Interview with William Petersen

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When not writing, I'm an avid fisherman and outdoor person. I love camping, hiking or just sitting next to a lake or river. I try to spend as much time outdoors as I can, whether it be next to a fire, stargazing in the back yard or chasing allusive bass and whopper catfish on the water. My writing is heavily influenced by the natural world, which provides endless inspiration for science-fiction, fantasy and horror.
Who are your favorite authors?
Some of my favorite authors include Stephen King, Piers Anthony, Larry Niven, Michael Crichton, Isaac Asimov, Jerry Pournell, Dean Koontz, Tolkien, Robert Ludlum, David Morrell, H.G. Wells, Clive Barker, Arthur C. Clarke and many, many more...
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
"Mythical", my urban fantasy short story, was the first real fiction story I ever wrote. While I was writing non-fiction at the time, I soon learned that fiction was an entirely different animal. The story has had several incarnations and revisions, and after struggling with the story for more than two years, I was fortunate enough to have a legend in the fantasy genre, Piers Anthony, take interest in it and guide me. I also received a great deal of help from producer and voice actor, Steve Williams, who narrated and produced the audiobook. Steve really helped me fine-tune the piece to flow smoothly as an audiobook. To this day, it is still my personal favorite.
Do you have any published works?
I've had stories appear in anthologies from The Bearded Scribe Press and JWK Fiction, as well as in Nebula Rift, Under the Bed, Far Horizons and Calamities Press Literary magazines.
What is your writing process?
I typically start with just an idea and try to formulate a general outline from that, expanding it with details as I develop them. I keep the outline as a reference and guide, but once I start writing, the stories often take on directions of their own.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Social media and paid advertisements have been the most effective for me so far. Facebook groups, Twitter, the Kindle Boards, World Literary Cafe, Stumble Upon and the Goodreads ad program are just a few of the marketing options I use.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading science and technology books and magazines (National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, etc..) and as far as fiction, I really love science-fiction and horror.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To be perfectly honest, the sun. When I see the sun, regardless of how tired I am or how little sleep I've had, when that first sunbeam hits me, I'm up. Then, of course, my drive to write and tell stories takes over, often motivated by the weird dreams I had overnight.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I really enjoy the story, because I become lost in it. I have to take care to edit everything I write several times, because I often get so caught up in the story that is developing, I forget all about grammar and writing conventions. Nothing is more vivid or more moving than the images I can evoke within my mind's eye, and when combined with an interesting story, the result is an immersion that cannot be had with movies, music or through modern-day graphics.
How do you approach cover design?
Trial and error. As with my stories, even a careful, well planned design theme often takes on a life of its own, once started. I typically start with a blank slate and just the title, then I create graphic after graphic, testing different colors and effects, until I get an image that matches the story inside. I know one should never judge a book by its cover, but I do think that a book cover should, at the very least, hint at the subject matter within.
What do your fans mean to you?
As a fiction writer, fans are everything to me. I would still write, even if no one read a single word, due to my internal need to do so. However, when I took the steps which led to self-publication, I was seeking to earn the highest reward a writer can receive, a receptive audience and praise from readers; or, in a word, fans. I write because I enjoy it, and I'm terribly unhappy if I don't. I publish, because I want to share that writing and hopefully, grow a fan base of my own.

Fans make a professional writer. I rely on fans, and their reviews, to guide my words. Without fans, I am merely writing, with them, I am a writer. Without readers, I'm casting words into the wind...
What are you working on next?
I have three longer works in progress at the present time, along with four more short stories, all of which I hope to have published by year's end. Some are completed but tied up in submissions at the moment, as I'm actively trying to increase my publishing credits this year as well. Stay tuned... there is much more to come!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up, and still live in, Eastern Missouri just outside of St. Louis. Living in the midwest has instilled in me a great respect and love for nature. I am fortunate to live in an area surrounded by state parks, lakes, rivers and protected natural areas, and these locations are where I find the majority of my inspirations for writing. Some of the most amazing stories imaginable are played out everyday, right under our noses, within the natural world...
Published 2015-11-04.
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Books by This Author

The Lights of Ceres
Price: Free! Words: 5,920. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(2.50 from 2 reviews)
A trio of explorers land on the asteroid, Ceres, in hopes of explaining the mysterious lights detected on its surface, only to discover more questions than answers.
Extremophiles
Price: Free! Words: 5,290. Language: English. Published: February 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
An advanced species emerges from the depths of a gas giant to take its first steps towards space exploration. On a small, rocky moon covered in ices and dotted with lakes of methane, the discovery that life is not unique in their solar system is overshadowed by its implications.
The Interview
Price: Free! Words: 2,750. Language: English. Published: May 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The leader of an enigmatic and secret cult arrives at a television studio to reveal his message: "They Are Close."
Teleporting While Intoxicated
Price: Free! Words: 3,520. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(3.50 from 2 reviews)
An alien race is slowly taking over our planet but not the way either species expected...
Peeping Tom
Price: Free! Words: 4,440. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
A voyeur sees more than he bargained for, and the show isn't over yet...
Ringshine
Price: Free! Words: 7,850. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
What if our quest to explore other worlds uncovers something that doesn't want to be found?
In Plain Sight
Price: Free! Words: 750. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
The invasion of Earth is well under way. The invaders are biding their time and increasing their numbers, hiding right in front of us; hiding in plain sight...
Drifter
Price: Free! Words: 1,010. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00 from 1 review)
I drift. It's what I do. I float along, searching for you. You are my purpose, my one and only goal, and I am very patient. We are drifters, you and I...
Trap Door
Price: Free! Words: 980. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(3.00 from 1 review)
A surreal flash-fiction story to stir your mind and make you think..
Breaking the Cycle
Price: Free! Words: 6,340. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
An offshoot species of parasite, normally only found in amphibians, has evolved to include humans in its bizarre, three-stage life cycle, which causes the host to grow extra limbs and other body parts. Is there a way to break the cycle and stop the decline of the human race, or will phobia, paranoia and fear blind us and seal our fate?
Errant Shot
Price: Free! Words: 7,930. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(3.00 from 1 review)
A meteor falls to Earth, exploding high in the atmosphere and wreaking havoc on the ground. An amateur rock hunter discovers a piece of the interstellar visitor and cashes in on the find, only to learn that it is much more than just a rock...
Tycho Wept
Price: Free! Words: 2,510. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.50 from 2 reviews)
There may be life on other worlds... Will we ever find it? Will we destroy it in the process of looking?
Mythical
Price: Free! Words: 23,230. Language: English. Published: November 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(3.00 from 2 reviews)
NOT a typical fantasy... - At the top of the world, two unlikely participants are drawn into an ancient conflict that will ultimately determine the future of mankind... -