This week I’m sitting down with Elgon Williams, author of the novel Fried Windows in a Light White Sauce. His crazy, trippy, wild-ride on the Technicolor roller coaster of imagination book releases May 30th. It’s a mind-bending story that will complete any fantasy reader’s collection. To learn more about Fried Windows and the mastermind behind it, keep reading.
Steph Post: Fried Windows in a Light White Sauce is your first book released by Pandamoon Publishing, but it’s not the first book you’ve published. How many books have you written and how long have you been writing?
Elgon Williams: Quite a while – how’s that for an answer? I’ve been at it in earnest for the past fifteen or so years. Before that it was a hobby more than anything else. I worked a lot of hours as a retail manager, so finding the time to write with any regularity or consistency was a challenge. Being Daddy to three kids and a husband was a challenge. When my wife and I separated in 1997 and she moved to Florida with the kids, suddenly I have a lot of time. I started writing a lot more on my time off. At present I have amassed forty projects in various stages of completion, twenty of them are manuscripts ready for submission.
My first two books in the One Over X series are technically out of print. Last year I produced a revised second edition of the first book splitting it into two smaller volumes. Those are available on Amazon for Kindle and from CreateSpace. The second book has been rewritten extensively under a different title and should be released in the next couple of years. At least half of the original version ended up in a series titled One Pack, which is a five book series, the second volume of The Wolfcat Chronicles. In 2007, while I was between jobs, I wrote The Attributes, which is a two book series available on Amazon exclusively for Kindle.
SP: What first inspired you to start writing? Was there any particular person or event that sparked your interest in being an author?
EW: My mom told me the first thing I grasped in my hand when I was a baby was a pencil. I guess I was cursed from an early age. Growing up in west central Ohio, two miles from nowhere I had to rely a lot on my imagination for entertainment.
Mrs. Sievert, my seventh grade teacher, taught me more about English than anyone before or since. She read Where The Red Fern Grows to the class. That book made me realize the power of a well-written story. That year I read the essential Mark Twain books and Ivanhoe. So, I was well on my way to being a writer by then.
In high school there was Kristin Hibbett. She was my ninth grade and eleventh grade English teacher. She also taught senior composition. On one assignment of which was especially proud she bled all over it with red ink. In the margin she wrote that I’d never be a writer. I took that as a challenge. Eventually, after I went away to college, we became friends and we corresponded for many years.
SP: Fried Windows is an imaginative whirlwind. The whole time I was reading it, I kept wondering where on earth you got your ideas from. So, I have to ask: how did you come up with such an imaginative story?
EW: Brent Woods is my alter ego, or evil twin – take your pick. He appears in a lot of the stories I’ve written. I think that helped in establishing the character. Some people are surprised when I tell them I wrote the first draft as a series of short stories over a period of about a month in 2012.
As for the idea, let’s face it, writers’ brains are wired differently than so-called normal people. My brain may be a little more so unusual. I have random thoughts throughout the day and they entertain me enough to survive the tedium. I’d like to think that others enjoy working with me because of the things that pop into my head that I share. For example, last night I created an entire story involving a tube of Chapstick and a guy who asked that we hold it for him to come back later on. The real mystery is why didn’t he never make it back to the store?
SP: Even though it has many fantastical elements, Fried Windows is not all fantasy. Were there any events or experiences in your life that you incorporated into your novel?
EW: For sure, there are some scenes that my kids will recognize. Dad fixing breakfast on Sunday morning and some of relationship between Brent and his wife is pretty close to the way things were. One of the settings is Florida’s Space Coast, where I used to live. I guess Flroida in general is a perfect setting for the book because a lot of people end up in Florida chasing after their dreams. So it’s the kind of place where fantasy and imagination can flourish and mingle with reality, if you let it. Like Brent I was in the Air Force and worked in intelligence. Unlike him I wasn’t an officer and I didn’t work for a super secret organization called The Program.
SP: Fried Windows will be released in a few days (!!!). How do you expect readers to respond to your story? How do you want them to respond?
EW: To those who have read anything I have ever offered previously, you are in for a real surprise. This one is unlike anything I’ve ever done. And I think it’s pretty unique as novels go as well. So, I expect a generally favorable response. I’d love for everyone in the world to read the story because there are some very good positive messages in it. I think people will fall in love with Strawb because, let’s face it, she’s a fun character and steals the scene in many places. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear people start quoting her.
SP: You’ve been a strong advocate for other authors. What are some of the ways that you’ve helped new and established writers?
EW: It’s always been tough for writers, but it used to be hard to get published. Now that part of the equation is easier. Still, all it did was take the competition from submissions to the marketplace. Writers generally aren’t good at marketing. I have some direct experience and a marketing background. Although having so many new books out is great for the reader, it’s hard for an author, especially someone who self-publishes, to be heard above all the noise. I post things on my blog with some advice and hints. Christine Gabriel and I have started a Facebook page called Instant Fame Magazine to help promote people we know who have books out there or books on the way. Other than that I read books and write reviews for other authors I know – not everyone because I know a lot of authors – but for the ones in my genre or genres I enjoy reading. The most important thing you can do as a new author is to establish your author’s brand. You do that one fan at a time. Getting someone to read your book is a lot like asking someone out on a first date.
SP: Being such a prolific writer, I know you’ve got some other projects in the works. Care to share?
EW: My next Pandamoon project is Becoming Thuperman. It’s a book about a couple of precocious eight-year-olds, growing up before cell phones and home video games, riding bikes everywhere, playing baseball and that strange couple down the street who live in a house that everyone says is haunted. Just to make it fun, they also have some secret superpowers they are beginning to discover. There’s another project called Bongwater Moses, about a guy who has temporal dyslexia, which means he experiences his life out of sequence. For example, when he should be twelve he experiences being twenty-one. I’m pitching a series I wrote in draft from 2002 to 2005. It’s a ten book series collectively titled The Wolfcat Chronicles. Other than that I’m plotting out a sequel for Becoming Thuperman, which will be called Being Thuperman and a sequel and a prequel for Fried Windows. Lot’s of fun ahead for everyone.
Curious? Here’s the down-low on Fried Windows in a Light White Sauce:
“Leave your world behind and enter an adventure forever lost but never forgotten, where only magic is real, and anything is possible.
When Brent Woods, a middle-aged computer technician delivers a new system to Strawb, an eccentric lady who lives in a house with no windows, she offers to reconnect him with his childhood dreams and fantastic imagination. Alongside his best friend Lucy, Brent explores the seemingly infinite possibilities of the “Inworld” where she lives, a place where everything about anything can change with a thought. But in the process of remembering his past as Carlos, Lord of Bartoul, Brent exposes a dark potential that threatens his family, and his home.
After his youngest daughter is attacked in her dreams by the very forces that took away his kingdom, and Lucy’s, Brent seeks answers that lie somewhere in the truth of what happened in his past, and how he lost his connection to the Inter-Realm. He must find a way to correct his mistakes and solve the puzzle of his best friend’s life.
Fried Windows (In a Light White Sauce) is an unforgettable journey into imagination. It is a feast of delightful characters whose perspective of their worlds will change the way you think about yours forever.”
Want to know more about Elgon?
Born in Springfield, Ohio, Elgon Williams was given an unusual name and an extraordinary childhood growing up on a farm near South Charleston at the edge of the village of Selma in rural southeastern Clark County. An only surviving son and the baby of the family he found his sisters less than cooperative for play. And so, maybe of his childhood experience relied solely on his imagination. As he matured many of his fantastic adventures found expression in his storytelling.
A graduate of Purdue University, The University of Texas and the Defense Language Institute, Williams holds degrees in Mass Communication, Marketing and Chinese Mandarin. As a member of the United States Air Force he lived and worked in Asia and in several other parts of the United State. After leaving the military he spent most of his adult life working in retail management, merchandising, and marketing. He is also a computer technician and technology consultant.
Williams is the father of three adult children and currently lives in central Florida.