… and Happy Thanksgiving to my friend, Bill Webb
By Jeff Salter
I’m pleased to score this interview with the exciting new novelist, William Alan Webb… especially since he’s willing to spend his Thanksgiving Holiday with us at 4F1H.
I know him better as Bill, and we hooked up over at the site of Dingbat Publishing. Turns out we’re both interested in military history and I had read one of Bill’s articles in a WW2 magazine I’ve subscribed to for many years.
He has an interesting story about how and when he’s worked in fiction… but I’ll let him tell it. For now, enjoy your turkey and dressing… and read what Bill Webb has to say.
Leave a comment or question, so Bill won’t eat too much pie and pudding.
- Why do you describe yourself as the world’s oldest teenager? Isn’t that an awfully angst-y part of life to be stuck in?
[ W.A.W. ] — I’m an angsty kind of guy. Seriously, it’s because I think and act like a teenager even though I’m technically out of my teens. I sleep as much as possible, love to eat, watch too much TV, like loud music (really loud), could spend 24 hours a day playing computer games and other more…ahem…delicate activities.
- What can you share about that novel you wrote in 1987?
[ W.A.W. ] — I can share that I’m re-writing it. It’s one of my NaNoWriMo projects. What surprised me the most is how much I like a lot of the descriptions. On the other hand, they say you should write your first novel and lock it away because it’s likely terrible. This one isn’t terrible, but it ain’t so hot, either. I tried to fuse a true Sci-Fi novel with a true Sword & Sorcery novel. As you might expect, the results were uneven.
- You’ve written non-fiction, including military history. Why do you suppose it took you 27 years to return to book length fiction?
[ W.A.W. ] — Wow, great question. I wish I had a great answer. I think the effort itself gave me pause. Remember, the last novel I wrote was done with a typewriter. Even if I were a fast writer, which I’m not, a novel was a project of years when using a typewriter. What shocked me was how fast I wrote the first two books, once I sat down to do it. Now, if you asked me why I sat down that day in August, 2014, and started writing fiction, my only answer would be that my subconscious had been writing it when I wasn’t looking, and told me it was time.
- I believe Standing the Final Watch (your August release) is the first in a series. How many titles do you plan to write in the Last Brigade series?
[ W.A.W. ] — Minimum of three in the series itself, but I could see five, six or ten. There’s also a prequel that is ¼ done and might be a series itself.
- You’ve already gotten over 50 reviews and had some terrific sales numbers. What were your first thoughts when you realized your book was taking off?
[ W.A.W. ] — I didn’t really think much of anything, because it all seemed so surreal. Once it finally sank in I was surprised and humbled that so many people spent money to read something I wrote.
- How / when did you connect with Dingbat Publishing?
[ W.A.W. ] — Twitter was the conduit. Last February there was a twitter event called p2p16, or ‘Pitch to Publishers 2016’. I was offered two contracts based on my tweets about the book, and took the one from Dingbat.
- Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
[ W.A.W. ] — Oh sure. I think any writer has. But most people are quite supportive.
- If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
[ W.A.W. ] — Wow…no. I’m an okay artist, not bad, not great, so if I did that, or painted, it would be strictly for amusement. But nothing else comes to mind.
- If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
[ W.A.W. ] — I would write exactly what I write. I had no clue that Standing The Final Watch would be such a success; I kept telling myself I was writing what I wanted to read and if nobody else liked it, that was fine. I’m writing fantasy stories now under the same aegis. And my first love will always been non-fiction.
- Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
[ W.A.W. ] — Hmmm…I can’t think of anybody for whom it was life changing, if that’s what you mean. The most surprising example was a rave review from a book blogger in Australia. I mean, this guy could be my publicist. It was a long, well detailed review. I was stunned that my work engendered such an energetic response.
- In the interviews & blog questions you’ve handled over the years, what is one writing question which you’ve WISHED had been asked of you… but never has been asked?
[ W.A.W. ] — Will you mentor me?
- What’s your answer to # 11 above?
[ W.A.W. ] — I have a strong passion for helping others, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two in 40 years of writing. I would love to pay that forward by helping someone else not only achieve, but surpass my modest success.
America might be dead, but Nick Angriff will kick your butt to resurrect her.
Lt. General Nick Angriff has spent his adult life protecting family and country from a world of terrorism spinning out of control. On the battlefield, off the grid, in clandestine special task forces and outright black ops, Angriff never wavers from duty. But when a terror attack on Lake Tahoe kills his family, he’s left with only the corrosive acid of revenge… that is, until a hated superior officer reveals the deepest of all secret operations. Against the day of national collapse, a heavily-armed military unit rests in cryogenic storage, to be awakened when needed, and Angriff is named its commander.
Fifty years later he wakes to find the USA destroyed and predatory warlords roaming the ruins. Stalked by assassins bent on seizing his command for their own purposes, Angriff has to prepare for war while avoiding murder.
Because the only wall still shielding survivors from slavery and death are the men and women of The Last Brigade.
Native Memphian Bill grew up eating wild blackberries while riding his bicycle on back-country roads, day-dreaming about spaceships and devouring books. He has read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ 32 times so far.
Grooming four acres of land east of Memphis maintains his boyish figure. Bill loves nothing more than reading (and writing!) an enthralling book, while ignoring eight barking dogs and two cranky old cats, four nests of screeching hawks bordering his property, various bobcats and coyotes, and a constant barrage of cartoons aimed at a three-year-old.
His indulgent wife just shakes her head and smiles.