William Vaughn is an award-winning and best-selling author who has been delighting readers for decades. Translated into a half-dozen languages, his books are enjoyed by readers all over the world. The Seldith Chronicles is his latest 5-star series following the exciting exploits of a teenage forest elf about five-inches tall. Brought up in a family that never lived anywhere more than three years, Bill settled in the Pacific Northwest nearly thirty years ago. He’s also an avid nature photographer and environmental activist. His travels have inspired a number of interesting and quirky characters in his books, as well as providing him with a true sense of nature, diverse cultures and points of view. He’s raised two daughters and has a couple of granddaughters who provide an endless bounty of storylines.
What inspires you to write?
Writing gives me a way to give voice to the characters that chatter in my ear like a kid just home from school after an exciting day. I see stories all around me in seemingly ordinary events that always have a lighter or darker or more complex aspect. My stories give me a way to help me understand the world around me, out in the wilds of a windy forest, a busy city or a quiet meadow. My photographs also bring back memories and color my scenes set in ancient Greece or exotic cities like Venice, Pompeii or Bangkok or everyday places like Killeen, Texas or Redmond watershed park.Words are my my pallet.
Tell us about your writing process.
My stories often begin with a single character trying to understand himself (or herself) and how they’re going to get to the next day or survive the current crisis. My characters talk to me and simply dictate what they’re feeling, seeing and hearing, tasting and smelling. They let me know if I don’t get it right, and wake me from a sound sleep to encourage me to tell their story as they want it told. I write in ‘stream of consciousness’, often ending up with hundreds of thousands of words that must be excised away to keep the stories focused and less complicated. I work with a group of writers from very different backgrounds that review and critique each set of chapters every couple of weeks. It’s essential to get other (experienced) eyes on the words to make sure the story remains true and clear. Once the book has been read, re-read, edited and edited again I submit it to a professional editor (often more than one) for another check. I then re-re-edit the book and hope I have not introduced more problems. I’m then ready for beta readers and a limited production run. Once I re-re-re-edit, I release the book for full production and cross my fingers. Do I use an outline? Usually not but once the book has reached a specific point, I write a synopsis and an ending. This helps dramatically to keep the story focused. While I don’t create characters sketches, I sometimes pattern the characters after movie or fictional characters that seem to fit the personality of the character, But the characters are constantly evolving as the story progresses so doing a sketch ahead of time would stifle that creativity.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Most certainly. As I said in the “What inspires you to write” section above, my characters are constantly talking to me. But they don’t listen. I do say “Seriously?” from time to time and wonder why they’ve taken the path they have chosen.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write. Learn. Read and write some more, Most of all, learn to solicit and accept and leverage criticism without crushing your spirit. Learn which critics matter and which don’t. This means don’t listen to your mom’s encouragement or disheartening cuts at your work.Sorry, she might be a great mom, but even (EVEN) if she’s the Editor in Chief of the New York Times, she has an agenda. You need to seek out independent people willing and qualified to review your work. Sometimes this means (often this means) you’ll need to pay to take a serious writing course where a skilled English professor can help you understand your talent or lack there-of.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was approached by a major publisher after having self-published my first technical book in 1991. This attracted several other publishers that lured me to move to another and another over the next 20 years. I’m trying to take the same approach to my fiction books. I’ve seen interest from a few editors but none has picked up the series. Frankly, given the current marketplace, I think writers need to be prepared to self-publish, self-market and do everything themselves.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The industry is in a period of transition. I think we’ll continue to see paper books printed for the next decade or so, but after that, electronic readers (entirely different technology) will evolve to make them even more attractive. Bookstores will also evolve or go the way of the vinyl record and 8-track tape stores,
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Young adult, New Adult, Fantasy, Fiction and technical
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print