Friday, October 23, 2009

Jill Williamson ~ Interview + Giveaway!

Today I'm welcoming author Jill Williamson to my blog! She has graciously offered a copy of her book By Darkness Hid to one lucky commenter! Read the post to hear more. =)

Hey, Jill! Thanks for stopping by.
Tell us a little about yourself.
 I was raised in Alaska. I went to college in Idaho and met my husband, Brad, who wanted to make movies. Since I’d always wanted to be a fashion designer, I had one more year of school to complete. I made a deal with Brad: if we went to Manhattan for one year—so I could attend the Fashion Institute of Technology—we would move to Los Angeles afterwards. We did just that. We lived in Los Angeles for nine years. About halfway though that time we both discovered that God was calling us to different things. Brad went back to school and became a youth pastor. I began to write novels for teenagers.

C- That is so cool that you felt God's calling, and were willing to give up what you wanted, for what He wanted. Way to go!

How long have you been writing? How many books do you have published?
I started writing in 2004. I worked on my first novel for about three years. In 2007 I went to Mount Hermon and had the opportunity to send in my full to two agents. Neither one worked out, but I knew I was getting closer. I wrote a few other books. In 2008 I attended the Oregon Christian Writer’s conference and gave the first chapter of a different story to editor Jeff Gerke. I knew his company wasn’t looking for teen novels, but he had edited my first book and I wanted to get his take. He loved my first chapter and asked for the full, then wanted to publish it. By Darkness Hid came out in April 2009. Book two comes out in April 2010.

If you compared your writing style to any other Christian Fiction author, who would it be? Also, is your writing sweet, warm, etc.,?
I suppose it would be a cross between Stephen Lawhead and Ted Dekker. (I’m not sure what sweet, warm means. As to romance?) My books are sweet, but a medieval land is a dangerous place to live and I don’t shy away from depicting an honest storyworld. Therefore there is a little bit of violence in my stories (swordfighting, kidnapping, and war) and not all people are treated with the respect they deserve (slaves and women). So maybe that’s warm… ?

In your own words tell us a little about By Darkness Hid.
I originally wrote By Darkness Hid for the young adult market—my characters are fifteen and seventeen—but I sold it as an adult novel. It’s a medieval fantasy novel about a slave boy who gets the opportunity to change his station in life and train to be a Kingsguard knight. You don’t have to be a fantasy fan to enjoy this book. It’s fast-paced and suspenseful and even has a bit of romance. It is book one in the Blood of Kings series.

Here is the book's blurb:
Achan has been a slave all his life. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities—and a different kind of voice is calling them both.

You can read a sample chapter and comments from readers on Jill's website.

My review, click HERE.

What made you want to write this story?
I had a really weird dream. Have you ever waked up from a bizarre dream and thought, “Wow! That would make a great story?” This happened to me once in the middle of the night. So I wrote down the dream and went back to sleep. When morning came, my notes made very little sense. It was a science fiction premise, but there was one aspect to it that I couldn’t stop thinking about. Over time I brainstormed. The premise switched from science fiction to medieval fantasy. I started researching that time period. The more I learned, I couldn’t wait to get started. The final story turned out nothing like that dream.

What research did you have to do for this book?
I read several books on medieval history. I talked with people who had studied medicine in the dark ages to help with Vrell’s character, since she is learning healing. I also read a book on medieval swordsmanship that I found fascinating. It really made my swordplay scenes more believable.

Who would you pick to play the lead roles if this book was made into a movie?
Steven Strait would be the perfect Achan if he looked just like he did as Warren Peace in Sky High.

Amanda Bynes did a great job playing a boy in She’s the Man. I think she’d be an awesome Vrell.

What are you working on now or going to write next?
To Darkness Fled is the second book in the Blood of Kings series. It comes out April 2010.

How can readers get in contact with you?
You can email me through my website ( or find me on Facebook.

What are you currently reading?
Gatekeepers by Robert Liparulo. It’s book three in the DreamHouse Kings series, which is about a family that moves into a house that’s alive. Creepy fun.

Tell us something surprising about yourself that readers may not know.
I speak a little bit of Japanese and went to Okinawa Japan for a month back in high school. It was awesome fun. The best part was that me and my BFF had our own code language because no one else in our high school had taken Japanese.

C- That is so cool! I'm learning American Sign Language right now, so I have a "code language" with my friends too. =)

If you could be any animal, which would you choose? Why?
A magpie. Once I get talking…

TV show, and/or movie?
I like Psych and Chuck. Overall movie: Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Chick Flick: Anne of Green Gables.
Place to go on vacation?
Disneyland—not world. The original is always the best.
Book this year/month? Why?
I loved Thirsty by Tracey Bateman. It’s a combination women’s fiction and Brandilyn Collins-like suspense with a vampire subplot.

Nina’s story—her life—was so real it gripped me entirely. I was overcome with intense emotions after finishing this book. Maybe that’s because it was two am… I started it at nine and had to stay up until I finished. Always a good sign of a powerful story.


Okay readers, here is your chance to win an autographed copy of "By Darkness Hid". To enter: Leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win), and please specify that you want to be included in the contest. *If you want an extra entry, become one of my followers.* The comment is mandatory. You will not be entered unless you leave a comment. If you are already a follower, and then you leave a comment, you will still get two entries in the contest. The winner is always randomly chosen. The contest will run from today (Oct. 23) till midnight on Thursday (Oct. 29). I will contact the winner on Friday the 30th, and then that person will have a week to reply. If the winner doesn't reply within that time period, I will pick a new winner. Good luck! Thanks for visiting!


Richard said...

Great interview! I would like to be included in the contest! Thanks! God bless!!

Btw, I like your blog as well!


Jared said...

Loved the interview. Jill's a great person; she's helped me out with a few story ideas of my own! Go Jill!

Fingers crossed for winning the contest! ;)

Andrea Graham said...

Yeah, Jill's awesome :)

Dan Wiese said...

Great interview! I am privileged to know a real author. She is great! You can add my name to the contest too. Thanks! God bless!

Nathan R. Petrie said...

I've heard SOOO much about Jill and her novel. A certain Yodeling Dwarf credits it as the most original fantasy he's ever read. I've been dying to read it for a while and just haven't found the cash.

I'm with Jared in crossing my fingers.
::crosses toes for safe measure::

Count me in!

Anonymous said...

It's been great following your success, Jill. We all sure miss you her in Burbank, CA. I would love to win a copy of your book, so count me in for the contest.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy learning a little more about Jill. We didn't seem to have that much time back in college. I'm looking forward to reading the book as I have 3 young boys that will someday be teenagers, God willing.:-)

E.A. West said...

Wonderful interview! It's always fun to learn more about an author and what went into writing the book. Jill, I look forward to learning more about To Darkness Fled as the release date draws closer!

I'd love to be entered in the contest.

amattiee said...

jill's book is awesome!

please enter me in the drawing!

Amiee Ingebrigtsen

growinggrays said...

Great interview Jill! I want to enter the contest. Thnks for some other good book ideas!! Hugs to you!

Josiah said...

HI, I, too, have heard so much about your book. I would also like to be in the contest.


Kevin said...

Pick me! pick me! I really want to read the rest of the book.

Scott Edelman said...

Congratulations Jill on your first published book. I have to confess that with a 2-month old in the house, my reading time has been limited - but I am half-way through and am very impressed with your work . . . hard to believe I actually know someone who could write like this! Please enter me in the contest as it would be awesome to have a signed book.

Jill Williamson said...

Thanks for all the kudos, guys! I wish you all could win...and for those of you who've read it, I'm so glad you like it! Book two is coming!

Nathan R. Petrie said...

Oh! I'm a follower now too (didn't know if I needed to post that ::laughs)

Carman said...

Nathan~ Since I have 40 followers right now, it really helps when you let me know you are one. That way I don't have to go searching to see if an extra entry is required in the drawing. :D Thanks!

Heidi V said...

Good interview thank you!

This would be an interesting read.

heidivargas [at] live dot com

R@CH3!!3 said...

Hello, I have loved reading this Jill Williamson is a fantastic author. I would love to be entered to win and I am a follower too (:


Brittany-wa said...

Hi I would like to enter and I am a follower too!