Interview with William Driscoll

What is your latest book?
The Dark Gate. It’s the final book in a high fantasy trilogy, Godsfade.
Is your recent book part of a series?
It is. The series is called, Godsfade. I wrote it under the name, W.M. Driscoll. It’s not really about gods; name’s more ironic than descriptive. It *is* about all sorts of fantastic events and people though. I see it as a nine-book series, a trilogy of trilogies. The first three books in the set, The Living Gods, Awakening in the Hollow and The Dark Gate, are finished. The next two trilogies, Godsfade Ascendant and Godsfade Rebirth are still in the workshop getting their wheels put on.
What else have you written?
I’ve published a few short prose pieces over the years, done some ghost writing and scripts (plays and screenplays) but I've always thought of myself as a poet. Have six books of poetry out there published under William Driscoll, and a collected poems edition I'm very proud of.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Not often enough. Consider such things gifts from the muse and treat them accordingly. I had one character who started out as a plot device to help the protagonist accomplish some minor but important bit of business, then was supposed to disappear without explanation. Trouble was the character wouldn’t leave; he showed up later in the chapter, joined the main character and is now a POV character with his own story arc and an integral part in the series conclusion. Nobody asked me if that’s what I wanted, but that’s how it happened. Another one, a character I loved writing, stayed behind to help the main characters escape some evil. She was supposed to have died there. Later, one of the main antagonists even tells my POV character that she is dead, just to turn the knife a bit. Imagine my surprise when she turned up later in the book alive. My protagonist even tells her that the evil character said she was dead, to which she laughs and calls him a liar (an observation very true to his character). The whole thing shocked the hell out of me, but works beautifully for the story, I think.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
When it comes to writing in general, I love to write poetry. It comes to me naturally, like breathing; always has. I could no more stop it than stop my pulse. Has its downside, of course, especially in a time and place that values surface and money over depth and art. As for long prose, Dorothy Parker summed it up for me when she said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” I guess that’s it for me too. I enjoy putting the ### on the last page knowing I eked out everything I could with what I brought to it. Of course, I’ll doubt it all later and want to rework it, but for that moment, I can be content.
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
Not at all. I write organically, as if I’m on a journey each time and don’t know where it might take me. I do grow, shape and prune it as I go along, am more gardener than god, if you see what I mean. I always want to keep myself available mentally for lightning to strike, for a character to say or do something I hadn’t consciously intended, or an event to present itself in a different way. That’s when the magic happens. If the muse lights a fire in my mind and gives me one or the other, the ending or the title to start with (something that rarely happens), I’ll take it, but I won’t hesitate to change either as the full piece becomes clearer to me.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
When I was starting out, hawking scripts in L.A., an old pro gave me the best advice I ever got for any hard, lonely and often disappointing and depressing pursuit like writing. He said, “If you can do anything else. Do it.” It was only when I eventually realized that I couldn’t, that I became content with it.
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
Don’t know how candid I should be with this one. Let me put it this way, I’ve seen people who are artists at it all and who truly seem to enjoy it, but I don’t. I hate Twitter like crotch-rash. Facebook makes me itch. Feel like the poor cousin at the party on LinkedIn. The only thing about any of it that I can stand is meeting the occasional authentic human being and making a real connection. I can tolerate Pinterest and DeviantArt a little more than the others, I think, because I’m a frustrated artist. Would be painting nudes or landscapes instead of writing, if I had any artistic talent (and my wife would let me have young models running nude around the place). As it is, my stick figures don’t even resemble stick figures. I look at all the social stuff as a part of the job, I guess, and not my favorite part.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?
I don’t think poets get writer’s block, at least I don’t. That’s for diligent, disciplined and paid writers. We poets work mostly on inspiration, not perspiration. Since being a poet, for me, is a lifestyle choice as well as a vocation, I can merely live when I don’t feel like writing and that becomes my work too.
Would you like to write a short poem for us?
Only if you’ll answer the rest of the questions for me. Seriously, I couldn’t, even if I wanted to. After all these years, and hundreds and hundreds of poems, I can’t write poetry on demand. Maybe there are some prodigies or savants or prodigious craftspeople who can, and make it more than schlock, but not me. What I can do is share a short poem with you that I wrote for a poet friend. He’s an extreme minimalist in his writing, and one day decided it would be fun to take a poem of mine and cut it to the bone then share it with everyone. It was his subtle way of chiding me for being grandiose and verbose, two sins I’m particularly guilty of, by the way. So, I published a short, two stanza rhyming note for all to see addressing him as “Pith-master”- it went like this:

Pith–master must you take my vines
and rend them down to juice and rinds?
skimming off the vintage hue for whom
a thimble full will do?

Pith–master, Pith–master, such a wine
is only for the serpentine
Pith–master, Pith–master, such a hue
is for those pithy piths like you!

Questions and answers excerpted in part from the interview, "CHAT WITH W. M. DRISCOLL", 3/24/13, on Lisette's Writer's Chateau.
Published 2016-10-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Collected Poems of Driscoll
Price: $5.95 USD. Words: 34,710. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
Terracom Poets Series: The Collected Poems of William Driscoll.
Definitions of a Radical Centrist
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,400. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
"This collection is among the most caustic and politically charged of William Driscoll’s work. Filled with invective, anger, satire and slice, the poetry collected here highlights the darker side of human nature, the machinations for power, and the unintended consequences of greed and cupidity."
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,030. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
"From the first poem, a quasi Italian sonnet sequence with ever–increasing lines to swell each stanza to its conclusion, to a ballad in pigeon Middle English, to a song based on the rhythms and music of a Mozart Mass, the seven poems presented here take the reader on a romantic journey into timeworn fields filled with artists, lovers, sages and fools."
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,780. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
"In Rime, a collection of doggerel, whimsy and barb, William Driscoll turns his poetic sights on all things puffy, self–important and ridiculous. Cutting a wide swath of satire and mockery, the poetry in this collection ranges from the bawdy to the profane."
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,930. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
"A collection of his early work, though deeply personal, the poetry in Lyrics strikes the universal themes of young love, sorrow, joy, fear of death and the ache of longing that should touch a chord in every reader's heart."
Child's Play
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,360. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
My maternal grandfather, an Olympic gymnast, a sheriff, a self–educated lawyer, an elected judge and a commemorated race car mechanic for Louis Chevrolet in the early days of the Indianapolis 500, was also a lover (of poetry) and the books he gave me, yellowing tomes with his own favorite lines lightly underlined, were to stir in me a love of antique verse and sow the seeds of my juvenilia.
Square Holes
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,190. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
"With disparate themes ranging from social satire, to the agony of loss, to the search for spiritual meaning, these pages serve as square holes for poems that fail to fit into the more rounded concaves of his earlier or latter styles."