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Friday, 17 February 2017

Author Q & A - Trevor Williams

 A summer of second chances…

Just a week before her big day, Sarah returns home to find a note from her husband-to-be – the wedding’s off! So when her boss decides to send her on an epic cycling trip, from Venice to Rome, it seems like the perfect distraction…

Although she never expected the distraction to come in the form of her oh-so-handsome, but slightly serious, cycling companion, Miles. And with still 600 miles of beautiful scenery, mouthwatering food and delicious wine yet to cover, anything could happen!

Title:     To Rome with Love
Author: T. A. Williams
Published by: Amazon Media
Publication Date: 17th Feb 2017

Links: UK:  Amazon 

Author Q & A

Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels blog.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
This book, the first of a new series of romantic comedies (following on from my “What Happens…” series) was inspired by one of my hobbies. I do a lot of cycling and a few years back a group of us rode from Venice to Rome and it was so stunningly beautiful, I knew I wanted to write about it.

Did you always want to be a writer?
That’s easy, yes. I still have a copy (all 44 handwritten pages of it) of “The Lake Dwellers”, a shameless rip off of “Swallows and Amazons” that I wrote when I was 13 or 14. Since then, all my working life, I have written books, but it was only four years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher interested in my work.

What other jobs have you had?
After university, I went abroad to teach English, settling in Italy where I stayed for almost eight years. Back home, I ended up running a big language school in Exeter. This was a pretty full on job - especially in the summer – and it gave me the chance to travel all over the world. This experience definitely helped me as a writer.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
The word ecstatic comes to mind. But, to be honest, the most exciting moment was getting the initial email from the publishers saying how much they lied my work and offering me the contract. My wife was in the shower at the time and I ran through with the iPad and almost climbed in with her.

Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story.
For over thirty years I have been writing first thrillers and then historical novels, but without any publishing success. In January 2013 I decided to make a change to romantic comedy and suddenly I found an audience.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure I have ever had writer’s block as such. Before I sit down to write a book, I try to work out roughly what happens (not in great detail I must admit), so once I get started, it tends to run pretty smoothly. It’s not unusual for me to write a book in 6 weeks.

What motivates you to keep writing?
What motivates a junkie to keep shooting himself full of heroin? It’s a drug. I would rather write than read. In fact, if you add up all the unpublished manuscripts lying around my study, I’ve written well over a million words so far and see no relief on the horizon to what is, without doubt, obsession.

Where is your favourite place to write? ( can we have a picture)
I only ever write in my study. I use a desktop computer (and an iPad for social media). No music, no interruptions, and far too much tea.
Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Definitely the former. I can still read books I wrote years ago and know that certain passages will bring a tear to my eye. As for my mood affecting my writing, I’m not so sure. Writing can be very therapeutic. Writing about people having fun in the sun when you’ve got a stinking cold is good escapism I find.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
1.Write because you want to write and write what you enjoy writing.
2.Don’t expect to get rich quick (remember the words of Gene Hackman in Get Shorty where he says, ‘the only kind of writing that makes money is ransom notes’).
3.Persevere. It took me over 30 years to find a publisher and a modicum of success. Ignore all those rejection slips written by snooty girls with names like Lysistrata or Philomena. Keep trying.

Which authors inspire you?
Funnily enough, in spite of writing romantic comedies, I read very little of that genre. Inspiring authors to me are Hemingway, Hilary Mantel (but only her historical stuff), JP Donleavy (but not just “The Ginger Man”). Also I read a lot of non fiction, mainly history. If you want a gripping read with loads of sex, violence and intrigue, try Eamon Duffy’s “Saints and Sinners, A History of the Popes."

What are you reading at the moment?
Robert McKee, “Story – Substance, Structure, Style and the principles of screenwriting.” A Christmas present from my son-in-law and a useful, if rather indigestible resource for any writer.

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Seeing as “To Rome With Love” starts with Sarah coming home and finding a letter from her fiancé telling her he is dumping her, only a week before the wedding, it would need to be something pretty soulful. How about “A Whiter Shade of Grey”, Procol Harem, if I’m not showing my age too much with this oldie.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
Sarah is very beautiful, slim and fit (she goes on a 1000km bike ride) and a very competent, organised sort. I reckon Keira Knightley might fit the bill.

What is your next book about?
My next book, already written and coming out in May, is “Dreaming of Venice”. It’s about Penny, an aspiring artist who lives in London, working in a tatty café to keep body and soul together, who dreams of gliding down the Grand Canal in Venice in a gondola. I won’t spoil it, but she gets the chance to go there and, along the way, she runs into the phenomenon of love at first sight. She’s pretty sure this only happens to other people. Or does it?  

And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quickfire 'Which book round.'

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud?         
Tom Sharp, “Indecent Exposure”

Cry your heart out?   
Got to be “Watership Down”

Want to read it again?
“Wolf Hall” and I’ve read it three times

Think more?   
That history of the popes book. Wow, you would not believe some of the stuff that happened back in the Middle Ages!

Wish it would be made into a film? 
Sorry to do this to you, but to be totally honest, I reckon my book, “What Happens in Tuscany” would make an amazing film. Could this be why I’m reading a book about screenwriting, maybe? Watch this space…

Still the popes book

No question. 40 years ago I was living and working in northern Italy. No TV, very few books in English and my Italian wasn’t good enough in those days to read books in Italian. A friend handed me a book one evening about ten o'clock and said, “read this, it’s good.’ I started reading it at midnight, finished at five o'clock in the morning, and then sat shivering until dawn. The book? “The Exorcist”.

Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today and good luck with the book, also do keep us updated about the screenplay.
Thanks a lot, Annette. This has been a lot of fun.  J

Book Angels

About the Author

I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife... 
  I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.
I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.

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