The next author I want to introduce you to is a very special friend of mine. He is the reason you all get to see this blog and he made my awesome cover picture. He is a man of many talents and a friend to authors and readers alike. He has written many books and I’m proud to say I think I have read them all unless he has snuck in a new one while I wasn’t looking. I highly recommend any of his books for you to read you can’t go wrong. I’m blessed to call you my friend.
Introducing William Cook…
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
Not sure, but I won a prize for a story when I was a kid of nine years. It was a story along the lines of ‘I had a dream but I wasn’t sure if it was a dream or a real nightmare.’ It involved a chase across the desert and being bombarded with giant disembodied heads that were being fired out of a cannon by a voodoo witch doctor. Weird but interesting to note, that I still have not outgrown my penchant for the bizarre and horrific. I blame my parents, ha ha ha ha. I used to write a lot of stories for school but would always get comments from the teachers, like: ‘great story but far too bloody!’ With titles like ‘The Great Weed-eater Massacre’ and ‘Trip to the Murder-House,’ I guess it is no wonder they raised a few eyebrows and mental-health concerns.
2. How many books have you written?
More than I thought I would ever have written. At the moment I am producing a new work approximately every two-three months – mostly novella length works or short fiction via Amazon’s KDP select program. I have also started writing non-fiction (‘Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors’) and have been enjoying this immensely – being able to target areas of personal interest that can also benefit others. I have one stand-alone novel, ‘Blood Related’ (with a sequel well under-way and hopefully ready by Christmas 2016), a collection of short fiction, ‘Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales,’ two collections of poetry: ‘Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry’ and ‘Journey: the search for something,’ and, finally, a non-fiction literary analysis of Jim Morrison’s poetry titled ‘Gaze Into The Abyss: The Poetry of Jim Morrison.’ I also have a bunch of kindle singles, mini-collection and other non-fiction titles available via Amazon. Please check out the link below to see my complete back-catalog.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Yep – boring stuff! No, but seriously, yeah – boring stuff.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
Well, I can tell you I am a young forty-something Generation Xer. I’ve been married to a very supportive lady for over ten years now (we just had out anniversary). Cath is a high-flying corporate contractor who suggested I stay at home to look after the kids and write my books in between. Without her support I think I would’ve never produced the amount of work I have to date. We have two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Leila – both budding artists/writers, and I have two other awesome daughters, Elizabeth and Jessica (26 year olds – identical twins) from a previous relationship. After the birth of our first child, I packed in my job as a self-employed business owner (painting and decorating) and took over the household duties to raise our kid/s. We had a second child and this cemented my position on the home front for another stint of ‘daddy day-care.’ Until recently, I have looked after the kids for the past seven and a half years, but this year have enrolled at a local university to complete my Master’s in English Literature. During my time at home I have done a bit of contract work, doing graphic designs (book covers etc.) and contracting as a web content manager to a local IT/Web company. Hopefully, by the time I finish my MA I will be making enough income from my publishing efforts to justify a career as a fulltime author (fingers crossed).
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
I guess ‘Blood Related’ because I have invested so much time in doing it properly and tweaking it to be the best it can be as my ‘flag-ship’ publication. I am really proud of ‘Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror,’ which I edited and compiled etc. It was a real learning curve putting together this anthology and put me in the position of being able to connect and communicate with some the writers I have looked up to for so long. Authors like Ramsey Campbell, J.F. Gonzalez and Charlee Jacob to name a few.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
I would have to lay the blame squarely at my Grandfather’s feet. I used to stay with my Grandparents’ often during school holidays and parental trials and tribulations and my Grandfather was always writing. His study was overflowing with science-fiction and fantasy books and he was always writing: “. . . at least 1,000 words per day, my boy. 1,000 words . . .” My Grandmother was a prolific letter writer also and she used to spend most of her time, propped up in bed with a type-writer tapping away at another 20-page letter to a relative. So, seeing my two favorite relatives writing continuously, embedded the importance of the craft in my mind but it wasn’t until I first read Stephen King’s fantastic collection of short fiction, ‘Night Shift,’ that I realized I could let the nightmares out onto the page. That there were real writers out there who actually got paid to write scary stories, the kind of stuff that I loved to read and create.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
If I’m not writing I enjoy reading and hanging out with my kids, or relaxing on the deck in the evening looking out over the harbor and star-watching with my wife.
8. And traditions you do when you finish a book? [you may want to revise this question slightly to read a bit better]
Mmmmm . . . traditions? I guess my ‘traditions’ are sort of more rituals than anything. Now that I have published a few books I sort of know what I’m doing more-or-less, so I get down to the business of organizing the publication for maximize exposure and initial downloads. If you mean do I do a sort of ‘happy dance’ or something like that when I finish writing a book – no, I don’t. I have got used to that sickening feeling I used to get when I had finished a book – I guess it’s because I am prone to anxiety and I used to feel quite ‘down’ when I had finished writing a good story but now I just feel a sense of relief. However, I try not to get too excited because I know that while the story might seem good to me, that I am ultimately writing it for the pleasure of other readers and until I get positive feedback from my readers, I am in a perpetual state of trepidation. So it is with some relief, that I publish the work after initial feedback from my readers allows me to feel confident enough about the work to unleash it out into the wild.
9. Where do you write? Quite or music?
I write on my lap-top so that I can pretty much write anywhere. We have a great view from our kitchen window, so once I’ve got all my chores out of the way, I set myself up at the dining table and go for it. I can’t really seem to concentrate with lyrical music as the words get in the way of my narrative, but I do write well with classical music on quietly in the background or ambient electronica. But one thing that is essential for me when I write, now that I no longer imbibe as I used to when writing, is a massive cup of double-strength coffee. Without the coffee . . . I am nothing.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I would be more prolific and less distracted as I’m prone to be. I want to experiment with other genres also and step outside my comfort zone – I am even considering writing contemporary romance with a dark twist (ala Daphne Du Maurier) under a female pseudonym, but haven’t quite reached the stage where time permits me to wear another hat. But when it does, ‘watch out’! Oh yeah, and kid’s books too – probably middle-grade to YA. I’ve had a story published recently in an anthology of wacky kids’ stories called ‘Twisty’s Christmas Tales’ (Phantom Feather Press, NZ) – it was a lot of fun to write and I’ll definitely do more in that vein. Even though I love the horror genre, sometimes it gets a bit much as it is hard to escape the negativity of most tales of horror – someone is usually getting brutalized or horrible things are being entertained so it is nice to take a step back and switch codes for a bit. Funnily enough, I always return to writing horror – I think it keeps me grounded because there is a real knack to writing an effective horror story that people remember because of the way it is written, rather than for the amount of blood and guts on the page. This is something that I am constantly seeking to refine and I am always trying to improve – ‘quiet’ horror is the hardest form of the genre to write, in my opinion, and it is the measure by which I aim my aspirations, i.e. to write it well and to give my readers the best written example of the genre that I possibly can.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
My dream as a writer is to be able to support myself and my family with the proceeds from my work. It doesn’t have to be millions, but a tidy income that allows me to continue entertaining people as a career is my ultimate dream/goal. I am a bit of an introvert so I don’t really aspire to be ‘famous’ per se, but some recognition would be nice one day and I’ve always had a wish to see one of my stories retold on the big screen. Any directors/producers out there who’d like to use one of my stories for a film I’d be happy to turn any into a screenplay (wink, wink).
12. Where do you live?
I live in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. It’s a relatively small, windy capital city with just under 400,000 people including outlying suburbs and districts.
Unfortunately my wife and daughter both have cat allergies and as a Leo (yes, the irony is quite amusing) I hate not having cats in the house, as I am very much a ‘cat person.’ I have two small children if that counts? So, no, no pets L
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Constructing a world and characters from my imagination. I love seeing a story take shape on the page. I also love being part of the writing community – while there is a lot of BS that goes on with some writers and associations, largely it is a generous and friendly bunch of people who are usually happy to network and share advice and camaraderie. Aside from those two things the thing I love most about writing is sharing my work with my fantastic readers. If anyone would like a free book (my collection of macabre short fiction: ‘Dreams of Thanatos’) I’d like to personally invite you to subscribe to my website and download your free copy. http://williamcookwriter.com/p/subscribe-now.html
You can also connect with me on Twitter: @williamcook666 and via my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WilliamCookWriter/ – love to see you there!
William, thank you for taking the time to let us get to know you better. I’m proud to call you my friend. I wish you loads of success and happiness!