First interview of 2014! And today we have the pleasure of meeting blogger, proofreader, and author of the science-fiction novel Kyrathaba Rising, William Bryan Miller.
Welcome, William! How about you start things off by telling us a little about yourself?
Sure! I’m a 42-year old licensed clinical mental health counselor, in practice for the past fourteen years. I’m married with children and dogs: a miniature schnauzer and a Boston
Terrier (the dogs, not the children). I computer program in the C# language. I know a smattering of HTML. I am trained in karate and first aid, which is a good combination. I wrote my first book and published it in July of 2013.
Congrats on finishing your first book! That’s an accomplishment!
What other forms of artistic expression are you interested in? Where does writing fit in, and why are you drawn to it? What keeps you motivated/inspired?
I consider computer programming a form of artistic expression. You have to be a programmer to appreciate that. I think I’m drawn to writing because I’ve been such an avid reader since middle childhood. As human beings, we want to emulate that which we admire. Inspiration and the desire to write hits me in waves. It’s not a constant flow. I’ve not written anything since finishing Kyrathaba Rising. But I intend to write the sequel, Kyrathaba Waxing, in 2014. I’m inspired by the several thousand books I’ve read over thirty years, and by music. I particularly enjoy Mozart and Beethoven. I’m also a fan of Christian rock, Kenny G., Enya, and Yanni.
What forms of writing and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?
I much prefer the novel to a short story. My favorite genres are fantasy, science-fiction, and post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction. I don’t really know why I’m drawn to those genres. I’m definitely not into mysteries or fictional alternate history. My next book will be
the sequel to Kyrathaba Rising, and the completion of the Kyrathaba duology. After that, I see myself writing gritty fiction. Further details have not yet been revealed to me by my Muse.
Yes, Muses can be quite tight-lipped when they want to be…
I’ve read books which really annoyed me. As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to not do in your own writing?
The story should move along briskly. I don’t enjoy books that draaaaaggggg. Also, SHOW, don’t TELL. Use dialogue and action in place of description. A good story has a hook, a conflict that must be resolved, rising tension, and finally a resolution or cliff-hanger. The
following is bad: “He picked up the salt shaker and seasoned his meat. Putting the salt shaker back down, he picked up his fork and began to eat, occasionally pausing to wipe his mouth with his napkin.” Someone please stick a fork in that character’s head!
What elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Humor, action, and verisimilitude are essential. My strengths are good vocabulary and spelling skills (I’m a proofreader for hire: http://williambryanmiller.com/?page_id=177). My weaknesses are motivating myself to sit at the computer and do nothing but write, for
at least half an hour daily.
Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they
Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay on the fantasy-fiction front, Asimov, Baxter, Stephenson, and Benford on the science-fiction front. They’re all such fantastic examples of immense skill and panache in the writing process.
What draws you to your preferred genre?
Fantasy and science-fiction are the genres that most stimulate the pleasure centers of my brain.
I can totally relate to that. 🙂
Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?
Kyrathaba Rising, my debut novel, has the following theme: 170 years from now, aliens decimate Earth. A relative handful of humans survive, hidden in deep subterranean enclaves that offer some protection from surface radiation. Although the main attack is now seven years in the past, one alien ship remains in orbit, and the conquerors are not
content merely to let humanity lick its wounds.
I’m currently working on a non-writing project that will involve bringing the best of the
best ebooks to the world via a subscription service. Unlimited downloads for a very affordable price.
Why is promoting other authors on your blog important to you?
I believe we’re all in this together. Word of mouth is critical in this new age of publishing. It’s what made Goodreads so wonderful until Amazon’s dictatorial crackdown and controversial deletion of reviews. Anyone who wants to put a well-written, thoughtful,
non-offensive post on my blog can request this privilege.
What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?
Narrowing my attention to the writing only, to the exclusion of Goodreads, Book Review Depot, FB chat, reading for pleasure, and other pursuits.
Not to mention work, family, taking care of the house…oh, wait, that’s my life!
Who are your favourite writers and why?
Tolkien, Guy Gavriel Kay, China Mieville, March McCarron. I really don’t know why; at least, the reasons are so complex that they defy analysis. The easiest explanation is that their writing transports me.
What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into your genre?
Your book needs to be a close to error-free as possible. You are making a huge mistake if you don’t use multiple sets of eyes to spot and correct problems before you publish. You NEED professional proofreading (see my link in answer to Question #5). No matter how
great your story idea is, if it’s poorly executed, it’ll flop. Even indie/self-pub authors whose books are quite good do well to make in the triple digits annually, in book sales (all but the very lucky 0.01% — the Amanda Hockings of the world).
How can readers get into contact with you?
Facebook (Author): facebook.com/WilliamBryanMiller
Facebook (Personal): http://www.facebook.com/bryan.miller.3705
Amazon (Author): http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EVVHU8Y
Visit my DonationCoder page: kyrathaba.dcmembers.com
Thanks so much for being our first guest of the year, William. It was great getting to know you, and I’m sure the Readers agree. Readers, you know what to do! William’s got tons of contact links listed. Pick one–or two or three–look him up, and say hi!
Everyone, have an excellent week and a great beginning to the New Year!