About K. Williams:
Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, K embarked on a now twenty year career in writing. After a childhood, which consisted of voracious reading and hours of film watching, it was a natural progression to study and produce art.
K attended Morrisville State College, majoring in the Biological Sciences, and then continued with English and Historical studies at the University at Albany, home of the New York State Writer’s Institute, gaining her Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, K interned with the 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging her interests in social movements and art. Topics of K’s writing include the environment, animal welfare, gender limitations, racial disparities, and the trauma of war.
Published novels by K include the Civil War drama Blue Honor, the Second World War spy thriller OP-DEC:Operation Deceit, and the controversial science fiction/fantasy series The Trailokya Trilogy. In addition to writing novels, K enjoy’s the art of screenwriting and has worked on the screen spec 8 Days in Ireland, and the adaptations of her current novels. Currently, K has completed the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program for Film Studies and Screenwriting at Empire State College (SUNY), and is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. In 2015, K. Williams became an official member of International Thriller Writers.
K continues to write on this blog weekly, producing commentary Mondays and Fridays on hot topics with some fun diversions for your work week. Whether it’s cooking, learning a foreign language, history or dogs, you’ll find something to enjoy and keep coming back for. Always a promoter of other artists, K uses Guest Blog Wednesdays to showcase artists from around the web and bring you interesting readings to expand your horizons. A sequel to her second novel, OP-DEC, is in the research phase, while the screen adaptation is being considered for production by film companies.
A devoted dog mom to Miss Sadie Sue Shagbottom, K is also a visual artist, producing the ZoDuck Cartoon, painting and sketching–digitally or traditionally, as well as an accomplished Photographer.
What inspires you to write?
The weirdest things! To be quite honest, the weirdest, or maybe I just mean the oddest things tend to inspire me. Things could be colors or objects, a few words strung together. I believe in timing, that somehow the universe conspires to bring your attention to things for a reason. I’ve learned to pay attention. A certain shade of blue will strike me with nostalgia and off I go. This is why I write blog posts about various historical objects and oddities. I’m certainly not alone in being inspired by serendipity.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write by the seat of my pants. Planning creates fences that choke off my creativity. That said, I do make random notes, as ideas come at inopportune times. I use good old pen(cil) and paper. I keep them in a manila folder for later.
In addition, I sketch as well. For my Trailokya series it was necessary to create a map of Zion and Jahannam, since they had fixed locations and the characters were traversing the worlds to get to them. I wanted to be assured of continuity. This is why I also wrote all three books at once. It’s a huge undertaking, but all the information was fresh on my mind and I didn’t have to refer back much in order to keep the story going.
Me and my cover designer, Scott Deyett of InHouseGraphics (Baldwinsville, NY), brainstorm the looks of the covers and to get my point across best, I will make quick, and very silly looking, sketches of my ideas. It’s great fun! I keep those as well. It’s so fun to look back.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters play on a movie screen in my head. I see it all like a film from beginning to end. I’m watching, but never interacting with them. Interacting would be too painful. For me, the worlds that I create are far superior to the world in which I live and having to leave them behind would be more overwhelming than it already is. I often joke, ‘why can’t I just add water to the books and this one or that one become real here.’
What advice would you give other writers?
There is so much I have to say on this. I wrote a short note on Facebook outlining how I managed to get to this point. On my blog, The Writing Historical Fiction series outlines tips, tricks and advice about the genre. I’d like to point you there, because I could not do justice to the advice you deserve in this small space. Links to those on my blog are below, with my other links.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Publishing my books was a very long journey of about twenty years now. I attempted the traditional route, found an agent and struggled for many years to try and break into the industry. There are so few spots, that it really is an impossible task to achieve without connections and utter perfection in your work. So, don’t beat yourself up over not winning that battle from the get-go. Do check out my guide to getting published, because there are tips in it on what you’ll need to do to equip yourself for such a struggle.
When the market flattened out in the early 2000s, so did my chances. The last close call was with Penguin Publishing and one of their historical fiction editors who loved my work Blue Honor. It had arrived just as she signed another work, and it was too much to take on all at once. Soon after, my agent bowed out, I was free floating with no options. After attempting to land other agents and getting nowhere, I worked on taking the criticism I had received and using it to turn my chances around. But, always there was that wall. Then, self-publishing became a thing. It was only a matter of money. This, again, kept me out of the running, because my earnings were not enough to support a writing career and pay the bills. I still struggle to meet my marketing needs even at this point.
Let me just say, publishing is not going to be the answer to monetary dreams. I’m sorry. Very few authors make it to such a level.
Anyway, Createspace happened and it was affordable. It erased all the barriers and I steamed ahead. I put out Blue Honor and used the earnings from that to pay editing fees, cover design costs and some marketing for OP-DEC, my second novel. This was the turning point that helped me create a platform and the start of a fan base. From there, I finished my graduate degree, which was another turning point, as through friends I met my managers. They introduced me to my publisher, Booktrope, and the rest is history. I’m currently trying to sell the film rights for the adaptation of OP-DEC, and putting out my epic fantasy series.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Balancing all the things I get to watch from my point of view, I see things leaning more toward the hybrid design of Booktrope publishing. You still have to be good enough to make it past the query stage, which doesn’t remove the struggle you face in getting your work shaped up, but the team publishing aspect of it and the independence is where things are headed. Just recently I read an article outlining how the big five are all creating branches with the Booktrope formula. So with that in mind, this might be how they get their major league picks from here forward, and reaching that high will be impossible without first basically doing everything I outline in my guide. But, don’t be scared. The steps are reasonable and they help you grow to be an expert in your field, and that is what you want if you’re bothering to publish. So it is a very good thing.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.