04 October 2007

Thirteen Things about S. J. Willing

Thirteen Things about S. J. Willing

1 - Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your life?
Ties! A man can't have enough ties, especially the goofy funny ones. Who can resist a Pepe-Le-Pew Love at First Scent tie. I mean, you have to look snappy, so look cool and have a good laugh at the same time. As for the rest of me, think Sean Connery, James Bond, sophisticated, intelligent, confident. That's not me, that's the me I'd like to be J. I'm the quiet sort of guy that reminds you of your favorite teddy bear. But hey, who gets the most cuddles, Hmm?

2 - When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Around six or seven years old. Had my first poem published in the local paper at seven and it was all a slippery slope downhill from there. Seriously started writing SF at around twenty-four and had several published shorts in British Small Press. Went on Hiatus for several reasons until I met this crazy bunch of writers in America, even went so far as to move here and marry one (did I tell you I was crazy too?) I restarted writing big time over here in America. My main success came about because one lass I met through email claimed no man could write an erotica that women would read because guys didn't understand what women want. Hence Cyberius III was written, NCP requested a full manuscript after reading a chapter of it on the Romance Junkies pages and it subsequently won the eCataromance best first ebook romance award for 2005. Not too bad for a guy who can't write erotica

3 - How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?
I'm a SF Fantasy kind of guy though nowadays fantasy and paranormal are pretty well overlapped in some areas. I don't normally write erotica/romance, not in the extent of planning the stories to turn out that way, but there is always some form of romance/relationship going on in my stories. Why? Because it's life. People generally like to be in some kind of relationship so why should my characters be any different. Poor Valencius, my rather anomalous virginal vampire, gets stuck between three women who are chasing him down. I mean, choices, choices, who should he really go for? And should he care if their fathers want to kill him? Hmmm.

4 - What are the challenges of writing paranormal romance?
Keeping it logical. Making sure that the hero/heroine isn't too powerful that they go beyond the realm of normal, there has to be human characteristics to enable the reader to identify with the characters otherwise it's just a fantasy way too far above their heads, and being consistent too. Having a hero that can read minds but doesn't do it in a life threatening situation because it's considered extremely unethical is cool. But please, if he turns around and reads the heroines mind during a sex scene so that he knows how to "blow her mind" it just seems far too illogical. Why would one way be unethical and the other not?

5 - Star Wars or Star Trek?
LOL, why not both?

6 - Who would you say has influenced you the most?
You might as well ask why does water flow downhill? Everything is influential, from my wife to the many authors I've read and pinning down the most influential is like trying to catch a butterfly with chopsticks. If you want romance wise it would have to be my late wife who still occupies a major chunk of my heart and memories. Author wise there are almost too many to name. E.E. Doc Smith, Asimov, Pratchett, Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, S.J. Willing (Hey! That's my name!) To name just a few.

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

So far to date, besides actually finishing a book, is the eCataromance 2005 award for best first ebook romance for Cyberius III. This was a real surprise to me since it all happened while I had a three month stint in the hospital, Yay! Go Cyberius III. Personally I think Poseidon VII is a lot better, it's longer and has a lot more meat in the story but alas you can only win the first ebook category once…

8 - Once the deadlines are all met and the manuscript is delivered, what do you do to relax and give yourself a break?
Relax? Are you crazy? There's bookmarks to sign, postcards to post, email lists to email list! There's no time, no time, no timeeeeeeee….. Of course it is permissible to go out, have a nice meal in a fancy restaurant and talk about how good you know your novel is.

9 - What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. It's hard to write, writing isn't an easy "let's sit by and just do it for a hobby". Writing is like having a second job and it requires you to actually sit down and do something. If you're having trouble finishing one thing because it doesn't sound good to you, don't read it. Just write until it's finished and then read back and correct. The important thing is to get that 50-60k of words down, once you've achieved that you can do the important editing. Secondly, find good beta readers, then listen to them. Your baby may look perfect to you but to outside readers, and especially publishers, it will be full of fatal flaws. Take the beatings from your beta's, it’s a lot better than a thousand rejections from publishers.

10 - What is your latest book about?
My latest release, Poseidon VII, is the second in a vast space opera set in the Universe of the PIACT undercover agent series. Anis Anamer, the heroine, is president of a huge colony that orbits a super gas giant in a far and distant galaxy (cue Star Trek music.) The problem is, that particular gas giant produces a gas that scientists recently discovered can be used to make one of the most deadliest weapons known to future man. So of course the bad guys wanna take it over. Simple, huh? Not so simple. Add in a little family betrayal, a sexy got to die for bodyguard who isn't want he looks like he is. Then a nice steamy bath scene, a few battles, assassination attempts, more steamy sex scenes, robot slaughter, secret romances, more betrayals, even more steamy sex scenes, oh and did I mention a steamy sex scene or two. And voila, you have Anis and Simon, her to die for bodyguard that isn't, saving the colony, the day and everything except her virginity. From my totally unbiased opinion it’s a damn good read.

11 - What will your next book be about?
Which one? Currently working on seven books but the ones nearest completion are: Huw's the Hero. A totally crazy fantasy comedy featuring Huw, a pigkeeper's boy who's trying very hard not to become a hero in spite of the events fate is taking him through. Valencius Covers his Tracks, my 84 year old virgin vampire who is slightly different. He takes his sustenance not from drinking blood but by kissing, and to his embarrassment women tend to orgasm when he does kiss them. (and believe it or not it is not an erotica lol.) And of course Dante I, the third in the PIACT undercover agent series. This time our intrepid agent is sent to help an impulsive, fiery tempered Yumi Rebyj. Yumi's colony was handed to the bad guys on a platter seven years ago and since then they've had nothing but hardship and suffering. As leader of the colony and the secret head of the underground resistance group she's decided enough is enough and her people are going to rebel. Unfortunately the stakes are raised when, just at the time of rebellion, a surprise find in the molten lava flows that make up Dante I's surface draws the leader of the Bad guys to the planet, and with him reinforcements that make Yumi's army seem like rabbit droppings. But events have been started and the battle for freedom begins. Will Tomas Vacino's help and the support of PIACT be enough to swing the balance of battle, or will Dante I become just another lifeless rock in the legacy of lifeless rocks left by the marauding Separatists?

12 - What are the goals you are still working toward?
Being rich, famous and having a one night stand with six gorgeous women in a four poster bed—not necessarily in that order. (Actually I lied about the six women part, it would probably kill me)

13 - If you got a chance to go to the moon would you take it?

Paint me silly with a smile on my face. Who wouldn't. Just think, sitting out there under an awning in a lounger, laptop and martini tube in hand and writing about the real thing. Goshdarnit. But hey, only if I can take my favorite stuffed giraffe along, (yes I know, I'm weird, I love stuffed giraffes.)

Learn more about S. J. Willing and the worlds he creates at his website.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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