We are excited to introduce D.A. Williams, the latest author to join The Crossover Alliance. D.A. also brings with her a phenomenal novel in December's Child - a Christian spec fic novel with a compelling heroine and a fantastic backdrop of dystopic society bent on self-preservation.
When I read through the manuscript for December's Child, I was blown away by Williams' writing skill. Her characters are beautifully tragic, her words are poetic, and her worlds are a combination of sin-ravaged lands seeping with violence and bloodshed and Eden-like forests full of innocence and natural wonder. After the first few chapters, I realized D.A. was a diamond in the desert - I was legitimately surprised she had not been picked up by another publisher yet, and I knew we needed to bring her on board with The Crossover Alliance not just because of how awesome December's Child is, but also because D.A. is a talented author everyone needs to keep an eye on.
December's Child will be published later this year, but in the meantime, we wanted you to get to know D.A. better. We sat down and did an interview with her to discuss December's Child, D.A.'s writing habits, and her future projects.
First, a quick glimpse at who D.A. Williams is:
D.A. Williams is a farmer’s wife and mother above all else. She currently lives in the Texas Panhandle with her husband and two sons, who share their home with two dogs and two cats. It’s a veritable Noah’s Ark. She loves rare steak, homemade sweet tea, and the arts in all forms, with a particular affinity for writing gritty Christian fiction.
What is your book about?
December’s Child is the story of a young woman named Jett, a cog in the machine of one of several child-operated government entities, the December Mining Corporation. When she’s tasked with training the bartered child of a government official, she unintentionally becomes the keeper of a secret of monumental importance that is worth dying—and killing—for. Harboring the secret thrusts her into a fight for her survival. Searching for answers all but ensures her death.
Is this book part of a series, and if so, where does it fit within the series?
December’s Child is a stand-alone novel. I feel good about the closure my readers will get and I think a big part of the novel is for the readers to have enough room at the end to infer the lives of the characters going forward from that.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
Oddly enough, it came from the news. It was immediately after the first in the rash of national mass shootings, and people had started the pro- vs. anti-gun debate. One day, as I sat and watched, the thought popped into my head that what it really was, was a debate on whether or not it was appropriate to sacrifice rights for the feeling of safety, and how far as a country we would go down that rabbit hole. The book is taking that idea to an extreme, and infusing it with circumstances that hold significance to me.
How do you think your book pushes the boundaries of what is usually allowed in Christian fiction?
Most Christian fiction brings readers to the edge of an issue and leaves it at that. Rarely have a read a Christian novel that really got their hands dirty with the specifics of messy issues and dissected them, and I think that’s really a shame and a disservice to readers. I wanted December’s Child to lay those things bare. Things like rape, torture, the use of human beings as commodities—all of which are present in the world now but not often discussed—are put on the table in a very detailed way, and out of the bleakness of those circumstances, a story that points to God’s sovereignty emerges. I think it’s an incredibly powerful way to show that which traditional Christian publishing hasn’t come around to accepting yet, but I believe that readers will appreciate it.
What made you want to become an author?
I have always been a voracious reader with an insatiable hunger for more. I remember being about 8 years old when I checked out a Richard Bachman short story collection from the library, and getting that look from the librarian. I devoured that thing, I couldn’t read it fast enough. That was the beginning of my love for King and I knew, reading that book, that I wanted to be an author. I wanted to paint worlds with words so vivid that someone out there would get that chill or that sadness or that heart swell from my words in the same way I could feel all those things from his.
What are your typical writing habits?
I write my outlines and my first drafts longhand in a spiral bound notebook with a fine point Zebra brand pen. A lot of times it comes to me in fragments—I have whole pages that just have random scribbled words I find particularly pleasing to the ear or interesting I want to fit in somewhere, or bits of sentences I like that I’ll develop later. Then I’ll piece it all together until it’s coherent and run with it.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t worry about your first draft being great, worry about it being written. So many people forget that to be a writer, you have to write until it’s done, because your readers can’t, in fact, read minds. Your second draft won’t be great either, and there’s no shame in that, because 90% of what makes it great comes from many, many rounds of editing, often done in between bouts of reading someone else’s great work. Let yourself be inspired and write something that has meaning to you. Let your own work make you cry, and make you mad, and make you smile. Let it surprise you. If you can do all that, you’re on to something.
What are some other books you have written/published?
December’s Child is my first published novel, but the third I’ve written. The first, The Lost Lamb, deals with fear and depression incarnated, and the second, Deliver Me, was my way of rewriting parts of my life to find closure and justice. Both are very personal pieces and are still quite raw, emotionally. It’s my intention to release them in the future.
What are some projects you have coming up in the future?
I’m currently working on a new novel that is sort of a dark, gritty spin on “Bruce Almighty” under the working title of “The God Wager”, about an atheist who enters into a deal with the devil to play God for just one day. It’s got some pretty big concepts that I think readers are going to love, and I believe it’s going to get people thinking about God’s love for us in a totally different way.