Wednesday, 22 August 2012

William Petersen

Author of: Staying the Hand of God

Book blurb:

As planet Earth becomes inhabitable, a small group of young astronauts become the last hope for the continuation of the human race.

As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm a freelance, non-fiction writer and fiction author, 40 years old. ( I don't look a day over 39...) Ghost writing and informational articles are my main focus during the day, ranging from science and technology to nature and e-commerce. I've published three fiction stories, all thrillers, and I have a fourth in the works. I love the intricacies and power of the natural world and our understanding of it, which is more than apparent in my writing, maybe to my own detriment, as I tend to put more 'story' than 'character' in my writing. Fortunately, for me, self-publishing has allowed me to write in my own words, and in my own style, which is the only way I can write.

What is your book about?

"Staying the Hand of God" is about mankind's lack of control over its surroundings and its destiny. I try to bring together the ideas of creation, spirituality and reality, under one umbrella. One of the greatest conflicts throughout human history has been the conflict between education and belief. In "Staying the Hand of God", I try to show that both belief and knowledge are essential to mankind's continued existence, and how too much faith in either one will ultimately end the race as a whole.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began experimenting with fiction writing about six years ago, just shortly after becoming a freelance non-fiction writer. I discovered right away that fiction and non-fiction were VERY different...and not just for the obvious reason...or what I like to call the "Duh-factor". I started writing fiction for one simple reason: I had an idea one day (they come so few and far between, I have to note the occurrences) that I thought would make a great story, so I started to write it down.

What genre do you prefer to write in?

I prefer the thriller genre, mainly because it interests me so much. If you like what you write, I believe it shows.

What is your biggest writing achievement to date?

So far, my biggest achievement in the fiction arena is the consideration I've received for my first story. For a new writer and just a short story, "Mythical" has already created some opportunities for me, most notably, its current consideration for representation by a very high-profile literary agent. I can't divulge any details yet, but let's just say that the same agent represents one of the best selling fiction collections of the last ten years, and, I quote: "...would like to consider the project"...

What inspired you to write this book?

"Staying the Hand of God" was inspired by exploration of all kinds, its risks and how much effort it requires, as well as how exploration is the key to mankind's future. This story not only highlights how fragile and rare life is in the universe is, but also what it might take, if indeed, the geological clock of the Earth were accelerated, or some similar disaster took place, and humans had to find another world. The story is partially inspired by apocalyptic theories, such as the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy, asteroid strikes and the Nemesis death star, and the thoughts of what humans could do in the face of such power. It would be, as if humans were trying the stay the hand of God...

Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?

I actually have two: Stephen King and Michael Crichton; both of these authors, along with many others, make the story real for me. I can actually see and feel what is happening during the story, I've even caught myself staring into space, repeating a sentence or scene in my head, visualizing it as plain as day. I hope to have the same effect on my readers.

What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it?

Believe it or not, I'm actually reading some of Shakespeare's original works. A friend loaned me a collection, in the original writing style that includes "thou" and "thee", which is an adventure in itself to decipher, though worth every minute. I just re-read "The Tempest", and I'm getting ready to start on "Much Ado About Nothing". I think that everyone should periodically return to the classics and see how their interpretations of them have changed as they've grown older and more experienced, it is an eye-opener, to say the least.

What are your current projects?

I currently have three stories out: "Mythical" - a short fantasy thriller, "Underground" - a modern, edgy thriller and my latest release, "Staying the Hand of God" - a science fiction novel. I have two more novel-length thrillers in the works, both are planned for release later in 2012.

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

I write most often late at night and on the weekends, when I can set aside a block of time for the intense thought that goes into creating a story. During the week and during the day, I try of focus on idea development, marketing, promotion and editing, as my analytical mind is more accessible during the day, while my creativity and craziness tend to come out at night and when I'm left alone for too long.

What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?

In my own limited experience, I would say that developing characters and formulating a solid ending are the toughest for me. I have trouble building well-rounded characters, probably because I'm not very well-rounded myself. I also have trouble with ending a story. I can't quite put my finger on it...maybe I don't want them to end...

Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?

Covers are definitely important. The story is the focus, yes, but the cover is what people see first, and it needs to be as professional as it can be, regardless of how good the story is. I'm lucky to have some graphic design experience, and designed my covers myself, but if I could not have accomplished it myself, I would have paid to have them created. Whatever it takes, put the best face on it that you can, or readers may not get far enough to discover how good the story is. A book cannot be judged by its cover...but the cover IS the first impression...regardless of any clever anecdotes that are employed.

Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?

I did not even attempt traditional publishing, at first. I went straight to online publishing, then, when I had my online presence established, I used that to approach traditional publishers and agents. This gave them something to see, with their own eyes, and I believe that has given me some serious advantages when seeking out traditional literary avenues. It not only shows them that I am serious about writing and marketing the stories I write, but is also proves that I'm willing to work for it, which many underestimate when considering a writing career. Writing is a job, it is a fun job, but it is still a job...

On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?

I've found the world self-publishing to be a wealth of opportunity, though the toughest parts, and I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice this, are drawing new readers and generating sales. Let's face it, I wouldn't put my stories up for sale, if the ultimate goal was not to sell them. My advice to those considering self-publication is to do it...and do it now...but keep your eyes open and keep realistic expectations.

Where can we buy the book?

"Staying the Hand of God" is available just about anywhere you can purchase an e-book: Amazon, GoodReads, Smashwords and it will be in the Barnes and Noble and Apple I-Stores within a week (they take a little longer to process than most...)

Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?

I have a Facebook page and profiles on Amazon, GoodReads and Smashwords. My blog is on GoodReads, though I'm in the process of feeding to my Amazon profile as well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The best advice that I can pass on is to follow the rules of one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, Robert Heinlein...In a nutshell:

You must write: Writers write things...
You must finish what you write: Every story must have a beginning, middle and an end...
You must not rewrite what you've written: Editing and revisions are critical, but don't rewrite your story...
You must present your story to the world: Just do it...
You must leave your story on the market until it sells: Just do it...

And, finally, do you have anything else that you’d like to say to everyone?

I would definitely like to thank those that are reading and those that have taken a chance on new authors. My philosophy - If you have a story, tell it.

Thank you to all that have read, and will read, my stories!

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