Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CSFF Blog Tour: By Darkness Hid Day Two

So, as promised, here goes the interview with Jill Williamson, the author of By Darkness Hid. Huh. I just realized we might have a problem with similar initials on this interview. Would anyone be terrible offended if I referred to myself as "Me" for sake of clarity?

Me: What’s your background? What did you do before you started writing?

JW: I worked in the fashion industry. That was my childhood aspiration. I went to college in Manhattan to finish my fashion degree, then my husband and I moved to Los Angeles so I could work in fashion and he could work in movies. After about three and a half years in our “dream jobs” and we’d both had it. It was The Devil Wears Prada for me, and Brad’s experience wasn’t much better. We had a talk one night and decided that it was okay to pursue other things. Brad went back to school to become a youth pastor and I tried to start my own wedding gown manufacturing business. The gowns were beautiful—and I still have two in my closet—but I discovered that fashion was not my calling. I wanted to work with Brad and the youth group.

Me: What made you want to write Christian fiction?

JW: A few years after I gave up on fashion, a new Harry Potter book came out, followed by another barrage of debates within the church community as to whether or not the books were evil. The debate inspired me to write my own teen novel that all Christians would love. Yes, I was a bit naive. I have since learned that no one likes every book, especially those with faith elements in them. But that’s how I got started. I was inspired to try and write fast-paced adventure stories for teens that glorified God.

Me: What’s your all-time favorite book? Speculative fiction book? Christian fiction?

JW: It’s impossible for me to choose one book as a favorite. One of my favorites is To Kill a Mockingbird. That story amazes me in so many ways. Even the title is perfect.

I read a few Christian romance novels that some ladies at my church were passing around. But the first Christian speculative fiction novel I ever read was Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. It opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me.

Me: What’s your favorite speculative genre to write? To read?

JW: I like to write medieval fantasy the most. It’s so much fun to create a new world with maps and languages and creatures. I like to read urban fantasy, though. Weird stories that take place in our backyards. It’s a lot of fun. And honestly, I read mostly young adult novels.

Me: If you could collaborate on a story with any author, who would it be and why?

JW: Umm. I don’t know how I’d do at something like that. I’m used to being the boss in my job. I might be able to write something with Jeff Gerke since I’ve been taking advice from him for the past two years. He’s brilliant about story and picking up on things I’ve totally missed. He could come up with the idea and I could draw the map.

Me: What is the "Jill Williamson" writing process? Outline first? Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants?

JW: I brainstorm first. I try to come up with an original premise. Then I try to come up with five sentences that encompass my beginning, my three act structure, and how the story will end. I spend some time coming up with character’s names and backstories, so I know who these people are. If it’s fantasy or science fiction, I must draw a map. If it’s contemporary, sometimes it helps to draw a floorplan of the main location. Then I’m ready to start writing. I try to write the whole story as fast as I can. In a month or less if possible. Then I can take my time fixing things and rewriting.

Me: What books and/or courses influenced your writing the most?

JW: Craft-wise, I learned the most from Randy Ingermanson’s Fiction 101 and Fiction 201 and from the book Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King. I also learned tons from reading fiction novels.

Part two of the interview will be posted tomorrow, so be sure to stop back. In the meantime, swing by the other tourists and see what they have to say:

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Sarah Flanagan
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher


KM Wilsher said...

John. I always have to run over here and see what you have to say. Great interview. Awesome questions.

Jill unveils more secrets I would never dreamed about her. Fashion? New York? LOL. I think she lives on the West Coast!

Jill Williamson said...

I live in Oregon now, Kathleen.
That picture of me just cracks me up. My son is almost nine years old already! Time flies.

Rachel Starr Thomson said...

Great interview! I loved it :). It's amazing what can happen when you decide it's OK to do something different in life!