- N. N. Light
Author Interview | Meet William Christopher Spreadbury and his audiobook #fiction #shortstories
Here at Book Heaven, we love meeting authors from all walks of life. When we first met this author, we instantly bonded over sports and literature. His writing will shock you and make you think about the human experience. I asked for an interview and he agreed. So grab your favorite beverage and join us. William, take it away…
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
Kurt Vonnegut is not only my greatest inspiration as a writer, but he is also probably the greatest inspiration for the way I try to live my life. He had so many great ideas on how to save humanity. As he grew older, you could see the frustration in his writing because we weren’t acting on those ideas. I feel, when he died, he was very disappointed in the human race, but I think there’s still a chance we can turn it around. By the way, he and I were both born on November 11th, albeit 45 years apart.
Another author, I find very inspirational is Chuck Palahniuk. I like my stories to have a lot of twists and turns, and I’m a huge fan of shock endings. Chuck is the master of all that, and I try to be a good student.
But for me, the most gifted writer I’ve ever read is David Foster Wallace. Everything he’s ever written is the perfect combination of beauty and tragedy and hysterical chaos and comedic brilliance. He died far too young.
I realize I will never be anywhere near the realm of those three authors, but I have learned much of my art from them and they inspire me to keep writing.
Oh, and another, by the way, Wallace and Palahniuk were both born February 21, 1962. How crazy is that? So much wild imagination and incredible talent brought into the world on the same exact day.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
It’s so much fun creating characters, and one of the best parts is after you create them, you get to name them. I have a list on my phone. Anytime I hear an interesting or unique or fun name, I add it to the list. I generally create the character first and just refer to them as a letter and number, like K7 or D2. Then later, I consult the list to find out what name fits them the best.
Another thing I do, if I have a group of peripheral characters that are just in the story for a short time, I take their names from a real group of people, but I mix up the first and last names, or reverse the first syllable with the second syllable. For example, in my novel Calamitous Fortunes, if you rearrange in the names of Vic’s coworkers, you get the 2012 Chicago Bulls. Or in my book Saskia’s Never, rearrange the three UPS truck driver’s names, and you will discover some of the cast members from SNL’s 2004 season.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I know when a lot of people are asked this question they say their children are their greatest accomplishment. I think for me, my greatest accomplishment was not screwing anything up or getting in the way of my children’s own incredible accomplishments. I mean, I kept a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. I never accidently misplaced them or forgot them at a restaurant, as some of my characters have. But in all seriousness, I’ve always treated them with respect and let them form their own beliefs and values. I’ve always accepted them for who they are. I see a lot of parents trying to force their children into being something they are not, or believe something, just because they do, or trying to live vicariously through their kiddos. By allowing my son and daughter, to grow up on their terms, and push themselves, and not have to constantly worry about my expectations, they have exceeded my wildest dreams.
My son is 25 years old. He is an MIT graduate. He is a Software Engineer Project Manager. This Spring he and his girlfriend will be visiting their 50th state. 50 states in 25 years! They plan on conquering Europe next.
My daughter is 27. She has been a quadriplegic since the age of 12. But she does not allow her condition to define her life. For her, every obstacle is just a consideration. She graduated from Illinois State University and is currently working on her Masters. She is a recreational therapist as well as a huge advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Oh yeah, and she is driving now! So, my fellow motorist, you have been warned.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If you mean exactly 5 years from now, seeing that it is currently March in Chicago, I see myself somewhere with sunshine and warm temperature. I love my city, but I’m getting tired of the winters. It would be nice to be a Snowbird. But not the kind that eats dinner at 4 PM. I want to be living it up, poolside, frozen drinks, and blazing sun, afternoon naps, and late nights. At least during the winter.
Professionally, five years from now, the CF Trilogy will be done and available in print and e-book and audiobook form. So hopefully I will be promoting it and people will be reading it and I will be working on another story.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
I am only in it for the writing. I am not a fan of editing. I am not a fan of promoting. Just the writing. I love to get all this stuff that crowds my mind, out of my head and onto paper. Writing brings me such relief and peace.
Sometimes, if I have to take a break from writing, usually because of editing and promoting, it gets pretty crowded up in my skull, and friends and family start getting lengthy, late-night emails and text from me just to free up some space. For me, writing is a release.
The rest of the business is an unfortunate requirement.
Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?
My favorite place to write is in my garage. I have a patio table set up right by the overhead door, which is open wide, allowing sunshine and fresh air to enter. I need the three walls the garage offers, because, after all, I live in the Windy City. I write with a pen and a spiral notebook, with a mellow playlist, playing softly in the background. If the temperature is between 50°F and 94°F, that is where you will find me.
What is your biggest failure?
Wow, you’re not pulling any punches. Failure is a pretty powerful word. There are a lot of things that didn’t come out the way I would’ve liked throughout my life, but I prefer to think of them as lessons, as opposed to failures. I guess I kind of like to think of it like Sinatra, “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then, again, too few to mention.”
In all honesty, I do wish I would have started seriously writing much earlier in my life. But at least I’m doing it now. Actually, for almost seven years now.
Have you ever been in trouble with the law?
Why? What have you heard?
No, just kidding. I am a law-abiding citizen. So no, I have never been in trouble with the law.
You didn’t notice anybody following you to this interview though, did you?
No, again, just kidding.
But did you?
What do you want your tombstone to say?
My grandmother used to always joke that she wanted her tombstone to say, “See, I told you I was sick.”
But this is a tough one to answer, because I do not ever want to die. As in never. A million years is not enough for me. I want to enjoy this gift of life forever and ever.
Disclaimer, only if I can truly live. I see so many people make so many concessions and sacrifices to extend their time here. But what are they really doing? Living life, or just fighting death? I got news for them, that’s a fight they are not going to win. That’s not for me. I mean, I’m not reckless. I exercise. I quit smoking years ago. But I enjoy my wine and scotch and a fat steak and late nights with friends.
There’s a great line at the end of The Goldfinch, “Death always wins, but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it”
So I guess I want my tombstone to say, “Still waiting.”
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
There are basically two reasons that people would want a superpower. You could want one for a selfish reason, or you could want one to make the world a better place. I have both. I think we all do. Because I want people to like me or find me interesting, or at the very least not be repulsed by me. I will speak on the one that would make the world a better place, and not the selfish one.
I would like the power to make it impossible for human beings to lie. If everyone only knew the truth, and only spoke the truth, almost everything that separates us would fade away. I think if somebody was able to do that, the world and the humanity that Kurt Vonnegut always hoped for would become a reality.
What secret talents do you have?
Secret talents? None. Are you kidding? If I have a talent, I’m going to flaunt it, because I don’t have too many to choose from.
But now that I think about it, not sure if this would count as a talent, maybe I just got lucky. But apparently, I’m really, really good at finding an audiobook narrator. In all seriousness, Scott Fleming, my narrator from across the pond, is absolutely amazing! He does so many voices, and they’re all very unique and believable. I have actually had people ask me how many narrators did you use? Is there a different one for each story? You don’t just listen to The Name of The Book, you become immersed in it. He is amazing voice actor. And a very gifted musician, as well. I was very lucky to find him. I mean, it was very talented of me to find him.
Last question, what literary character is most like you?
That’s an easy one. Every protagonist from every good book ever written. And I really mean that. For a book to be appealing, you must be able to relate to the characters. You have to see a little bit of yourself in them, or else the book will fall flat. In my books, every one of my main characters has a little bit of me in them. But they also contain a little bit of all the other people in my life. And hopefully, everyone that reads or listens to my books, will see a little bit of themselves or at least somebody from their own life in my lead characters. The CF trilogy really tries to point this out. That were not so different from one another. And the more relatable the character, the more enjoyable the story. In my novel, Calamitous Fortunes, there is a character that adores his father and hates his mother. But as life goes on, and his father becomes older, he begins to see some of his father’s flaws and weaknesses. He also becomes sympathetic to some of his mother’s shortcomings. So, in the end, I write that he discovers “his father is nothing more than a human being, and his mother is nothing less than a human being.” Sorry, I didn’t mean to end the interview on such a hokey note.
But I do have to go before the Law gets here.
Thank you. This was really fun. Do you know if this place has a back door?
Thank you, William, for the insightful interview. It was such fun and no, I didn’t see anyone come in behind you. Lol! Readers, scroll down to read all about William’s latest book on audio.
Title The Name of the Book
Author William Christopher Spreadbury
Genre Literary fiction / Short stories
Publisher Foster & VonCharles
Do you want to laugh? Do you want to cry? Do you want to feel alive? Do you want to experience the adrenaline of edge-of-your-seat suspense? Do you want to learn what true love is? From the story of a man who clings to a life less lived to the man who begs to put an end to his charmed life, from the children who try to escape their sadistic parent to the mother who will stop at nothing to hide the crimes of her child, this amazing collection of short stories is a must-listen.
Vigilantes, bank robbers, extraordinary birthday presents, unforgettable road trips, forbidden love, and the secret of Water--The Name of the Book offers all of this and much more. While it does not attempt to answer the age-old question "Why are we here?" it will definitely tell you What is here. And it is everywhere!
The Uncredible Shrinking Man
DO YOU MIND if I tell you something about your own self? I mean, it’s not a for sure fact or anything like that. It’s just based on conjecture. I like that word. Conjecture. It’s a smart sounding word. I mean, it makes you feel smart when you say it. Conjecture, do you know what it means? It’s when you form an opinion without sufficient evidence for proof. I taught my own self that word. I try to learn a new word every day. I’m getting real good at remembering them, too. Do you want to know what today’s word is? It’s lugubrious. I really sound smart saying that one. It means to look or sound dismal. So, is it okay if I tell you my conjecture?
You look like the real curious type. Shoot, I know that sounds like a silly thing to say. I mean sure, everyone out here is curious. That’s why they’re out here. Who wouldn’t be? With all the police cars and ambulances. Not exactly sure why the fire trucks are here. I mean there ain’t no fire. There is not a fire. Ain’t no, that’s what they call a double negative, it makes you sound stupid. I don’t want to sound stupid. I spent a lot of years sounding stupid. But you don’t look curious in the same way the rest of them do. Bank robbers, hostages, dead bodies. That’s plenty enough to pique anyone’s interest, but I can tell by your face that you want to know the whole story.
I see the way you’re looking at me wondering what makes me so idiosyncratic. That means special, like unique. Not like retarded. Lots of people used to refer to me as retarded, but I never really was. My own Mama would tell me I was just a little slow. I never much agreed with that, because I could do reading and writing and even math just as good as any of the other kids. It just took me a little longer. I got a high school education. I didn’t finish it at the high school though, on account of some things happened. But I finished it at home. My own Mama became my own teacher, too. And after she was done teaching me, I went right ahead and started teaching my own self.
Never stop learning. Right? That’s what my Uncle Rory would always say. Never stop learning. So, look at me now, sitting on the back of this ambulance with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, people all fussing over me. I don’t know why they gave me a blanket. I wasn’t cold or nothing. Or anything. Sorry, double negative again. I guess I’m talking a little nervous like. And now they went to get me coffee. I don’t even drink coffee, but when the paramedic lady asked, I felt like I would be rude if I said no.
Why don’t you come on over and sit next to me and I’ll tell you the whole story? Don’t worry about that yellow tape. That’s the police line, just slip right underneath it. They won’t mind. I’ll tell them that you are my special guest.
You worry too much. I used to worry a lot. Worry, worry, worry. I would be worried and nervous all the time. My own Daddy, when he would be around, he would tell me, breathe, Angus. Relax and breathe. Nothing’s going to be okay. Bad things are always gonna happen. You might as well be relaxed when they do. That’s what he said. That’s what he said. He would always said stuff like that. But you don’t have to worry, on account I can tell you a secret? It’s gonna be kind of hard to believe, but do you wanna know what? I’ll tell you what. I can stop time. Swear to Pete. Don’t believe me? I can prove it. I’ll stop everything right now. Freeze the world. ‘Cept for me and you. And then you could slip under that police line and come sit here next to me and I’ll tell you the whole story…
My name is Angus Wig and it is a pleasure to meet you, although I wish the circumstances were not so harrowing. That means extremely disturbing and distressing. I was held hostage at gun point earlier today. Right there in that bank.
Buy Links (including Goodreads)
Purchase the audiobook directly from the author’s website: http://cffiction.com/
Audible US https://www.audible.com/pd/B0BT448PF5?source_code=ASSORAP0511160007
Audible CA https://www.audible.ca/pd/The-Name-of-the-Book-Audiobook/B0BT4G82J7
William Christopher Spreadbury (aka: Bill, Will, and upon occasion Willie) is a writer and a pretty groovy dude. He is kind to the elderly and somewhat slightly tolerant of idiots and buffoons. He likes to think of himself as a nice guy and most who know him would agree. He enjoys drinking wine and dancing but is not very good at either. He has two amazing adult children that make him prouder every day. He calls Chicago home and is a forever die-hard fan of the Bears and the Bulls. William embraces all that is dark and forbidden within him and pours it out onto his pages. If you are willing to join him on his journey, he will introduce you to the part of your soul you pretend does not exist.
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