The Writing Life of: GB Williams
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author GB Williams. GB Williams will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Locked Down‘, which was released on 18th February 2019 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
GB Williams specialises in complex, fast-paced crime novels, book one of the Locked Series, “Locked Up”, was released in 2017, “Locked In” published in Feb 2018, and “Locked Down” Feb 2019.
GB Williams was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition with the story Last Shakes, now available in Last Cut Casebook. Crime novels are her stock in trade, but she has had success with short stories in other genres including steampunk, horror, and erotica. She has also penned her debut steampunk novel, she launched in September 2017. And she hates every photo ever taken of her.
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
No, I don’t think I did really. I always wanted to write, but never thought that would be a real job, not for the likes of me. People from council houses didn’t do stuff like that, so I didn’t waste time expecting that I could ever do that. Besides, I was good at maths and logic, so that was the way I went, a job, not a dream.
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
Well, there were some odd ones. The youngest memories are of books by Enid Blyton, some of the Famous Five and Secret Seven. I read the Malory Towers series too, but honestly back then I’d read so much it’s hard to remember who and what I did read.
The books that I remember most – because I’ve struggled to get hold of them as an adult – were “Fattypuffs and Thinifers” and “Bottersnikes and Gumbles”. Move up a few years and the first series I remember really getting into was the Fighting Fantasy books from Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston. Then there was Louise Cooper – The Master Trilogy, which remains one of my favourites.
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t “want” to be a writer, I AM a writer. And publication makes little difference to that. The thing is, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s something that I do.
I’ve tried not doing it and I can’t, not writing drives me nuts. So it was always just there, which means there was never that Road to Damascus moment for me. Though in all honesty, it’s only in the last 7 years that I really started taking writing and publication seriously, after I got made redundant in 2012. I’d been half-heartedly doing stuff since I was a teenager, but at that point I started actually being more professional about getting published, getting an agent, getting paid.
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
If only! I don’t think that I have a typical writing day because the day job (yes I was made redundant, but I got another job) and life interfere too much. But I think about writing all the time. If I get a sudden flash of inspiration, I’ll write it down. I usually have a notebook on me for that, but I’ll use anything, including eyeliner on a paper napkin one memorable time – it got blurry, wouldn’t recommend it. And now I have a smart phone, that comes in handy, so I can write and email myself with the result.
Then I come home and if there’s time, I’ll open my laptop and get on, but there’s not always time and I do have a home life that needs to be elbowed in. Just realised that for the first time in a long time – I don’t have a pile of ironing to get done. Yay! I also have to admit that that is because my daughter did a load of ironing for me last night. I have to say as well, that I have a very supportive husband who has brought me a mobile office. Oh, okay, he’s brought us a camper-van so we can go wherever we want and he can take his bike and do what he enjoys in the great outside, and I have somewhere I can write without interruption. I love writing in the van. (The two photos were from the last trip away.)
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
Ah well, five published (six if you include the collection of short stories). On top of that, I have at least ten completed novels, many of which will never see the light of day again, oh and that excludes the ones that I wrote so long ago they are locked on 3.25inch floppy disks that I can’t get to. I have one completed novel that is out with a publisher at the moment, one needs an edit to bring it up to date before I start pushing it out into the markets, there’s one I’ve just come up with a new title for, and I want to go through that again to ensure that the title is supported more clearly by the narrative. And one that’s at draft 2 level and in need of some tender loving care. Add to that I have about 10 additional books which I have ideas for, but no time to write.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a bit of both. I tend to do a rough plot, and then as I write in a rather disjointed manner, I often forget where the plot was going and the characters go do something I didn’t expect, and where possible I keep those creative gems. Sometimes I just write and see what happens, then plot during the first edit to make sure it all strings together properly.
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – HanWill Publishing
Pages – 270
Release Date – 18th February 2019
ISBN 13 – 978-0957343948
Format – ebook, paperback
What DCI Piper dredges up when investigating the cold case of Terrence Whittaker’s disappearance is unexpected and unwelcome – especially when it links to a current missing persons case.
Charlie Bell’s only goal in life is ending the tyranny of the Mansel-Jones crime family.
While Ariadne Teddington recovers after a car crash, her missing brother’s case is reopened, and a past she has always struggled to deal with comes back to haunt her.
Finding the new lodger isn’t who she was expecting makes life a rollercoaster she can’t get off.
What will it take to get a criminal locked down for once and for all? Can the present overcome the past? And can any of them afford the price?
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
Google is my friend – as long as the CIA never look at my browser history, then it could put me in orange jumpsuits for the rest of my life!
I am also very lucky to have made a number of good connections with serving police officers, so I can (when I remember) check details. I also look at textbooks and procedure books, I’ve done a couple of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in forensics and dealing with witnesses. For the latest book I had a long chat with a DCS about cold cases.
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
Well that very much depends on what else I have on. One thing about writing is that sometimes you have to put aside the projects you want to be working on for the projects you need to be working on. So it can be anything from 3 months to 3 years. Generally speaking, if I were working full time as a writer, I’d say I can do a book in under 6 months. And I look forward to the time when I can do just that.
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
“Locked Down” came easy because it’s the third book, following “Locked Up” and “Locked In”, and in this instalment the villain through the trilogy is finally brought down. That said, I do usually struggle to come up with titles.
There’s a distinct list of things I find difficult – Synopsis (almost as time consuming as writing the book), Blurb (difficult, but doable), Title. One of the earlier questions referred to my renaming a manuscript, that book was written ten months ago, and I had a title, but when I looked on Amazon, there were three other books with the same title.
With that in mind I’ve known for a while that it needed a new title, but didn’t know what to go with. Then on Saturday, while driving, I realised what title would work, which is why I’ve got to make sure that the narrative supports that, I think it does already, but I have to check.
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Charlie’s kind of messed up. At heart, he’s a good man. Wants to do the best he can, be the best man he can be. Everything he’s done was always done for what he considered was the best, but he’s never seen himself as good enough. All the things that make life worth living came to him in the worst circumstances, at times when he really wasn’t in a place to make the most of the opportunity. He’s been caged by circumstances, to the point that he doesn’t know which way to turn for the best.
DCI Piper is a dyed in the wool police officer. He understands the intention of the law as well as the letter and he knows where rules can be bent, how they can be broken if necessary. He’s a family man devoted to his wife and kids, who he suspects understands him just a little too well. He’s a loyal friend, still has a great deal of respect for Charlie even after what he did.
Ariadne Teddington is a bit of a lost soul. Happy and married with a child, the world turned upside down when her daughter suffered a cot death and her husband divorced her. Since then she’s drifted, doesn’t know what to do with herself. So she went home to mum, a friend suggested the job as a prison officer, and helping take care of others eased her heart, but even that got taken away.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
“Locked Down” was self-published, which tends to mean that I did everything, and only have myself to blame. I did have it professionally edited, twice. Then I edited so it’s bound to be strange. And of course I got a professional cover created. Then there was the KDP upload, which really isn’t as difficult as people seem to think.
Problem is that yesterday someone pointed out a typo, and I suspect there are a lot more. While I love that I have people who will tell me this stuff, it’s rather depressing to think that I’ve put something out there that’s not perfect. Thankfully, that’s one thing that’s great about KDP – I can change it! And I will.
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
Right now, I’m working with Third Time Lucky Productions to record a Christmas audio play. It should make you laugh, in a dark, farcical kind of way. It was an odd experience, the first play I’ve written since leaving school, and since the process was much quicker than novel writing, it actually feels more collaborative too. I’m also working with an American Publisher, Aethon, on my steampunk romantic crime series, and that’s taking up a fair amount of time.
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
You’re not, strangely, the first to ask this, and I still don’t really know what the answer would be. Possibly some form of telekinesis so that I can literally do multiple things at once. There’s always more to do than I have time to get done, so yeah, that sounds like a good one.
2) Do you have any pets?
Oh yes. A cat, she’s imperious, and demanding and she’s not very happy if I give more attention to my writing than her.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
“Big Blue Alien”
Weird right? Well there’s a reason. I was born blue, i.e. lacking in oxygen and I had to go into an incubator for an hour or so to correct my oxygen levels.
We all know where the incubators are, and who usually uses them. My mother tells me that compared to all these tiny perfect little pink premature babies, I looked like a big blue alien. So basically I’m a frost giant, same breed as Loki.
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?
Well I guess I’d be a face in the crowd somewhere. Possibly a reader/receiver in the incident room, I’m used to sitting in front of a screen and I couldn’t trip myself up doing that!
5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Well, the thing is, I like going to new places, so I tend to go somewhere different each time, which is one of the reasons for the camper van. I especially like going to Scotland, and would very much like to drive the Great Glen again, which is something we did during our honeymoon 27 years ago and I would like to do it again.
6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
“I’ve arrived! Where am I?” Splat, deep purring.
I would like to say a big thank you to GB Williams for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.
GB Williams Author links