Today I am hanging out with Bill Jones Jr. I have met many wonderful people as I have begun blogging, and I have to admit that Bill is one of my favorites. He’s blog post range from funny to profound- and frequently both at once.
Bill Jones, Jr. assumed from an early age that he would be a photographer when he grew up. From age 12, he could be found bicycling around the streets of downtown Hampton, Virginia, camera in hand. Already an avid Science Fiction and Fantasy buff, at age ten, he was exposed to the poetry of Nikki Giovanni and the fiction of Jack London and Madeleine L’Engle. The writing bug was born.
For a time, he satisfied his “starving artist” yearnings by publishing poems in various literary journals. In 2007, he wrote a short story, which would later become the first two chapters of The Stream. In 2009, he began work on the book in earnest, completing his first novel, The Stream: Discovery, and its sequel, The Stream: Awakening, writing the books back-to-back in four months.
Bill is currently preparing for the 2012 release of The Stream: Awakening, and is working on a number of other projects, including Emprise, Book 3 of The Stream. When not at his day job as a Market Research Analyst, Bill can be found writing, at the gym, or wandering the streets of Washington, D.C., Nikons in tow.
There are zombies out there; he can feel it. It’s just a matter of time before he gets that Pulitzer Prize winning photo of one.
1-How old were you when you fell in love with reading? Can you remember what book/ books it was that inspired you?
I fell in love with reading before I could read. Seriously. We lived in my grandfather’s house, and he had this huge bookcase at the top of the stairs. At four, I couldn’t wait to figure out what those books said. I even taught myself to read because no one else would do it. What clinched the love affair for me, however, was Dr. Doolittle. I’m pretty sure I read every single one of those books, usually one after the other, like a chain-reader. Good thing they don’t cause cancer.
2-What is a book your friends would be surprised to know you’ve read?
Probably Little Women, of all things. In middle school, we had a reading assignment, and I couldn’t come up with any books I wanted to read. Partly as punishment, I think, the teacher assigned me Little Women. To her great surprise, and my astonishment, I liked it. I don’t think anyone but she and I ever knew I read it.
I’m adding Little woman to my to-be-read list.
3-Everyone seems to complain when their favorite book is made into a movie or mini-series. What is your favorite movie based on a book?
Most of the time, I’m disappointed in movie adaptations. There are some exceptions, however. At the moment, my fave is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (either the American or Swedish version). I think that’s because the movies follow the story so closely. I just wish they could have found a 4’11” actress to play the lead in the American version. I would have paid extra to see someone so little kicking butt.
I watched the Swedish version, without knowing what it was about. Wow- very intense movie.
4-When the zombie apocalypse comes what is going to be your weapon of choice?
Oh, I will be a multi-weapon guy. I figure I’ll need a shotgun for those quick group shots, a reliable automatic like an AK-47 or an AR-15, plus a machete. This is assumes, of course, I can’t get my hands on any nukes or drones. When the apocalypse hits, I plan on kicking serious butt. That’s why I work out. Carrying all those armaments and ammo can tire you out if you’re not prepared. The zombies won’t even know I’m coming. I’m totally masking my body’s smells with rotting meat, and dressing like a zombie. Then, when they aren’t looking, BAM!!
Dibs for being on your team!
5-Did your high school English teachers hate you or love you?
My English teachers loved me. It was all the other teachers who hated me. I used to go hang out with my English teacher or the school nurse while I was skipping Physics. I actually received a high school academic award in English. It was a Lion’s Club Award for “Excellence in English.” It astounded me at the time, as I had long considered English to be my worst subject. However, I come from a long line of teachers – immediately post-slavery, to be exact. As a result, I was raised to be a grammar Nazi nerd. In the 12th grade, there was a new English teacher, fresh out of college. She was sweet, but knew NOTHING about grammar. Guess what subject they gave her to teach? So, unbeknownst to the other students, I would help her with grammar, and she would teach the class. I suspect she must have told the other English teachers. I know no other reason why they would have chosen me.
Grammar is my weakest point as an author. Thank goodness for editors.
6-What mad ass survival skill do you have?
In an apocalypse, I’m the guy you want to be driving the oversized SUV. I drive exactly like a Manhattan cab driver – not the stupid yellow cabbies, but the Gypsy cabbies. I’m not as nice, however.
If not that, it would be that my super-secret-only-my-best-friends-know skill is that I can read people – especially sociopaths – almost immediately. I’m the guy who’d pick out the serial killer, then run, while you were busy flirting with him. Unless I like you, then I’d warn you first.
I have pretty good instincts/ ability to read people, but I hope you’ll let me know if I’m talking to a psycho.
7-If your book was turned into a movie who would play your main characters?
If The Stream were a movie series today, Jaden Smith (Will’s son) would play Charlie, Lourdes Leon (Madonna’s daughter) would play Robin, and Morgan Freeman would play G’pa Joe. Alas, it is not to be. Perhaps one day, a trio of newcomers will play those roles. Now, if Roxx is made into a movie, I want to do the auditions myself. Calling all super-tall supermodels. Heh.
I too have dreams of casting for my movie- I have a lot of circus people- yum.
8-Give us a super secret peek into what you’re working on next?
Wow. I have ADD, so I’m actually working on three things. (Remember, I’m the guy with 5 blogs). First, I am editing the 3rd book of my series, The Stream. It’s called Emprise, and I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m also editing a post-apocalypse Sci-Fi adventure, Hard as Roxx. I love Roxx. Imagine if Clint Eastwood’s “Man with no Name” character had a baby with Gisele Bundchen, and that baby grew up studying Jeet Kune Do (a la Bruce Lee) her entire life. Yeah, she’s like that, and 6’3”. Now, imagine if she lived in a world where only one child was legal, or even possible, and the penalty for violating that law was death. Yeah, you can guess what comes next. 🙂 Mama times two. Roxx does not like bad laws.
However … you said super secret … so, I should talk about the new book. So far, I just have the main characters and the title. I know the basics, but haven’t come up with the big “What If” yet. It’s called D ‘ark, after the title character, Jeanne Dark. Dark is a thriller about a woman who was hit by a vehicle on her sixteenth birthday. She suffered massive brain damage that sent her into a coma. It resulted in her brain’s central mapping having been disrupted, and then, re-mapped in a way heretofore unseen. She can read people. It isn’t psychic ability, exactly. She’s not reading their minds. Rather, she can see them for whom they really are. In effect, her brain’s reads visuals, her subconscious, and intuition as if they were one thing. People’s words are colors; their thoughts are light, and their true essence is as real to her as hair color is to you or I. Except that no one but her sister knows. All people see is the slightly damaged security consultant who can never remove her sunglasses.
Or something like that. 🙂
I can’t wait until you start posting snippets of it on your blog.
9-What style of book do you secretly long to write, but are afraid to try and do?
I want to write Space Opera, which I would merge with a romance. That. Would. Rock. However, I’m still not ready. I’m just about to start reading Iain Banes’ Surface Detail to get in that Space Opera frame of mind. Or just in the mood for popcorn.
I don’t think I could write a Space Opera, but I would read yours.
10-As an author, tell us three things that will mean success to you in your writing career.
I can interpret this question a number of ways. Either you are asking what achievement will represent success, or what factors I think will lead to my eventually becoming successful. In answering, I guess I’d combine the two.
First, my definition of writing success is that my books become popular, widely read, and people look forward to the next work. Wildly successful, in that vein, means I can retire from my day job, because there is sufficient demand for my books.
However, even if that’s true, if books are selling wildly, and people are buying, I won’t feel like a success unless I am satisfied that I’ve become at least a very good writer. There is a technical side to the craft and an artistic side. Good writing requires mastering both. I would want my books to sell because the consensus is that I am good at crafting a story, I have a unique viewpoint, and people care what happens in my books. If the books sell, but these things are not true, I’d still be disappointed.
Finally, in order to have a story that someone cares about, I think it comes down to characters. Sure, there are plenty of readers who are more concerned with other things, but as a reader, I’ve always been character-driven. Therefore, success for me means I have developed memorable characters, they are based in genuine human behavior, you, as a reader, can feel what they feel, see what they see, and weep when they hurt. And, when their story has ended, I would want you to feel a loss at their absence.
That longing, once the book is done, and the story told, that is the stuff of which dreams are made. That, to me, is success.
Bill thank you so much for taking the time to join me today! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better.
Charlie Patterson is an exceptionally bright young man, with no close friends. When his great-grandfather becomes trapped within the world of dreams, the Stream, Charlie and his friends set off to save him. There they will encounter fur-covered dragons, deserts of colored glass, distorted history, and strange beings galore. However, there is a growing darkness in the Stream, and it wants both Charlie and his great-grandfather.
Charlie’s entire summer has been filled with increasingly disturbing dreams. Most feature a strange, dark-haired girl, who watches, but does not speak. Her name is Robin LeBeaux, a girl from New Mexico with a tragic past, and she is quite real. Despite Charlie’s insistent logic, and Robin’s enthusiastic illogic, they become fast friends. Together, guided by Robin’s deceased sister, they discover a singular talent – the ability to walk into and influence others’ dreams.
The Stream: Awakening – The Early Reviews
In the second installment of The Stream, Charlie and his friends return to escort us back to their fantastical world. It is impossible to not be irresistibly lured in by Bill Jones’ inventive characters and page-turning pace, as skillfully crafted in The Awakening as it was in The Discovery. Once again, Charlie is the ideal humble hero, each character’s individuality comes through in clever, zany dialogue, and our imaginations are enchanted through clear and vivid scene descriptions. Fans anxiously awaiting this sequel won’t be disappointed.