Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nine Questions for Jill Williamson

Last week, I had the delight of reviewing To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson. I loved the book, and on the spur of the moment asked her if she would answer a few questions for me. Amazingly, she said yes, despite her very busy schedule.

Chawna: What is your favorite part of being an author?

Jill: I love getting emails from people--teens especially--who were inspired by my books. I also love getting to visit schools and talk about writing and inspire teens to follow their dreams. I started writing as a ministry to teens, so when I see that result, I'm very excited.

Would you share some insider trivia about your writing process, something we might not otherwise know?

When I get really stuck, I sit on the floor and brainstorm. I write scene ideas down on scraps of paper and stack them in order so that I have some direction when I go back to the computer.

Much of the foreign words in the Blood of Kings have their root in the biblical Greek and Hebrew. While their use makes me smile and adds depth for me, I know that I’m an exception to the rule in knowing their origins. So why did you choose to use those languages instead of making up the words like so many fantasy writers?

I stole the idea from J.K. Rowling. She used Latin for many of her character names and for most of her spells in Harry Potter. I thought that was clever and looked on my bookshelf. I had a French dictionary or a Hebrew/Greek concordance. I thought the Hebrew Greek would sound cool. Plus, I liked the idea of using words from the bible.

I also wanted to do things differently from most fantasy writers. That's why there are no elves and orcs and dragons in my book. I love those things, I just wanted to do something different in my books. I've had teens tell me I should have put a dragon in there, though. :-)

I’ve been enjoying the whole blood-voicing concept in the story. Could you share a little more about that?

I remember trying to figure out how my girl character would know that my boy had royal blood in him. In my original plan, she was a soldier who discovered who he really was and spent the whole book trying to prove it. Clearly my plot changed a lot, but back then, I needed a way for her to figure it out. In my mind, she also had royal blood and I remember thinking it would be cool if those with royal blood had some unique ability and that would be how my girl would know. In my old notes, I originally called it Blood Vision. I also found a paper where I had brainstormed other names for it, including Qoldam, which is my Hebrew version for blood: daum, and voices: qowl. I thought it was too difficult to pronounce, so I ended up calling it bloodvoicing. It's been a lot of fun to write, especially when playing with point of view. Because of bloodvoicing, the reader can see other characters that they normally wouldn't be able to see.

What do you hope readers will take away from the Blood of Kings series?

A lot of fun. And I hope that they will believe that God created them for a purpose and that he loves them.

Authors hope their writing will impact their readers, but often the story seems to have as much or more influence on the writer. So what impact has writing this series had on you?

It has helped grow my faith. The first book was done when I sold it, but the second two I've had to write very quickly, which was difficult considering their size and complexity. As I wrote book two, I freaked out a lot, wondering how on earth I could possibly finish on time. I really had to trust God to be in control, and that's difficult for a firstborn perfectionist. But God has taken my offering and done things I never expected.

What is one book you would recommend reading besides the Bible and your own work?

There are so many…
Today I will say William Henry is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke. This is a Christian historical fiction novel that takes place at the start of the Civil War. It won the Christy Award as did the sequel, I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires. These are wonderful, gripping, entertaining books. They are the only books I haven’t donated to my church library because I want to keep them.

What is one question you’ve never been asked but wished you had been, and what is the answer?

What’s with that weird dedication in book one where you say you’re the master?
The dedication to my pastor reads like this:

And to Pastor Joe Torosian, for encouraging a newbie writer.
The time for my power to eclipse yours has come.
I am the master.

This is an inside joke. My pastor and I were taking about critique groups. I’d been trying to find one, and all the local ones were full. So, as a joke, we decided to start our own critique group, but it would be like the Sith in Star Wars. There could only be two, a master and an apprentice. Since Pastor Joe was making so many cents per word writing sports for his local paper, he was the master and I was his apprentice. So, when I got my first book published, I got to be the master. And there you have it. :-)

Anything else you would like to add?
All the Marcher Lord Press books are now available through Christian Book Distributors and We are very excited about this. Thanks for visiting with me, Chawna! And readers can find me on my website: God bless!
Thanks, Jill, for answering my questions. It's been a delight to hear your answers.


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