Interview with William B Hill

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first serious piece of fiction that I ever tried to write was in the middle of high school. This was period of time where I realized that the only way I would ever be taken serious as a writer is if I wrote my own thing, rather than just playing the Star Wars universe in every hand. This is the point where I admit that I wrote fanfic, and where I also inform you that you'll never read that garbage. Nor will you ever read what I wrote in high school, because floppy discs weren't exactly the most sturdy medium for information storage.

This story existed in the middle of the night and in the free writing sessions of eleventh grade English class. It starred a thief whose name exists in future releases, and detailed an adventure that never came to life in England after a series of nonsensical wars that I knew nothing about. It was rife with cliches, and I won't lie, I enjoyed trying to write it. Considering that I never wrote more than twenty pages on "a series of five novels", it's not something I have a lot to say about. It was an important moment, but it was far from great writing, and even further from legitimate storytelling.

The first story I ever finished? Well...that was in college. And it was awful. I was never meant to write "literature".
What is your writing process?
Flexible. It involves pacing, talking to myself, scribbling, doodling, pages upon pages of nonsense in a medium sized notebook, outlines, and then, a horrific first draft. There is often coffee involved, various pastries, and sometimes Chex Mix. It's rather ugly.
How do you approach cover design?
This is a complicated question, because there are things I'd like to do with my cover design that require skills that I don't have. Namely, painting, drawing, and anything remotely artistic. I would like to think that I have some ability to approach typography with an inkling of talent, and that I can assemble something remotely pleasing to put on the cover. However, I have yet to unveil a cover that just oozes with perfection like the, just for example, the cover to Shadows of the Empire #1 published by Dark Horse Comics, or The Sound of Her Wings (issue seven of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman).
What are your five favorite books, and why?
And now I get to disappoint so many of you fine people with the reality that I have what is often considered "low brow" taste in fiction. Oh well, here we go, I guess.

In no specific order...

The Crying of Lot 49 -- Thomas Pynchon

One of the only books I read in college that stuck with me, my first exposure to Thomas Pynchon is quite possibly the most insane thing I've ever swallowed through my eyes. The language was mind blowing, and the form even more so. I'm not going to sit here and try to describe what it's like to read this book, so just run along and read it. It's not a long read, but it is one that will leave you scratching your head in the aftermath.

The Dark Tower -- Stephen King

I'll be cheating here, and just calling the collective Dark Tower series by Stephen King one of my favorites. So many people call "Lord of the Rings" if they have a favorite literary epic, but I can't help but sing praises to King's masterpiece of mixed-genre brilliance. Weaving dark fantasy and westerns together to tie a boatload of his other novels into one sick and insane universe is an inspired and rather pretentious move that spoke to me as a teen, and the experience has stuck with me ever since. I even like the oft scoffed at finale.

The Great Divorce -- C.S. Lewis

Often considered as Lewis' response to William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, The Great Divorce stunned me with its completely unique atmosphere. The bleak gray city of disturbed and shaky afterlife, and the journey within don't share much with Blake's epic poetry, it's definitely something to be experienced. Lewis is known for the Narnia novels, his Space trilogy, and Christian Apologetics. Mere Christianity is sitting on my Nook right now. I really should be reading it.

The Sandman -- Neil Gaiman

Why, yes, I will be counting a comic book series among my favorite books. Why not? It's essentially one colossal tale, and it's more literary than anything else I've ever read. The tale of Dream, and what happens after he is freed from imprisonment is one of my favorite stories, and I have nothing but fine memories of experiencing it. Does the fact that my fiance and I bonded over this story have anything to do with it? Maybe so. But that doesn't take anything away from the fact that this story is easily one of the greatest achievements of fantasy fiction in the past thirty years. Read it, and give it through the end of the first collection. I didn't know that I needed to read all of it until I read The Sound of Her Wings.

Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy -- Roger MacBride Allen

Any of my fellow nerds might have just cut their eyes at me, questioning my sanity as a member of their ranks. I'm sorry, but this was some of the earliest material I read from the Star Wars expanded universe, and I loved it. It's still a story that sticks out in my mind, and it everything that I wanted from Star Wars as a kid and even more. The Thrawn Trilogy is better in every way, and I'm not going to deny it, but it was The Corellian Trilogy that I go to first, and the first book series I read from top to bottom.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly space opera sci-fi. I just read Jam by Yahtzee Crowshaw, and sometimes I even read fantasy. I've read a small mountain of comic books as well, and I'm still hunting down the last twelve or so issues of Strangers in Paradise (Terry Moore) that I am missing.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a Nook. I don't have any interest in the Kindle.
Describe your desk
It is an ever changing thing. It has been my lap, the bench in a few buildings at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, several tables at The Lab in Lafayette, LA. I've even written on the balcony of the student union at UNCW while it was pouring rain, thundering and lightening, all the while listening to Aspera Hiems Symfonia by Arcturus.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest "book" is A Ballad of Wayward Spectres, and the origins of this story are still plastered all over the walls of a Chase bank in Scott, LA. I'm sure everyone knows about mobile banking applications. I just had a thought or two about those apps...and that turned into a novel idea about ten minutes later. I'll let you read the book for more details.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I don't know what how to describe how I feel about writing. It's an odd occupational choice that often involves inflicting a serious amount of violence and pain upon people you carved into the page with several hundred words. I can't deny that it's a fantastic process, and that I enjoy every second of it, but it's not exactly something that I can claim was joyful. It's exhilarating, rewarding, and finishing a project brings the widest grin to my face possible. It's not joyful. There are no joys. There are moments of horror and flashes of miraculous light. There isn't anything like it on this planet.
What are you working on next?
The next three volumes of Ballad are coming. There might be a couple of short stories throughout the wait for the rest of Alyson Reid's story. However, something bigger waits on the horizon.
Who are your favorite authors?
Neil Gaiman, Thomas Pynchon, Peter F. Hamilton, Terry Moore, Jeff Smith, Warren Ellis
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am engaged to an incredible woman who takes up most of the time, and I also play a lot of video games. I also blog about video games and movies...but that's writing too...

I love music, and I'm always seeking something new. The latest obsessions involve drone music.
Published 2013-12-19.
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Books by This Author

A Ballad of Wayward Spectres: Day 4
Series: A Ballad of Wayward Spectres. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 20,830. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
The final volume of A Ballad of Wayward Spectres, a four part cyberpunk serial.
A Ballad of Wayward Spectres: Day 3
Series: A Ballad of Wayward Spectres, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,980. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
The Penultimate Chapter of A Ballad of Wayward Spectres, a contemporary cyberpunk serial novel from William B. Hill.
A Ballad of Wayward Spectres: Day 2
Series: A Ballad of Wayward Spectres, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 17,860. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
After waking beneath bleak skies, Alyson searches for a way to clear her name. Her tools were destroyed in her escape from the Broadway Walk hotel, and the police are hot on her trail. Martin and Rich are searching for Tomas Dekare’s killer following a trail of clues that lead them to believe that there is more to their investigation than they previously thought.
A Ballad of Wayward Spectres: Day 1
Series: A Ballad of Wayward Spectres, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 18,560. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Alyson Reid fled from home at the age of seventeen, surviving off of the wealthy by stealing their identities and draining their bank accounts. After a banking executive is murdered, she inadvertently takes on his wife's identity, and draws the attention of the police and the bank's internal investigation staff.