Thursday, October 3, 2013

Interview with Author Stacy Shofner Williams

Stacy Shofner Williams
Oklahoma, born and raised.

Welcome to Vision and Verse this morning, Stacy.  It's a pleasure to have you with us.  Now, tell me.
What have you written?
I've written a few short stories and ongoing cooperative stories with friends online, that was some of the most enjoyable writing I’ve ever done. Last year I published my first novel, Of Shadow and Ash, and am currently working on the sequel.


What is your favorite genre to write?
I like writing fantasy because I get to create worlds and cultures and creatures that are of my invention; I get to bend rules and make up my own. Even so, I do my best to make them believable.

Favorite food.
I love a good pizza, and it seems that I’m always baking chocolate chip cookies.

Sounds good.  We'll be over.
Where would you like to visit?
The older I get the less I care to travel. But I wouldn’t mind though visiting the old house I grew up in outside of Anadarko, Oklahoma. I can imagine child versions of myself and my sisters still running around out there, playing and having our adventures. I have had vivid dreams of haunting the place.

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
I would have to say Beethoven is my all-time favorite. His music has helped me through difficult times and inspired my artwork, and I find his life story to be quite moving. When I write, about the only time I'm not plugged into movie or game soundtracks is when it's raining and thundery outside. I often choose tracks that fit the mood of the scene I'm working on. For example, Bela Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (that unnerving music from The Shining), kept me pretty creeped out as I was building the climax towards the end of my novel. Lately I've been writing along to the epic music of Two Steps from Hell and Future World Music.

What makes you laugh?
My kids, they have a unique sense of humor.

Mmm.  I wonder where they get that?  How old were you when you started writing?
My sixth grade English teacher stressed writing overall and had her classes write a lot of poetry and stories. Two things I discovered that year were that I wasn't very good at poetry, and I loved writing stories.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I do a lot of reading. It's interesting to see the crafty ways other authors breathe life into scenes and the characters they create. Instrumental music. Living in the moment, observing the events going on around me, especially the little things, and the people I come in contact with. Nature will stir my muse; trees and birds, clouds and weather and the color of grass in the fields. More often than not, ideas and solutions will strike while my thoughts are nowhere near the project I'm working on, and then I'd better have a notepad on hand to write things down because I will forget it.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I have an arsenal of strategies to deal with writer's block, as the same one will not work every time. Sometimes all I have to do is remember that every writer goes through this and if I wait it out I'll get through it. Or determine to plunge ahead and write badly, if that's all I can muster. Throughout my journey of writing my novel I kept a journal, jotting down my ups and downs, my discouragements and milestones. After publishing I went through it and saw how many times I almost quit, felt like throwing in the towel, doubted myself and felt that things were going nowhere and I was wasting my time. Now when I hit the wall I can look back and remind myself how glad I am that I kept going.

Excellent strategies, Stacy.  I'm a big believer in journaling for all kind of reasons  Who is your favorite author?
Pick one? Well, I tried. Ray Bradbury, Tolkien, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Lewis.

I like them all, too!  Best book you ever read.
That's a tough one! If you'd asked for best read LATELY I would say Wool by Hugh Howey because of his ability to get into so many characters' heads and make you root for them and relate to them, and the story is so different and intriguing. But as the question is best book ever read, there are several that I've read the covers off of. I will just pick one and go with the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I have not read Wool, but I'll put in on my TBR list. Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
So many people have influenced me in different ways, it’s hard to come up with just one. My parents instilled in me a love of books and reading, and friends and family who offered a boost of confidence for pursuing my talents and dreams. I can't narrow it down to one person.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
The wizard Gandalf, because he's been around in Middle Earth for a long time and knows every corner of it and its history and all the different beings that inhabit it. He would have some wild and amazing tales to tell.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Never give up! Keep writing and don’t lose sight of why you do it. Connect with other writers. Put your audience out of your head until you no longer feel them looking over your shoulder. Write for yourself, as though no one else will ever see it.


Thank you for this opportunity to share with you and your readers!
It has been out pleasure. You are delightful.  We need more Beethoven-loving, chocolate chip cookie-baking, outstanding authors like you.  Please come back when you're ready to release the sequel to "Of Shadow and Ash."  We'll do a cover reveal for you
Thank you.  I will.

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