Author Interview with Bill Leviathan   Leave a comment

Today, I’m visiting with Bill Leviathan, the author of Set Me Alight, a conspiracy thriller.  Tell us a little about yourself, Bill.

I’m a twenty something kid who thinks a little too highly of himself, trying to see if there’s any room for me in the crowded world of fiction writing. I write what makes me happy, and pray it won’t cause too much pain to anyone willing to read it.

Set Me Alight occurs in a dystopian world where the U.S. economy has collapsed. Work is scarce and the protagonist Pete travels west to fight forest fires, only to find himself embroiled in the politics of a mining town. Where did you get your inspiration for each angle of the story?”

I have a friend who until recently was bumming around the country, moving from place to place working crap jobs. A few of my other friends and myself began joking around with him about his new vagabond lifestyle. At one point I created a short (about two paragraph long) plot outline starring my friend as a Snake Plissken wannabe character fighting forest fires out in the Rockies. It was filled with cheesy action-movie clichés and ended with my friend fighting the President on the top of the Freedom Tower in NYC.

A few months later I was visiting family over the holidays and was getting a little bored. I found that movie plot outline, retooled it to be a bit less outlandish, and quickly wrote the prologue.

A lot of the inspiration for the story just came from watching some older action movies about down-on-their luck guys overcoming odds to try and save the day, whether willingly or no. I re-watched a lot of John Carpenter movies while writing Set Me Alight.

I was also reading through some Jim Thompson books at the time. He was great at writing these depraved and twisted characters all from the first person. For Set Me Alight, I wanted to try and write Pete as a character who may have saw himself as being a Jim Thompson character, but really was just a lonely bitter kid.

You do a really excellent job of drawing the character of Pete. My step-father was a rubber-tramp during the Depression and some of the descriptions you give are very on-point with his memories of shanty towns, hoovervilles and mining towns where you might scrape up a bit of work here and there. Did you do a lot of research?

I didn’t do a whole lot of research specifically for this book. The Depression era is something I’ve always been interested in and knew some background information going into writing this story.

Back in high school, for US history I had a project/field trip where our class had to create our own hooverville in a field behind the school. We were allowed to bring in whatever building material we wanted, which was mostly cardboard boxes and tarps. We spent all day outside “living” in our hooverville homes. It was towards the end of February and it had just recently snowed. For lunch we were each given a single boiled hotdog. Looking back on it I’m surprised the school let our teacher do that project. It was definitely one of the most enjoyable  things I ever had to do in terms of school work.

You self-published Set Me Alight. Did you start out to self-publish. Why self-publish?

When I first started writing I had not put any thought into publishing the story. It was simply a personal project I was using to prove something to myself. Once I finished, I then started researching a bit into the world of publishing. Traditional publishing seemed like a dark and scary place. I just simply wanted what I wrote out there to see if anyone would appreciate it. I then researched self publishing, and really liked the idea of owning everything regarding the story. If I fail, I have only myself to blame.

Do you have any advice for others who are seeking to self-publish their own writing?

Spend more time than you think you need to editing, and find some beta readers if possible. I wrote my story in complete isolation. I didn’t tell anyone I know about it until I had already hit “publish” on Amazon and Smashwords. The initial product I put out suffered from it, and was quite rough. It’s slowly improved since I first put it out there, but I feel I would have been much better off if I’d given it time to settle after completing writing before I published. The excitement got the better of me, I guess.

What are your plans for the future with regards to writing?

I’m currently writing a story about a lonely, bitter, pseudointellectual, and extremely paranoid type character who’s hearing a voice in his head saying someone is following him and that he needs to do crazy things like jump out of windows and blow up cars. I doubt I get many points for originality with the story, but I’ve enjoyed writing it so far.

Links:
Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K53Y0IA?ie=UTF8&at=aw-android-pc-us-20&force-full-site=1&ref_=aw_bottom_links

Smashwords:http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/435259

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