Welcome to Bookworm. Today is the first ever author interview and we are featuring the fabulous Jill Williamson! A quick introduction of Jill, she is the author of five books, the newest of which is The New Recruit, reviewed today as well. She has won two Christy Awards for her Blood of Kings Trilogy. Her books are By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, From DarknessWon, and Replication: The Jason Experiment. She is here today to talk a little bit about her new book, The Mission League: The New Recruit.
BW: Hi, Jill. Great to have you here and thanks so much for the interview.
What inspired you to write this book?
JW: This is the first book I wrote. I was trying to write a story about teens going out into the world like missionaries, but since teen fiction books about missionaries weren't getting the attention of agents and editors, I tweaked the story and turned them into undercover agents. I was also trying to copy the format of Harry Potter. My goal was to get some teens away from their parents where they could receive some kind of training. At the time, I thought this was sneaky and brilliant, but it created so many problems! I've never written a book that way since. It’s not a good idea to copy what’s already successful—because the world already has that book. And human were created unique for a reason. There’s already one J. K. Rowling. And I need to be Jill Williamson. All that to say, even though I've rewritten The New Recruit from that first, horrible, draft, this book is not my strongest, but it’s still a whole lot of fun.
It is fun. I enjoyed it. And I like you as Jill Williamson so I'm glad you decided to be her.
BW: What was your favorite portion to write about/research?
JW: I had a lot of fun re-researching Moscow. The first time I did it, back in 2005, it was by asking a missionary questions over email. This time, the internet was a huge help! I was able to use Google maps to get on Arbat street and I even found the website for Cafe MooMoo and was able to copy and past the Cyrillic descriptions into Google Translate. I had a blast. Technology is amazing!
Oo, technology. That does sounds like a great way to do research. And Russia did seem believable in the book so your research was well done.
BW: Who is your favorite character (in this book) and why? Are any of them based off real people?
JW: Spencer is! I love him, even though he's a punk. He's just a little clueless about what's important in life. But he'll figure things out. And Lukas is another favorite character, but you won't meet him until book two. Lukas is Isabel's little brother. You guys just wait. *grin*
No one in the story is really based on a real person. Some of the things that happened to Spencer are based off my experiences of being a non Christian on a mission trip, though.
Wow, thanks for telling us that. Little brother, oh boy, I wonder how that will go and I want to meet this character now. :)
BW: I remember reading somewhere that this was the first book you ever wrote but not the first one to be published. How does it feel to finally see it in print?
JW: It's really fun. It's not so much because it was my first book that's exciting, it's my characters. I have known them longer than any of my characters, and I really like them! So I'm thrilled that their stories get to be told in book form. So very thrilled.
BW: Out of all the books you have written, what is your favorite and why?
JW: I don't know... It's terribly difficult to choose a favorite. As a mother, I could never choose a favorite child. I love them both. I will say that I was really proud of a book I wrote that was called Seagulls are Plain. It's a middle grade story about an Inupiat girl who leaves her Alaskan bush home to go to school in town. And everyone tries to change her so she fits in. But she doesn't want to change. I love that little book. But it's not speculative, so I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to put it out there. Maybe someday. *shrugs*
Sounds like an interesting story. Are you sure you can't pick a favorite child? ;) Just teasing you.
BW: What is the best thing about being a writer? Worst?
JW: I get to sit around all day and invent stories! It's a wonderful job. My favorite thing is brainstorming new ideas. I get so excited. The worst? My health. Sitting all day isn't good for the body. And I forget to get up and stretch. I'm trying. But it's hard to remember. But it's also kind of pathetic when I can't open a jar because my hands are sore from typing all day. :-/
I bet you also have a head full of wonderful stories.
BW: What can readers look forward too in the future of your writing?
JW: There will be three more Mission League books, one for each year Spencer is in high school. And I'm also working on a dystopian trilogy coming out from Zonderkidz in February 2013. The first book is called Captives, and it’s based on Daniel 1 when Jerusalem in conquered by Babylon and the young people are taken into the city. After that, back to fantasy! I've missed writing it. :-)
BW: Awesome. I personally can't wait to read the dystopia and the rest of The Mission League. Thanks so much for doing the interview and looking forward to all your future books. :)
And now, a giveaway!
Enter below to receive a copy of Jill's new book,
The New Recruit!
Please read the terms and conditions before entering. Also, please read the info on the "leave a comment" entry because it has a question for you to answer. Good luck and enjoy!