Bio: As far back as he can remember, Bill Hiatt had a love for reading so intense that he eventually ended up owning over eight thousand books–not counting e-books! He has also loved to write for almost that long. As an English teacher, he had little time to write, though he always felt there were stories within him that longed to get out, and he did manage to publish a few books near the end of his teaching career. Now that he is retired from teaching, the stories are even more anxious to get out into the world, and they will not be denied!
Novel Links: Living with Your Past Selves: http://viewbook.at/B00987M4CI Different Lee: http://viewbook.at/differentlee I think the third was either The Devil Hath the Power: http://viewbook.at/devilhathpower or We Walk in Darkness: http://viewbook.at/wewalk.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to write?
Bill: Be persistent. Getting the recognition you deserve will be difficult at best. Success comes to those who are willing to “hang in” no matter what. Occasionally someone’s first novel will take the world by storm, but most of the time success in this field, as in most creative fields, comes from painstaking ongoing content creation, accompanied by brand-building efforts.
How do you approach your stories; do you plan everything out before starting, or are you more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of a person? (Steve)
I’m both. I have a general idea of where I want to go and how I want to get there, but nothing is set in stone. I try to let the nature of the characters and the situations drive the plot. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of something and say, “No, it wouldn’t happen this way.” I’d like to think my novels look meticulously planned, but in fact what readers see is a combination of planning and spontaneity.
Of all your characters, do you have a favorite? (Luke)
I feel an attachment to all of them, but I suppose my favorite is Taliesin Weaver, my first main character. In some ways, he’s the one who got me started. I had him in mind initially for a completely different project, which I scrapped. However, I became so interested in him that I ended up building my first novel around his problems. If not for him, I might never have ended up being a writer.
How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?
Bill: Full-length novels typically take three to six months, depending on their length and complexity, as well as upon how many other demands on my time there are while I’m writing.
What motivated you to write your novel?
Bill: As long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in writing, but for most of my career as an English teacher, I couldn’t find the time. The breakthrough occurred when I was trying to write a grammar test, which I normally hated doing. On a whim, I decided to take a more narrative approach and asked students if I could use them as characters. I sat down to write a grammar test in the form of a mild horror story (it was Halloween week) with the students as characters. I ended up staying up almost all night writing it, at which point I realized I had not really given up on writing. After that I tried to make a little time for writing, and when I retired, I devoted much more time to it. (The students in that class not only loved the narrative grammar test but demanded more. They scored better on the grammar final exam than any class I’ve ever had.)
Name three favorite authors and why they impress you.
Bill: That’s a hard question, considering how many authors I love. I’d say Italo Calvino, Tim Powers, and John M. Ford, all three for the compelling richness of their imaginations. Calvino, if not for his untimely death, might have won a Nobel Prize. The other two are less well-known, and Ford is out of print, but they are all well worth reading.
Would you rather set your story in a place and time you are familiar with, or would you rather research a totally different setting?
Bill: I’m somewhere in the middle. As a fantasy writer, my works are often a combination of the familiar with the imaginary. For instance, my first was set partly in Santa Barbara and partly in Annwn, the Welsh Otherworld. I have also researched real-world settings with which I was not familiar.
Do you have any little writing rituals or quirks? E.g. an object you have to have on your desk, a particular drink or snack.
Bill: I don’t really have a particular writing ritual, but I do have a ritual for when I’m too tired but must go on. I play seventies music and keep telling myself I’m sixteen. Amazingly, that boosts my energy—for awhile.
If you had to throw something into mount Doom to save the world, what would it be?
Bill: What would I not throw into Mount Doom to save the world? After all, it’s the world, and therefore less replaceable than anything I might throw in. That said, I couldn’t bring myself to throw another person in. Aside from that, anything would be fair game.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Bill: I find that doing something less and letting my subconscious roll the problem around usually does the trick. I’ve never really stayed blocked for that long.
What is your favorite part of the writing process? (i.e. first draft, editing, etc…) (Greg)
The initial creative process, though I like polishing the material too. That said, does anyone actually like that last, tedious edit.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one book, what would it be?
Bill: Being a fantasy writer, I’d have to say Merlin’s grimoire r something similar, so I could learn how to open a gateway into another world and escape from the island.
Novel Links: Living with Your Past Selves: http://viewbook.at/B00987M4CI
Different Lee: http://viewbook.at/differentlee