Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Inside the Writer's Mind with William Alexander

William Alexander was born on Nantucket Island in 1974 and grew up with a love of history, folklore and theater. He began acting at a young age and it segwayed into a natural love of writing. His first book, Denied Innocence, was penned when he was 19 years old and was finally published ten years later. Before that, his book Haunted Nantucket Island was released to public acclaim when it was realized that a new set of true ghost stories was available; something that Nantucket Island had not seen in twelve years. With a love of fiction and horror, Alexander later penned the book Twenty which he describes as a similar book to the short story compilations published by Stephen King. That was followed by the murder mystery, Ghosts Don’t Die, which was inspired by his time spent performing ghost tours in Gettysburg. He is presently working on his seventh book, Nantucket Slay-Ride which is an autobiographical account of the hurdles he had endured at the hands of the town government of Nantucket Island and the money that they seemed to crave over the rights of the common man. It is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2016. Will lives in New Hampshire with his wife and stepson.

Want to learn more about William, his books and where you can purchase them? Follow him via these social media sites:

Same DiNamics Books: Thank you for your interest in doing an interview with me. I’d like this interview to be laid back. Let’s pretend we’re just getting together and having a chat over our favorite brew, be it coffee, tea, water or booze. 
William Alexander: Beer, definitely beer. PBR or Budweiser will work for me.

SDB: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world? 
WA: I have many stories and those tales often come in weird and wild ways. At one time, I wanted to be an actor and tell other people’s tales, but I found that acting was extremely competitive and usually you had to know someone in order to be able to even get a bit part in a play or movie. I ended up eventually writing what I would perform in the form of ghost tours in the Town of Nantucket and eventually penned a book of true ghost stories called Haunted Nantucket Island as a supplement to that tour. As time passed, I realized that my ideas for fiction were equally important to me and I had written plenty of it and had ideas for new works. In most cases, I had always liked seeing people get what was coming for them, both good and bad. I eventually wrote sci-fi and horror stories and hoped that this genre would get my point across that nobody is any better than anyone else. I had spent the better part of my life seeing those that would hurt others prosper while those that tried to help were chastised and thrown to the wolves. With the release of my book, Twenty, I felt I was putting right  what needed to be. Just before that book though, I had penned a biography of a person nobody would have really known about called Denied Innocence which explained how an innocent person could be railroaded with the right backing. In that case, Bryan Wing was thrown to the wolves, with Twenty, the correct outcome could come to pass. Following Twenty, I wrote the book Ghosts Don’t Die, which is a murder mystery that was based in reality. Having done ghost tours, I eventually found my way to Gettysburg where I met people that were both reputable and despicable in the ghost tour industry there. I managed to put together a story where the most despicable tour guide in town, who was based on a real person as were all of the characters, was murdered. Over the course of that story, I showed how people could be fleeced and lead astray by a charismatic and deceptive tour guide who eventually gets rightfully murdered.  In every way I can think of, I like to see justice brought to those who need to have it exacted upon them. Justice is a major part of the outcome of most of my stories, paranormally based or not.

SDB: Who has influenced you as an author?
WA: Obviously, Stephen King has become someone that has made me have a love of horror or thriller stories. In many ways, I wish that he would read some of my works because I would love the opportunity to give him a slight bit of entertainment in payment for the entertainment he has given me over the years. If one reads the humor I might write, I am a huge fan of David Sedaris and wish I could come to a situation similar to his writing.

SDB: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told? 
WA: I tend to have a writing style where I write what comes to mind in whatever way I can and then piece it together like a puzzle or like a quilt where I sew it together with whatever might make sense and what words might bind the story together. One of the best ways I have found to put my thoughts onto paper is to just write and then break it up into the places I feel they will fit. If someone were to read an early project, it would make very little sense to them, but as the project coalesces and comes together, it makes far more sense. Right now, my newest story takes place over four years and multiple parts must come together to make sense. Even I have trouble with it at times, but so far it has become so much more than a story that flows like a river. It’s much more like a strip mine where things eventually come to fruition through hard work and putting the pieces together.

SDB: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing? 
WA: It depends on the story. The last book I wrote took me about two years. The one before that was multiple years to write the short stories. My first published book was almost two years. My first written book took twenty years to get it published. Right now though, the book I am working on had the story start in 2007 and I hope to thave the written word out this year. I began writing it almost two years ago. As it is looking right now, the average answer to this question would be somewhere around two years.

SDB: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it? 
WA: There are six with seven on the way. So here’s the breakdown:

Haunted Nantucket Island is a group of true ghost stories that I managed to interview people for over the course of two years. If you are a fan of ghost stories, this is the book for you.

Denied Innocence is a true story about an outcast boy that believed he found love through a married woman at the cost of his college education. After believing she was the one for him, she used him to make her husband interested in her again and eventually destroyed the teen’s life. This is a true tale that people should read if they ever felt left out or left behind, or for that matter have a teen going into a college that may have hidden policies that might be detrimental to their child while being instrumental to those willing to take advantage of unfair policies to suit their own twisted purposes.

The Half-Share Man is a perfect book for those interested in history, even if it is an untold history from the colonial era. Focusing on Peter Folger, grandfather to Benjamin Franklin, it shows the hardships of the past while showing the rewards of being indispensible to the new colony.

Terror By Gaslight is a compilation book written by twenty different authors, of which I am one. My tale, Unworthy Replacement, is about why Jack the Ripper stopped killing, especially after coming to America.

Twenty is a group of eleven short paranormal suspense thriller stories all bound together by a cursed twenty dollar bill, but also shown from tale to tale to be occurring relatively at the same time. Stories overlap, sometimes confusingly until you hit the story they come from and it all makes sense. With characters that get what they deserve, it is something that gives a form of justice in a strange and outrageous world with a Stephen King-like flavor.

Ghosts Don’t Die is a murder mystery where an extremely horrible person is murdered and FBI agent on vacation, Proctor Ridgeway, is coerced into solving the crime. Amid threats from the victim’s followers, townspeople encouraging him to drop the case, incompetent law enforcement and his own personal beliefs in regard to the murder, he still must bring the killer to justice. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, or just a good mystery, this is the book for you.

Then finally there is Nantucket Slay-Ride, my book due out later this year. This is an autobiographical piece about the four years I spent performing ghost tours in New Orleans and on Nantucket Island. It shows the prejudices involved in a wealthy northern town that stopped at nothing to shut down a business run by someone who’s only crime was telling ghost stories and being a little different. Over the course of four years, the issues got larger and the accusations got more intense and grandiose. This book shows that money talks and those backed by the global theatrical community have little to offer to a town concerned more with finances and those with money exacting their prejudicial whims than admitting what is right and perhaps even fun. Whether one believes in ghosts or not, the blatant corruption shown in the book should outrage you and make you wonder what you might be backing when you go on vacation.

SDB: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
WA: Depending on the story, it ranges. Obviously with the book, Nantucket Slay-Ride, it is about me since it is autobiographical. But with Twenty, I will say that many of the characters share my disgust with how America has accepted being dumbed down and some have even shown their unhappiness with the current socio-economic system we are all living under. There is even a character in Ghosts Don’t Die who is quite literally me. It is based on me and the character has the exact same reactions to troubles and triumphs that I might have.

SDB: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 
WA: Writing is a great way to get out your frustrations, fantasies and excitements, but it is not always the most forgiving of ways to make a living. Over the course of 20 years of writing, it has been incredibly difficult to get published what with rejection letters coming in far more plentiful than acceptances. My only advice is that if you have the drive and the desire to get your stories told, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have the ability you know that you do. If you are rejected over and over, try again until you have someone’s eye and your story is out there. Nothing is more disappointing than the feel of a decapitated soul.  Never let that happen to you. Keep trying even when it seems hopeless.

SDB: Is there anything else that you'd like to share? 
WA: If you don’t believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you. It is a hard world when you have nobody watching your back, so I ask that everyone looks out for each other… and likes my Facebook page.

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