Author Interview (June 2012)
A retired Residential and Commercial Painting Contractor and former pastor, Willis Abshire enjoys writing and time with his family and his best friend and wife Vickie who has been the inspiring motivation to continue when the roads of life became bumpy. They reside in Ragley, a small community about seventeen miles north of Lake Charles, La.
1) How did you develop an interest in writing? When I was younger, in school, there were two things that I never cared to do. One was to get up in front of people and give a speech and the other was to write. When I became a Christian what’s ironical is that both fears had to be faced. I was ordained and therefore had to get in front of people and speak. I still get a little fidgety because what I speak of I am held accountable for. Then I began having this insatiable thirst for Bible knowledge and to get it I had to read. It wasn’t long before I felt that if I didn’t write about some things that I was experiencing either in relationships or my inner emotions that I would explode. It was then that I felt the urge to write what I was feeling. Going back over some of those diary entries I have found that much of my inner struggles were resolved by just waiting and allowing myself to be more patient when it came to disagreements with other people, especially those that I love deeply.
2) I see you are working on a MS – please tell us a little about it.The title of my novel is ‘The Curse, the Diary and the Cross.’ I would imagine that it would be classified as Christian Fiction. Originally I had the idea a book about the gift of salvation that is sometimes wasted. I was going to call it, ‘The Wasted Gift.’ It began with a young man who was very sure of himself and only interested in his own pleasures at the expense of others. I began the novel in today’s era and found myself in need of having to go backwards in time to give credence to the reason for Jordan Burns’ personality traits and inner turmoil. Before I knew it I was in Brunstoke, Germany in the 1880s. To get to today there will need to be developed at least three or four novels in this series. I am endeavoring to show that even the normal life of people that there are spiritual battles that goes on.
3) What other styles or genres do you write? I am doing research for a fiction novel concerning the holocaust. I also write poetry. I have written commentary articles and would love to do more articles. It is still a learning process for me so I look into every aspect of writing that I can where I feel that I might have a little experience.
4) What authors do you admire? Ernest Hemingway has always been one of my favorites. In the Christian field men like Frank Perretti, Ted Decker, Douglas Hirt come to mind.
5) What do you do when you have writer’s block? I have heard comments that there is no such thing as a writer’s block. Though I won’t argue the fact I must admit that many times I have run dead head on at about one hundred miles an hour into a brick wall. So what I have done in the past is a compilation of many things. There were times that I would stop and work in my garden. Strange, but many scenes have been hashed over in my mind while doing physical work especially in my garden. It becomes therapy for me. Other times I have stopped writing on that one particular piece and then work on another piece. In doing research for the holocaust story called, ‘Going Home’ I have viewed many DVD documentaries and movies. Watching movies and reading material related sometimes helps me refocus. Then there are those times out of frustration I tell my wife I just quit. She will then look at me and say, you know you’re not going to quit, so belt up, boy. You just want sympathy. So then I fuss and we laugh a little, drink a cup of coffee and just relax. One thing I’ve learned about me is that I never know how I’m gonna react to writer’s block or any other thing. My wife says that I should have been on Ritalin. LOL
6) Have you submitted anything yet? I had an article accepted by Churchmouse Publications but the company is no longer in publication. I have a poem entitled ‘Abba’ in this year’s devotional of ‘Penned from the Heart.’
7) How long did it take you to write your current MS? Although my novel, ‘The Curse, the Diary and the Cross’, has been accepted by Westbow a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing I am still in the final editing process. I began the novel approximately two years ago. I had actually put the novel down for almost four months while writing other material. That was my major writer’s block on the novel.
8) Are you part of a critique group or writer’s guild? I belong to Bayou Writer’s Group meeting at the main library in Lake Charles, La. Meeting every first Saturday of each month.
9) Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? In 2010 I attended the writer’s conference sponsored Bayou Writer’s Group of which I belong. It was a tremendous learning experience and I would encourage anyone desiring to sharpen their writing skills to attend one.
10) Most anticipated upcoming release? Sometime this year Book 1 of, ‘The Curse, the Diary and the Cross’ will be coming out. I recently received my first edit from the editors and they were helpful. I have also learned that even editors sometimes do not understand where you are going with a story and therefore you have to weigh all the opinions given and go with what you think you should do. After all POV is just that ‘point of view’.
11) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us?
The Curse, the Diary and the Cross
Early March, 1872
The chilly evening wind wrapped itself around the young woman as she looked out into the swift current of the Weser River. Her thoughts went back to yesterday afternoon when she had stood at the graves of her parents, Greta and Achim Heidsheim.
Within a matter of two months both were gone. The brutal death of her father and the witnessing of her mother succumb to pneumonia, (with no will to live, and a broken heart) left Donya Heidsheim confused and enraged.