Monday, February 24, 2014

9mm interview with William Cook

Kia ora everyone! Greetings from the bottom of the world, and welcome to the latest edition of Crime Watch's popular 9mm author interview series. The series has been a bit sporadic in recent times, after starting off with a hiss and a roar, maintained for a couple of years, but there is light at the end of the tunnel - I have several great 9mm interviews with authors famed and lesser-known in the bag, and will be sharing them with you all very, very soon. Onwards...

Today's author interviewee is a Kiwi horror and thriller writer, William Cook. He had his first novel, BLOOD RELATED, published in 2011, after writing short stories and poetry. Cook, who is a graphic designer and book cover artist, is currently working on his second novel. You can read more about him at his website here. But for now, he faces down the barrel of 9mm...

9MM: An interview with William Cook

Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
 Will Graham, Thomas Harris’s troubled FBI profiler responsible for the original capture of the serial killer Hannibal Lecter, and the man who is assigned to locate serial killer Francis Dolarhyde. I also like John D Macdonald’s “salvage consultant”, Travis McGee.

What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
 Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I had an advanced reading age when I was a kid and this novel appealed to me on many levels. It was literate and compelling and unlike any other book I’d read before. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down – for the next two years or so I tried to replicate Tom and Huck’s adventures in my own backyard. There were some high-thrills and scares in that book too, which sent shivers up my young spine. I loved it for what it was and for opening up to me a whole new world of ‘classic’ stories filled with adventure, mystery and thrills.

Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
Blood Related took me approximately 5 years to write, before that I had always written mainly poetry and short fiction. I have had verse published in periodicals like Poetry NZ, Southern Ocean Review and a handful of others (both NZ and American). I’ve worked in publishing and marketing in the past and have had reviews (book, music and movie) and articles published in various news media publications.

Outside of writing and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise? 
Writing, of course, is my favorite pastime and I do it every chance I get. I also love illustrating and have recently switched to digital design. I love using Photoshop to create other worlds and characters. I am married with four daughters so I spend a lot of my time doing family things when I’m not working on my personal projects. I rarely get the chance to read a book cover-to-cover these days but the Kindle has helped me get back into reading on the go – reading being something I would really like to do a lot more of.

What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
I have no idea really – I’m not much of an ambassador for Wellington. Don’t get me wrong, I like living here and there sure are worse places in the world but it is a small place. I guess one of my favorite spots in Wellington is the Miramar Peninsula – the green belt that runs from the now abandoned Mt Crawford Prison to the point. At night it is a very mystical place, especially under a full moon. The other place I really enjoy visiting is Staglands in the Akatarawas (Upper Hutt); it is a fantastic place with many native birds and animals and a superb recreation of a pioneer village filled with great photographic opportunities.  

If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
I think my life these days wouldn’t make for very interesting viewing – a guy hunched over a computer keyboard! I am similar in stature to the late James Gandolfini and admire his acting ability. I guess if he was alive he would be my first choice.

Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why?
I probably value my novel Blood Related the most but it is not necessarily my favourite. My collection ‘Death Quartet’ is one that I’m quite proud of but I would say that ‘Creep’ is my most compelling and well-written work to date. The story is the first story in an exciting and gritty new psychological thriller series. Cassandra (lead protagonist) is a hero to the victim and a merciless angel of death to evil doers. She is a killer of killers, striking fear into the hearts of those who get their kicks off hurting others. I guess this is probably my favourite because I feel as though I found my ‘voice’ with this one. Currently at work on the next two books in the series.

What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a online or physical bookseller’s shelf?
To tell you the truth I went through a slump. There were a number of reasons but exhaustion was the main factor I think. The response to the book was slow and then gained momentum nicely then tapered off to a plateau of sorts. I think all writers have high expectations of their work, especially with the first novel, and so an anti-climax is inevitable. Strangely enough I think that my initial reaction was because I was saddened that my relationship had ended with my book! Sounds weird I know, but letting it go was sort of like losing an old pal – albeit, a rather frightening one. I was more excited when I saw a copy of my book at the local library; I made sure that every time I went for a visit, I put it in a position of prominence. A real kick.


Thank you William! We appreciate you taking the time to chat with Crime Watch. 

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