Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about JM Williams in his featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
I’m sure I was listening to music when the idea hit me. That’s when I get most of my story ideas, driving in the car and a certain tune or lyric offers me a vision. I don’t know what song inspired this one, but it all started with the image of an explosion and the blast halting right before the character’s face as he paused time.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Amed is a bit lost, understandably. He is an immigrant, dealing with all the baggage that label brings in this day and age. He also recently suffered a major loss, one of the people closest to him. On the flip side, he has discovered a superpower of sorts. I think it’s all a bit much to deal with.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
I haven’t created a world per se, but rather modified the real world just enough to allow Amed to explore his situation and feelings. I think my characters are interesting because they are not just the cultural caricatures you find on TV. They have flaws and motivations and reasons for doing what they do.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
The story could best be described as magical realism, or perhaps literary-superhero fiction. I like to think the story is a bit literary, in that it deals with real world issues.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
I work in the national security field, so understanding the motivations of terrorism is important to me. It’s critical t to not oversimplify the problem, to understand that human dynamics are always in play. Other than that, my love of fantasy and superheroes definitely had an influence.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
That there are different ways to deal with loss, but ultimately, one must make a choice on how they will carry on.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
The opening scene by far. It all starts with the explosion, literally. That’s where the idea came from, and that’s where I started writing. I had a good time writing all that description. And plus, in the end I get to save those people through Amed. Talk about living vicariously.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I started writing in elementary school. I had a 6th grade teacher who encouraged me to write more, who praised my writing (as grim and gastly as it was). That encouragement stays with me still today. The first full short story I wrote was in 6th grade, and was an amalgam of material knocked-off from video games and Magic the Gathering. I actually found it recently and scanned to my blog: https://jmwilliams.home.blog/2017/12/01/dakkar-of-the-outworld-my-writing-roots-vol-2/
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
The only thing I like to have when I write is a muse. I am the sort of worker who gets tunnel vision on a project. The more emotionally drawn to the topic, the deeper I fall. If the mood is right, I can write for four hours straight or more, without even getting up to go to the bathroom. On the other hand, I dislike having to force the writing when there is no inspiration. Sure, the prose comes out fine, but the experience is not as thrilling.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
People. Peers and teachers and mentors. When I was younger, it was the teachers. My 6th grade teacher was the first to highlight and encourage my writing. She let me write horror stories during class journal time. In college, I took a couple short story writing classes, both with the same instructor. The classes were focused on literary writing, but he let me write the sort of puply, action stories I wanted to. In fact, he seemed happy to have some variety in the class. Now that I am a professional of sorts, and more established, I’m actually influenced more by the younger writers I mentor, rather than by my peers.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Times New Roman. What sort of barbarian do you take me for?
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
Can I recommend my own? Ha. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDMQXJ7OP4M)
I don’t actually read a lot about writing. I just do it. I read Stephen King’s On Writing, which is mandatory at this point, but also impressive. I was surprised to see just how much he violated his own rules in his early books. “Kill your darlings.” I think about a third of IT should have been amputated. My writing and podcasting partner Richie Billing often has good tips and information on his blog, Richiebilling.com. In the end, though, I find I tend to learn more by teaching.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
Favorite: “irregardless” – I have a strong dislike of grammar nazis and absolutists. Only Sith deal in absolutes, after all. This sort of word, and one’s reaction to it, is sort of a litmus test.
Dislike: “receive” – I misspell this word more often than I should. Can we just stop with the “I before E” and just standardize our spelling? It’s been what, 950 years or so since the Normans invaded and gave the English language an identity crisis? I think the time has come to move on, Merriam-Webster. You know, Korean is so much simpler.
JM Williams is the author of In the Valley of Magic, Call of the Guardian, and other works of fantasy and science fiction. He has published around forty-five short fiction pieces in a range of venues including Over My Dead Body! Mystery Magazine, The Arcanist, and The New Accelerator, and has earned five Honorable Mentions in the Writers of the Future Contest, among other awards. He is the head of Fiction Vortex’s high fantasy StoryVerse, Of Metal and Magic, managing an international team of writers. He lives in Korea with his wife and cats. Follow him online at www.jmwilliams.home.blog.
ON TIME is coming in Summer 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.