Guest Author Showcase: Trevor Williams

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Today's Guest Author Showcase in my weekly series features Carina author Trevor Williams. Welcome, Trevor, and thanks for coming by for a visit!


Please tell me about yourself and your book(s).
My day job until ten years ago was in TEFL (English language teaching). Since then I’ve become a property developer. I’m not one of those buy it up, tear it down, squeeze in as many as you can developers. I like restoring old houses. I’m doing an old school at the moment and, before that, I did a beautiful 16th century farmhouse with a tiled roof. Under the tiles we found it had formerly been slated. Under the slates we found it had originally been thatched. There was even the skeleton of a cat up there, presumably responsible for catching the mice. That sort of stuff is fascinating.
 Anyway, after many, many years of trying, I finally got my first publishing contract with the amazing Carina UK two years ago. Since then, four of my books have been published. The latest, What Happens in Tuscany… came out only three days ago. This recent batch of books are all romantic comedies. In particular, the third one, When Alice Met Danny has done very well, getting some good reviews. You can always spot my books. There’s a black Labrador in all of them. I’ve also just finished a trilogy of historical novels set in the Middle Ages. They are currently being considered by a publisher, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 

Please describe your daily writing habits.
I binge write. Sometimes a week or two can go by without my doing more than fiddle with ideas. Then, suddenly, I get into the mood and I can spend ten hours a day at the computer! I wrote my first book, Dirty Minds, in less than a month. Divide 80,000 words by 25 days and you get a lot of words a day! My record was 7,000 one memorable day. I always write in the same place. I have a study, looking out over the 800 year old church. It’s a quiet, relaxing place to be except for when the bell ringers are practicing! 
What are some things that have surprised you as an author?
Without question, the amazing solidarity between authors. I’ve been tweeting about new book, What Happens in Tuscany… for a few days since its release and loads of fellow writers, some of whom I have never met, corresponded with, or even heard about before, have been helping me out, retweeting and promoting.  As proof of this, look no further than, *embarrassed cough*, the lovely Katlyn Duncan who is hosting me here. I can’t imagine any other field where people are as supportive of each other. Becoming an author has brought me into an amazing community of people, and I feel very privileged. 

What would you say has been your biggest challenge as an author?
That’s an easy one. Without doubt, the biggest challenge (after managing to get a publishing contract) has been Social Media. For somebody who grew up in an age before even pocket calculators (we used slide rules at school! What? I hear you say), the advent of the computer took a lot of hard work to get to grips with. I thought I’d just about cracked it and then this! All this twittery, facebooky, pinteresty stuff almost has me rolling around on the floor and foaming at the mouth. I’m getting there, but it has been far, far more difficult than knocking out 80,000 words in a month! 

What would you say has been your biggest success as an author?
Getting published. Finding a publisher was the hardest and the most rewarding, no question. After that, it has to be When Alice Met Danny. It came out in June last year and by July it had reached #10 in the Kindle romantic comedy chart. And it’s still doing pretty well. It seems to have struck a chord on Amazon Germany of all places, where it is currently outselling by three to one. And the thing I like best of all is that the reviews that are being posted now are from people who saw it, bought it, read it and liked it. No longer just my long-suffering friends and relatives or mainstream book reviewers. Real people who like what I write. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

Do you plan your books out from start to finish in advance or do you let the story and characters take you where it will?
I’m a seat of the pants man. The authorspeak description of my writing method is “organic”.  I have started writing some books with just a main character, a location and the vaguest of ideas of a plot. I love it when the book starts taking on a life of its own and leading me off in directions I hadn’t even dreamt of. Years ago, I wrote a thriller. My wife still remembers me coming down to the kitchen at midnight one night, absolutely furious. Why? Because the main female character, who had only just met the handsome windsurfer a few hours earlier, had just jumped into bed with him. I was appalled at such behavior. Like I say, it’s great when it starts writing itself. 

Music or no music when writing?
Normally none. I find myself listening to the words and get distracted.  When I feel the need, it has to be Pink Floyd. 

Favorite snacks/drinks while writing?
Snacks? I’ve put on weight over these past few months, so I’m staying off snacks. Once I can sit at the computer again without undoing the top button of my jeans, I will revert to a chocolate biscuit and a cup of tea at regular intervals. 

Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?
Difficult question. Without ebooks, I would probably still be a frustrated writer, desperately looking for a very rare publishing contract with a limited number of publishers. Since the ebook revolution, more and more authors have been able to get their stuff out there. So I have good reason to love ebooks. And a Kindle is so useful when you fly away on holiday. No longer the need to fill half the suitcase with heavy books. However, I still like the feel of a book in my hands. Who doesn’t? 

What are your thoughts on the current trend of making books into movies?
Sounds great to me, particularly if it’s one of my books! 

Favorite genre that you like to read?
The word “omnivorous” sums up my reading tastes. I love John LeCarre, Len Deighton and other Cold War thriller writers. I deliberately avoid reading much chicklit as I want to keep my own style. I’m deeply into history, particularly medieval history. One of my favorites is Saints and Sinners; A History of the Popes by Eamon Duffy. If you like intrigue, sex and violence, then it’s a cracking good read. And historical fiction like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Pity the TV version they’ve just started showing is so obscure.  

Who is your all time favorite book character?
Either George Smiley (LeCarre) or Thomas Cromwell (Hilary Mantel). I love these silent, understated, very intelligent guys with a core of iron. 

What three things must you have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
I’m a very hands-on, practical sort of person. I would probably like to have a good big sharp knife, so I could build stuff. I’ve got so used to using the iPad, I would really like one of those.  Oh, and Halle Berry would be rather nice, too.

About What Happens in Tuscany:

This is my new book, published only a few days ago. It’s a romantic comedy about multi-milllionairess, Victoria Chalker-Pyne, who has been kept secluded from the real world by her crazy, overprotective father on their huge country estate. At the age of 25 she hasn’t owned a computer, hasn’t been to the movies, speaks like Jane Austen and dresses like Goldilocks, and, most significantly, hasn’t ever been out with a man…
Cue Katie. She has just got out of a toxic relationship and has thrown in her awful job. She’s looking for something fresh to do. She gets the job of acting as a guide and mentor to Victoria, helping to ease her into the twenty-first century. Together, they travel over to a wonderful villa in the Tuscan hills outside Florence. The sunshine, the food, the wine and the men are very appealing. As Victoria finds her feet in the modern world, Katie has to make up her mind where she wants to live; London or Tuscany. And with whom… 

About the Author:
As my photo shows, I am a man, and a pretty old one too. I write under the androgynous name, TA Williams, as most of my readers are female. I studied modern languages at Nottingham University and then lived in Italy for a good few years before coming back to the UK with my Italian wife and our little daughter. I live in the south west of England in a village that figures from time to  time in my books under various aliases. I’ve been writing all my life. I started with a 40 page Swallows and Amazons rip-off when I was 12 (written in pencil!) and I’ve written all sorts. I am now very happy writing romantic comedies for Carina UK.

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