Renee Writes

Author Spotlight: The Shadow Soul by K Williams

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have K Williams with her book, The Shadow Soul, Book One of The Trailokya Trilogy.

unnamed (1)I’m originally from Saratoga Springs, New York. I attended SUNY at Morrisville, for Bio, and continued with English and Historical studies at UAlbany, gaining a Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, I also interned with 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging my interests in social movements and art. In 2014, I completed the MALS program (Screenwriting) at Empire State College (SUNY), and I’m the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. I continues to write and work on novels, including the Trailokya Trilogy, a work that deals with topics in Domestic Violence and crosses the controversial waters of organized religion and secularism.

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About the Book

unnamed2015 Hollywood Book Festival Honorable Mention in Science Fiction, The Shadow Soul is the first part of The Trailokya Trilogy, a Fantasy series that follows the rise and fall of fabled races and souls at the junction of three worlds: Zion, Earth and Jahannam. K. Williams weaves a tale that will leave you questioning long held convictions about the human legends of Heaven and Hell. Are you ready to enter the gates of Zion and learn the truth?

Captain Maiel is a duta warrior of Zion, a race of giant, winged guardians and chroniclers of the lesser souls. Maiel’s assurances are shaken when she nearly loses a young human girl to the dark forces of Jahannam, the prison realm where the lowest beings reside. To avoid answering to the leaders of her world, Maiel seeks refuge on Earth, but she is pursued by a baron of Jahannam intent on destroying her. Can she be saved before time runs out? Or will she be sacrificed to secure the borders of Zion and to hide the lie her journey uncovers?

With each step further into darkness, long held secrets are revealed and shadows rise from the past to challenge absolutes.

Zion’s leadership recognizes a plan to breach their defenses. They respond with two heroes to put an end to the war before it begins. Dominic must finally prove himself worthy of his ambitions and Gediel works in the shadows to unravel truth. Those left behind ask the questions they’ve long ignored-secrets that may destroy their world. Though they seem invincible, it appears the rescuers will never reach Maiel before she falls to the Baron, and he and the princes break the gates of Zion.

Get it today on Amazon, Nook and Barnes and Noble!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

unnamed (2)Why did you decide to be a writer?

I kept having these epic dreams, probably fueled by all the reading and film watching. The books and movies I watched, they never really went far enough, in my estimation, or didn’t cover the things I wanted to see covered. Books always did a much better job, though. The written word has always had such a great impact on me. I guess the progression from reader to writer was just a natural leap. Instead of waiting for someone to write the stories I wanted to read, I started writing them myself.

Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?

I write historical fiction, sci-fi/fantasy and literature. Fantasy was always the genre that I felt I could experiment in the most. When I first started writing, that was the genre I stretched my wings under. Despite having pretty solid parameters, fantasy is actually quite liberating. In historical fiction, I have to painstakingly fit my characters into the history I’m discussing. It takes a ton of research and effort, which thankfully I went to school to learn how to do. Those skills are transferable to fantasy, and make a rich reading experience.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I first considered myself an author just before publishing my first book. I had paid a lot of dues, from classes on writing and publishing, to rejection letters and critiques. The advice of a professor, that if you write you may consider yourself a writer, that always stuck with me. When I completed my first book and was sending it off to an agent for the first time and while she was representing me, that was when I allowed myself to accept the title. Without intent, without following through, I think we tend to think we can’t label ourselves–even if we’re doing the work.

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

I studied screenwriting and film for a masters degree that I achieved in 2014. I’d like to branch out into that field. I’m currently shopping the adaptation of my second book, OP-DEC: Operation Deceit. It takes a very long time to get a yes in this field too, but I am prepared to wait.

unnamed (3)What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Being heard (read). The internet has created such an opportunity for writers, but it has also created a lot noise, where we are drown out by one another attempting to have our book read. The competition is fierce. So exciting! To overcome it, I interact with my readers on social media, updating them on issues close to my heart and talking about them. Keeping interesting topics always on my pages gives my readers something more. They can ask me for advice, if they’re also writers–I give that freely on social media and my blog. Making things fun.

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received as an author?

A reader on Wattpad stopped by to tell me how much they loved my work. That makes me feel awesome, and like what I do matters. It’s a tough world out there and having your book read is a catch-22 in a lot of cases. Some comments back can make you feel defeated. So, when someone stops by to tell me how much they liked the book, that is everything.

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

Indeed, I have. My first book came out via self-publishing in 2009. It needed more editing than I could afford at the time, but I needed to get it out there to the world and let it develop from there. The review came in shortly thereafter, actually it was a pair of people. They decided to critique me personally, not just the book. The person behind the book is often forgotten to be human, so the digs can be very deep. At first my feelings were hurt, but then I walked away with what little actual writing critique I could get from it, and applied the smidgen of advice that was housed in the review a few years later when I had raised enough funds to have an editor take a good look at it.

Above all, I did not let them stop me.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write with your authentic voice and don’t be afraid what others will think. Someone will always hate your work, or having something rude to say. You are not writing for them. You are writing for the person who will love your work, and they will only love it if you are authentic.

Authenticity is the best advice yet. Whether that is using foul language, violence or doing the opposite. Be your authentic self. Tell the story as it needs to be told, not tied up in ribbons and bows to please an arbitrary naysayer.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

I’m not quite sure. I would point my finger at grade school grammar lessons. They just utterly failed to prepare me for actual writing. A professor and former colleague of mine once told me that they teach us the wrong grammar all through school, so we are set up to fail in that regard. She recommended I get an eighth grade grammar book, though, and keep it at hand. I’d tell other writers to make use of online tools like Grammar Girl and Grammarly. They’re what I use when I have a question. When in doubt, highlight it for your editor. That’s why we have them.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

I haven’t don photography in a while, since my books were picked up by Booktrope Publishing, I’ve been very very busy with the business end of writing. I sneak in a lot of shots of my dog Sadie Sue Shagbottom and make silly videos of her that I feature on my website (Shagbottom Theater). I also do graphics, painting and some sketching from time to time.

How many books do you have on your “to read” list? What are some of them?

A lot! About a 102 or 3, that have actually made it onto my Goodreads list.

Ivanhoe, The Complete Works of HP Lovecraft, Oliver Twist (I love classics), finish the Wheel of Time, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Graham Greene’s canon, and so many more.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I am a proud pantser. I can’t ever tell where it’s going to go, and I don’t want to fence in the work with an outline. I’m afraid that would make me miss opportunities.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Once I start the actual writing process? It takes a few weeks for the first draft to fall on paper, at least for all the works I have put down so far.

How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you find it difficult?

They come to me with a lot of thinking. Being a wordsmith, they tend to come along at some point during the process, starting with a preliminary title that I use until something better suddenly pops in my head.

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

For Trailokya, I wrote about real life experiences, whether they happened to me or others, but in fantastical circumstances. For instance, I write about domestic violence between the main character and her husband. She’s not someone you would ever think could be abused, and yet here it is happening to her–just as it often happens in real life. The books walk you through the outset to the culmination. You get to see what it’s really like to be in such a relationship. Yet, here it is set in surreal landscapes and transdimensional worlds.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to say to your readers?

Thank you for having me on the blog! If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks for reading!

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