In the last few months, I have become part of a loose groups of writers called West of England Authors who are exploring ways of promoting ourselves and our books in the increasingly crowded literary world. One of the people I have met is Trevor Williams who writes romantic fiction under the pen name T A Williams.
Hello Trevor; thanks for joining me today. Let’s start with a geography question. Where is your favourite place on earth — and why?
That’s a really hard question to answer. The charm of a place is so closely linked to the moment and the company. There’s a little island off the Scottish coast called Lismore where I fell in love with my wife of now 40 years. An old man in a rowing boat gave us a ride out there and(mercifully) picked us up again. We swam with seals (almost froze to death) and picnicked on Scotch eggs and pies. I have since read that one of the islands along that piece of the west coast is infected with Anthrax after Cold War experiments. Maybe that’s why my hair started falling out around then. Still, my memories of Lismore will always remain magical.
How do you relax?
This is going to sound crazy, but I relax by riding my bike. A couple of hours out in the Devon lanes is excellent for clearing the head and waking up a few of those pesky little endorphins. I also find it really good for the brain. I often mull over plot problems while I’m out on my bike and, more times than not, come up with a solution. And it also means I can eat a huge slab of cake when I get back home without having a guilty conscience.
If you could change one thing about yourself or your life so far, what would it be?
Setting aside the hereditary baldness thing, I most regret my short-sightedness. My dad was a great rugby player in his youth and I inherited a deep love of the game from him. At school my nickname was “Titch” and I played scrum half and captained the Under-13s, Under-14s, Under-15s and then, bang, I hit puberty and, in the space of a few months, I grew six inches and became so short-sighted, I could hardly see the ball. Nowadays there are contact lenses. Way back in the sixties (yes, I am that old) there weren’t any.
Describe your ideal menu — and where would you like to eat it?
Fortress at Populonia (Photo: Giorgiomugnaini)
Ah, now, you’re talking. I love food and have been fortunate to have had a job that took me all over the world. I’ve tried all sorts, from Japanese smoked eel (sublime) to Chinese sort of wormy/grub-like things the size of acorns (unlikely to feature on my list of favourites) and barbecued seafood in Thailand (yum). However, my all time favourite meal would have to be: Foie gras (yes I know the poor geese have a rough time of it, but even so…) followed by a real Italian fritto misto with lightly fried whitebait, octopus, prawns and whatever else the fisherman caught that day. I would follow it up with Isles Flottantes and accompany it with a bottle of Chablis Grand Cru. Ah yes… and as for where? There’s a little place called Populonia on the western coast of Italy. There’s a castle above the bay and a long sandy beach just to the north. I think a table along there somewhere, looking out over the setting sun would be my idea of heaven. I love it so much, I even put it into one of my books, What happens in Tuscany.
If you were a car, what type would you be — and why?
I had to answer this question because I have always loved cars. I’m no Jeremy Clarkson (speed doesn’t do it for me) but I do like cars and would have no doubt at all in saying that my favourite vehicle (and, in consequence the one I would most like to be in a hypothetical internally-combusted life) is a Range Rover. Go anywhere, look good, feel good and last a lifetime.
Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends — which would you prefer?
I love books. I read a lot although, now I am a full time writer, I read less than before. I love the way a book can transport you away from your surroundings and let you dream. I used to love the cinema, but I’ve gone off it now. Apart from the fact that the last time I went to the cinema, the total darkness and the ridiculously loud soundtrack combined to make me feel almost claustrophobic, they just don’t make them like they used to. I know I’m an old fart and that’s what old farts say, but, honestly, is there a better film than Casablanca? But, anyway, to answer the question, it would have to be friends. Good conversation (doesn’t have to be highbrow) around a dinner table with close friends is just about as good as it gets.
Upload a picture or a photo that best represents you, and tell us why (and it doesn’t have to be a portrait, although it can be).
The photo I’ve chosen is the photo I use as my screensaver. Apart from reminding me of a great time in my life (we rode Spain south to north in 2007), it hopefully shows that, although I sometimes do serious stuff, I have a lighter side. I would really hate to lose my sense of humour.
What have been the hardest things about becoming a published author?
Writing books is the easy part. Finding a publisher is without doubt the hardest. And, even when you do get picked up by a publisher, your troubles (at least in my case) are just beginning. The next big hurdle is, wait for it, … Social Media *play sinister music*. Before I got my first publishing contract, I had no Social Media presence at all. I assumed that Twitter and Facebook were for kids and of no relevance to somebody rapidly approaching retirement. What I have discovered is that it is very, very important. I now check my Twitter feed every morning, chat to my Facebook friends every day and twitter away like a canary in a cage. Believe me when I say that writing an 80,000 word book is the easy part.
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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