Interview with Elgon Williams

Describe your desk
Functional for writing but little else. It's large enough for me to spread out my things should I need to. I have a stand for my MacBook the raises it to eye level and I have a keyboard plugged into the USB hub. (I don't like typing on a laptop keyboard). That's where I create things.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a farm in west central Ohio in southeastern Clark County. There was a woods behind my house and I spent a lot of time there. I was the last child and the only boy. Both my sisters were much older and didn't care to play with me all that often. There weren't a lot of kid who lived near me. So, I was left to my own devices for entertainment. Good thing I had an imagination, otherwise I would have been bored a lot. Somehow my imagination has survived growing up. That's why I write.
When did you first start writing?
I was pretty young, in the second grade. My teacher read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to the class and I was hooked on books after that. I started writing stories, just for me. Usually it was about the imaginary world I concocted every time I played. By high school I was fairly good at making things up. I'm probably a pathological lair who happen to use a medium that allows me to propagate my fantasies in a socially acceptable manner. I was on the HS newspaper staff and wrote a few stories along the way. By the time I started college I wanted to learn how to write for living. I studied journalism until I figured out I didn't like reporting news. Then I went into marketing and public relations.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A month or so after quitting a job I had for the previous four years I wrote a quirky story about an old lady who at first seems bat-crap crazy. It wrote the first two chapters on one sitting as a short story, then edited and revised over the next few hours. I posted it on a writing website and received some good feedback from fellow authors. Some encouraged me to write more stories about the characters and so the tale grew. A little over a year later I revised everything, added some continuity between the various pieces and I expanded the story a bit. I submitted it to a small publisher and they bought it. Yeah, it usually doesn't go that smoothly but this time it did.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My first two books were published through a small publisher. The books suffered a lot from a shoestring budget. They could have been edited much better. A second edition of the first book now exists. It's been edited and revised extensively and made into to eBooks. After that experience I experimented with self-publishing through some other sites. That didn't work out all that well either. Currently I'm under contract with a small publisher for two books. I have twenty manuscripts ready to publish, though. Some of my material the publisher may not want to acquire but still I intend to publish the work.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I've read a lot of the free material Mark Coker has written about publishing and marketing eBooks. That's helped me understand the publishing business a little better and develop the marketing aspects of author's brand that were lacking for me in the past.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the exhilaration of typing The End. However, I write so many serials, it doesn't seem that I get to type those two words all that often. Anyway, the moment is brief. It lasts until you have another idea. With me I usually have two or three other projects in the queue, so it's more like take a deep breath, go walk the dog, and then, move on to something new.
What do your fans mean to you?
I write for my readers. It's the only valid way to write. Otherwise you're composing a diary or a journal. Writing is ultimately an experience you share with the reader through a medium whether it is on paper or an eBook.
What are you working on next?
I'm revising the third through seventh books of a series I wrote in draft sometime ago called The Wolfcat Chronicles. I'm hoping to publish the first two books of that series early next year.
Who are your favorite authors?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is my favorite, even if I'm not all that fond of his later stuff, the things past Breakfast Of Champions. I also love Douglas Adams. I used to read a ton of sci-fi and fantasy. Frank Herbert, Ursula K. Leguinne, Samuel R. Delaney are on my short list of favorite authors. I also like Stephen Donaldson.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing the next page. Sometimes I have to pause first to jot down a dream I just had, but usually I have everything planned out in advance.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm also a publicist. So I'm figuring out marketing strategies and publicity angles to improve the publicity for my clients who are authors.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I know a lot of authors. I heard about the best books through the grapevine. Sometimes, someone approaches me with a new book they want me to read and review. I've been doing a lot of that lately.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Well, that's one of those serials I'm still working on. So, yes I remember it because I have been living with it everyday since I began the journey of writing it.
What is your writing process?
I fly by the seat of my pants developing characters through dialogue. Then I go back and feather in details, settings and other descriptives. Sometimes I will complete an entire draft without an outline. To me outlines are effective in creating structure and patterns in the story that are useful for evolving the plot from the initial conflict. I have written with the outline first but I prefer to allow the characters to tell me their story. Then I impose structure on the book during revisions or substantive editing.
Published 2014-04-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.