Interview with R A Williams

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's more of a need. To avoid migraines, I have to burn off creative energy by composing music, writing, or doing something that involves taking something abstract and making it concrete. If I don't do it, I end up with a pretty miserable experience. When it comes to things I publish, I make sure to only select things are worth sharing. By that I mean ideas or perspectives that haven't yet been introduced.
What do your fans mean to you?
Many of them are people who have known me for a long time and are dear friends. But when something I write provides a useful insight to another human being, I feel as though we are connected through that idea. Being connected to other people is a near-universal human need, and kinship through ideas can be a very satisfying way of having it: the connection transcends time, space, and other types of community.
What are you working on next?
I've got a manuscript about 80% finished. It's called "7 Servants of the Toxic Emperor", and it's an extended analogy about manipulative, toxic, or controlling behavior in groups. It shows how people's instinctive responses to abusive or toxic behavior can sometimes perpetuate and encourage that behavior, and it provides some ideas about how to get out of toxic groups and enjoy a healthier life. I expect it to be ready in January or February 2017.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ouch, that's a loaded question. I'm a big fan of nonfiction and I really enjoy history. Carolly Ericsson is one of my favorite writers who specializes in Tudor-era England (one of my favorite periods). I'm re-reading Shelby Foote's account of the Civil War and also some classic books on management and financial prudence, such as "The Millionaire Next Door" by Stanley and Danko. For fiction I've recently been leafing through some Kipling and Marlowe.

When it comes to fiction, from time to time I binge on a particular author. During the binge, I burn through an entire series, read it several times, and eventually burn out. My first binge, as a child, was on William Shakespeare, followed by Piers Anthony. I've also binged on R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden series, Stephen King, and the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child collaborations.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The Chihuahua will stick her tongue up my nose if I don't.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy martial arts, gardening, hiking, exploring and hanging out with birds and other animals.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Some of them are recommended to me by friends and fellow authors.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
What is your writing process?
I relax, pour myself something to drink such as coffee or hot apple cider, and plunk myself down in front of the computer until I've hit my quota. Since I prefer to write nonfiction, I find I benefit from a goal, an outline, and a series of points that need to be made.

I've found that I'm best off if I write and then revise. If I revise while writing I tend to repeat myself and the manuscript will need to be more heavily edited than it would need to be otherwise. However I like to cite sources as I go. I've had to learn to stop peppering the manuscript with footnotes and endnotes. I find them useful but modern readers generally don't.

What doesn't work very well for me is converting other manuscripts into eBook format. I believe that, for me, starting out in eBook format and then converting the manuscript into other formats such as old-fashioned book manuscript format is going to be the way to go. I'm mildly frustrated by the difficulty of showing charts, graphs, and formulae in eBook format because, as a nonfiction writer, so much of the facts that support my conclusions are quantitative in nature and most compelling when presented visually such as with a graph.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Again, no I don't. I was taught to read at a very early age and was doing it by the time I was 18 months old. You could say my mechanical skills were a bit ahead of my memory skills. I do remember being traumatized by a tale of Tuki the Seal, which I can no longer find: some of the seals were eaten by killer whales. Likewise I recall my father being very unimpressed by my decision to act out the Dr. Seuss classic "Hop On Pop".
How do you approach cover design?
Generally I hire a professional to do it unless I have something very simple and text-based in mind.

It's a question of skill, of artistic talent, and on return on invested time. I can make music and words do whatever I wish, but when it comes to visual elements I've got some limits. I've got a decent eye for aesthetics, but a cover that would take me a full day of effort can be accomplished by a skilled graphic artist in about five minutes with better results.

Tatiana Villa did the cover design for "Sustainable Non-Profit Management", and I love it. The old drawing of the artesian well has a very deep symbolic meaning when it comes to how social capital works.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like history, biography, and technical books best.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My PC.
Describe your desk
I would if I could see the top of it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My father worked in construction management, so we moved around a lot. I was born in Missouri to an American father and a Canadian mother, and therefore refer to myself as an "anchor baby" every time I wish to annoy someone. We hopscotched around the United States and Canada for several years and didn't really settle down until my younger brother, who was born in Canada, started school. It definitely taught me to not get too attached to people, places, or things. The last three moves were all supposed to be permanent. Between first grade and twelfth grade I changed schools five times. So I got pretty good at watching people and how they behave in groups. We lived in the province of Alberta from about age four to about age twenty-four. After that, I moved back to the United States (cashing in on my "anchor baby" status) to live and work in New Mexico.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I put together everything I've learned about how to make a charitable venture run sustainably and operate in a healthy way. One of the things my family does is charitable work. You could call it part of our culture and lifestyle. Growing up surrounded by it, I saw how various kinds of charitable ventures operated, from the inside. Some of them were healthy, and some of them were less so. The reasons why a charity might be healthy (or not) actually boil down to just a few key factors.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Some of my online friends at a forum I frequent., found some of my forum posts entertaining and wanted to read more about non-profit management in particular. I happened to have most of a manuscript where I'd been collecting and storing ideas for several months. So I bundled it into something resembling an eBook format, bounced it around between some volunteer reviewers, and then released it.
Published 2017-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

7 Servants of the Toxic Emperor
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 76,580. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships & Family » Abuse / general, Nonfiction » Psychology » Addiction
This book contains a new analogy for dysfunctional and codependent groups of people: a medieval-style Toxic Court dominated by a troubled but unpredictable Emperor. Yet the Emperor's bad behavior is enabled by the seven different kinds of people who make up the Toxic Court: the Peasant, the Concubine, the Pimp, the Profiteer, the Courtier, the Saint, and the Executioner. All may be male or female.
Sustainable Non-Profit Management
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 129,060. Language: American English. Published: December 31, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Non-profit business, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Budgeting
This book is for people who want to run their church, charity, or other not-for-profit corporation in a responsible and sustainable way. Hard-hitting and explicit, it provides an introduction to non-profit business in the United States. It discusses the role of social capital in charity and contains instructions about how to write grant proposals, plan fundraisers, and prevent volunteer burnout.