Saje Williams [saje3d]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I was reading before I was even in school. I remember devouring comic books as early as kindergarten and first grade. My first grown-up novel was The Hobbit, followed closely by the whole LOTR trilogy, and, after that, the sky was the limit. I read both classic SF and Fantasy at high speed and high volume. I suppose the first readers were my father and stepmother. I don't recall much of their responses. From then on it was various teachers, who enjoyed my work to varying degrees.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I write across several genres in three related series, including themes of urban fantasy, SF, romance, action, and suspense.
My website is http://www.sajewilliams.com
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I usually start with a name or a scene in mind and let the story come as I will. It's a very organic process. I don't outline, or muck around with the ideas before they hit the page. Write now edit later is much of my philosophy.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Depends on what I'm writing and what elements I'm blending in at any given time.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Interesting, sympathetic characters, convincing interactions, believable dialogue, intriguing background and world-building, humor, action, and a satisfying resolution.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I like both with no real preference. I write in both, and have to say that my favorite work so far was written in rotating first person.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Different things for different authors, of course.
Robert Heinlein, for breaking the ground.
Spider Robinson, for his humanity.
Lois McMaster Bujold, for the uniqueness and sharpness of her characters.
Anne Bishop, for the sheer presence of HER characters.
Frank Herbert, for vision and scope.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Motivation. Something specific that sets that character apart from all others. What drives him or her from the core of being? Many literary characters were given revenge as motivation, and it's a classic. But a driving urge to protect, a specific fear, a hunger for something else, a desire for justice. The motivations of each character should be plain to the reader, if not to the character or the other characters with whom he or she interacts.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Not so I can tell. Maybe with practice.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Myself. In the end I think, as a writer, you have to. If you don't intrigue yourself, you'll bore your readers.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Not for me. Oh, I can get out my frustrations, but I don't find it useful to carry on for too long. It can infect my stories and make them unpleasant to me, if not necessarily to readers (though I daresay they should be).
Does reader feed-back help you?
I think so.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I'm not a particularly competitive, so no. Not that getting published isn't a competition in itself, but I didn't do it to compete with anyone but myself.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
My wife is my first editor, always.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think it's something you find, but constantly refine.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
On myself? Not much. I try to write at least a little on my work-in-progress every day, and then maintain the schedules necessary for the publisher.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Music, sometimes... but other than that, nothing.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I compose on my laptop, or in my head when I'm not near it. I rarely forget anything I want to put down, so it works for me.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I blog, I'm on Myspace, but for that sort of thing it's mostly e-mail authors and readers groups.
What has been your experience with publishers?
The initial assortment of rejections, but since my first publication, it's been all good. In fact, when my second publisher went out of business, I was immediately approached by others. It's nice to feel wanted.
What are you working on now?
A short story for an upcoming Samhain Publishing anthology featuring shapeshifters.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
What hobbies have you got?
None to speak of. My "hobby" is my avocation, and my second vocation.
Which actor would you like to be?
SO not interested in being an actor.
If you were sent to a deserted island, which book, CD and film would you take with you?
There's not a force on Earth that could take me to a deserted island alive. And even if it managed it, I doubt a book, CD, and film would be enough to keep me there.
How do you find the balance between working to live and living to work?
Leave work at work.
In moments of tension, what techniques work in calming the mind?
Several deep breaths and a mental grounding of the stress.
A simple pleasure that for you is quite big or important.
How do you respond to telemarketing calls?
I hang up.
Are you an ex-smoker? How did you quit?
It is 5 pm on a typical Sunday: what are you doing?
Probably working. One way or another.
Something in which you are completely incompetent.
Of what are you an addict?
Oxygen and food, caffeine and nicotine. Books.
You have nine wins in a row in a game of roulette: do you continue because you are on a good run, or abandon the game because statistically, it is your turn to lose?
Stop. I'm a conservative gambler, when I gamble at all.
What toy gave you the best moments of your childhood?
Is a horse a toy?
If not, Legos.
What was your favourite primary/secondary school teacher like?
I flash back to an English teacher I really liked. Ms. Doud. She was hip, spacey, and cool as hell. One day she came in wearing a David Bowie haircut. One of my favorite teachers ever.
How did you meet your current boy/girlfriend?
I met my wife through an on-line personal. We've been together nearly nine years now.
What was your first vehicle?
Ack. A 74 Plymouth Valiant, I think. Something like that.
Your New Year resolutions.
Don't believe in 'em.
Is there any superstition that makes you change your behaviour?
I'm not overly superstitious, but I dislike unexamined possibilities. If a problem arises, it's almost always one I haven't considered.
Does knowing someone's zodiac sign help you to better understand that person?
Oddly enough, sometimes it does, even though I'm skeptical. I think some of it's possibly cultural, but there are some character traits I've found hold fairly true.
Please list something you have not yet done, but that you would definitely like to do someday.
Travel the world.
In your lifetime, what is the best news you have ever seen printed?
At this point it's probably Obama's win.
To which other place in the world would you move without hesitation?
Without hesitation? Nowhere.
A bad habit you have overcome.
I'm afraid I still retain most of my bad habits.
A word or expression that you love.
A word or expression that you detest.
What do you imagine yourself doing for your retirement?
Writing. Of course.
If you were to return reincarnated, which real-life person would you like to be?
Myself. It took me forty-odd years to be comfortable in my own skin, and I'll be damned if I'll give it up to be someone else.
Did God create the world in seven days, or do you believe in the theory of evolution?
Evolution is fact. Religion isn't even theory.
Do you believe many illnesses can be caused by the mind?
The short answer: Yes.
The long answer: Yes, but...
Do you believe it is true that humans only use 10% of their brain capacity?
No. We probably use twice that, and then there's some redundancy in case of injury. There is probably untapped potential, though.
Using the subway without paying, shoplifting: is there excessive tolerance to these small offenses?
We have a higher percentage of our population in prison than any other country on Earth. Even if there's excessive tolerance to these "small" offenses, what alternatives are there?
What do you think of the squatter "movement"?
People have to live somewhere, especially now when the homeless population is expanding rapidly due to economic conditions and credit checks for everything from housing to employment. We can't put them all in prison.
Does brand name influence your buying habits?
Depends on the item or product in question. When there's no observable difference between similar things, no. When one serves my purposes or tastes better than another, yes.
Do you think tipping is a good custom?
Good service earns good tips. And vice versa. Good? Hard to say. But entrenched, yes.
Do you think the catastrophism about climate change has been exaggerated?
Hopefully, but I tend to doubt it.
Do you boycott brands if you learn they employ children in third-world countries or harm the environment?
Do you defend animal experimentation for the development of medicine that can save human lives?
ONLY if it's for research that leads directly to such developments. Doing it for cosmetic purposes and similar things offends the hell out of me.
What is your opinion of the rise in popularity of plastic surgery and implants?
Ugh. Vanity run amuck.
Should more limits be established for cars within downtown areas?
Probably. What kind of loon wants to drive in that mess anyway?
Do extraterrestrials exist?
Most likely. Simple mathematics would suggest they do. Now whether they've ever been here is another matter entirely. I don't know.
What do you currently have in your MP3 player?
Something like twelve songs and an equal number of audiobooks. The songs include artists such as Pat Benatar, Evanescence, and Concrete Blonde. The books are from the Miles Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold and Sharon Shinn's 12 Houses series.
What books are you currently reading?
Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Exile's Song" from her Darkover works.
Places in the world that you have visited recently.
Recently? Nowhere in particular. Stuck close to home the past several years.
What is that special film you never tire of watching?
I'll tell you when I figure that out. Even my favorites burn out about six or seven times through...
What do you use: Mac or PC and why?
PC. Frugality. It does the job quite well enough and doesn't require me to spend twice as much to get it in the first place. Not that I don't like Macs--I just don't see myself as needing one.
What is to come after consumist society?
Nanotech, with any luck.
Do you find the saturation of advertising in the media excessive?
Sure. But I'm remarkably good at ignoring it. I'm usually satisfied by what I have and don't require all that much extra. Good enough is good enough for me, if you're talking about material possessions.
Do you believe there is excessive sex and violence in the media?
Sex doesn't really bother me, and I'd like someone to tell me at which point in history there WASN'T violence in whatever media there was at the time. Excessive is entirely a matter of perspective.
What were your favourite subjects when you were in primary/secondary school?
English and world history.
Do you think video games, chat rooms, etc. have a dangerous addictive
effect on teenagers?
Humans get addicted to all sorts of things. I'm not sure I'm qualified to determine what's dangerous and what isn't.
Has there been a personal-growth book that has transformed your life?
Well, I read the Seth books by Jane Roberts when I was younger, and though they're not exactly "personal-growth" books, they're certainly intriguing. Combine that with my later study of Daoist philosophy, and I came to the conclusion that, for the most part, our greatest obstacles in life are often imposed by ourselves.
Have you ever bought works of art? What type of art? What compels you to purchase art?
Not that I can remember. Most of the art I own has been given to me, often by the artist.
Do you defend urban graffiti?
Only the stuff I like.
What magazines do you frequently read?
Frequently? None. If one happens to be around when I'm sitting in a doctor's office or something, I like to check out Entertainment Weekly to see what new movies I might want to see.
Piracy continues to grow: What will happen to the music and film
industries and culture in general?
Any security that can be devised by man can be undone by man. I think the music industry in general better figure out a way to deal with the dragon, or it's going to get screwed. The film industry seems to be doing okay, but music? The corporations have been riding high for a long time, screwing artists and fans alike. Some might say they're getting their comeuppance.
Personally I don't like the notion of stealing music, movies, or (ahem) books. It's disrespectful of the artists and all of those who pour themselves into the work. Not to mention sleazy.
What sports do you play and how often?
None. Hate competitive sports and almost always have. Played little league baseball when I was a kid, but that's about it.
How do you explain the rise in "fame" culture?
I try not to.
What do you have in your wallet right now?
ID, business cards, and medical cards, mostly.
How do you kill time?
Listen to audiobooks.
In which city do you live? What are your favourite and least favourite things about it?
Tacoma. It's an easy city to get around in, for the most part. I couldn't say what I liked least.
A YouTube video about something that was significant to your life.
Currently? I used this video as a soundtrack idea for my latest project.
Oh, and the discovery of a style of music I didn't even realize existed started with this video.
Very significant right now, since this is a style of music I've been waiting for all my life.
Where have you thought of going for your next holiday?
Arizona, to visit my mother-in-law and scope out the region for possible future transplantation.
What matters more in deciding your vote: the party, the candidate, or the ideas?
Ideas. And a chance to implement them.
Two-party systems are on the rise: is this good for politics?
Should any territory have the right of self-determination if a majority of the population votes in favour of doing so?
I think so.
Does a state have the right to attack or intervene in another country that has not attacked said state, if the country has committed grave injustices or crimes against humanity?
No single state, no. A true consensus should be reached by a majority of other states first.
Are we witnessing the end of the American empire?
Perhaps. Time will tell. Empires fail eventually. That's the way it works.
Why did the economies of communist countries fail?
Corruption, bureaucracy, and complacency... Pretty much why all nations eventually fall.
What is nationalism?
Do you actively or economically collaborate with any social organization, NGO, etc.?
Do you believe in any of the conspiracy theories regarding 9-11?
Let's just say I wonder about some of them and leave it at that.
Are there peoples more civilized than others? Or is it merely a question of cultural differences?
I find some practices disgusting, regardless of cultural differences. In some respects, we Americans aren't yet civilized, though most of us can be trusted not to pee on the rug.
Are there too many taxes?
Compared to what?
Do you believe in affirmative action?
In general, yes.
Does globalisation help in the development of the world's poorest countries, or does it perpetuate conditions of exploitation?
So far it's perpetuated exploitation, in my view. Are people better off working fourteen hours in a factory or living in a grass hut and herding cattle? Now THERE'S a question for you.
Should a maximum limit of permissible personal fortune exist; and thereby, place limits on individual wealth?
Socially, if not legally.
Do you defend the ecotaxes?
Damaging the environment should have an immediate price.
Should consensual offenses such as drug use or prostitution be legalized?
Yes. Waste of our time, energy, and money.
Are you pro-choice or pro-life?
Both. I respect people's privacy and oppose illegal wars.
Are you in favor of or against the death penalty?
Opposed. I don't trust our justice system enough for them to kill people in my name.
Should homosexual couples have the same right to adopt as heterosexual couples?
Do you believe that the world crisis can bring positive changes to social values?
Can, sure. Will it? That remains to be seen.
What significant changes do you think Obama can bring about along his presidential term?
Time will tell. I'm not in the predicting business--not in that respect, anyway.
For you, what is "the good life"?
A nice home, faithful pets, family, and just enough sales to avoid a day job.
What is the secret to happiness?
Acceptance of what is, and pursuit of what might be.
What is a friend?
Someone you can say just about anything to without worrying about who they'll tell.
Please list your philosophy of good health.
Don't beat the heck out of yourself when you're young.
Oh, wait. Too late.
Does the soul exist?
I think so. "I" is a very intriguing concept. What is "I," anyway? A trick? Somehow I doubt it.
Where does science end and ideology begin?
I'm not sure the two are ever entirely separate.
Your own definition for beauty
There are too many kinds of beauty to have an easy answer to this. Something that draws the eye, not once, but time and time again.
What is God?
All that is.
If the ticket price for a football match is twice the regular price for those 12 years of age or older, and your child turned twelve yesterday, what age would you say your child is?
I'd feel obligated to be honest, not only for the sake of being honest, but because it degrades the child to lie about such things.
If you were a millionaire, what would be your charitable work?
My "Second Chance" foundation, to give people a second chance to make up for their biggest mistakes.
Your sins and virtues.
I'm sure others--such as my wife--could more easily enumerate my sins, and I am too humble to innumerate my virtues.
Please list three important words for the world today.
What will your epitaph be?