Check out this author spotlight for Sidney Williams!
You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
I’m Sidney Williams, and I’ve been writing and having my work published for a long time. I like to say I’m still kicking. My first books were published by Pinnacle Books in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Those have been reissued by Crossroad Press. Those include Blood Hunter, Azarius, Gnelfs, When Darkness Falls and several young titles written under the name Michael August, including one called New Year’s Evil. That one was briefly optioned as a possible TV movie by an executive producer who’d worked on Tales from the Darkside, but it sadly pan out. More recently I’ve been writing new books for a couple of imprints of Crossroad Press. I’m originally from Louisiana, but I live in Williamsburg, Virginia now. I spent several years in Orlando and loved that but the time came to move on.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Definitely autumn. I love the first hint of chill in the air and the turning of the leaves. That’s really beautiful in Virginia. It’s a gentle season, and I find that comforting. When I was a kid, we used to order books through probably a Scholastic school program, and I got some scary story collections one year. That was in the fall, of course. I realized that was the perfect time for reading spooky tales, with Halloween approaching and everything.
Ray Bradbury’s embrace of autumn fuels my love of the season as well. His description of October at the beginning of Something Wicked This Way Comes really sums up the season and the spirit of the season.
Cat or dog?
Cat these days. I had dogs growing up, though I did have a fabulous coal black cat for a while as well. I love dogs, but my wife had cats as a kid. We decided to get a cat around the time we bought our first home. A guy my wife knew had a cat who’d just had kittens. He brought the whole box over for us to choose from, but a little gray-and-white cat was the first out of the box. She was ultimately named Daisy and lived with us for 18 years. She was a graceful, gentle soul. She was joined a year later by a strong-willed rescue named Monty. He died just three weeks after Daisy. By then we had added Ash and Oliver to the household. At peak feline, there were four in our house. Ash and Ollie were with us several more years until they passed away. Ollie was with us until 2019. We have just one cat now who joined our household in November 2020, another rescue. She’s a handful, a 5-year-old Russian Blue named Zoë Moonshadow.
Tea or coffee?
Well, I like tea, and I like chai in particular, but coffee is part of my creative process. I brew coffee first thing and its rich, seductive aroma and the entire coffee experience fuels my efforts.
Morning or evening?
Please reference my remarks on coffee, he said with a smile. I’ve really come to love mornings. My wife introduced me to cats, and my wife made me into a morning person. I realized once I’d adapted that mornings worked better for me, much higher energy. I’m kind of an evangelist for mornings now. People are strangely hard to convince.
Plotter or pantser?
Pantser with more and more plotter tendencies. Early on, I was totally a pantser, but some of my books were sold in outline form and that made me start to put the basics on paper first. Now I do an outline, but then the process is still a bit of working my way forward, putting the pieces together, discovering.
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
If you looked at me, you’d probably say, “That guy’s gotta be a pen and paper guy.” But in truth I’m almost totally electronic. The ideas list is on the phone. The work’s on computer. There’s an electronic folder on the computer for ideas also along with research material. If I use any paper at all it’s for sticky notes to post reminders around my computer screen. Electronics use is ironically organic for me.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
Really a question that piques my curiosity is what draws me in. I’ve always enjoyed the mystery inherent in fantastical stories. Often there’s a puzzle or something that needs to be understood better. What’s up with this strange letter from Uncle Charles mailed just before he died? Who stowed this strange amulet in a lost castle room?
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
I have a couple of cool dark fantasy stories in back to back issues of a magazine called Dark Dossier, issues 56 and 57 (https://www.amazon.com/ideas/amzn1.account.AEXSIYCYYKFWFGIQKOSL6D5WPW5A/1C8YF4FDQGY4A?type=explore&ref=idea_cp_vl_ov_d). I try to stay busy. Speculative fiction probably fits me best. My latest novel Fool’s Run (https://books2read.com/foolsrun) is a thriller that drew nice praise from Publisher’s Weekly. It’s from the Crossroad Press Gordian Knot imprint. It features an ex-cop who’s down on his luck and forced to take a dirty job, a really grim job. There’s just a hint of the supernatural kind of lingering around the guy he’s forced to take on in New Orleans. I’m working on a sequel called Long Waltz now.
I also have a novelette called “Strake Hall” in the collection Love Among the Thorns, a ghostly gothic mystery romance. And I have a story in the collection Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse about a botanist in a post-apocalyptic Portland. She’s trying to establish an urban agricultural oasis. Spoiler, she has cats. I’m always trying to fit time in for writing short stories and long fiction.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
Well, since Fool’s Run is the most recent, the novel your readers here might be most interested in is a book I wrote for Crossroad Press called Disciples of the Serpent. That’s kind of a dark urban fantasy adventure with Lovecraftian undertones. Special Detective Aileen O’Donnell is pressed into service for a mysterious agency in Ireland. She’s charged with unravelling the truth behind a string of venom deaths of historians. That means a race among the ruins of ancient holy places in search of a lost language that might unlock something dark and devastating, waiting for a summoning.
The cover art is by Bob Eggleton, and I like to tell people, what you see there is just the tip of the iceberg. It can be ordered from Amazon in ebook or trade paper.
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
I find stories and novels are really amalgamations of ideas. I try to put a lot in the cauldron of my brain and let the components brew. Kind of in keeping with that notion that I’m guided by curiosity, I like things that kind of pique my curiosity. Sometimes I read news headlines, science stories, paranormal reports. Bit sand pieces tend to connect in new ways, or as I write, something crops up that I can use. I stayed in a boutique hotel in Portland once, old-movie themed. The futuristic ruins of that became the home of my botanist because in addition to figuring out how to grow food in a toxic environment, she’s also compelled to preserve culture a bit.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
Well, as I mentioned, I’ve become a morning person. I divide my time these days between writing, some comics editing for individuals and occasional adjunct teaching gigs in creative writing. I write first thing when my creative energy is highest, getting up when my wife gets up. I write or edit a while before breakfast then take time to eat and walk or work out. I then return to the keyboard and write until lunchtime. Then I tackle grading and feedback for students. I can read and react best then, after new worlds have stopped flowing to my keyboard. I used to teach horror, mystery and suspense in the classroom, so that was a fun time and the scheduling of classes worked into my schedule.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?
I’d maybe tell myself don’t be in such a hurry. I worked in a newspaper job right out of college. It was kind of a grind, and I was determined not to let the demands of that work wear me down and keep me from fiction writing. That’s what I really wanted to do. I worked hard on novels, figuring out the writing and marketing process. I thought about an MFA, but the programs near me at the time were a little higher brow than I was, so I decided to try to sell something. If I didn’t sell in a year, I’d pursue an MFA in creative writing. I sold my novel Azarius to Pinnacle, and that clinched it. Looking back, maybe I would spend a while longer studying, either in a program or on my own. It’s hard to say, though. Writing those early books was a learning experience, and I went to cons like the World Fantasy Convention every year and met a lot of people. I learned from many of them. I wouldn’t know now what I know now if the journey had been different.
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
My website is SidIsAlive.com. My friend snapped a picture of graffiti at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, one of the most haunted spots on Earth. It read Sid is Alive. Maybe it was a Sid Vicious fan, or the ghost of one, but I nabbed it for my domain.
I’m on Twitter as @Sidney_Williams.
You can find me reading flash fiction with no frills at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEqxhtqZEaHihE04jmnkf8A
I’m on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/sidney_williams/
and my Facebook author page is https://facebook.com/SidneyWilliamsBooks.