Recently, I met Simon Williams over on social media, and after a brief chat, we agreed he had to come on the blog and tell us more about him and his work. I hope you enjoy this informative interview.
Interview with Simon Williams, author of the Aona Series
Share about yourself
I’m a writer of fantasy / sci-fi (with elements of other genres) based in the UK
Share about your work
I’ve been scribbling stories for as long as I can remember, and it’s pretty much the only thing I’ve ever felt any sort of talent for. I just find it easy to imagine worlds and characters and situations and it all stems from there. I’ve written three books in the Aona dark fantasy series so far, and the fourth should be out fairly early in 2015. I’ve also written a novel “Summer’s Dark Waters” aimed mainly at a younger audience- although so far a lot of adults have been enjoying the book as well.
Summer’s Dark Waters is quite a deviation from the path trodden so far with the Aona books. For one thing it’s geared towards all ages 10+ (roughly speaking) and the two main characters are eleven-year old kids. It also bridges a number of genres- fantasy / sci-fi / supernatural, with some elements of horror.
Tell us about your writing style
I guess I’m after readers who appreciate and even devour complexity, who aren’t easily satisfied and who have the imagination to visualise my universe. I’m also not afraid to cross the “boundaries” of genre and I’m not really a fan of the constant pigeonholing of books into genres that seems to fascinate so many people.
I try to meld a succinct narrative with plenty of atmosphere, allowing the reader the space to have their own vision of the worlds I create.
What do you find challenging about the writing life?
People who aren’t writers themselves tend to be puzzled by it- I’ve often been asked why I bother doing what I do. I guess these people don’t realise that it’s a kind of calling really. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember and I can’t see myself ever stopping. I guess they just can’t get their heads around the whole thing.
If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?
Any place with nice hot weather and a beautiful beach is fine for me. If I can swim every day that always helps for some reason (I get a lot more writing done when I’m on holiday)
When asked to set goals, what do you see( for yourself or current WIP) in five years with your writing?
By then I would hope to have certainly completed the Aona series (just one more to do after Book 4) and the next major series for which I have quite a few notes written. This will be quite different to the Aona books (in fact it may turn out not to be fantasy at all- I have a distinct vision of the setting for it, and it doesn’t really fit into any recognised genre). I also have a collection of short stories which I’m still putting together (it’s taking more time than I hoped as I keep tinkering with some stories, and changing my mind about which should be included at all). I may also add a few new ones, so that keeps changing all the time.
Then there’s the sequel to Summer’s Dark Waters. It’s set a year and a half after the events in Summer’s Dark Waters, and things are different in all sorts of ways (although I don’t want to give any spoilers). I’m a bit surprised that I’m writing it, but then again I was actually surprised I even finished Summer’s Dark Waters- it was the first children’s book I’d written and it was quite a departure for me. Maybe the second one will be a little easier, although these things are never that easy!
So I have lots of projects going on, all at varying stages (some quite embryonic)
What are you reading right now?
Shadowrise by Tad Williams
Who is your favorite author?
I don’t have a single one, but there are several who’ve definitely shaped my work and helped me to keep going. The author who made me decide to become a fantasy writer was Alan Garner, so he was certainly the most profoundly influential writer during my childhood. But I don’t have an absolute favourite as such- I deeply admire the powerful imagination of Clive Barker, the Celtic-tinged high fantasy faerie-tales of Cecilia Dart-Thornton, the violent but beautiful prose of Poppy Z Brite, the grim struggles chronicled in the books of George R R Martin, the sparse but energetic futurism of Ian Irvine… as you can see, I could go on and on.
Give a bit of advice for an aspiring author.
Ask yourself if you would continue writing for the rest of your life, even if you never made money from it. If you want to make big money from it- don’t bother. Find a day job. But if you see it as a calling and love what you do, regardless of financial gain, keep going, and keep going. If you do make any money from it, see it as a bonus, not the destination. In fact I don’t see it as a calling with a destination- the journey is far more important.