I'm the author of over 1,000 articles online and I write under several pen names, including Bill Hart. The subject matter for my books range from self help and the paranormal to horse racing, nature stories, and short fiction.
Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Bill: At a very early age. I was very artistic and headed for art college after high school. But I was also a rebel and very wild and wound up being thrown out of high school. I later got a GED and started attending Rhode Island College. I also took classes at Roger Williams College. My focus was sociology and writing.
Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Bill: I have been a full time writer for years now and write under several pen names as well as doing freelance writing projects for customers creating web content. A lot of my work is seen online, but often without my byline. I explained my education above, though the best education for any writer is to write and experience life. I've traveled and lived in other places and had a lot of jobs. I've been an extra in movies and television shows, built ships and houses, and helped people to solve behavioral problems as a therapist.
Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
Bill: It seems pretty strange, but I have this need to communicate. What makes it strange is that I live like a hermit in rural Maine and have little interaction with people other than internet correspondence and with my immediate family and a few friends. I used to be much more outgoing, but I am bi-polar, have ptsd from childhood trauma, and also have CFS/ME which leads to something called brain fog and a lack of energy. So part of me feels physical pain when I speak in public, but yet, I have a need to do it.
Sometimes just getting out of bed is a struggle and writing is rough, but with my scattered thinking and other issues, it is about all I can do now. That's the long answer. The short answer is, I don't know. I'm a writer.
Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Bill: Edison, a man who was perhaps the greatest inventor and innovator of all time said, "Ideas come from out of space." He didn't mean from somewhere between Jupitor and Neptune but rather the ether or land of thougths, what physicists call reciprocal space.
I have a folder of projects. I write down an idea when it arrives and then add to it and my mind works on it for a while. If I'm still thinking about it and it is giving me energy rather than draining me after a month or so, it goes on the short list. But writing a book is a big commitment because once I start, I have to work on it everyday. Right now I am more drawn to short fiction and have three more short stories in the works.
Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book Lacey Blue and Friends?
Bill: I love animals and used to write a newsletter about greyhound racing years ago. I also worked at a greyhound track as an announcer and publicity writer years ago (Plainfield Greyhound Park). They are beautiful animals and there are a lot of people who love them in the racing business and there are a lot of people who don't like the racing, but are equally as passionate about caring for greyhounds. I wanted to look at both sides and also to write a book that a family could enjoy to learn more about greyhounds.
Somewhere in there I also wanted to write a book with strong female characters like the women who I grew up with in my family. One of the main characters is a young Mexican-American woman who suffered a disabling accident while trying out for the Olympic Equestrian team. She has to overcome her disability to help Lacey. Her sister is a veterinarian and works for better treatment of greyhounds as well as fighting to protect dogs from dog fighting. Those are just two of the characters, but I think you get the idea.
Deirdra: How is this book different from most books?
Bill: Animals can talk to each other but not with people. The reader hears the animals speaking and also the people speaking. It takes what I hope is a realistic look at the challenges that animals and their friends face in a world that is often incredibly cruel. It is written from my perspective as someone who deals with his own challenges and yet who learned to keep going no matter what by being raised by a fiercely independent woman who was way ahead of her time.
Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?
Bill: Two people read this book while I was writing it. Finding a good editor is always a huge problem for me (hint)
Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Bill: I raised a daughter who is strong and independent and incredibly resourceful and adventurous. I'd like to take the credit but I think it had a lot to do with seeing the other women like that in the family as well as inheriting their genes. This book has plenty of good examples for girls and boys, but is written so an entire family can enjoy the story. It is exciting and entertaining and even has a wild jaguar in it.
Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Bill: I start out writing bits and pieces but before I begin the actual writing, I need to outline and I still sometimes get myself in trouble. They can get out of control and start running the show.
Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Bill: Like I mentioned before, I get something called brain fog every day of my life, usually late morning early afternoon. Some days I have a lot of trouble focusing. So I deal with this all the time. I am a very disorganized person at the best of times, but writing takes precedence over everything, including relationships (which might explain the hermit like existence) I don't care much about anything else in life. If I'm writing it's all good. If I can't I walk, even if I have to put on a pair of snowshoes to do it.
Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Bill: I may listen to music when I am doing some contract writing because some of the articles and copy I write I could probably write in my sleep. It pays the bills, but it isn't a lot of fun. ON the other hand, I can do it so I do it.
But when I am writing fiction I sit here with no more noise than the birds outside my window. I live far from other people. I really have to struggle to focus so music, though I love it, is out. In fact everything, including other humans is out. I have a geranium named, Blanca, but she is pretty understanding and quiet.
Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Bill: I read and watch old movies. I dream a lot and also meditate. I used to teach meditation and also was a full time hypnotherapist. I am a consciousness explorer using a light and sound computer and meditation.
Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Bill:Golly, maybe my mother because she was a prolific journalist who kept journals and wrote in them almost every day of her life though I don't think she ever had anything published.
Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Bill: The reader has to feel a connection so they need something that makes them vulnerable and human and then they have to speak for themselves. If I find myself explaining them to the reader I know that the character isn't doing his or her job, which is to tell the story.
Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Bill: I've gone through so many changes over the years and admired so many and tried to emulate them when I was younger. I'd say a few were Richard Brautigan, Thomas McGuane, Cormac McCarthy, Ernest Hemingway, P.G. Wodehouse, Lynne McTaggart, Barbara Robinson, Sarah Teasedale, and I guess I could go on and on, but I won't
Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Bill: I don't know if it is eactly my favorite, but it is definitely important and that's humble pie. I've been way too arrogant sometimes and when I've read my writing later I've thought to myself, "What twerp wrote that?"
Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Bill: I walk almost every day and love nature. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful place surrounded by fields and woods. Moose and coyotes come through my yard along with many other animals. I also fish. I play jug band music on the washboard, harmonica, jugs and gut base because it is the one music you don't need talent for, just enthusiasm.
Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Bill: There is only one way to be a writer, that's to write. Don't spend a lot of time talking about it, just do it. If you believe in it and want to spend the time, send it to editors and try to get published, but don't be afraid to self publish. My book, "Your Loved Ones Your Self, Finding and Raising the Family Within," hasn't been a great financial success, but I've had people tell me it changed their lives. That's pretty powerful and it never would have happened if I'd sent it to a publisher and waited to be published. It wouldn't have happened. On the other hand, it could have been edited better and I paid for editing, but didn't get what I paid for. I was broke and had to publish the way it was. That is a mistake, too. Don't publish until it is 100%.
Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Bill: I just published a short story entitled, "To Light a Fire." It is about a homeless vet who is suffering from ptsd and struggling to keep himself and a developmentally disabled man alive through a brutal storm in Bangor Maine. It is available on Amazon Kindle and I hope to have it as a Kindle Single soon. It is definitely not a feel good story and because of the strong language and powerful ending, not suitable for children.
Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Bill: Lacey has her own blog at lacey-blue.com. I also have willangford.com where you can learn more about me and my books. My books are available through borders if you order them or through Amazon. I have them priced at 99 cents for the Kindle books, which I think is a heck of a deal.
Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Bill: Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you and for keeping a blog for writers. One of the most important things a writer can do is to talk to his or her readers and also talk to other writers. People like you allow that to happen. One way that I talk to writers and readers, other than through my actual writing is through twitter @willangford1, I welcome new followers and will often retweet the good stuff I find among them. Thanks again, Deirdra.
What a diverse collection of writing you've done! I've read Lacey Blue and To Light a Fire and they're completely different, but both great reads. To Light a Fire is one of those books that stays with you after you read it.ReplyDelete
And I find myself wondering about what Lacey and her human and animal friends are up to every once in a while. I really hope you're going to continue her story so I can find out what happens next.