Author Interview: Hugh Williams

Born: July 1, 1952
BS Illinois State 1997
MS Illinois State 1999
JD Southern Illinois University School of Law
Admitted to Illinois Bar in 2003
Currently resides in Carbondale, IL
Author of four books: The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 1: A Zombie Apocalyptic Tale, The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 1: A Zombie Apocalyptic Tale: 2nd Edition The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 2: Survival Guide, and The Incident.

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Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Politically, I am what one would call a Libertarian. I am a fiscal conservative and somewhat a moderate on social issues. I went back to school when I was 42 and have never regretted the decision. It just goes to show that you can never be too old to finish what you start.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I am an avid coin collector, mainly American. I am a Diamond Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League. I also love to read and watch movies.

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
I am a big fan of science fiction, legal fiction, and mysteries. My favorite authors are Robert Heinlein, Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman, Lee Child, John Sanford, and Michael Connelly.

What are the books and films that helped to inspire you as an author?

The Slow Burn Series by Bobby Adair really got my interest up. Also, the follow authors have had a huge impact on me: TW Piperbrook, JL Bourne have had a huge influence on my horror genre writing. They helped inspire me. Also on the movie end, anything by George Romero, The Resident Evil movie series, a careful reader will figure out one of the important characters in my Trek to Elysium Chronicles series was based on Chairman Wesker. The Resident Evil movies also gave me other ideas for plot development and the story line. The movie The Night of the Comet gave me the idea for the opening scenario in The Incident.

What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?

I have two authors, Bobby Adair and JL Bourne, who are new, but I am not sure if they are up and coming. They are pretty well established and have sold a lot of books. Adair is particularly helpful the times I talk to him. A definite new and upcoming author is Kathy Dinisi. I have read all of her Zombie books (The Hell Bound series) and Arrived (her initial foray into science fiction). I also have read her novel, Road. Road is for sure her creepiest book and Arrived is clearly her best.

How would you describe your writing style?

I try to be a story teller. My books typically have a lot of dialogue. I like to make readers feel like they are really in the middle of the scene observing what is happening. I like to make the reader think. I begin each chapter with a quote from an important individual, regardless of their political views. My list of people I use for quotes can range from George Orwell, to Ronald Reagan, to Ben Franklin, to Stalin. In my first book, I spent time discussing the quotes, I later dropped that practice as so many of my chapters end on cliff hangers, that I sense the reader would rather get to it than hear me pontificate about the quote.

I have a couple of conventions that I stick to. One is you will notice I always refer to the leader of the United States as “The President.” While there is a subtle political message, my use of The President allows the reader to insert whatever President they don’t like as a villain. I also never mention any live politicians in my actual story. It allows the book to continue to be timely and relevant long after the politicians have left the scene.

The reader will notice that I have renamed two important groups in my stories, I renamed TSA to The Department of Travel Security. I liked that title as it sounded very Orwellian. I also renamed FEMA, the Federal Rescue Agency. Those two groups are either involved in some battles or incidents and are never discussed in a favorable light.

People who have read all of my books will tell you I have a political point of view that comes out. That being said, I try to seamlessly work it into the story. After all, my main goal is to write a book that is exciting and entertaining to myself and my readers.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

Sometimes, some scenes I have worked out on paper, do not seem to jive once I begin introducing them to typing. While I my characters are rough and tough, I try to make the bulk of the story somewhat realistic. For example, the last book in The Trek to Elysium series, I had to find a plausible way that the good guys would be able to track the double agent they are attempting to rescue. I was stuck on the idea for a few weeks. I am not going to give it away, but I did find a plausible solution to the problem in a James Bond movie.

Is there any subject you would never write about as an author?
I don’t like to say never as I prefer to remain flexible on such things, but we can safely say you won’t see any of my books competing for any Erotica awards any time soon. Nothing wrong with that, and I have read some interesting books in that field, but not my cup of tea. I am more of an action guy.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

The most important tool is to have a vivid imagination. That’s developed in part by reading books and watching movies that are in your genre. The second most important is to have the courage to write. It’s easy to think of ideas, but never commit them to paper. When you are an author, you are really putting yourself on display for the public. If writing were easy anyone could and would be doing it. Finally, have a thick skin. Not everyone is going to love everything you write. Some people will be helpful with constructive criticism. Others will say the book really sucks which is not helpful, but makes them feel better about themselves. You just have to take everything with a grain of salt.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
There is a tie. One well established author told me that in Zombie Apocalypse type books, it is almost impossible to keep politics out of the story, so don’t worry about it. The other best advice is to just do it and see what happens. Sometimes you will surprise yourself.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you approached this subject?

I have recently gotten a PA to work with me in that area, I do not want to mention her name as of yet and that will help. I find Facebook not to be the most effective way of marketing your books with a couple of exceptions. One would be the “Author Release Party.” That gets you exposure to a group of people who are actually interested and may even buy a copy and leave a review. Book groups with large numbers do not seem to be effective, at least in my case. There are so many posts that the small author like me gets lost in the shuffle. Twitter seems to be a little more effective, but as they say in my profession, the jury is still out.

What piece of work are you most proud of?

Very tough question. I have been told my novel “The Incident” is clearly my best writing to date, so I will go with that. It’s hard to pick your best, every book is your own creation. On an overall basis, all of my books have a strong woman as well as a man as the main characters in my stories. This is not done out of political correctness, rather, necessity. When the Zombie are coming or other bad guys, it really has to be all hands on deck.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work?

When it is becoming apparent to the narrator that The Zombie Apocalypse will soon be coming to his hometown, he says to a clerk at the gas station he has stopped at, “I am leaving town and suggest you do the same.” Though unknown to him at the time, two members of his future group overhear the conversation and end up joining the group he is in.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

My last book was “The Incident.” It is a Zombie Apocalypse book with crossover in to an espionage thriller. I am currently working on the final book in The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 3: End Game. I am hoping to have that finished in a few months. I am also making a foray into the detective story genre. The name of that book for now is “Miller Rixey: Caesar’s Medallion.” That book has a long way to go.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
I usually don’t read great books, or have not for a while. I read the classical authors like Twain and Stevenson when I was younger. It’s hard for me to be disappointed as I have an author list I stick to and I always enjoy their works.

What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?

Q: What made you write in the Zombie genre?
A: I use the Zombie Apocalypse as a metaphor for the problems that are occurring in society. Many of my readers have commented that while my books are not gruesome, they are sometimes scared by them. When I ask why, they tell me the situations I describe seem like they are happening now. When I hear that, I know I have succeeded.

I wanted to thank you Jessica Ward, for this interview. I know there is a lot of very hard work involved with doing these types of things. I can appreciate the fact this will help me contact new readers.

Hugh’s Bookshelf

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The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 1: 2nd Edition: A Zombie Apocalyptic Tale by Hugh Williams

This is the 2nd edition of Volume 1 of a zombie apocalyptic trilogy. It traces the adventures of four friends who attempt to escape the government, the zombie apocalypse, and the evil corporation who caused the crisis.

For your copy of The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 1: 2nd Edition: A Zombie Apocalyptic Tale CLICK HERE

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The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 2: Survival Guide by Hugh Williams

The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 2 is the second book of a three part series that follows a group of intrepid adventurers who are fleeing from The Zombie Apocalypse as well as trying to solve the mystery of what caused it.

The group has already learned that they must fight and think as a team if they are going to survive. The group’s goal is to reach the largest sanctuary in the United States, a place that has been named Elysium. They have many adventures along the way: rescuing people when they can, fighting renegade government agents and employees from the company that helped get The Zombie Apocalypse going, and destroying mutated monsters.

Will they defeat the odds and make it to the safety of Elysium?

For your copy of The Trek to Elysium Chronicles: Volume 2: Survival Guide CLICK HERE

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The Incident by Hugh Williams

A classified message sent to The President of the United States informs him that a research platform in space has exploded. That platform was funded by a group simply known as The Society. The explosion was a full week earlier than originally planned.

Meanwhile, Charles Radbourn, a private investigator in the midwest, went to bed early at his hotel the night before. He awakens to find that the world has profoundly changed in a dark and inexplicable way.

Why are clothes strewn about the hotel lobby? I don’t remember seeing white dust last night when I arrived.

For your copy of The Incident CLICK HERE

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Interview by Jessica Ward – Author of E-Virus The Diary of a Modern Day Girl

Set in the familiar locations of Cheshire, the world of this tech savvy, shoe loving Cheshire Girl is thrown into complete chaos as the E-Virus spreads through the Nation, where she has to fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in a world where the dead just won’t stay dead.

Where to buy:
Amazon
Waterstones
& all good book stores!

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