Interview with Brett Williams

Author of Forfeit Heart, The Dare, Back in Black and Family Business.

Q. When you're setting out to write a novel do you have to be in a certain state of mind, do you draw from life experiences and are any of your characters based on people you know.

A. Not typically, but I do pull from life experiences as do all writers. I do utilize character traits of people I know, but I do not transplant entire people from my life into characters. That would not be entertaining to me to write. Although I did write about a friend and her guitar in a particular short story featured on my website.

Q. Do you have to be in a certain state of mind to write. Do you have any daily rituals.

A. I usually have specific songs I use as a soundtrack for each story. If I get stuck, I play the song or songs and it will kick start the ideas flowing and get me into the mood. Also, I try to write every day at the same time of day.

A few examples of song/soundtracks would be Fiona Apple's "Criminal" which helped inspired me to write Forfeit Heart. That and "Angel Heart." I played Danzig's "Bodies" a lot while writing "Back in Black." Of course I listened to AC/DC, too. ;-)

Q. Do you think self publishing is good and worthwhile.

A. Self publishing gets a bad rap a lot of the time, but it has been good to me. Not that I am getting rich self publishing, but I am getting my work out to readers and getting the attention of professional publishers.

I would like to point out that I started self publishing because it was more cost effective than printing out manuscripts for friends and family. Things quickly snowballed from there. Now my most recent work features artwork by my friend Christa St. Jean. Another friend of mine helped with light editing. "Family Business" is a very polished product that readers have been clamoring for. I sold out a limited, signed edition in just a few days.

Q. You write strong female roles, you seem to understand the mind of a woman. Have women had a profound effect on your life when growing up.

A. Thank you. I have received the same comment from other readers. I'm very proud of the way I write female characters. I'd probably have to credit the females in my family for helping me develop this writing ability as they are all women with strong wills.

Q. You describe your writing style as literary rock and roll. Would you love to be a rock and roll star and has music been the inspiration for any of your stories.

A. Definitely, music inspires me as I pointed out in an earlier reply. I'll never be a rock star, but for me, writing is my version of being in a garage band, hence the self publishing. How many great bands started out with a demo tape recorded in a garage? Maybe some day something I have written will be "playing" in a large bookstore.

Q. Your writing is fast paced and full of suspense. It's all sex, drugs and violence. Why do these subjects appeal to you so much.

A. What appeals to me are down-on-their-luck characters. They have flaws. They have addictions. They want to get laid. They get mad and beat the shit out of other people. They are so much more entertaining to write and to read. The pace is sometimes fast because these characters jump from one bad situation to the next. Sometimes the suspense is because not even the characters know what they will do next.

Readers can relate to this and feed out of it. It helps to keep them hooked.

Q. Do you plan your stories, do you know where you're heading, or do you prefer to let it take you on a journey.

A. I've done it both ways, but never totally planned out. It's more like having a point A and B but I don't know how the story will get from A to B. Sometimes it skips directly to point C. Some stories have more preconceived checkpoints planned from the beginning than others.

Typically, I know roughly how the plot will go, but the subplot (s) grow from the primary plot line.

Q. What authors inspire you and why.

A. Anything I read can inspire me, or give me ideas. But the authors who most consistently inspire me would be Richard Laymon and F. Paul Wilson.

Laymon knows how to entertain and build suspense. He also goes above and beyond by screwing with his readers' minds.

I also love F. Paul Wilson's work because he really knows how to write thrilling novels and build three dimensional characters.

Q. What is your favourite novel.

A. If I had to pick one, I'd pick "The Travelling Vampire Show" by Richard Laymon. I love that novel. It's a great coming of age story with tons of suspense. And Laymon really screws with the reader in that one. Could the vampire be real? Is it all a hoax? You've got to keep reading to find out. Wow.

Q. Can you tell us about the novel you are writing at the moment.

A. Currently I'm writing a sequel to Family Business. It pulls in characters from previous manuscripts and expands on themes utilized in the other novels and manuscripts. Eventually, there should be four novels which are loosely connected.

Q. Do you have a favourite character from any of you stories.

A. That is a very tough question. I will have to pick Kat only because she appears in four different stories of mine. Kat has always been a secondary character so I feel funny selecting her as a favourite. Of my published novels, she only appears in a single chapter of "Family Business".

Q. If you could be a cartoon character who would it be.

A. Tweety Bird. He's cool and ornery.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there.

A. Write, write, write. It's the only way to gain experience and skill.

Brett, thank you for the interview, it's been great.

Thank you, Marilyn, for my first of hopefully many interviews. It has been a pleasure. It's great that there is a community to support and grow readership of new authors. Without folks like you and the readers willing to give us a shot, the reading landscape might be frighteningly dull.

Keep up the good work. Keep reading, I'll keep writing.

You can check out Brett's site here: http://www.brettwilliamsfiction.com/


  1. Good interview Marilyn
    This gives us an insight into the workings of the man.

    Thanks for doing it.

  2. Isn't being in the underground movement of any kind of art or media great? Someone creates something and a handful of people check it out and maybe talk it up, all that jazz, but the general populace could give two shits.

    But some day, maybe, just maybe, as the word spreads and more people discover someone or something, it starts to creep into the mainstream, or even inches closer to mainstream, but never quite becoming mainstream.

    In the end (or merely the beginning of something much bigger) the people who were there from the onset know who they are, and have a warm feeling deep inside knowing that they helped someone or something become what it should have been from the beginning.

    Thank you again, Marilyn, and all who check out my work. Family Business is dedicated to you all.