Friday, December 30, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Jill Williamson
Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. Growing up in Alaska led to a love of books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. Visit Jill online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.
How did you start out your writing career?
I had left the fashion industry and was searching for the plan God had for my life. Since I had a pretty interesting childhood/life story, I thought God could use me as a motivational speaker for teens. I discovered that sometimes, people hire speakers based on articles written by the speaker. So I looked into writing articles. I was working on all that when a new Harry Potter book came out, and a new barrage of debates within the church community flared up as to whether the books were safe for Christians to read. The debate inspired me to write a teen novel for Christians.
What did you learn while writing this book?
That stem cell research is so complex… the things they can do. It’s amazing. And frightening. And amazing all over again. And more controversial than I ever imagined.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I want teens to consider that God is real and that he has a purpose for every life on this planet.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
Martyr for sure. He is smart and kind, but totally naïve about the world outside the lab. So he questions things like colors and animals and marriage, but doesn’t hesitate to stand up for what he believes is right. And it was fun to write his loving, selfless character in comparison with Abby’s by the book, it-has-to-be-my-way personality. Martyr sure showed her a thing or two.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How people are still discovering my first book years later. That books have a life of their own. People pass them around and it never stops, even after a book goes out of print. It’s a pretty incredible thing.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love the very beginning and the very end. Coming up with new ideas and finishing the novel are my favorite parts of the writing process. It’s the actual first-draft writing that is a lot of work for me.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. That the belief, “If I could just get published, then I would be satisfied” is not true. It’s human nature to never be satisfied. Publication doesn’t change that. We must find out worth in God, not what the world deems a success or failure, because there will always be another potential success or failure just waiting to consume us.
2. That even bad reviews are a good thing. I’ve had many people tell me that they bought my book because of a bad review. If only I’d known that might happen back when I got some of those first horrible reviews that I ached over for a month!
3. That no matter the size of the publishing house, it’s still up to me to do what I must to market my book.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do have fun when you write. And don’t let “being published or not” define your self-worth.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That writers don’t get paid much, and that they don’t get paid at all when you buy their books used on Half.com or Amazon.com. If you have a favorite writer, purchase at least one of their books new each year to support them.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
I think I might like to be Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings. She is awesome on so many levels.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Read! And also spend time with my family and play my guitar.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I talk with them on my Facebook page and my blog. I also invite them to ask me questions through my website. And I love speaking at schools, libraries, or camps so I can talk to my readers face to face.
Our theme for this month is CHILDREN BOOKS. What inspired you to make children’s
literature the focus of your career?
My husband is a youth pastor, so I’ve been working with teens with him for thirteen years. I adore teenagers. But I read some of the books that they were reading and I wanted to offer something more, stories that were exciting and fun that also included God, his truths, and didn’t offend him. Teens deserve more. They deserve books that will entertain and inspire.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know that my God created me and loves me and has a plan for my life.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Sure! My next book, The New Recruit, is about a teenage boy who joins the agent development program of a spy organization and travels to Moscow on a training mission. It’s scheduled to release October 2012 from Marcher Lord Press.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
You can connect with me on my Facebook page, or on my website, www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.
Replication: The Jason Experiment
Abby Goyer is forced to move to rural Alaska when her father unexpectedly takes a job in a remote laboratory called Jason Farms. Suspicious of her father’s decisions, she investigates and finds more than what she was looking for when a strange boy shows up at her door. Martyr, one of fifty-five identical clones, escaped from the underground lab at the farm with one wish: to see the sky before he fulfills his purpose and “expires” on his eighteenth birthday. Abby tries to help Martyr see that God has a purpose for his life, one that is different from the one the scientists originally planned for him.
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