Monday, August 6, 2007

[Interview] Saje Williams

Saje WilliamsSaje Williams writes novels which combine elements of both science fiction and fantasy.

He made his debut as an author, in 2005, with the publication of Loki’s Sin by Wings ePress. This was followed by five more novels: Of Man and Monster (Wings ePress, 2006); Freak City (Wings ePress, 2006); Sword and Shadow (Samhain Publishing, 2007); Lady of Blades (Wings ePress, 2007) and Tales from the Magitech Lounge (Samhain, 2007)

Currently, Williams is working on a sequel to Sword and Shadow.

In a recent interview, he spoke about his writing.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I was in fourth grade and already a voracious reader... so much that I would rather be reading than doing my schoolwork. To force me to actually do what I was supposed to, my parents took away my books. So I picked up a notebook and a pen and started writing my own stories. I haven’t stopped since. I knew before the end of that year that the only thing I ever wanted to be was an author, and it’s a dream that’s stayed with me ever since. To a lot of people I may have seemed as though I had no ambitions, or that my ambitions were little more than a ‘pipe dream,’ but I never, ever, gave up on them.

How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?

Futuristic Urban Fantasy. Or, alternately, science fantasy. It combines elements of both science fiction and fantasy into a, mostly, seamless whole.

The books are aimed at people that want something a little different from the same ol’ stuff. Fans of fantasy and paranormal tales who are tired of genre clich├ęs and want to read something that isn’t just a clone of what’s popular at the moment.

What motivated you to start writing in this genre?

My novels actually arise from the universe I created in the design of a role playing game I started working on when I was eighteen. We played and meddled in that universe for the better part of fifteen years and one day I sat down and asked myself, “Okay, how did this ‘world’ come into being in the first place?”

The result of me asking that question was my first published novel, Loki’s Sin.

Who would you say has influenced you the most?

Oh, man, that’s a hard one. I take a little from a lot of different authors. One of my early favorites was Robert Heinlein, and then Frank Herbert. Heinlein because of the way he used dialog to establish his characters so clearly, and Herbert because he built worlds on a macro scale. He thought BIG, and created incredibly complex societies that seemed so different from those with which we are familiar.

Beyond that, maybe Julian May, who merged science fiction and mythology in her Saga of Pliocene Exile in a very inspirational way. And the pioneers of urban fantasy, like Tanya Huff, Mercedes Lackey, and Emma Bull. And, more recently, Anne Bishop, who creates heroes who are scarier than the villains they oppose.

And, of course, Spider Robinson. My latest novel, Tales from the Magitech Lounge is intended as a bit of tribute to his Callahan series.

What are your main concerns as a writer?

I want first and foremost to entertain. I don’t write to teach or preach, but it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if I can make people think and feel a little differently than they did before reading one of my novels.

How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?

I had a very adventurous youth. I traveled the west coast on a shoestring several times, going from the Seattle area all the way to Los Angeles once. All in all, I hitchhiked up and down the west coast seven times, meeting all kinds of people.

I’ve traveled a lot throughout the U.S., though I’d love to travel all over the globe and hope someday to manage it. Because of my experiences, I can write about a lot of different locales with intimacy, which has its advantages.

What would you say are the biggest challenges that you face?

Promoting myself. Honestly.

In the current environment it’s imperative that an author take every opportunity to promote his/her work and make him/her self sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m a pretty humble guy, ordinarily. I don’t believe in claiming accolades I didn’t earn. So I have to go out and get those accolades, and then I still feel a little uncomfortable trumpeting them. I believe sincere humility is good for the soul, insincere humility is egotism, and we authors are caught trying to play in the freeway lying between the two.

How do you deal with these challenges?

Accept that occasionally I’m forced to do things I find a bit distasteful for the sake of getting my name out there and keeping it out there.

Do you write everyday?

I try to write at least a few hours every day, and usually manage it.

I also keep a myspace page and I occasionally drop by the Samhain or Wings blogs, but I’m far more active on the yahoo groups than I am as a blogger.

What is your latest book about?

Tales from the Magitech Lounge took something like seven months to finish. It is an unusual piece in that it’s a single work broken up into various p.o.v. narratives. Each chapter in the first two acts is written from the [point of view] p.o.v. of a different character. I had to create a different “voice” for each, and create a flow between the narratives. It was an interesting challenge, but I think it worked out the way I’d intended.

I really enjoyed bringing back an old villain and redeeming him.

What sets the book apart from the other things you have written?

It’s more experimental in concept, and it’s written primarily as a first person narrative.

It's similar to the others in that, well, it expands on my universe… or multiverse, rather. People who’ve read my other novels will quickly see the relationship between it and the others, even though it’s quite different in many ways.

What will your next book be about?

As I mentioned before, it’s a sequel to Sword and Shadow, and involves an illegal time travel operation to prevent a world-destroying war between normal humans and meta-humans on a parallel Earth.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Believe it or not, my most prized achievement as an author so far is just knowing I actually have fans out there. People who love what I write and hunger for more. To be able to share my stories with people, and have them actually me for them, seems just so astounding. It’s honestly a dream come true.

How did you get there?

Just by writing the weird stuff that lives in my head. Sounds strange, but that’s pretty much all there is to it.

This article was first published on OhmyNews International.

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