I'm super excited to have Jill Williamson on the blog today! Jill and I had a chance to spend some QT with each other back in November when we locked ourselves in a stuffy conference room all day and took fast and furious notes about all kinds of things relating to the business of writing.
|Here we are on the airport shuttle, a little delirious from the day.|
And not only is Jill fun to hang out with, she's also a dang good writer. The powers-that-be for the Christy Awards agree with me, because they've given her two in the last two years. (Three years, maybe? Regardless - she's got a couple of 'em.)
Jill's latest book, Replication, just hit shelves and today's your lucky day because she's going to give away a copy to one lucky commenter on Go Teen Writers. (Due to the realities of international shipping prices, the giveaway is limited to US Residents. Conversation with Jill, however, is not.)
Jill, I love the concept for Replication. Can you tell us a bit about how you got the idea?
I was riding in a car through upstate New York with my sister. We were going to pick apples. We passed endless amounts of ranches, orchards, and farms. It got me thinking. What if there was a farm where they grew people? Clones. It could be called Jason Farms. And that’s where the idea for the story came from. I wanted to explore how the world might treat cloned humans. Would they have the same rights as the rest of us? And what would their existence say about a creator God?
Intriguing. I love how that happens sometimes. You're driving along, and then bam.
What's your writing environment like? Do you have an office? Are there inspiring quotes or pictures up on the walls? Do you have music playing?
I sometimes write on my laptop, but mostly I’m at the computer. It’s in what we call the “computer room” in our house, which is an open room between my bedroom and the kitchen. The computer sits on a 4’ X 6’ desk, which is covered with piles of my stuff. I have these To Do piles that I never usually get to doing. Anyway, I tend to have the current project’s folder in the pile nearest the computer, or sitting on top of the other pile, spread out all over the place. I also have a “come and meet the author” fancy sign I made for booksignings that I cover with pictures of my characters. That stands to my right so I can look my characters in the face.
There are some nice posters on the walls. I have a framed map of Middle Earth, and Brad has a sweet picture of several starship Enterprises and the new Tron poster. My writing files and shelves are in this room, holding file folders with all my other ideas.
I do NOT have music playing. I can’t concentrate with music playing. If I hear any music, my brain is overcome with wanting to sing and I can’t create. I know some writers love music while they write, but it’s never worked for me.
Me too! It has to be instrumental, or my brain is preoccupied with singing along.
What's a piece of advice that really took your writing to the next level? (For example, something really clicked for me when I realized my character needed to have a goal.)
For me, things really started to get easier when I stopped taking everything so seriously. I used to edit the life out of my writing, trying to get every writing rule perfect. But then I’d read books by multi-published authors who were breaking all the rules I was trying so hard to keep. It was SO confusing!
So I stopped. I decided to write the book, then edit it until I felt it was ready, then move on to the next book. Doing that boosted my confidence enough that I stopped freezing and fretting over whether I was good enough and trusted that I knew what I was doing. For writers, it’s often really difficult to trust yourself, but we all have to get to that point if we are going to turn writing into a career.
What a great insight, Jill. Making a career out of any kind of art form can be tricky for that reason. It's so hard to know when it's ready.
If you could only pick one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pride and Prejudice. The dialogue is so good, I could read it again and again and again and…
I know I'm not alone when I say this - that's a book I could reread every year. That's probably my desert island book as well.
Speaking of reading, one of the things I admire about you is you read a variety of genres. What's the best book you've read recently?
The Jerk Magnet! I read it last week. It’s Christian teen fiction by Melody Carlson, but truly, I loved it. And really, I suppose that the premise is a bit out there. Not every girl has the financial ability to get that kind of a makeover, but I just really loved what Melody did with the story. It was very well done.
Thanks, Jill for being with us!
To get entered to win a copy of Replication, you may either leave a question for Jill or tell us what genres you like to read best. Or are you like Jill, where you simply like good books regardless of where they're shelved?