This blog is for all writers, published or not, that want to connect with other writers and who want to improve their craft.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Author Interview with William Belanger

1. Why do you write?
It’s relaxing and it makes the time go by. It has always been easy for me if it is a subject I am interested in. Sometimes I can knock out a 12 page final paper in under an hour if the class is interesting. I guess I was inspired to start creatively writing again because I am just about finished with my MA in teaching and have gotten so used to writing papers and having deadlines. It seemed like a natural progression to actually write about something I liked.

2. How many books have you written?
One and a half. The current book that is available, Ice Cats, is my first. I am already 205 pages into Ice Cats 2. I have also tried and failed at writing two other books. My wife said she had the hand written manuscript for one of them, it might be interesting to dig that out and start typing but it is probably horrible. It was hand written while I was in the Navy on a 6 month deployment out in the middle of the ocean.

3. What inspired you to write your (latest) book?
I love hockey and I love women. I don’t mean that in a sexist way but I have always admired women and girls who don’t “play by the rules”. The type that strives on being told they can’t do something. Being married to one doesn’t hurt either. Or maybe it doesn’t help, I’m not quite sure.
Either way, between my love for hockey and women I discovered that many of the guys on our minor league team were roughly the same size as some of the national team women from Canada and the US. I then got the wild hair to write about a hockey team of women that play against men and Ice Cats was born.

4. What is your favorite genre to read?
I honestly don’t read much. I think that might change now but with school you are forced to read so many textbooks that the “art” of reading kind of died for me.
When I was reading I preferred war books.

5. Is your writing style at all influenced by those of your favorite authors?
I would say no because I don’t currently have any favorites but I have learned that we are all products of our environment and biases so if I liked something along the way then I probably picked up traits from it whether I wanted to or not.

6. Which is your favorite book that you’ve written?
The first one will always be your baby right? Ice Cats is special to me because I decided I was going to write it and I did. I wrote 52,000 words in about 2 weeks, that’s how committed to the project I was.
Ice Cats 2 is already 53,000 words long and probably has another 10-20k to go but I am cranking out 3-4k words a day on it so I expect to be finished soon. But who knows, I can only write when I want to and if I go into a lull it could last quite a while. I haven’t written over the holidays so I am antsy to get going and make some progress.

7. What is your opinion of the art of writing?
Writing is so huge and wide open. Anyone can have their voice and I highly encourage everyone to try it. We may not all be great writers but we all have a great story. Most of us will put up with lesser writing skills for a good story. I’m not sure which I have; I suppose I will leave that for the critics and hopefully the fans.

8. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning their own novel?
Have a plan. You may be able to “wing it” for 10, 20 or even 100 pages but there will be a moment when you realize you “painted yourself into a corner” that you may not be able to undo. With Ice Cats I created a quick rundown of how each chapter would work, maybe only a sentence or two. I left the middle open I just wanted to know how each chapter would start and finish and let my mind fill in the blanks on the fly.
With Ice Cats 2 I had to create an entire fictional hockey league, its players, and stats for them over a fictional season. I had to make sure dates would work. I now have a pretty thick folder with all the information. There are probably still holes that I missed but you (hopefully) won’t see players jumping from team to team or good goalies becoming the worst in the league because I forgot who was who.
Lastly, don’t rush it. Writing should be natural, not forced. Would you get the same results if you held a gun to Picasso’s head and made him paint?

9. Do you have any funny and / or interesting stories about how you’ve come up with plots or characters?
I don’t generally go crazy with character development. I like to give you a couple bits of information and let the reader decide how they feel about that person. I have always been the one who tries to fall in love with the bad guy but most stories are written so you despise them because you are told you do.
My plot is pretty fluid as well. Like I said I write the basic outline and stuff it full of information from there. Sometimes my plans change mid chapter and I will re-write the subsequent outlines to cover it. Other times I realize I fell in love with a character who was supposed to be cut. This happened in Ice Cats and there were about half a dozen players that I desperately wanted to keep around after training camp but had to make the cut. I literally felt like the coach must feel as I wrote the words.

10. Coke or Pepsi?
I live in Atlanta, home of Coke. They have black helicopters that will take you away in the night if you say the P-word.

A little about me: 
I am 35 years old, married, father of 1, step father of 1. I work for a steel company doing database and maintenance administration. I was in the Navy for almost 9 years as a nuclear mechanic where I got to see a good bit of the world from the Mediterranean. I have a BA in Organizational Management and on the 16th of January I will have an MA in learning with technology.

I like to write, paint, draw, listen to music, create music, watch movies, play disc golf, watch hockey and I collect game worn hockey jerseys. I run women’s disc golf tournaments to help promote the sport for them and have run several clinics in Atlanta and South Carolina to try to get more women to play.

My book, Ice Cats, is available on Amazon as a Kindle download and will shortly be available on paperback. I plan on donating a portion of my sales proceeds to women’s hockey teams to try to help them out as much as possible. I hope that can garner enough sales to actually make a difference to the women of the sport we both love.

A sample is available here.

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