Welcome, William. Please, take a moment to tell, or remind, us a little about yourself.
Well… I’m old. As you know, in another life I was a cop. I retired after 33 years and then taught a high school Criminal Justice program for another ten years. Now I have the time to write full time.
I actually started submitting manuscripts to publishers in the early 70’s and have hundreds of rejections letters to prove it. It seems I have finally learned to write more effectively since The Onion Caper is my second book to be published in the past two years. I am particularly pleased that both novels were accepted by the first publisher to whom they were submitted.
What influenced your decision to submit your novels to the publishers you did, and why did you submit your second novel (The Onion Caper) to a different publisher from the first novel (Outlaws)?
The Onion Caper is a Young Adult/Coming of Age novel. I submitted it as such but Musa Publishing didn’t think it fit in that genre so I subbed it to Wings ePress and they accepted it as a YA novel. My next one is a sequel to Outlaws and Musa will have first option on that one.
From your novels, it’s apparent that your experience working in law enforcement has provided background for your novels. What other knowledge and life experiences have found their way into your writing?
I was raised on a small farm as a young lad. That helped with setting for my first novel, Outlaws, and the new sequel to it I’m currently working on. Later I lived in a low rent housing project, and that was the early setting for The Onion Caper, where Cole gets tied in with the Shaw brothers. I think my professional interaction with a wide variety of people gave me a good ear for dialogue. That always helps writers.
As a kid, what novel or series do you fondly remember reading and as an adult, what is a novel or series you’re glad you read?
Actually, as a kid I didn’t read much. Mostly comic books and car magazines. I did read some of the Hardy Brothers series but not all of them, and of course Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. As a young adult, I went through a stage of reading many of the classic that I missed in my youth. Loved Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, and even Fitzgerald. Then I evolved into the action/adventure and detective novels. I started with Mickey Spillane and Richard Prather. I read all of theirs, and now, many of today’s top sellers. I guess the series I’ve loved the best are by Terry Pratchett, the Disc World series.
Quite a spread and variety of reading. Here’s a bit of an off the wall question: If you were asked to put one item and one written piece of advice into a time capsule, to be opened almost one thousand years from now, say 3000 AD, what would you place in the capsule?
Boy, that is a tough one because so many answers come to mind. I thought of a fishing pole with lures and instructions on how to use, a 45 RPM record of Elvis, a Swiss army knife, my guitar, etc. But in the end, I think I’d put in a study bible with the words: PAY ATTENTION.
Good answer, William. In your most recent release, The Onion Caper, can you tell us a little bit about it, and maybe one lesson the main character learned?
It’s about a young shy boy, Cole McKenna, embarrassed by his living in the low rent projects in a small town. He gets in with a bad group and they get arrested for stealing onions. Later, when the store where Cole works part-time gets burglarized and he is a suspect, Cole is driven to help Officer Bradley find the real thieves.
Then in high school, Officer Bradley once again calls upon Cole to help him investigate drug sales in the school. Impetuously Cole and his sidekick, Dave, get in over their heads when they follow the suspected dealers and nearly get themselves killed when a fight breaks out. Along the way Cole learns that action without thought can lead to danger. He also comes to understand that living conditions do not define the person – actions and character do.
Having had two novels published, what is something you’ve learned that you’d like to share with writers working to get their first novel published?
Most people who write novel length stories do so simply because they love to write. Sure, I think we all cherish the accolades from our friends and loved ones and the satisfaction of having finished a book. For me that was enough for a lot of years. Even with all the praise, I knew none of my manuscripts were publishable. A serious writer who wants to be published must seek unbiased, intelligent criticism and develop a thick skin. The best of this comes from other writers. So I would recommend joining a writers group where chapters are critiqued by each member of the group. Each member of the group will offer a different perspective of the work. Providing the story is at least interesting and has a bit of tension with characters the reader wants to care about, the combination of all suggestions will make it much better. Along the way we learn as much from critiquing others work as we do from accepting the criticisms they offer.
Glad you asked. I was working on the sequel to The Onion Caper and got about halfway through when so many people started asking me when the sequel to Outlaws (which I hadn’t planned on doing), would be out. So I shifted gears and started working on that. I think I’m about half way through now and it’s getting tougher and tougher. It’s the first thing I’ve ever written on demand. By that I mean without any story inspiration. I just took the characters from Outlaws and thrust them into a story. It’s working out though. So far I’m pleased with it.
I strongly suspect your readers will be pleased with Outlaw’s sequel as well.
As we’re getting to the end of the interview, is there anything you’d like to add?
Well first and foremost, thank you for having me. And of course thank you for being one of my critters.
Like most writers, I’m an avid reader, and now that I have a Kindle, most of what I read are eBooks. I try to leave a review of the books I read from Amazon, and I always read the reviews of books I’m thinking of reading. I find that many readers neglect this, and I think it’s a disservice to the author, and more importantly, to future readers. I would encourage readers to leave a review of the books they read –good or bad.
You’re welcome, William, and I very much appreciate the time you set aside for this interview. In addition, I enjoy being one of your crit partners. Finally, I fully agree about posting reviews, especially of books read and enjoyed.
For those interested, here’s where you can find William O. Weldy’s books:
The Onion Caper
Publisher (Wings ePress)