Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing A.C. Williams (aka Kimberly McNeil) author of Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal, the first book in the Legend of the Lightkeepers series.
Hi A.C, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself.
- When did you decide to become a writer? And why?
Telling stories always came naturally to me, and when I was eleven years old, I just started writing them down. That being said, it took me until high school before I realized that being a writer was a legitimate career path.
I decided to pursue writing as my full-time career because I love stories. Stories are powerful. They can change hearts and alter perspectives. Stories can communicate hard truth without being cruel or prejudiced or bigoted. Stories can help people heal from trauma and pain and can teach us to look toward the future with hope.
- Which writers inspire you?
I adore Tosca Lee, not just as a writer but also as a person. She has a tremendous gift of infusing everything she writes with deep, powerful meaning without being preachy about it. Plus she’s just a really nice gal. I also love to read books by Marcus Sakey. He has a real talent for peculiar twists of language, using vocabulary in a way that is uncommon and striking.
- Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process makes me sound psychotic. I plan everything. I don’t start writing without a chapter-by-chapter outline. I know when conversations are going to happen. I know what locations I’m going to use. I know every major plot point in the book I’m writing, plus the next five books in the series so that I can tie everything together. But all of that is for nothing if my characters don’t engage. I plan and plot and outline everything, but my characters determine what actually happens next. If they aren’t happen with the scenario I’ve devised, they refuse to do anything. They won’t talk, they won’t move, they won’t do anything. And if they don’t do anything, I can’t write the scene. So I have to figure out what they don’t like about it before I can continue.
See? Psycho. I literally have voices in my brain.
- Do you have any plans for book to screen?
Golly, I wish. No, no plans. If anyone’s interested, though, message me! Because I think the Lightkeepers series would be perfect for the screen.
- What are you working on next?
I am currently about two-thirds of the way done with the second book in the Lightkeepers series, Barb Taylor & The Mountain of Fire. Depending on my publisher’s schedule, it may be releasing around summer next year.
- What draws you to your genre of book writing?
It’s difficult to nail me down to a specific genre. People who read the Lightkeepers series have called it everything from thriller to mystery to romance to science fiction. But the best genre I’ve been able to put it in is urban fantasy. It just has elements of every other genre all swirled around in it as well.
I don’t just love one genre. I love them all. I love literary writing too. I’m a huge Jane Austen nerd, and one of my favorite books of all time is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. And Shakespeare? That man was a genius.
My goal as a writer is to supersede whatever genre I’m writing in. I want to write the absolute best story I can write, regardless if it’s space opera, romantic comedy, or urban fantasy.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t let the doomsayers get to you, and don’t be discouraged when you keep getting rejection letters. Frame those suckers. A rejection letter means that you’re doing your job. You’re submitting your work. You’re getting out into the market. Keep it up until someone starts paying attention. Learn your craft and never be too proud to admit you need help. Just keep writing. Don’t stop. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. You’d be surprised how many people I talk to who call themselves writers who don’t actually do it.
- Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
The closest actress I’ve seen who looks like Meg Mitchell is a gal named Ayla Kell. I think she’s probably too old now to pull off a 16-year-old Meg, but in her younger years, she would have been perfect.
- How long did it take to write?
Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal was the very first book I ever wrote. I finished it when I was eleven years old, over a weekend vacation to visit cousins in Arkansas. I wrote it by hand in a single-subject notebook. Then, I rewrote it once a year for like 20 years. So, yeah, it took a long time.
- Where did you get the idea for your recent book?
Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal started as fan fiction when I was eight or nine years old. I just started building this crazy world in my brain where all my favorite televisions series combined into one massive universe. I mean, it was huge! We’re talking My Little Pony, G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Star Wars, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, and random (awful) anime like Ronin Warriors. Everything sort of meshed together with my voice until it became it’s own unique thing.
- Where can we buy or see your books?
All my titles are available on Amazon, either as Kindle books or in softcover format. You can also order them from Barnes and Noble in softcover.
I should say that I use the pen name Kimberly McNeil to write the Lightkeepers books. My other name is A.C. Williams, and that’s the name I use to write my adult series (The Destiny Trilogy, Finding Fireflies, etc.). I didn’t want the younger ages finding my grown-up series, so that’s why I chose to go with a pen name. Plus, Kimberly McNeil is actually a character in the Meg Mitchell book too. So that’s kind of cool.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to discuss your new release. I look forward to reading it and sharing feedback with the readers. If you like what you’ve read so far, get the book. You can leave your feedback below and always be sure to post your reviews/feedback/thoughts on Amazon.
Connect with the author here:
Website: www.amycwilliams.com | www.kimberlymcneil.com
Blog: www.amycwilliams.com (coming soon) | www.kimberlymcneil.com
Facebook: @free2bfearless | kimberlymcneilwrites
Twitter: @free2bfearless | @kimmcneilwrites
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)