L.A. Wilson is an exciting and unconventional independent writer and published author, whose series of books called ‘The Silurian’ will challenge everything you have ever read before about King Arthur and his knights. L.A. has been writing truly inspired and authentic books for the past ten years, where in the sphere of Arthurian genre, The Silurian, is truly unprecedented in originality, vision, and length.
Book One of The Silurian: The Fox and The Bear received an ‘Honorary Mention’ in the 2007 London Book Festival literary competition. And Book Two, The King of Battles, was a finalist under historical fiction in the Global eBook Awards.
L.A. has written ten books so far in The Silurian series, now standing at over a million words, with the final part of The Silurian, book ten, now a work in progress: ‘Last Man to Avalon: King of the Future’ that will join the series, hopefully by November of 2013.
What inspires you to write?
I think with me, I have a natural-born instinct to write and express myself through language and the written word; I’m good with words, creative ideas, artistic visions, a vivid imagination that I could not contain merely within my own head, but found a deep need to put those vivid images down as crafted stories. The truth is, I had no idea I was a gifted writer until I tried it! I was also mesmerized by the stories, legends, myths and historical search for King Arthur; it was the endless desire for more stories of Arthur that drove me to pick up a pen and try to write my own unique version of Arthur’s myth. I can personally claim it was Arthur who inspired me to first begin to write, and he still inspires me to this day, ten years after having begun my epic saga, The Silurian.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’ writer and have always been. I wrote all of my Silurian books this way, as well as my three other genre fiction novels. As my stories are totally character driven, it is the characters themselves who create the story, using internal logic that remains true to real life, where one event leads to another, in ‘action/reaction’ logic, generating the plot fully internally true to the character motivations and their real life conflicts; the process sounds ‘seat of the pants’, but really, once the characters have set up their life conflicts, the story unfolds naturally. I can’t write in any other way. If I try to force plots into my characters’ lives, the story unravels and the writing begins to sound forced and phony. I do have plot projections, but never set-in-stone plots. Everything is subject to the characters themselves taking the story in a whole new direction; that is, I let them be themselves to tell their own tales.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to my characters; they talk to me. As I said above, I let them be themselves, and if I force myself into their stories, to talk to them as if they were actors being given direction, my writing unravels and it all falls apart. I dislike authorial intrusion into any story I’m writing, and I don’t really like it when I sense it in other writers books; that is, you can SEE the writer writing, or rather, READ the writer writing. The author, to me, must remain utterly anonymous: that way, the characters are then free to seek for their own life-situations, be themselves, and generate answers to their own problems–you could say my characters have Free Will! My Silurian series is a first person narrative; I do not project myself onto my first person speaker, Bedwyr; I become him, rather than having him become L.A. Wilson. It’s a bit like a great actor who fully becomes the character he’s playing, leaving himself at home. I leave myself well and truly out of it, or else, my writing will become formulaic, rather than freely spontaneous.
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing advice? Well, there’s only one way to write, and that is to write. I was always told to read, read, read, but for me, doing too much reading only made me write other people’s books instead of my own. I had to stop reading in order to become my own writer of original works, so instead of read, read, read, I wrote, wrote, wrote. The more I read, the more other writers’ formulas stuck in my head, and I found a kind of ‘generic’ writing style coming out instead of my own original writing voice. Once I isolated myself into my own writing world, from there, I discovered I could actually do this on my own…with endless practice, with endless editing. Read some good writing manuals, and good editing manuals too; I learned much more about writing through editing than I did from just writing. Listen to criticism, and don’t dump it as a critic dishing your work. Learning through my mistakes taught me masses of good writing skills. Try not to get too precious when criticized; don’t give up because you got blasted by a reviewer/critic. I’ve been judged by so-called reviewers who couldn’t even spell my lead character’s name right, so you have to be tough, persistent, and utterly dedicated to your craft.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was driven to become an independent author after an endless parade of bad internet publishers. One after the other turned out to be either unprofessional, never honouring the contracts I signed, or plain crooks, just out to take what they can from a writer’s hard work. I will never sign a contract again with an internet publisher. And I’m glad to say my independence has brought me more money than any signed contract ever did.
I would say to new writers, be very careful of who you sign a contract with online. If you want an internet publisher, make sure their royalty to you is at least 70%; don’t sign for too long. Two years is enough for an online contract, and be wary of signing contract extensions from the publisher without first doing a new edition of your book. I’ve had books published with typos when I thought they’d been edited, and they hadn’t, and with an extension, you should ask for a new edit before agreeing to sign for another year or two—or else, see that book only continue with all those typos still there. Also research other authors’ experiences who are already published with that publisher: look them up to see if they are on Predators and Editors and if they are, STAY away. I still have books being sold out of contract by an online publisher.
Now, I self-publish all my books with Smashwords.com, or Lulu.com.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Oh, I don’t really know. There will always be writers and publishers in some form or other; people still want to hold a physical book in their hands, as I do. I don’t buy ebooks hardly at all, only if I want a quick easy read, but if I want a certain book to add to my collection, a book that has resonance and value, I will buy only a hardback or a paperback. As a writer myself, I want my books in print, to hold a real book in my hands and to SEE what I’ve created in real terms; an object of value. For me, ebooks are too ephemeral and easily lost if your ebook reader crashes; digital data just doesn’t cut it for me as a product worth all the effort it took to write, and yet, here’s the irony, all of my book sales are for ebooks, so I think digital will stay, as too will printed books.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Arthurian/historical fiction/gothic vampire/science fantasy/speculative fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print