Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing M. L. Williams.

M. L. Williams is an award-winning ex-journalist. He retired after 39 years of battling deadlines to venture into the world of science fiction. Williams lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He spends his time reading, writing and enjoying his role as Grandpa. He has written two novels: Seers of Verde: The Legend Fulfilled and its sequel, Return of the Earthers.

Click here to visit his official website.

AN INTERVIEW WITH M. L. WILLIAMS

- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?

I grew up on a farm in Iowa (USA). I read a lot as a youngster and was always thrilled at the opportunity to explore my local library. After a 39-year career in journalism, I returned to my first love -- fiction. I am enjoying the freedom to write what I want and love the time to catch up on my reading. My wife and I have three adult children and six grandchildren.

- How did you become a science fiction author? Have you always been interested in speculative fiction?

I've been fascinated with science fiction after reading Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five, Frank Herbert's Dune and some works of Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury and Heinlein. Also the original Star Trek series aired when I was a teenager so the fire was stoked. Hopefully, I honed my abilities as a writer while working as a journalist and always wanted to try my hand at science fiction as well as other fiction genres -- historical and perhaps fantasy.

- What inspired you to write Seers of Verde?

I think my idea got a jump start after reading the Dune prequels and sequels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I liked their writing style and felt I could do something similar. I am not comparing myself to them just that I have tried to emulate their style.

- What kind of a series is Seers of Verde? Could you tell us something about it?

Seers of Verde is my attempt at a space opera.

In book one: Marauders from a renegade planet attack an Earth colony ship forcing landing parties to split into two groups in a desperate attempt to escape. The attackers are killed but the colonists pay a terrible price. Their vessels are destroyed stranding them without their technology on either side of an imposing mountain range on the planet Verde Grande.

Descendants of a mysterious Seer now protect their people but become the bane of the hunter society on the other side of the mountain. For two centuries all attempts to scale the mountain are thwarted by the powerful Seers who want to preserve their religion and way of life no matter the cost.

One day, a party of hunters sets out to climb the mountain. To their dismay, the Seers cannot control a strange unreachable young woman, who finds the passage to their protected valley. The reunion triggers a decades-long conflict between the Seers and the children of the “lost ones”.

Book two deals with the struggle between the descendants of the two groups, which have been separated for centuries. The Seers, protectors of the "civilized" protected group, foster violence against the "lost ones" because the newcomers practice a different religion. The psychic women also fear the influx of people will draw the attention of the space marauders, who have attacked the lost ones ever since the first colonists landed.

- Is there anything that you could tell us about the protagonists in this series?

The main protoganists in the two books are either trying to protect their people from attacks sponsored by the dominant society on the planet or from the space marauders. A new one, introduced in book two, is an "Earther" space fleet captain who is trying to free worlds that have lived under the yoke of the space marauders. Two of my favorites are flawed individuals -- an autistic female artist and a young man who suffered brain damage as a child. Both inspired interesting story arcs.

- What is the target audience of this series?

I think space opera fans will enjoy the books. Anyone who seeks character-driven stories with plenty of action, adventure and political intrigue hopefully will like reading them. I am getting nice reviews from people who have not read much sci-fi but either liked the theme and/or the characters.

- What has been the most challenging part of the writing process? And what has been the most rewarding part?

At first the most challenging part was finding the time and energy to write after working as editor for eight to nine hours a day. When I started the books, I tried to devote three hours to writing in the evening and on weekends. The first draft sat for quite a few years until I retired and finally could put in four to five hours a day into rewriting, editing, proofing and production.

The most rewarding part was seeing the first novel on a book store shelf. It was a great feeling when members of the public bought it and were kind enough to leave reviews.

- Do you have any future plans? Will you continue to write more science fiction novels?

That's an interesting question. Several people already have asked about either a prequel or a book to fill in some missing years in book one. I have not decided on this. Perhaps it may turn out to be a short story. You never know when a good dream will inspire a story.

- Is there anything you'd like to add?

My next two projects will be quite a bit different. The first one will be an anthology of what journalists call columns (essays?) of my life growing up on an Iowa farm. The second one in the planning stages will be a historical piece with some fantasy elements about of my two great-grandfathers during the American Civil War era. I have ideas for several other projects but they may be more in the fantasy genre.

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