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Friday, February 14, 2014

Creating stories without constraints. Indie Interview with William J. Meyer (@FotMound)




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Conversations with authors and writers from the self-publishing world.


Meet William J. Meyer

Genre: Fantasy
Best Known for: Fire on the Mound


William J. Meyer is a filmmaker and author. He wrote and directed the short film The House That Jack Built, an award-winning fairy tale romance. He is also the author of Fire on the Mound, a fantasy-adventure podcast novel. He lives in Los Angeles.

Connect with William
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads


Thank you for joining us today!

Thank you for the interview!


How did you get started writing, and why did you want to write?

I wrote short stories and comics in grade school and high school, and although I started an abandoned detective novel late in high school, it wasn’t until college that I started to write on a regular basis. I had a television workshop class, and in this class I created a supernatural soap opera and wrote most of the episodes over the summer preceding the production semester. With these scripts in hand, which initially I saw just as the groundwork for the show, I realized I actually enjoyed writing. Following a second attempt at a novel, this one some kind of alien-invasion story with a secret organization and Rita Hayworth, the characters and plot for Fire on the Mound began to percolate and I found myself finishing my first novel several years later.


What made you decide to go the "indie" route?

When I finished Fire on the Mound I immediately began another book, a pulpy post-apocalyptic story, and I finished that while also sending out query letters for Fire on the Mound. Those attempts did not yield results, and my father Larry told me, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you got.” So I was wondering how I could take a different approach to share the book, though I wasn’t interested in self-publishing a hard copy. A friend at the media firm where I was an editor suggested I turn the book into a podcast -- and another friend suggested I get a composer to create an original score -- and before I knew it production began on the podcast novel version of Fire on the Mound. I felt this was a good way to share the story for free, which was a primary goal, but doing the book as a podcast also gave me the choice to publish in a more traditional form later on.


Tell us about the books you have available now, and about those that you're working on.

Fire on the Mound is available now at the official site, fireonthemound.com, as well as on iTunes in its weekly half-hour podcast form as read by Steve Rudolph, with music by William Seegers. It’s a fantasy-adventure story about a Gaewyn boy named Pekra reluctantly befriending his father’s killer, a man named Mushin, an elderly knight and former slave. They and other characters, a mix of warriors, children, and various beasts, get caught up in a supernatural conflict.

Along their journey to find the cradle of all life, a sacred cottonwood growing atop a legendary mound, characters from their island’s mythology come to life -- some to help them, some to thwart them. Although the story is set against this fantastic backdrop, it’s really about parents and children, their love as well as their ambivalence. There’s celestial spirits, a clockwork monster, forbidden romance, cruel villains and beleaguered heroes, as well as a few animal friends. I should point out these animals do not sing, however. Ha ha!

As far as other books, I still need to rewrite the aforementioned post-apocalyptic novel, involving the union of man and machine. There’s action and intrigue concerning humanity’s relationship with technology as we follow this lone character on a journey from pariah to savior. The technology in the story, which I don’t want to clarify at the moment, may or may not be physically connected to us, and has supplanted vital social and cultural roles. Sometimes I see these things in terms of color, and the color of that one is gold and red. It’s a broad, sun-drenched future, bright and loud. Whereas Fire on the Mound is more green and gray, with a dim blue here and there.

More recently I have plotted an existential horror piece about a deadly love triangle that I’m eager to write. I also need to research the time period, which is mid to late 1700s. So, there are a few books in various stages of development.


Of the stories you have out now, which is your favorite? Do you have a favorite scene or character that stands out?


My favorite character in Fire on the Mound is Captain Belesys. He’s the right-hand-man of Prince Dúme, one of the villains in the book. The two of them together cause a lot of problems on Naosaleyn, the island where the story takes place. Belesys is Dúme’s only friend, and has the withal to question their course of action. He is perhaps slightly more charming than Dúme. More reserved anyway. Belesys is a misanthrope and believes his steed, Vitas, is the best soldier in their entire army.


What would you like to tell your readers? What would you like to say to potential readers?

Hmmm, I guess I would say two of my biggest inspirations are Princess Mononoke and Ben-Hur. So if you can imagine Charlton Heston in a Hayao Miyazaki film, you might like Fire on the Mound. Ha!


There are many, many indie books and authors out there right now. How do you work to stand out?


When Steve started recording the book and Will started scoring, I hit on the idea to produce a number of videos to fill out the world just a little. These include interviews with Steve and Will, short animations, trailers and the like, each filled with the sights and sounds of Naosaleyn. They are available on the Fire on the Mound site in the Prologue section. I think short video content like this can really give a potential audience a feel for the story as well as the people behind it. Though a work should be seen on its own merits, I do think it’s great creators on the web can reach and interact so directly with an audience. To show there’s a real live human being behind the madness. I think the interviews in particular are a valid way to say, “Yes, we want to tell you a serious story, but we’re having fun in the telling, and can even mock it a bit, some good-natured ribbing.” For example, in a video with Will we equate Prince Dúme to Holly Golightly from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, which is a ridiculous comparison, and yet in that context makes perfect sense!


What's your favorite part about being an author (both as writer and publishing books), and what's your least favorite part?

My favorite part is simply creating stories without constraints, other than those imposed by the narrative, of course. Just me, a piece of paper, and a pen. There’s no budgetary impedance. The audience provides the budget with their mind. My least favorite is having to spend just as much time, if not more, trying to get the work seen. Like every writer, I imagine, I’d rather just be in a chair with a cup of coffee and a story to tell.


Any parting words?
The fire does not come from the mind! :)


    



Thank you, William!
Bella

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