Once again Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Yancey Williams author of Shoot the Messenger, Worlds Apart, Rome and Joliet: A Chapterless Continuum and his most recent novel, The Resurrection of Jesus.
Yancey is a graduate of the University of Colorado and lives in the low country of South Carolina.
Norm: What would you like
to accomplish as an author that you have not?
Yancey: National Book Award 2020. Pulitzer Prize. Nobel Prize for Literature & Best Screenplay Oscar. I like to think big. Big imagination.
Norm: What inspires you?
Yancey: People like Bill Devereaux to whom the book is dedicated. Billy was Blackfoot. From Browning, Montana. Polio in his right leg, yet he is in the Indian Rodeo Hall of Fame, Montana Athletic Hall of Fame, Professional Rodeo Cowboy cardholder almost at the association’s inception. Horseman supreme, poetry in motion with a rope in his hand and on the back of a horse. Did it all! Broncs, bulls, tiedown, team roping in all the rodeo events.
And, yes, I said polio in his right leg. He isn’t in the disabled rodeo hall of fame, he’s in the Rodeo Hall of Fame competing against the best of the best with everyone else’s everything (limbs) working.
Another one: My three-year-old granddaughter really inspires me, too. She’s a hoot. Came here with a sense of humor and a keen wit. I hope that one day my memory will somehow inspire her.
Norm: What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?
Yancey: Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon, my website, a few other internet spots.
And, no I do not allow it to detract from my writing time. I am a one band, tuba to tambourine.
Norm: Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Yancey: To name a few … Walker Percy, Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, & John Updike. Oh, yeah, John Steinbeck. I do not attempt to write like any of them. Futile. A waste of time. Plus, it’s already been done. They did it in their way. Good for them & go team. Almost forgot; don’t want to leave out Bram Stoker!
Norm: What advice can you give aspiring writers that you wished you had received, or that you wished you would have listened to?
Yancey: None. Figure it out yourself. There are numerous very, very successful writers that I detest, can’t understand their success, don’t get it, will never get it. So, who am I to say what works and doesn’t work? In my jaded, yet incredibly humble opinion, “crap” often rules. So, give it whirl. Write. You may be the next _______ … Not going there.
Norm: With your experience as an author, is it difficult for you to read a novel just for the pleasure of being the reader?
Norm: How did you become involved with the subject or theme of The Resurrection of Jesus?
Yancey: I knew from the get-go the novel would be about the art theft at the Isabella Gardner Museum thirty years ago. It took four years to write the book. Probably three hundred and fifty pages or more were culled during the process reducing the page count to 172.
The remaining chapters were rewritten dozens and dozens of times. I knew one of the characters would be Jesus. A Mexican bandito. A fugitive and a bad man (hombre). I knew, too, that there would be a religious theme throughout, a play on the character/bandito Jesus, and the artwork stolen from the Gardner Museum as well as elsewhere. It developed from there.
I stumbled on the main character Hiram Johnny Walker Quicksilver. He is a bit of Blackfeet ranch hands and rodeo riders that I knew working on the reservation back in the 1970s. No, not as a frigging missionary … as a cowboy and ranch hand. Wrote the 2nd chapter of the book (Hiram’s intro) in one sitting. It was off to the races from there. The Resurrection theme picked up steam as I went along. Loved it (me personally). Still, love it.
Norm: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? As a follow up, what do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
Yancey: My goals and intentions were to write this book just as it is! I did it. Without sounding pompous or pretentious or self-important or arrogant and with all the humility I can muster, I believe I nailed it.
As for the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish the book, I hope they say, “Damn, the dude can write. What a great book! And funny as hell, to boot.”
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
Yancey: Everything. It was bear. In hibernation. But, with club in hand, I woke the big boy up and drug him out of the cave. And, here it is. Hooray me.
Norm: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Yancey: Rereading what I had written that day or the day before, then going back into the story line the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year to drop in phrases, change a word or two here and there, maybe adding a paragraph or two or three, adding the Spanish to complement the characterization, the Siksiká (Blackfoot native language) for the same reason, and tweaking characters until they were what I knew I wanted them to be and what I wanted them to say and portray.
Yancey: My twisted imagination. Maybe a blessing, maybe a curse. Don’t know. And, don’t know of another way to describe creating the characters. As previously stated, Hiram in some ways was a blend of Blackfeet ranch hands and rodeo cowboys that I met in and around Babb & Browning, Montana back in the 1970s.
Norm: What projects are you working on at the present?
Yancey: 2 new books which may become one. Don’t know yet. Too early to say. Don’t want to box myself in (or out).
Titles: Days & Confused and Rattlesnakes, Saloons, and One Covered Wagon.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and The Resurrection of Jesus?
Yancey: MY WEBSITE
For a fee, we can meet in person. Will even learn to Dap.
Norm: As this interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about your books, but nobody has?
Yancey:What’s the discount on 100,000 copies of The Resurrection of Jesus? Or, can I just pay retail?