Monday, August 19, 2013

Interview with W. B. J. Williams, author of The Garden at the Roof of the World - August 19, 2013

Please welcome W. B .J. Williams to The Qwillery. The Garden at the Roof of the World will be published on August 30th.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

WW:  Thank you so very much for having me.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

WW:  I started when I was twelve. I wrote what today would be considered Lord of the Rings fan fiction. It was horrible, and I hope that no copy exists for anyone to find. I also started writing poetry.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

WW:  I like to listen to music that the characters in my story might be listening to or singing while I write. I developed quite the collection of modern rendering of the music of the troubadours, which I listened to extensively while writing The Garden at the Roof of the World.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

WW:  I'm a plotter who is not afraid to step out of my plans when I realize that my understanding of the character's and their motivations has grown since I started writing. As I want the character's decisions to be real, I use this improved understanding to change my carefully developed plans.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

WW:  Authenticity. I want my characters and their setting to be believable. To me this means I'm helping them travel into the world the way it was 800 years ago, encountering people and attitudes as foreign to us as if we'd traveled to another planet. Trying to understand how people thought 800 years ago, bring that to a modern audience, make that understandable and keeping the characters sympathetic to a modern reader was incredibly hard. Our attitudes have changed so very much over the last 800 years.

TQ:  Describe The Garden at the Roof of the World in 140 characters or less.

WW:  The Garden at the Roof of the World is a historical fantasy epic, with vivid characters and a thrilling, romantic story that spans cultures and continents.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Garden at the Roof of the World?

WW:  My eldest daughter used to demand a new bed time story each night. In telling her the story of a young woman chosen by the unicorns to save the life of the eldest unicorn, I realized I had the beginnings of a very adult story about love and devotion. I set it in the mid 13th century, as this was the time when the idea of marriage for love was new and exciting. With Gwenaella, I had a character who wanted nothing more than to marry her beloved but is thrust into a sacred quest of healing that will challenge her to question everything she's ever known about faith and love.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Garden at the Roof of the World?

WW:  I read the songs and literature of the mid thirteenth century. I was very surprised at how much has survived, and even more surprised at how much was written by women. We're always taught that women weren't allowed to publish before the modern era, but many of the medieval authors and poets were women. I read histories about the era, anthropological studies of the cultures and I made a study of the writings of all the philosophers and sages that my characters would encounter in their journey. I wanted the history, culture and mythology of the medieval era to be as accurate as possible.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

WW:  This is a hard question. They were all hard at some point or other. I think the hardest character to write was Kavundi, as writing her meant understanding the thoughts, motivations and feeling of a 13th century Hindu ascetic. This required a lot of research as it is important to me to convey my characters as real people from the 13th century, with 13th century attitudes, motivations, aspirations, etc.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Garden at the Roof of the World?

WW:  I've always loved the scene where the women are attacked by the bandits outside of Paris. Here I get to showcase Adelie as a brilliant and fierce warrior, Elise's first attempt to create a song of her own, and show the depths of compassion that is at the core of Gwenaella. It also cements the the friendship of the three women for each other.

TQ:  What's next?

WW:  I've got a novel I'm hoping to publish about a hacker set in the near future, and I'm writing a historical fantasy about a pacifist wizard in Paris on the eve of World War One.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

WW:  You are very welcome. Thank you for having me as your guest!

The Garden at the Roof of the World

The Garden at the Roof of the World
Dragonwell Publishing, August 30, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 374 pages
To save her brother's life Gwenaella risks her own in a magical forest to seek a unicorn’s healing magic. But the remedy comes with a steep price. She must commit to a perilous journey through Europe, the Middle East, India, to the high mountains of Tibet, to seek the hidden Garden at the Roof of the World and pluck a fruit that would restore the father of all unicorns to health. Joined by a few trusted followers called by the unicorns’ magic, she will face many dangers on her epic journey. To succeed, Gwenaella must find a balance between faith, friendship, and love and discover the true meaning of sacrifice.

The Garden at the Roof of the World is a stunning debut fantasy epic in a rigorously historical 13th century setting, with vivid characters and a thrilling, romantic story that spans cultures and continents.

Cover: Howard David Johnson

About W. B. J. Williams
[text and photo from the author's website]

W. B. J. Williams holds advanced degrees in anthropology and archeology and is an avid historian, mystic, poet, and author who manages an information security program at a prominent New England start- up. He is noted for his bad puns, and willingness to argue from any perspective. He is endured by his beloved wife and two daughters, and lives in Sharon Massachusetts. When he is not at home or at his computer, he can often be found haunting the various used bookstores of Boston.

Website  ~  Blog

1 comment: