Interview with Conrad Williams

One by Conrad WilliamsIt was my distinct pleasure to meet and hang out with Conrad Williams at the World Horror Convention in Winnipeg. I was also lucky enough to be one of the first people to claim a copy of his newest novel, One.  As it turns out he sold out and had to take mail orders, but I snagged one before that happened. It gave me something to read on the plane back to Edmonton, and I devoured it. You can check out my review on my personal blog.

Once I finished the book I shot Conrad an email that sort of said “Hey, can I interview you for Niteblade? Please, pretty please?”

He said yes.

Enjoy 🙂

Your work, at least what I’ve read of it, tends to deal a lot with delusions and insanity. Is that something you’ve always been interested in?

I think horror fiction certainly lends itself to these subjects. Insanity certainly hovers at the margins of my latest novel, ONE. It can’t be avoided. End of the world, uncertainty, fear. Insanity can’t be far away. I like to explore the limits of endurance that people suffer before they crack. I think we’re a pretty hardy breed and can deal with most things that nature throws at us, but that borderline where enough is enough, it’s an interesting place to tread, creatively.

When I finish one of your stories, I am compelled to go back and re-read it again. Not because I don’t understand it, but because I feel like there are layers upon layers and that it will take several reads to really excavate them all. Do you know if other people feel that way, or am I over-thinking things a bit?

Readers who are also writers go back over stories they’ve enjoyed or found interesting because they’re fascinated by the craft. They want to see the nuts and bolts, how it’s been done. And also what they might have missed. There may be different levels, there might even be levels that the author wasn’t thinking of when he/she wrote it but the reader interprets for him/herself.

Are the myriad of layers a conscious decision or simply something that comes from your personal writing style and choice of subject matter?

You want the story to be as rich and meaningful as possible, without miring it in too much ambiguity or signposting it to death. I think it’s sometimes best to simply write the story you want to write and hope that any deeper meaning comes about serendipitously.

Conrad WilliamsWhat writers or books do you think have influenced you the most?

Early Stephen King (The Shining means a lot to me). Peter Straub. Ramsey Campbell. Derek Raymond’s Factory novels. Treasure Island. Graham Greene. Ray Bradbury. Patrick McGrath. Christopher Priest. M John Harrison. JG Ballard… Too many to mention, really.

Who is the favorite character you’ve ever created. Why?

I quite like MacCreadle, who appeared in the first story I sold to an anthology. He played a major role in my first novel, Head Injuries, and has had a cameo in each of the novels I’ve written since. He’s a mixture of school bully, nightmare legend and tragic failure.

Looking back on your writing career thus far, what are you the most proud of?

I’m honoured to have won a couple of awards. The International Horror Guild Award was special because Stephen King, one of my heroes, was on the shortlist too. Having that thing on my desk is a great confidence booster.

What do you still hope to accomplish?

I want to write lots more novels and stories. I want to be writing into my 70s, like Ray Bradbury and JG Ballard.

Have you any words of advice for aspiring writers?

Never stop. Listen to what is in you. Don’t take no for an answer.

Many writers find writing to be a very solitary and isolating occupation. Do you agree? If so, what do you do in order to counter that?

It’s necessarily solitary. I listen to music while I write. And I make sure I get outside for some fresh air, especially if it isn’t going well.

What is next for you?

Decay Inevitable is published by Solaris in the summer. It’s a story about what goes on at the threshold between life and death. And I’m working on a new novel concerning a pilot and a nurse. That’s all I’m saying!

Thank you so much for the interview Conrad 🙂  If anyone is interested in learning more about Conrad and his work you should check out his website by clicking the banner below.

Conrad Williams

4 Responses to “Interview with Conrad Williams”

  • Kari Wolfe says:

    Oh Rhonda! You MET this guy??

    I’m in the middle of reading “The Unblemished” and let me tell you – he’s FABULOUS! His stories just flow and they scare me to the point that if I’m reading and I hear a noise, I’m on edge and burrow deeper into my pillows and blankets.

    I think I’ve found a new favorite author 🙂

  • Scrubs says:

    Good stuff, I “Stumbled” you. My DIGG account got messed up but I like Stumbling better anyway.

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