My Confab today is with author William Rayst. He’s an up and coming author I’ve had the pleasure to know for the last few years. With that in mind, I’m going to ask him some questions, not all of which he’ll enjoy. Of course, a good confab consists of those types of questions, don’t they? I think so. More so because he’s not firing questions back at me.
William is the author of the science fiction/fantasy novel, Kings Forge and the Quick Read Zombie Talk. He’s also a poet, though I’ll leave questions about poetry up to people far more intelligent than myself. Without further ado, let’s get down to it, shall we?
Chris: I’ve not had the opportunity to read Kings Forge yet as my “to be read list” is longer than my mini-van. So, tell readers what to expect when they dig in…
William Rayst: Kings Forge is the beginning of an epic saga about medieval superheroes. It’s a mix of alternative history and science fiction with just a touch of amateur sleuthing from those Hardy Boys mysteries that I loved as a kid. I chose the 15th Century as a setting for the book because it was a period of time where many new ideas and innovations were being introduced in Europe. Caldor Heets fits right in as our boy genius. Like many of his friends, he is a refugee from one of the fantastical worlds we’ll discover in the series all connected by a turbulent time-space vortex called The Void. Caldor and the unique heroes that he’ll meet in his adventures possess extraordinary physical and mental abilities but have yet to embrace them in the world ruled by superstition. At its core, the series is a coming-of-age story about Caldor Heets and his search for his true purpose in the world.
Chris: You’ve published science fiction/fantasy and horror now. Which of the two do you prefer more? Also, is there another genre you prefer more than one of those? Can we maybe expect to see a mystery or a thriller in the future?
William Rayst: No matter how far I wander into other genres, like horror or fantasy, I always come back to science fiction. It’s in my blood. I used to sit up late with my dad and watch old sci-fi movies on television. In my spare time, I’m working on three other sci-fi novels: Stronghold Raiders, The Last Pilot, and Crimebitters. (Watch out Chris – Crimebitters has vampires!)
Chris: Both Kings Forge and Zombie Talk are only available in ebook format. Do you have something against killing trees like the rest of us? Or can we expect to see your books in print at some point in the future?
William Rayst: Yes, I am a tree-hugger. And, as a result, I have no bookshelves. When I found out that I could take my entire library of books with me on a plane—all neatly organized in my Kindle—I was sold.
Chris: I’m curious, you tackled zombies in your story Zombie Talk, and zombies are a pretty hot literary trope at the moment. What’s your stance on the reality of a zombie apocalypse? I mean, we have fungus that turns ants into zombies that then go infect other ants (and this fungus also affects spiders and a few other insects), a new wasp that turns its victims (other insects and bugs, but still) into zombies…
William Rayst: My Kindle is filled with zombie novels. I love zombie movies too. When I sat down to write Zombie Talk, it occurred to me that the zombies had no voice or perspective to add to the story. To me, the zombie that Ray brings on his talk show wasn’t just a plot device; I wanted him to participate in the story at a different level. As for the likelihood of a real zombie apocalypse, I wouldn’t put it past modern science to step on its proverbial dick. Keep collecting those canned goods, man. Just in case.
Chris: Your Amazon profile says you turn into a writing juggernaut during National Novel Writing Month. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why do you prefer that method?
William Rayst: I’m a failed pantser. I tried it two years ago during NaNoWriMo and it was a disaster! I have the greatest respect for writers who can sit down and pound out a novel straight out of their heads. For me, outlining keeps me sane, and on target to finish my work.
Chris: NaNoWriMo gets a lot of shit from authors and publishers. Those detractors say you should be writing like that every day, not just in November. I know you’ve done it for a few years now (full disclosure: I’ve done it almost every year, too), so what’s the draw for you? What benefit does it give you in terms of your writing?
William Rayst: I think I connected with the spirit of NaNoWriMo. It showed me that discipline in one’s writing regime is just as important as content. Before I started my first NaNo five years ago, I had lots of half-finished stories lying around and no drive to finish them. The exercise showed me that I could finish what I started if I just stayed focused. Now, I write every day (no lie), even if it’s only a few hundred words. And things get finished. Nuff said.
Chris: Give some insight into your writing life. When do you sit down to write… are you a morning person? Evening? Or do you like the quickies, putting down words whenever you can, even if it’s only for five minutes?
William Rayst: Funny thing: I’m a morning person, but I work as a technical writer during the day. I get up early and dive into several projects for my employer. My reward for eight hours of non-fiction is to break away and rush to Starbucks. I work on my novel for a couple of hours, then rush back to the family. I usually get another hour of writing in before bedtime. Making writing a treat for me at the end of the day is a big motivator.
Chris: I kind of feel dirty after that last question. Let’s do a one-eighty and try this question… Microsoft or Apple? Defend your answer.
William Rayst: Microsoft Windows is my platform of choice. To be fair, I was a long-time user of the iPhone and keyed a lot of story ideas into the notepad on my phone.
Chris: I’ve got two more questions for you. First, who’s your favorite author? What do you enjoy the most about his or her work?
William Rayst: Ah, a trick question. You’re my favorite author, of course. They Are Among Us is brilliant! But let’s get back to talking about me. My current favorites are Devon Monk, A.A. Aguirre, and Mike Resnick. If the Caldor Heets Adventures lean a little on the side of steampunk, then we can blame these authors. They all merge science and fantasy and my love of the old west into pure entertainment.
Chris: Lastly, what is next for William Rayst? Tell us a little bit about your current project.
William Rayst: I’m committed to the Caldor Heets Adventure series for the foreseeable future. There are five books in all that take us through Caldor’s story arc. Book 2, Voidseeker, should be out in the fall. I do have moments when I’m tempted to work more on The Last Pilot. That’s where I get to play with faster-than-light space travel and alien races bent on destroying the human race. (This stuff is like heroin to a sci-fi writer.) But, I’ll stay the course and finish Caldor’s journey as planned.
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To find all of William’s writing, click the link for his Amazon Author Page.
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