Michael Z. Williamson
Where are you from: That’s complicated. My father’s from Aberdeenshire, my mother from Cheshire but raised all over including Rhodesia. I was born in Birkenhead, then we later moved to Mississauga, Canada, then Ohio, and eventually I made my way via Texas and Illinois to Indiana. The US Air Force and US Army were somewhat involved in that.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
My wife grew up all over America, enlisted herself at age 35, finished basic training and combat photographer school at age 36, and is in the Guard and a contractor at an urban training site. She occasionally cowrites with me. My kids are big into historical martial arts, shooting, music, video games, and have some professional screen credits on Discovery Channel and elsewhere. I’d watch out for the cats, too, if I were you. They’re ninjae. Myself, I have more than enough college for a degree, but no degree.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
When Diplomacy Fails… is in stores now, and a collection of my shorter fiction, entitled “Tour of Duty” will come out next summer. Other stuff is in progress.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Age 8, when I started a book for kids on rockets.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It wasn’t so much inspiration as a monkey on my back.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend to be sarcastic and it tends to show. Some of my characters utilize it. Others find it exasperating.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Freehold, my first novel, was named after the concept of independent holding of real estate.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The major lesson is that different cultures have different viewpoints, even if they share a language.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of it. I am totally convinced the future will look exactly like that, and I’ll be hailed as a prophet. Seriously, though, some of it has already played out, all of it is based on legitimate extrapolation, and I try to make characters act like real people.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Absolutely, which is why I find it amusing when someone complains that no person would act thusly, when many of the incidents are in fact based on actual events.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Heinlein’s juveniles, definitely.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
David Drake has been very thoughtful, informative and helpful.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Several books on flintknapping and medieval arms.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Unfortunately, family, military, research and writing take up all my time. I do some occasional gunsmithing and bladesmithing, but not much recreational reading.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
A Holmes-based psych thriller, a 1900s pseudo-steampunk story, and The Redneck Zombie Brigade.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I actually found a number of editors ready to throw money at me and promote me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It has been for a decade.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes. I ran out of time, and the satirical content was lost in the current news, but then, even Monty Python would have trouble with current news.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
No, I just sort of wrote.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My site has updates on all my upcoming projects, and samples can be found on both Baen’s site http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/9781416537908/9781416537908.htm?blurb
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Everything should be challenging. Nothing should be routine.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Three way tie between Heinlein (characters and interaction), Niven (large ideas) and Peter Hathaway Capstick (writing style and settings)
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have traveled extensively over the years, so I don’t need to.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The art for my SF has been by Kurt Miller or David Mattingly. The cover design is usually by Carol Russo.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My recent or my first? Recent was trying to get off-screen politics relevant to the plot into the POV characters. The first one, I likely chose too much scope for one book and had to shovel to make it fit.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Every book is a learning experience.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Finish. Try to sell. Repeat.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks. My mortgage company and antique gun collection love you.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
More gunsmithing, bladesmithing and other metalwork.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?