1. Tell me about your book Fried Windows (In A Light White Sauce} and where you got your inspiration for it?
I wrote short whimsical piece about being at a carnival when I was a kid. It received favourable reviews. I decided to write a short story which over the next couple of days turned into a draft for the first couple of chapters of the book. The unusual title came form a headline I misread at the time and worked it into the story. It was bizarre and fit right in.
2. Do you admire your own work?
I don’t know if I actually admire what I write. In many ways writing a novel is kind of like bearing a child. Yeah, I know I’m a guy and really have no idea what that’s like, but I think the analogy holds up pretty well. You tend to be proud of your kids regardless of their shortcomings. A good editor is sort of like a teacher who becomes a mentor for the child making him or her little better than anyone might have expected.
3. What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer and how did you bounce back from it?
My ninth grade teacher, Mrs. Hibbett bled all over an assignment in red grading pen. It was something I wrote that I was particularly proud of at the time. In the margin she wrote ‘”You’ll never be a writer.” I wanted to prove her wrong. I joined the school newspaper and became editor by my senior year. Conveniently, she forgot ever having told me I would never be a writer.
4. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
There’s a little bit of me in every one of my characters, I suppose. Some are like people I know. Others are composites of many people I know. In Fried Windows, I suppose I’m a lot like Brent. He could be my evil twin or vice versa. He does a lot of things I would never do, though.
5. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Yeah, there was a novel I wrote in college titled Tarot. The idea behind it was to write a book with characters based on the major arcana of fortune telling cards. I still have it in a box of old stuff. I take it out every once in a while just to remind me of how much my writing has improved since I was twenty-something. It’s humbling.
6. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Does it really make it go faster?
Yes, actually I do, although pushing of the button has nothing to do with making the elevator arrive faster. That’s all done with magic.
7. Sunrises or Sunsets?
That’s kind of like asking me to choose between two very pretty ladies. What’s the point? I suspect I’ve seen more sunsets than sunrises over the years. I have lived on both east coasts and the west coasts. Maine is the best place to watch a sunrise, I think. And Northern California, around Monterey, is the best place to watch a sunset.
8. If you could ask your future self, one question, what would it be?
What are the Powerball numbers for this coming week?
9. Would you break a law to save a loved one?
Absolutely. Laws are supposed to keep us civilized and not infringe on one another’s rights, territory and all that. But there is a difference between what’s legal and what’s just. If you have to do something to save someone else’s life I think doing the right thing trumps the law.
10. Is there a message in your novels you want the readers to grasp?
Believe in possibilities because the world around you is mostly what you make it out to be. Look at me. I started believing I could write a book and now it’s published. If you have a dream, be bold enough to believe you can make it into reality because if you don’t you’ll always regret never having tried.
11. Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is my favourite, although several of his later books, those after Breakfast of Champions, aren’t as good as those from before. If you want to read the one book that lets you know what his writing is about, Breakfast of Champions is it. His perspective on the world, brutal honesty about things and his warped sense of humor make things work.
12. Would you rather be the good guy or the bad guy in a movie?
I’m a good guy in real life but I think the bad guys make for more interesting characters. If I were an actor I’d want to play a bad guy who comes through in a pinch and saves the day.
13. Would you rather be trampled by one elephant-sized mouse or one hundred mice-sized elephants?
This is one of those questions that has mystified mankind for at least the past ten seconds. It’s like the one about whether a ton is lead weights more than a ton of feathers, sort of. I’d take the mice sized elephants, put them in a big box and sell them to a circus. I could make a fortune. We’ll split the money. I’d let them walk over me for that.
14. What eye colour do you find sexiest?
Green. Hands down, it’s green.
15. What was your favourite cartoon growing up?
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
16. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Write something everyday and never give up on learning more about writing. When a publisher tells you no, it doesn’t mean not ever. It means no, not yet. Fix whatever is wrong and resubmit it.
17. How did you choose your genre?
I always liked reading fantasy and sci fi. I’m not sure I chose to write in that genre. It’s just that most of my stories come out that way. It’s like the genre chose me. That’s not to say everything I write is in fantasy sci-fi. Everything I write is like everything I write, though. Whether it takes place on another planet, an alternate universe or in the haunted house down the road, it is clearly one of my stories.
18. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all imagination?
The parts of Fried Windows that take place in the “real” world parallel my life to a large degree. My kids will recognize some moments for their childhoods. The parts that take place in the Inworld are pure fantasy, though.
19. What’s next for you?
The next book in the queue is Becoming Thuperman, a story about two precocious eight-year-olds who have super powers they are beginning to discover. Other than that it’s about everyone not using their given names, playing baseball, summer vacation, riding bikes to the park and, of course, the weird old lady and her brother who live in that house everyone says is haunted.
20. Why did you feel you had to tell this story?
When you decide to be a writer you sort of sign on to letting stories be told through you. You don’t have a choice. If you don’t write it down you won’t sleep. Come to think of it, after you start writing a story you don’t sleep much anyway. Being a writer is a crazy thing to do.
21. What was the point you realised that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?
The moment I receive an email from Pandamoon Publishing congratulating me on a great novel. Of course I read that email many times just to make sure I hadn’t imagined things. You get used to receiving rejections until it’s what you expect.
22. How do you handle working with an editor without letting pride get in the way?
A good editor doesn’t try to rewrite the story. A great editor helps you tell it. Michael McBride edited Fried Windows for me. I think the process went extremely well because we had the same overall goals for the book and base don the rapport we developed before he actually started work on the novel I trusted him. There really weren’t that many things that needed to be changed and very few discussions.
23. What alcoholic beverages do you favour when you hit a wall?
I know people don’t believe me, especially after they read some of Fried Windows, but I wrote the whole story stone cold sober. The book reflects the way my mind works. I am not a normal person and have never wanted to be. I used to drink while I was writing but I’ve found it makes editing and revising more difficult. I’ve been sober for almost two and a half years and I’ve been revising my old stuff.
24. Have you ever been cow tipping or snipe hunting?
I grew up on a farm on Ohio. ‘Nuff sed.
25. What’s your Porn Star name? (To get this you add the name of your first pet to the name of the street on which you lived as a child.)
Yogi Jamestown. What kind of name is that? I’ll just stick with my name it’s weird enough.
Leave your world behind and enter an adventure forever lost but never forgotten. Where only magic is real, and anything is possible.
When Brent Woods, a middle-aged computer technician delivers a new computer system to an eccentric woman who lives in a strange house with no windows, she offers to reconnect him with his childhood dreams and fantastic imagination. Alongside his best friend Lucy, Brent explores the seemingly infinite possibilities of the “Inworld” where she lives, a place where everything about anything can change with a thought. Nevertheless, in the process of remembering his past as Carlos, Lord of Bartoul in the Interrealm, Brent exposes a dark potential that threatens his family and his life as he knows it.
Then his youngest daughter is attacked in her dreams by the same forces that took away his kingdom, and Lucy’s. Brent seeks answers that lie somewhere in the truth of what happened in his past, and how he lost his connection to the Interrealm. He must find a way to correct his mistakes and solve the puzzle of his best friend’s life.
Born in Springfield, Ohio, Elgon Williams was given a name hardly anyone knows how to pronounce. L-gun is the best phonetic rendering. He holds degrees from The University of Texas, Purdue University and The Community College of the Air Force. During his years in the service he lived and worked in Asia and learned to speak Chinese Mandarin. For most of his adult life he worked in retail management although he has worked in advertising, public relations and as a computer technician. When not writing Elgon can be found basking in the warm Florida sun. He loves connecting with his readers on Facebook and on his blog at www.elgonwilliams.com