Interview with Jay Williams

What inspires you to write?
As a kid, I was terrible in English class (btw, I did great in my first German class). I absolutely hated having to diagram sentences and figure out what a past participle had to do with what I said. However, I loved telling stories. So it wasn’t until I got to my first year of college that I ran into an English teacher that understood me. After my first writing assignment he called me in and talked to me and wondered what was going on. I must have said something clever, because after that he told the class that our writing assignments would have two grades: one for grammar/structure the other for content. In other words, while other students wrote impressive papers that got every gerund and comma in perfect alignment, my stories excited people and kept them reading. And thanks to that English teacher, I not only passed his class with a B (thanks to his new grading style), I was inspired to try writing for fun instead of just for class.
Tell us about your writing process.
When I first began writing I wrote everything down on a notepad, then would type it so that it was readable to others (I have atrocious penmanship). Eventually I could afford a computer so I would still use the notepad, but with a computer I no longer had to master “whiteout” or correction tape. Whew. Nowadays, I seem to take my iPad to coffee shops and write down the story there, but then transfer it to my computer where I flesh it all out. I still occasionally will wake up in the middle of the night and write something down on paper. Invariably though I wake up the next morning and have a hell of a time reading what I wrote. Maybe I should put my iPad next to the bed.
What's the story behind your latest book?
When I was a little kid, I remember going to my grandmother's house and discovering she had a bunch of TV/Movie gossip magazines. After making sure the adults were not looking, I'd grab a few and browse through them. I was mainly excited by the provocative pictures (I had a pretty strait-laced family and hey, I was a kid), but some of the stories caught my eye too. Years later I thought about these magazines and realized there existed a disconnect between Midwesterners like my Grandma and the Hollywood types. I decided to write about how we all have different ideas about each other and sometimes, they can shape our lives and beliefs. "Writing Trash and Hunting Buffalo" shows what happens when a man who has lived by these stereotypes and hates the ones he has of Tinsel Town people soon becomes similar to them.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Years ago I took a screenwriting class and the instructor urged us to use character profile sheets to get a better picture of what made that character tick. I would include items like scars, facial tics, odd habits. I began using these for all my writing endeavors, from short stories to books and found that I was soon not only visualizing them, but I was often having them over for dinner or running into them at bars. Well, in my mind anyway. Half the time I talk to myself is really me talking to them as opposed to making some snarky comment about something I just encountered.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you want to write to gain fame and fortune, you’d be better off trying to get on American Idol instead. Write because you like to tell stories (or whatever internal reason you may have).
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions,” Douglas Adams “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Ludlum’s “Bourne” series, everything by James Thurber. I also was inspired by Leon Uris, James Michener, Mark Twain… Darn, the list could go on, but those are in the top bracket.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had been sending my manuscripts out with little success, but believed strongly in the stories. So I had a few bucks left over after taxes and decided to give eBooks a try. Sure, I’ll never be a legend but at least my voice will be out there with everyone else.
What advice would you give other writers?
There’s a great passage in “QB VII” by Leon Uris that explains what I think writers need to do:

“It came my time to speak at the banquet. I studied the tense, eager faces as I approached the rostrum. “Who here wants to be a writer?” I asked. Everyone in the room raised his hand. “Why the hell aren’t you home writing?” I said, and left the stage. That ended my career in writers’ seminars.”
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Well, there will always be a place for paper books because when you go hiking in the backwoods it’s pretty impractical to take your e-Reader with you. However, looking at how much phone usage has changed the way we communicate verbally, I have to believe that eBooks will eventually have a bigger place in our personal libraries. The last five books I read were on my iPad. I can carry hundreds of them in that little thing.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Wish I had a best method. I’ve used Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, et al and have not noticed any change in sales.
What are you working on next?
I have several books I’m working on, both are mystery/adventure style books and follow-ups to my “Tax Break,” which is about a man who planted a bomb at the IRS and is chased cross-country by the Feds and an Austin cop. I'll also continue to blog to keep honing my short-form writing (well, and to get my opinion out in the world).
Published 2017-03-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Writing Trash and Hunting Buffalo
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 86,440. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
What happens when you turn into the thing you most abhor? "Writing Trash and Hunting Buffalo" tells of a man who reports on the glitter set he despises, but through several tragic events that catapult him into the limelight, soon becomes similar to them. Can this conflicted man survive the constant struggle for his soul and the incessant barrage of corrupt lifestyles of the Hollywood elite?