D.A. Williams' debut novel, December's Child, releases tomorrow (November 22), and we had a chance to sit down and talk to her about her, her book, and her writing habits. So grab a cup of coffee, relax, and get to know our latest author a little better. (And you can pre-order a digital edition of December's Child now for a special price. Just head here: http://www.thecrossoveralliance.com/decembers-child)
What is your book about?
It's a story about a young woman named Jett, who has spent her entire life as a commodity to be used and sold by the government, both as a laborer in the December Mines and as a sex object. It follows her as she becomes the bearer of a seemingly small secret, only to be thrust into this fight for survival, and is a tale as much about how far society is willing to go to feel safe as it is about the path of a new believer in God.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
One day I was watching the news, just after one of the unfortunate many mass shootings that have taken place, and they were discussing gun rights and whether or not Americans should have the right to bear arms stripped to make America safer. I thought “at what point does freedom outweigh safety?” That's what really got my mind churning over it, and this novel was what came out.
How did Alice in Wonderland serve as a common theme throughout the story?
To me, it's a perfect simile for the way the world becomes in December’s Child—a little bit ‘down the rabbit hole’ and a great example of the corruption of innocence, and it's a story everyone is familiar with. I think readers will begin the novel thinking the future I present is far fetched, but as it progresses there may well be a moment when they realize a lot of those same things that make it seem so are actually happening in the world right now. We're just privileged enough to be able to not see it. It's very Alice, and it seemed appropriate to use it throughout.
How do you think your book pushes the boundaries of what is usually allowed in Christian fiction?
It deals with issues that are typically deemed inappropriate for the Christian market. The graphic exploitation of children, extreme violence, cannibalism…there's a laundry list of things that go on in this book that just about every Christian publisher looked at and immediately said “this is too much for Christian readers.” Which is a shame, because not all Christian readers want to be pigeon holed into Amish romance or stories about fixing marital issues, me being one of them. There's a lot of darkness in the world, and to not write about it and present it to Christian readers, to me, feels likewe don't think Christians can handle it or that it's too big an issue. But I personally feel that the darker the subject, the greater glory God can be given.
Were you nervous about including prostitution (adult and child) in your story?
It's a dark, brutal, gut wrenching issue and including it did give me a little pause because it's a tough issue to tackle. I know a lot of people that know me will read this and think “what in the world?”But having been a victim of sexual abuse at a very young age myself, it's an issue I was not willing to exclude. A lot of people don't realize how much this impacts the world and how many children and adults deal with the life long effects of having been in a situation like that. Is it going to make readers uncomfortable? Absolutely. It should.
What made you want to become an author?
Reading made me want to be an author. I've always written, but in Elementary school I checked out a Stephen King anthology and devoured that thing, and when I finished it I knew I wanted to write something that made someone else feel the way I felt. I wanted to give someone that can't-put-it-down feeling.
What are your typical writing habits?
I always write my notes, outlines and first drafts long hand in a spiral bound notebook with a fine point Zebra brand pen. I can't write without that pen. A lot of my notes are just half phrases or bits and pieces of dialog. Sometimes just a word I really like and want to use, sometimes a thought, all jumbled on the page haphazardly so if someone came along and looked at it, it probably wouldn't make a lick of sense. I sort of Frankenstein the first draft together with all of that.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Just write. It's going to be awful, and that's okay, because the magic happens when you edit. I promise. Writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s a battle, and if it doesn't hurt a little, you're doing it wrong. Let it hurt. Let it make you cry. Let it scare you. There's a strange beauty in that.
What are some other books you have written/published?
I've written several novels that have not yet been published due to the personal nature of them. Even though they're fiction, the place they were written from is still a bit too raw to let them go just yet. December’s Child is the first novel that I've had the pleasure of having published.
What are some projects you have coming up the future?
I'm working on a new novel I'm calling “The God Wager” which is a dark Bruce Almighty that follows an addict that is given the opportunity to be God for a day. I’ve also thought about writing a sequel to December’s Child but we will see what the readers want after they read it!