I'm excited to introduce you to Simon Williams, the author of the Aona dark fantasy series, of which four books have been published so far- Oblivion's Forge, Secret Roads, The Endless Shore and The Spiral Heart. The fifth book, Salvation's Door just came out. Simon has also written a sci-fi / fantasy / supernatural book, Summer's Dark Waters aimed at younger readers. Simon is a philanthorpist, and
all the royalties from sales of Summer's Dark Waters go towards TACT (tactcare.org.uk), an adoption and fostering charity.
Simon, welcome to an Angell's Life! What made you want to write?
I suppose I feel like I've always been a writer, but there are authors I've read (mostly when I was a kid) who deeply influenced me to the degree that I didn't really want to be anything else.
I'm not sure which of my influences show through most in my books, but the author who made me decide to become a fantasy writer was Alan Garner, so he was certainly the most profoundly influential writer during my childhood. Others (at various stages) have included Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Tad Williams, C.J Cherryh and Ian Irvine.
In terms of how it captured my imagination and changed the course of my life, still has to be Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and its sequel The Moon of Gomrath.
The response from readers has encouraged me to keep going, and to increase my rate of output. There's nothing like a rave review or even just an encouraging comment to help me kick on and get moving on whatever my current project happens to be. It's fair to say it's the comments, reviews and encouragement from fans that has helped me keep going more than anything else.
I feel ya! being able to touch others with your effort really makes all that we go through worth it. What is the current book you are promoting?
Salvation’s Door, which is the fifth and final book in the Aona dark fantasy / sci-fi series. The preceding books have had a lot of favourable reviews so I’m hoping the finale lives up to the reputation that the series seems to be slowly gaining.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Her name is Nia. She is immensely complicated, and seems to conjure up a lot of conflicting feelings for readers as well. To me, that’s what makes a story so much more immersive- a character who is multi-faceted and who people can (to an extent) identify with. In my books, everyone’s there for a reason. There are some peripheral characters who I care a little less about, but generally speaking each person has a role to play, otherwise they wouldn’t really be in the story at all.
Some of my peripheral characters are my favorites! If you could have your book made into a movie, who would you want to direct it?
Oddly enough, I probably wouldn’t choose someone known for directing fantasy as such. I’d probably make a more left-field choice. Some of my favourite directors include David Lynch, Ben Wheatley, Guillermo del Toro, etc. So it would be someone who could almost deconstruct it in such a way that it doesn’t present as straightforward fantasy- because the books blur genres and concentrate on the characters more than the settings.
Guillermo del Toro would be really good at that, for sure. He is remarkable in the way he brings characters to life. What is your next project?
The sequel to my YA sci-fi / fantasy novel Summer’s Dark Waters, currently titled The Light From Far Below, will probably be next. This is a challenge of a quite different sort for me- it’s become a pre-apocalyptic tale of urban paranoia which makes uneasy reading even for me, so it needs to be shaped appropriately for its intended readership- those poor folks who will have to contend with what remains of this world in the decades ahead.
Secondly, my book for younger kids, which I’m reluctant to give any details about at this point in case it doesn’t see the light of day. It’s a big leap into the unknown in terms of writing style, and depending on what the beta readers think, it may be shelved. But I’d like to think it has some potential- so I’m aiming to complete it and then we’ll see if it wilts or blooms in the light of scrutiny.
Summer's Dark Waters sounds intense. Right up my alley. Look forward to seeing how that comes along! If you could never write again, what would you do?
I honestly don’t know, because I’ve never really had much ability or talent when it comes to any other walks of life. Actually I could hopefully use some kind of speech software if I lost the use of my hands, so maybe I could still “write” – although it would clearly be more difficult. But if I couldn’t, I guess I’d spend all my time just reading instead. I never really had much of a gift for anything academic as such- and although I did try to have a career at one point, I quickly realised it wasn't for me. Maybe I just hated commuting and office politics even more than other people?!
I feel ya, Simon. I hated office politics and I love the commute from my bed to my laptop every day. Thank you for joining us. It was a delight to learn about you and your books.
Want to learn more about Simon and his works? Check out his website.