depends if I wanted to relax or be resourceful 😊 Cory Keller from Whatever it Takes is a hunter, so I’d be set for decent food and protection, but then Marbles from Exodus is a master mechanic and can fly, pilot or drive anything, so he’d be my best chance for escape. If I was stuck for life and knew there was no escape, then perhaps Sabrina from GWIAB. She’s stunning, funny and very resourceful. Don’t tell the wife, though!!
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
Can I pick two? I grew up reading Stephen King, which is weird because I’ve never had the urge to write horror. That being said, he writes much more than that. I love how he can describe a place and you’ll feel as if you live there. Then he gets you to fall in love with great characters – just before he kills them! He’s recently written a few non-horror books and, without a doubt, the best book I’ve read (where it’s a gazillion pages long and you STILL didn’t want it to end) recently was 11/22/63. His character goes back in time to try to stop the assassination of JFK, except this is different Stephen King and it becomes a battle of wits wrapped up in a beautiful love story. Yes, you read that right, a love story. It’s brilliant. Check it out.
The other would be Lee Child. I had the pleasure of meeting him once and was, for the first time ever, completely starstruck. I had a load of questions to ask him, and I managed something along the lines of “Blerughtfrdklept!” They may have been drool too! His Jack Reacher character is brilliant, in that he never changes. Most books have a character arc where the main guy has flaws or needs to learn something. Reacher uses his flaws and seems to know everything. He finishes every book the same as it started – usually busting a few heads and having some cracking dialogue along the way. Best Reacher book? In my mind, Bad Luck and Trouble. Again, check it out although it features characters from earlier books so it might be an investment to read them in order.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
I scared the living daylights out of my junior school English teacher by writing a short story about a local celebrity who discovered the bodies of missing local children (maybe I HAVE written horror!). Her comments went something along the lines of “Michael has a vivid imagination…”
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Not that many! I’ve been a Support Manager for a finance company, a Store Manager a few times, I’ve worked in retail (and, because of that, am polite to everyone I meet in a similar position – it’s a thankless task), I’ve assessed NVQ’s, and sold roofing supplies to Mexican contractors. Unfortunately, I’ve never ran a bar, been a cabana boy, given jet-ski lessons on a Caribbean island, or written full-time. But I’m working on that last one 😊
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I’d like to say I’d travel backwards to stop some disaster from occurring or tweak things enough to alter history but, the truth is, I’d love to be in a smoky bar, somewhere in Chicago, when BB King starts to really find his feet and play the blues. Sitting at an old oak table scarred with rings from a million spilled drinks, and watching a legend find his musical way through a haze of cigar smoke. And, of course, there’d have to be a glass of top-class bourbon in front of me!
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
In 11/22/63, Stephen King has a theory that if JFK hadn’t been assassinated, the Vietnam War might not have happened. I think I’d try to do that. Tell him to take a different route that day, avoid Dealey Plaza and take a back road instead. On a more selfish note, I’d have lunch with Frank Sinatra…that man led a fascinating life. I’d ask him about Marilyn Monroe and the Mafia. About the Rat Pack. And, of course, about the music.
What are your favourite things to do?
An easy question! I LOVE music. All kinds. I listen to music when I do most things. Obviously, I also value time with my family and friends and the cats. And my brother has got me into trying craft beers (all my recent books have been part-written in local craft bars, which could explain a few things!). It’s fascinating that beers can vary so much. Combine a beer with family, friends and music and you’ve got perfection!
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I had to think hard about this question! Other than the armed police and the REALLY bad guys, no one carries guns in England. But we do have air-rifles which, used in the wrong way, can be just as deadly. I remember being young, around nine or ten years old, playing outside on my bike. A couple of lads I knew from school were messing around at the other end of the street. I happily wheeled around when something made me stop. As my feet touched the floor a whining sound buzzed past my ear, followed by a loud crack. When I looked around, the lads had fired an air rifle in my direction. The pellet must have skimmed my ear and stopped with a smack into the fence behind me. They laughed and ran off, and it wasn’t until years later that I really thought about the whole incident. Another quarter of an inch in the wrong direction and who knows what might have happened. I’m not one to discuss divine intervention or wrong place, right time, but something stopped me in my tracks (or wheels!) that probably saved my life!
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Start now! I waited YEARS to get started. I could have written twenty or thirty books by now. And I might even be pretty good at it, too! And, there will be days where you just don’t feel like it. There are plenty of other things to do. But persevere. Knuckle down. Even just write a few words a day but write them. Finally, read. Lots. It’s writer homework.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. It doesn’t matter on your age, sex or beliefs…if you think you’ve lived your life or you’re just getting started, this book is excellent! If you’re just starting out in the relationship game, or you’re celebrating your fiftieth wedding anniversary, you’ll laugh and cry at either the memories or the threat of things to come! And the whole story, about a record store owner, his top five relationships and where they left him, is set to a brilliant soundtrack. John Cusack made a film about it, but transferred it from London to Chicago, and it’s almost as good.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My most recent book is called Callie’s Eyes.
Here’s the blurb…
Callie Logan is blind. But that doesn’t stop terrifying visions from invading her dreams. Visions of devastating events that transpire days later. Visions she’s powerless to stop. When her father, Phil, overhears her talking in her sleep, he makes notes and they try to decipher when and where the next event will happen. Then, her latest premonition shows the beginnings of a terrorist attack very close to home. An attack so implausible that the authorities won’t believe her. She knows the time. She knows the location. Armed only with Callie’s memories, Phil takes the family and a small group of trusted friends on a life-threatening trip to stop the attack – led by Callie, into a world she’s never even seen.
I literally dreamed the idea for this book, even down to Callie Logan’s name. I still have the note I scrawled out at two or three o’clock in the morning. It was loads of fun to write and, so far, seems to be going down quite well. It’s out on Amazon and also available from my website.
Many thanks Michelle…that was fun!!!!
Thanks so much Mick for a great interview – I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I LOVE that you have a cat in your picture AND that you have a book called Guy Walks Into A Bar! Brilliant interview – I feel like we’ve got to know you well.
As Mick says, any questions or comments, go and chat to him!
Have a wonderful Friday my lovelies!