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Interview with Bill Walker


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
While I always had a facility with words, my desire to write didn't truly take hold until I was around 8 or 9 years old.  I started writing a book about an intelligent pet mouse around that time, which was a direct steal from a favorite children's book Ben and Me.  It's what is known in the industry as a pastiche.  I actually still have it, complete with its original hand-drawn cover.

What genre do you write, and why?
I have a few that I enjoy reading and writing.  There is horror, which is the genre of my short stories are, Suspense, and Science Fiction (an unpublished time travel novel), Romance, and Thrillers.  For me it all boils down to the idea, the essence of the story.  If something grabs me, I'll write it.  Now, that would probably make me harder to market from a New York Publisher's perspective, as they like to pigeonhole authors.  I don't like to be pigeonholed.  One of the greatest writers whom I admire is Richard Matheson (Somewhere in Time, Twilight Zone), who has always written in different genres, and I like that.  To me, the worst thing would be to become hugely successful for only one genre and be stuck in it--slowly and inexorably running out of ideas...

Tell me about your latest book.
Well, my "latest" book is really a reissue of my first published novel.  TITANIC 2012 was first published in hardcover in 1998 and it was about two years ago that I decided to revisit it and revise it with the idea of republishing it in 2012.  I went through the entire book line by line and made fairly extensive changes.  Anachronisms, things I had in my original version of 2012 that were at odds with the real 2012, I corrected.  I am happy to say I got one thing right on the money: Flatscreen TVs!  I also decided to add a new final chapter, ending the book on a more definitive and upbeat note.  Is the book vastly changed?  No, but I believe it's now a better book that it was.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
Whatever I can get my hands on (laughs).  Seriously, it seems the ground rules are changing every day.  And what works for one book, may not necessarily work for every book.  I will admit that I'm somewhat of a social media-phobe, in that I'm not the kind of person that Tweets every move they make.  I do have a Facebook page, but I don't use it to pontificate.  It's pretty much used to give everyone a blast on the latest news I have.  Now, as far as other things, I've been promoting this book and my other novel A Note from an Old Acquaintance on various Kindle sites and I can see an immediate effect on sales when one of these sites features one of my books.  What I quickly came to realize, however, is that you cannot buy these promo slots or "Features of the Day," etcetera, on the fly.  These sites are being constantly booked by all these other authors out there.  So, now aside from just writing a book, an author must be a media buyer.  And by that I mean someone whose expertise is in knowing which sites are the most effective and booking them all far enough in advance to have a meaningful impact.  This requires experience a lot of us don't possess.  

What formats is the book available in?
Print On Demand Paperback, Kindle and Nook.

Bill Walker
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Reading.  I'm also a lifelong guitar player.  Often, if I'm stuck at a certain point in the story, I'll pick up the Les Paul, plug in, and start playing.  This allows my mind to recharge itself.  Now, on the other hand, when I am in the midst of a story, I'll always be in what I call "Story Mode."  This basically means that I'm thinking about the story 24/7, running ideas and scenarios through my mind constantly.   Often, I'll get a great idea and then I drop what I'm doing and go write it.  Of course, that's not always practical ;-)

Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order they are: 
Stephen King
Dean Koontz
Richard Matheson
Edgar Allan Poe
H.P. Lovecraft
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Joseph Payne Brennan
Robert McCammon
Barnaby Conrad

What advice do you give to writers?
Not to give up their day jobs.   Seriously, I always tell a fellow writer not to give up, that getting one's work recognized is harder and harder to do.  The irony is that it's easier than ever to be published, but harder to turn yourself into a brand name.  That takes big money, and at this point in time traditional New York publishers still have the resources to turn a relative unknown into a star.  It's not automatic, but it happens more often than not, and that's because they'll throw hundreds of thousands of dollars into a coordinated campaign designed to make that best-seller happen.  What average self-published author struggling to pay his or her bills is going to be able to do afford that?  Still, the big publishing houses are far from infallible.  And they're seeing a fundamental shift in their business model to one they can't control.  If you can publish your book and have enough wherewithal to promote it properly, you can reap the benefits.  Will it be big money like Stephen King gets?  Probably not.  It may very well be that publishing will become the cottage industry it was before the Industrial Age made a big business out of it.  But the one thing that scares me is piracy.  If you're not a household name you're not worth pirating.  But new brand name authors that come of age in this new digital frontier will see piracy happen once they reach a certain level of popularity.  Once that happens it's a war of attrition.  The sad thing is that unlike musicians who can always perform their music live and be reasonably well paid for it, who is going to pay an author to read his or her book aloud?  And how many of use would be that good at reading it?

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Telling stories.  In essence, it's like playing God in that one creates these characters and it is sheer joy for me to be able to breathe life into them and have them affect the reader.  To me, being able to entertain is the highest calling.

Where can people find out about you and your writing?
My web site is: www.billwalkernovels.com.  There is also my Facebook page, as well.  

Anything else you'd like to add?
Just that I appreciate your having me over.  Thank you.


5 comments:

  1. Thank you for this very interesting and enjoyable interview.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.

      Delete
  2. I'm a huge dean Koontz fan too ;) All the best with the rest of your virtual tour and of course your book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jo, just wanted to thank you for having me on your blog today. It's very much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Bill. All the best with your tour and book.

      Delete

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