A few questions and answers as provided by
Quan Williams, author of “Godmode”
Download Godmode at http://godmode.quanwilliams.com
What do you think makes a good story?
it starts with a unique, intriguing premise, and is followed with engaging, nuanced characters that you as a reader want to learn about and follow around. As long as you have those two elements, then you can add or leave out any other elements of storytelling.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I think that anything that can clue your readers in to your characters’ personality or your overall story can be beneficial. You can say a lot about a character or about your story with just the characters’ names. I get my names from a variety of sources: whether they be based on people I’ve encountered, or ideas I want to emphasize. I named my protagonist in GODMODE Elijah and put him up against an evil corporation called BAAL specifically to invoke the biblical reference of the prophet Elijah fighting the worshipers of the pagan god Baal. And his chief antagonist, Mulder Foxworth, was a play on the popular Fox Mulder character from the X-Files.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think I’ve gotten better at handling character development and making that relevant to the plot. early in my writing career, I would often write entire scenes for character development that had nothing to do with the overall story. I think I’ve gotten better at making both character and plot work together.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
All a writer really needs is a way to record his or her ideas and a place to store them. a computer and a decent word processing program like MS Word are all you need to get started. Heck it’s all I’ve had, and I’ve gotten four books published.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
My first book was published through a company with a less than stellar reputation in the industry. They wee essentially a glorified vanity press that tried to pass itself off as a traditional publisher. I was misled and felt horrible, and was on the verge of quitting writing altogether. But historical romance author Anne Mallory (“One Night Is Never Enough”) a good friend of mine.She told me to not give up and to keep writing. That bit of encouragement proved to be what got me out of my funk.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Any and all marketing options are fair game. I’ve been all over facebook and twitter, i maintain blogs, all of my books have websites, and I’ve done a number of book signings, and even a job fair. I’ve gotten into merchandising and I’ve recorded soundtracks for my books. I’ve posted banner ads for my book via Project Wonderful and Google Ads. And I’m always looking for people to review my books. Once my book sees print, I take my writer hat off and put my entrepreneur hat on.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
Tom Snitsky is a secondary character in GODMODE< but I like his snark and sarcastic attitude. he has a Napoleon complex and he does not like the hero of my story. my original idea was for my hero, Elijah, to be totally and completely alone in the story, but it turned out adding Snitsky as a foil was a great idea.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
i think i should have done more to develop Sylvia Rodenberg, who is a high ranking executive in the corrupt biotech company Elijah fights in Godmode. She plays a prominent role in the story, and has a very deep relationship with both the hero and the main villain. I could have explored that bond a bit more, which would have accentuated why her final fate was so important to the conflict between Elijah and Mulder. As it stands now, she comes across as a little flatter than I would have liked. Maybe I can rectify that if there’s a sequel…
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Fortune. Fame and Respect are fleeting, but you can manage fortune and make it grow.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
My second novel, Double Entry, was my most complete work to date. it had well-developed, nuanced characters and an intriguing plot with more than a few twists. Everything fit together, and was picked up by a reputable e-publisher. It was my validation, and something I sorely needed after the fiasco that was my first book with the-publisher-that-shall-not-be-named.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
I wrote a crime/dark comedy novel called “Bad Meets Evil” a while ago that I guarantee will never see print. it was supposed to be this super irreverent, in-your-face exploration of evil, written to be completely devoid of sympathetic characters, intended to anger and offend everyone who reads it. The book was definitely unreadable, but not because it was so offensive. The characters were 2-dimensional and uninteresting, which is the cardinal sin of writing fiction. You can make your characters as crazy, evil, and despicable as you want; but you can’t make them boring.
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
That would be my current book, GODMODE. it encapsulates everything about me as a writer: my approach to character development, the way i set up plots, my penchant for description, and even my overall themes of personal responsibility and the importance of fatherhood. It’s all in there.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
GODMODE is a science fiction survival horror novel. A man wakes up in a cage and can’t remember how he got there. He escapes and finds himself at the bottom level of a corrupt pharmaceutical company. He is alone – everybody else is dead – and has to fight his way out of the building, through a horde of bizarre and deadly monsters created in the labs. And as he fights, he discovers some very disturbing truths about his captors, and himself.
My next book is already finished, and I’m seeking a publisher or agent for it. It’s a literary love story about two college sweethearts dealing with the harsh realities of post graduate life.
I dabble in music, so I’m currently writing a concept album about a certain world famous superspy. Once I record the songs, i will also release all of the lyrics as an online chapbook. after that, who knows? I’ve got some ideas for a high fantasy story , but I also have this cool idea involving an epic adventure story set in feudal China. I haven’t decided which one to pursue yet.
What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
The question i most want to hear is the question I’ll bet every aspiring writer wants to hear: “How much do you want for the movie rights to your book?” preferably asked by a movie or television producer, preferably holding a blank check in one hand and an ink pen in the other. Considering it would be my first adaptation and with the slow economy, I would be modest, and only ask for $500,000. What a bargain!
What is your favorite visual oddity for a fictional character? (Example: Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar)
in the book “Planeswalker” the main protagonist (Urza) has two gems for eyes.
What is the most unusual character hobby you have ever come across in fiction?
in the Justice League comic book, the evil version of Superman is called Ultraman. he is actually addicted to Kryptonite. he crushes it up and snorts it like cocaine. Weird.
In your opinion, what makes a character really feel unconventional?
There has tobe something about a character that flies in the face of normal convention. we all have preconceived notions about how character tropes are supposed to act. if you have the trope, but there is an element that runs contradictory to the trope, then you have what makes that charatcer unusual and therefore unique.
In your opinion, what makes a character three-dimensional?
two words: depth and nuance. the more a reader knows about what a character does and why, the realer the character becomes to the reader. so glimpses into the character’s internal thoughts and feelings as well as background help flesh it out. Nuance is important because the little details about how a character moves, talks, acts, dresses etc. also help flesh it out and turn it from just a character in a story to a real, breathing, person in the reader’s mind.
What is your main character’s most admirable quality?
in Godmode, Elijah’s coolest quality is his ability to adapt to different situations and think on his feet. He struggles to keep control of the rage that turns him into a raging monster, so he has to use his wits and environment – and whatever weapon he can get his hands on – more often than not.
Is there a way your main character can change the world to benefit other people? If so, what would most motivate him/her to try?
Elijah of “Godmode” is a survivor; he was bullied in school with little support from his parents or the school authorities. he survived a stint in a Juvenile detention hall, and went on to go to college and achieve stellar grades, which he parleyed into a job at a top biotech firm. he was able to navigate the treacherous waters of office politics en route to multiple promotions, and even when that backfired, he stillf ound a way to survive it. he can be an inspiration to people if he were to become a counselor or motivational speaker. and if he makes it through this latest ordeal, he just might.
If your antagonist was there for the creation of the sandwich, what toppings would that character select to place between the bread slices?
Mulder Foxworth of “Godode” is a perfectionist, but he has particular tastes. He would only want the finest, most expensive meats, cheeses and vegetables on the sandwich, along with Dijon mustard and toasted ry bread. the bread has to be toasted exactly to the right level of brown-ness and crispness, or he won’t eat it. You had better prepare it to his exact specifications, and you had better have clean hands when you do it. otherwise, he will make sure you regret it – maybe not at that moment, but when the time is right, and it is to his benefit to use your lousy sandwich against you.