Bless me soul and kiss the Blarney Stone, October is oughtta here and we wish for some Irish luck for November. Unfortunately, no shamrocks, since we’re heading into the deep fall season but we can still enjoy some Irish coffee. Well, you enjoy the coffee, I’ll enjoy the Irish.
Why all the Eire talk? Well when I picked up this week’s featured author, he directed me to a quaint drinking establishment in Dublin where he promptly ordered two pints of Guinness. Now, I’m not a beer drinker, but when in Rome…I mean Ireland…
i think I’d better get on with the interview before the beer takes affect.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
My name is John M. Wills. I’m a former Chicago police officer and retired FBI agent. I’m also a freelance writer and award-winning author in a variety of genres, including novels, short stories and poetry. I’ve published more than 150 articles relating to officer training, street survival, fitness and ethics. I write book reviews for the New York Journal of Books and I’m a member of the Public Safety Writers Association and National Book Critics Circle. My book, Women Warriors, is available online and at the National Law Enforcement Memorial Gift Shop in Washington, D.C. And my new release is The Year Without Christmas: A Novel.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
Folks would probably be surprised to learn that I attended a Catholic seminary to study for the priesthood.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as a Broadway star?
Now that I think about it, I wish I would have gone the Broadway route.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
William P. Young, author of The Shack. I attended a presentation given by him at a local church. He has a fascinating story, one that includes a childhood spent growing up in Africa with his missionary parents.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four-hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
My new release, The Year Without Christmas, is a story about being at the lowest moment in your life. It’s a tale about faith, hope and the unwavering belief and love of family that will always win the day. This story would be an excellent companion on a deserted island.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I begin with writing a synopsis of what I believe is my basic premise. I list my prime characters, giving them names, physical characteristics, etc. I also determine the venue(s), most times they are actual places. If the town must be fictitious, I create that place, to include population, industry, etc. I will add characters and secondary plot lines as I write.
I write something every day, whether it’s working on a book, article, poetry, or a freelance writing assignment. I belong to a critique group that meets once a week. I bring my work there for discussion, and do any rewrites based on their recommendations.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
Start writing. You won’t know if anything works if you sit and think about it, rather than write about it. Every author has their own style—don’t try to imitate anyone else’s.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
I think about the “What ifs,” and address them rather than ignore them. That philosophy stems from my years in law enforcement. We learn from our mistakes. If you believe you’re going to get in trouble, why even live? Be adventurous; try everything.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I’m working on a novel called, Healer.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
Interested readers can follow my blog: John M. Wills, Books and Blog
My website is: John M. Wills, Author
My reviewer page on the New York Journal of Books
Many of my articles on Officer.com
My author page on Amazon.com