The Writing Life of: T.A. Williams
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author T.A. Williams, who will be sharing with us details of his writing life, telling us all about his latest book ‘Dreaming of Italy‘, which will be released on 7th May 2020 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
I was born and bred in Exeter and I did a Modern Languages degree at Nottingham University. After that I went abroad, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away down here in south west England. I love the place and I love Italy where I spent eight memorable years – and found my Italian wife. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes, thatched cottages, villas and vineyards in many of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador in memory of my dear old woofer.
I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair, it isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it.
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
As a child I wanted to be a writer. I know it’s corny, but I wrote my first “book”, The Lake Dwellers (44 handwritten pages in pencil), when I was 13. You will not be surprised to know that it remains unpublished.
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
Enid Blyton, Arthur Ransom (The Lake Dwellers was a shameless rip-off of Swallows and Amazons).
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
As above – pretty much from when I learned to write.
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
When I’m “in the zone”, I get up at 7.00 and am usually at my desk by 8.00. On a good day I can write 5,000 words, but I try to write at least 1,000. I spend most of the morning writing and then go for a long walk or cycle ride in the afternoon. When I’m between books, I feel quite lost, to be honest.
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
18. Book 19 (Dreaming of Italy) coming out on 7th May. I also have a thriller, two historical novels and a romance sitting in a file, waiting for me to do something with them.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Absolutely no question: pantser. I usually start a book knowing where it will be set, who the main protagonists are and that’s about it. If I’m lucky, it starts writing itself around a third of the way in.
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – Canelo
Pages – 304
Release Date – 7th May 2020
ISBN 13 – 978-1788639415
Format – ebook, paperback
Up for a dream promotion, Emma won’t let anything get in her way – not even love.
Working for a major Hollywood film company isn’t all glitz and glam. But when Emma gets sent to tour around Italy to scout the perfect location for a new blockbuster movie, she’s not going to complain. Especially when it could make or break her career…
Historical adviser for the project Mark is a distraction that Emma does not need. As they explore the beauty of Italy, Emma starts to fall for the mysterious Mark, and soon finds herself torn between her job and her heart.
From the wild, northern mountains of Piedmont, down the vibrant coast of Cinque Terre and through the rolling hills of Tuscany, Emma’s journey becomes one of self-discovery as she questions her priorities in life.
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
I’m married to an Italian and I lived in Italy for 8 years so the area I describe (pretty much all of northern Italy) is already quite familiar to me. If there’s anywhere I don’t know, I take a research trip (that’s what my accountant tells me to call holidays).
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
It varies. Believe it or not, Dreaming of Italy took exactly one month from conception to the end of the first draft (76,000 words). Others might take three to six months, depending on how slowly my aged brain is working.
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
In negotiation with my publishers, Canelo. Dreaming of Italy is the final book in the Dreaming of… series. Next series (first one coming out this autumn) will be Escape to Tuscany.
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
I tend to write from a female point of view and so, as I am a man, my girls tend to be fairly tough cookies. I would like to think they react to problems the same way I would. The men are 100 times more handsome than I will ever be (and half my age) and generally good guys. I have trouble writing nasty characters.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
After four decades of trying to get a publisher or agent interested in my work, I was finally picked up by a publisher five years ago. They look after all the nuts and bolts side of publishing my stuff.
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
As above, Escape to Tuscany will be a trilogy coming out over the next 12 months. Still romantic comedy. It’s what I like writing best.
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
Now I’m a pensioner, I would settle for rapid mobility – not quite as fast as The Flash, but the ability to get up and run around a bit more readily would be good.
2) Do you have any pets?
No longer. We used to have Labradors, but when our last one (the one and only Merlin) died, my wife was so cut up, she vowed never to have another. It was like losing a member of the family. This is why I always put a black Lab in all my books.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
“You Lucky Man” – and I am a very lucky man. I haven’t had to fight in any wars, I have found a wonderful wife and we have a lovely daughter. I live in a gorgeous part of the world (Devon). I make money out of doing something I love and I’ve never been out of work. I’m even fairly fit for my age.
4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?
I would be the eccentric Hollywood movie producer who refuses to wear green, doesn’t like shoes, eats steak without using a fork and meditates before each bowel movement. I’d love to be that wacky.
5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Italy, always. Preferably the coast of Tuscany.
6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
“I’ve brought you a bill.” And I quack up with laughter.
I would like to say a big thank you to T.A. Williams for sharing with us details of his writing life and for a wonderful interview.