Welcome to Fliterary! Sit with me on our swings and tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in Alaska with no electricity. That gave me a lot of time to daydream. I went to school for fashion design and worked in the industry for a few years before I decided that it was not for me. So I took some time off, stayed home with my kids, and started writing books. I started writing The New Recruit in 2004. It took me about three years to get that first book finished. My first published novel, By Darkness Hid, was published in 2009. It was the sixth full novel I’d completed. Today I have written ten fiction books for publication, a nonfiction writing book for teens, and co-written a series of homeschool guides for my Blood of Kings books. I primarily write young adult fantasy and science fiction. I also blog for teen writers at www.GoTeenWriters.com.
Why work with teen writers? Aren’t there other people who need writing help too?
Since my husband is a youth pastor and since I write for teens, I tend to gravitate toward them. But here's the thing. Adult and teen writers are both seeking the same goal: publication. So teens who are serious about getting published are competing with adults for the same publishing slots. Therefore teen writers who are serious about getting published need the same instructions that adult writers need. So, when I blog about writing, that information is true for teen and adult writers. There are hundreds of websites out there that target adult writers. Stephanie Morrill and I both wanted a site that targeted teen writers. A site that would welcome them, encourage them, and speak their language.
What’s the biggest question about being an author that you get from teens?
Most teens ask me how long it took me to write my book. And that answer varies depending on which book is being asked about. My first book took me three years to write. But today, I can write a book in three months. I don't like to do that, though. The more time I have, the better the book. Ideally, I'd love to have at least six months per novel, if they are of an average length.
Write an ugly first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it has to end! I meet so many writers who’ve been rewriting that first chapter for years, striving for perfection. In my experience, that’s not the best way to learn. One of my favorite writing quotes is from Michael Crichton. He said, “Books aren't written - they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.” It’s so true. But you can’t rewrite a book that’s incomplete. So learn to write fast and ugly first drafts so that you can step back and look at the thing and revise it.
Do you have an “official” bio?
Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the Christy-Award winning young adult author of the Blood of Kings trilogy, Replication, the Mission League series, and the Safe Lands trilogy. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.