William F. DeVault [williamfdevault]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My Dad used to read to us at nap time when I was a toddler. His tastes ran to mythology and legends, so I started picking up the books and learning by reading such stories as from Greek mythology and legends like Robin Hood.
I started writing as soon as I could write. I was very into spinning tales, even when little, and when I discovered poetry when I was 8 and received notice for it, I was sold...
My teachers and parents were the first to read my works. When I wrote my first poem, at age 8, "O, Ship!", my teacher went and got the music teacher, who put it to music and I ended up performing it with two other kids (who had to wear sailor suits) at a parent-teacher May Day assembly.
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 am, in the end and in essence, a poet, but I have written short fiction and am working on a few novels and screenplays.
My official site is
My blog is at
My pure poetry blog is at
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I don't choose to write. I write from the preconscious, and the work bubbles up when it is ready, sometimes at the damndest times, to great inconvenience.
My poem "In the Arms of the Dragon" came to me in high-speed, dense traffic on Lincoln Boulevard in Los Angeles. I couldn't pull over and didn't have my recorder with me, so I started chanting it to myself, all the way home...raced in the door at my apartment and wrote it down.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Good poetry, but also anything with strong, clear emotion behind it.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
A good character and something or someone to interact with.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
!st person, but occasionally third when called for. I write too intimately to stray from 1st person too often.
What well known writers do you admire most?
I am friends with quite a few, so I won't risk those friendships. Historically, Victor Hugo, Tagore, Poe, Shelley, Byron.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
That's a tough question, but I would have to say resonance. We have to feel like we could know this character to care what they do or what becomes of them.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I get by in my public readings. The fans seem to enjoy it, at least. I am almost never happy with my readings, though.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for the women who inspire me, then myself. I write to vent myself, indeed, but I want to communicate, to move the heart of a woman.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Absolutely. Poetry is my coping mechanism for strong emotion and conflict. The fringe of madness that marks some of my better or more controversial works is me working through darkness without resorting to self-destructive habits. I am a very strong believer in creative catharsis.
The internal conflicts, particularly the carnal and divine, drive my work, totally.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Depends. Someone nit-picking style? No. A well-motivated fan of the fairer gender knocking on my door late at night? Maybe.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I don't like competitions, but I have won my share of awards, usually unsolicited. I was named to the Appalachian Education Initiative's list of 50 outstanding creative artists from West Virginia, I won Poet of the Year from Preditors and Editors, as well as poem of the year. I have been awarded several poet of the month or website of the month awards. I don;t collect them or dwell over them
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I found my voice years ago, but I am always tweaking and studying it for ways to make it stronger, purer. My proteges, I always tell them they have to first learn their craft, then find their voice.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
Occasionally I will set structural deadlines for organization of a manuscript, but never creative goals.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Coherent sound and light. I am easily distracted, so I like to work with my headphones on and turned up to 11.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
Computer, although I used to be addicted to writing on legal pads with a razor-tip Flair pen. I have been known to write with whatever is available, including a magic marker on a woman's back (long story and not suitable for the kids). I correct on screen, but never go back for editing content. To me that is adulterating the moment, the integrity.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I used to hang out on Authors' Den, but have since moved on. I often share on my own websites.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I am known for my fights with publishers. Those who can, do...those who can't, edit...those who aren't clever enough to edit become publishers so they can bully editors and authors.
My divergence to go over to the POD (publication on demand) industry, more than a decade ago, addicted me to the notion that I can control my process, from selection to packaging, to make sure the product is me and not some compromise.
I'm not a businessman, I'm a poet. Publishers want what they can sell, not what's good.
What are you working on now?
Ha! At this exact moment I am working on two poetry books, a new CD, a screenplay and three novels. This will change tomorrow.
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?
Read them. If you know it is not good enough, throw it out. Then decide who you want to see the works. It does no good lining your birdcage.
William F. DeVault
Los Angeles and Washington DC