Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Author Interview ~ William M. Brandon III


We have a bit more than an author interview today.

We’ll also find out about Black Hill Press, Publisher of Contemporary American Novellas.

So, here comes Mr. William M. Brandon III 

~~~

Let’s get to know you a bit first, William. Where are you from? William M. Brandon III

I’m a military brat, so that becomes a complicated question. Originally I am from Las Vegas, Nevada, born on Nellis Air Force Base in 1975. We left Las Vegas before I turned one year old and I’ve been moving around since.

You moved recently didn’t you?

Yes, last summer, from Los Angeles, Ca. to Athens, Ga. It was the fifty-sixth time I’ve changed addresses. Las Vegas and Los Angeles hold the record for the most returns – I’ve lived in Vegas four separate times, and I’ve lived in and around Los Angeles off and on for nearly two decades. Utah, Texas, Maryland, Georgia, and Virginia are all on the long list.

Every year and a half, give or take?

Pretty much, I attended ten schools from 1st – 12th grade and was exposed to innumerable cultures, persons, and lifestyles over the years. After high school, I continued the trend and moved to a new place every few years.

Los Angeles to Athens—quite a change

Living in Los Angeles can get to you after a while. I certainly have a love/hate relationship with the city. Primarily love. After living in Los Angeles from 2005 on, I met my magnificent wife. In 2013 we both decided we had had quite enough of Los Angeles and began looking into relocating. For my birthday that March I suggested we take a roadtrip to Athens, Ga.

Why Athens?

I moved to Athens with a friend and my sister in 1999 as a knee jerk reaction to exorbitant rents and cost of living in southern California. I fell in love with the quiet town surrounding the University of Georgia. I was very inspired there and was able to live on far less money than California required. My wife had driven to and through Texas, but had never seen the transitions to the Midwest and finally the South. So the roadtrip would be nostalgic and paradigm shifting — a perfect combination. The drive was incredible, we drove straight through taking turns at the wheel. Once we arrayed in Athens my wife and son immediately fell in love with the town and we signed a lease on a house before driving home two days later. In two months’ time we sold most of our belongings and settled in northeast Georgia. After two decades of working in corporate offices, I am lucky to make my part of a good living as a bar manager slinging drinks to the locals.

What’s served as your motivation for writing over the years?

The genesis of my compulsion to write took place when I was seven. I set out to complete a story that tied together The Empire Strikes Back  and Return of the Jedi !  I completed 3-4 pages and several illustrations. It was far too ambitious a project for that age. In high school my English teachers encouraged me to write for pleasure, which I took (accurately) as an excuse to free-write rather than conforming to assignments. After high school I began producing ‘zines featuring my essays on politics and my versions of collage art. However, it was William Burroughs’ passing in 1997 that lead me to read the Beats; the inspiration I received from On The Road and Naked Lunch challenged me to branch out from short, political and philosophical essays, and attempt to write a novel. Silence was my first serious attempt to do so.

Your book Silence was written quite some time ago. How has it changed over the years? Silence

I began Silence as an attempt at writing longer fiction. Length had always intimidated me because I was not adept at staying on subject. I had a tendency to produce multiple narratives/essays that posited an overall idea or theme. After reading Naked Lunch I lost my prejudice; I no longer saw the novel as bound by linearity, or defined by a contrived driving of the reader from point a to point b.

Did Naked Lunch inspire Silence?

In many ways. I was inspired to just write and worry about the big picture later after I had something substantial enough to work with. I use the same method now: when I work on a long project I use a typewriter so that I am deterred from editing. I try to wait until I have enough to really edit before I use the laptop. Otherwise I spend far too much time organizing and editing and not enough time getting words on paper.

So it began as a flow of ideas?

It did. I didn’t take cohesion into account until I had completed four or five ideas. Silence began as short pieces, many of which had little to do with one another aside from the continuity of being my thoughts. After I had amassed a small group of vignettes I began lacing them together in subtle ways. In 1999 I wanted to enter the manuscript into a contest and the result of that exercise was a more cohesive story with a main protagonist.

Black Hill Press

So, William, let’s talk a bit about how you got involved with Black Hill Press.

Start with almost fourteen years of literal silence I went on writing and Silence sat dormant for all intents and purposes. Then Black Hill Press asked to publish the manuscript as a novella.  I gave it a thorough edit but decided to leave the manuscript as true to the 2000 version as possible. It was the right decision; my editor, Elise Portale, challenged me to dig deeply into undeveloped parts of the story. I’m very proud of the end result and quite enjoyed trying to make additions, edits, and revisions in my early-twenties voice (or lack thereof).

How did you cross paths with Kevin Staniec, the Co-Founder of Black Hill Press?

I started out as an editor for Black Hill Press. I worked on Another Name for Autumn for my friend of two decades, Corrie Greathouse, prior to her submission to Black Hill Press. Kevin liked my work and in 2013 asked me to edit a novella for an upcoming collection. During that time I took on layout for print and eBook publications. After that I edited the first Back Hill Press Special Edition, Kevin Staniec’s 29 to 31: A Book of Dreams and helped select passages from the manuscript to be performed at a special event at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Now I’m working on booking the 2014 Book Tour for our team and gearing up for the promotion of Silence.

They keep you busy :-)

Very busy. With very rewarding projects, which makes all the difference.

William, thanks, very much, for stopping by and sharing your work with my readers.

Thank you so much for having me, Alex. I appreciate the opportunity to chat about writing. Always a pleasure.

~~~

Well, folks, if the Internet keeps working, we’ll have two more Black Hill Press author interviews in May and June.

Now, it’s time to ask William some questions in the Comments :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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8 responses to “Author Interview ~ William M. Brandon III

  1. Jane Watson April 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    A very interesting interview, thank you! I must go back and try to read ‘Naked Lunch’ again as I loved your comment on linearity :-) Here’s a question – do you think that your peripatetic childhood, moving from town to town each year, has influenced your writing now in any way? :-)

    Like

    • William M. Brandon III April 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Absolutely; it has impressed upon my writing in many ways. First, and most direct, my choices of setting: I have a tendency to write about places I am very familiar with. At times, that means I won’t write about a place until I know a little something about it. For instance, during the early- to mid-2000s I had a story roaming around in my mind. It was decidedly based in Los Angeles, and the material I came up with didn’t feel like it had the weight of experience, so in 2005, I took a job that allowed me to live in Los Angeles. Another part of that same novel is based in Dublin, Ireland. I completed the novel in 2010 (‘The Exile, The Matriarch, and The Flood) after a month-long trip to Dublin and five years’ living in Los Angeles. All said, I thought about that novel, wrote short pieces and myriad notes for over eight years, but once I had been to Dublin, I finished the project in six months.

      Thank you so much for your comment Jane, and for reading the interview. All the best!

      – William

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alexander M Zoltai April 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

        Totally Fascinating, William

        Like

        • William M. Brandon III April 8, 2014 at 6:05 pm

          Thank you good sir, it was a pleasure speaking with you, and I can’t wait to field even more interesting questions from your readers!

          Like

  2. Jane Watson April 9, 2014 at 10:31 am

    William, I am in Australia. I went to buy your e-book of ‘Silence’ on Amazon but even though have a USA Amazon account I am barred from purchasing it with an Australian credit card :-) I can buy the paper copy with the same Australian card but the postage to Australia is more than almost twice the cost of the book. Perhaps you could alert Black Hill Press to this dilemma. Not the first time I have encountered it :-) …I think it stops authors from making sales…and I also suspect Amazon is not fully aware of this anomaly. It can’t be a rights issue if I can buy the other version. I think it is time for publishers to start pressuring the Amazon e-book department into some action! Lovely to meet you and I hope you have every success with your new book :-)

    Like

    • William M. Brandon III April 9, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Hello again Jane!

      >>William, I am in Australia. I went to buy your e-book of ‘Silence’ on Amazon but even though have a USA Amazon account I am barred from purchasing it with an Australian credit card :-) I can buy the paper copy with the same Australian card but the postage to Australia is more than almost twice the cost of the book.<>Lovely to meet you and I hope you have every success with your new book :-)<<

      So lovely to meet you, I apologize for the trouble you experienced! Thank you very kindly, I appreciate that immensely :)

      – William

      Like

    • William M. Brandon III April 10, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Jane, send me an email: william@blackhillpress.com
      :)

      Like

  3. Pingback: Author Interview ~ Kate St. Clair | Notes from An Alien

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