Jill Williamson is one of my favorite authors. So far, I have loved all of her books. There are a few I haven’t read yet. “Yet” being the operative word. The other thing about Jill is that’s she’s super nice, helpful, and encouraging. She has a heart for teens and other writers. I can’t think of a more special person to promote. Couple that with the fact I absolutely devoured her newest book Outcasts, and we have a win, win, win.
Please enjoy learning about Jill and her newest book. And, of course, there will be a chance for you to win a copy at the end. Here we go!
Do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?
I am a Christian author. Most of my books have been published in the Christian market, also known as the Christian Bookseller’s Association. But I’ve written some books that don’t fit in the Christian market. So I’m going to try and sell those to the general market. All that means is that there is no overt Christian theme in them. I write the stories that God puts on my heart. But not every story can be the same allegory. I like to explore different themes. But no matter what I write, I strive to honor God with it. So I guess I don’t really think that there is such a thing as “Christian fiction.” There are Christian themes. And sometimes they are stronger than other times.
Which character in Outcasts is your favorite? (Mine is Mason). Have you ever written a character that you disliked?
When I was writing Captives, Mason was my favorite. But Omar has really grown on me. Maybe that’s because he is so unlike me. I’m more like Mason. So I’m intrigued by someone so unlike myself. I don’t know if I’ve written a character I disliked. I might not like their behavior, but I know their whole story, so I’m often filled with compassion for them, even if my readers never get all that backstory on each life.
One of the things I like best about the Safe Lands books is the wonderful story world you’ve created. Your book, Go Teen Writers, has the best instructions I’ve read on how to create a story world. How long did it take you to construct the Safe Lands world?
It took me as long as it took me to write Captives, which, I think, was about three months. Then I got another couple weeks with it when my edits came. I really struggled with it up until the very last edit. If you find an ARC of Captives, the storyworld is what is the most different from the final version. I always prefer to have more time.
What is something we might not know about the Safe Lands?
That it exists in the ski resort town of Mount Crested Butte, Colorado. It’s a real place that you can go to. I wasn’t able to go there, but I’d like to.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on several things. First, I’m writing a novel on my blog, one scene at a time and asking my readers for help with each scene. The story is called Onyx Eyes. And it’s the tale of a fairy warrior who is seeking a kidnapped princess. But before he can find her, he becomes enslaved to a human girl. You can learn more by clicking here.
Then in March, the next installment of the Mission League will release. Ambuscade is mini-mission 2.5 and it will follow Spencer’s junior year in high school as he starts the NCAA recruitment process and meets his real father.
I’m also writing RoboTales, a beginning chapter book series I brainstormed with my son. And I’m getting ready to write a new medieval fantasy trilogy. I can’t wait.
And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?
I grew up in Alaska with no electricity or running water. It was pretty wild.
That’s pretty crazy. The next time you’re here, we’ll have to hear all about that. I can’t imagine it. You must be part Eskimo. 🙂
And now, a sneak peek at Outcasts…
Kendall strode around the curve of Belleview Drive and fixed her gaze on the messenger sign at the end of the block. The flying white envelope on a red circle flickered in the night.
She wanted to run—to at least jog—but held back, forcing her legs into long strides. Kendall swung her arms and breathed in the scents of dryer sheets and waffle cones from the Belleview Laundry and Cinnamonster ice cream shop.
Barely four weeks had passed since she’d given birth in the Surgery Center, and only two since she’d moved out of the harem and back to the Midlands. Kendall’s medic had told her to wait at least six weeks before doing serious exercise. So Kendall walked everywhere, determined to firm up her abdomen, look normal again.
Determined to forget.
She wasn’t supposed to work for six weeks, either. But staying home with no baby to hold … Add to that her depressing thoughts, worry over the girls from Glenrock, and the task director general’s summons—it had been too much. She’d begged Tayo to let her come back to the messenger office early.
Kendall picked up her pace. What could the task director want now? He’d taken everything from her. She’d served her term in the harem, had given the ultimate sacrifice. This couldn’t be a surrogacy request. Safe Lands customs said she deserved a two-year reprieve for her service to the nation.
This summons had to be personal.
A taxi turned down Belleview and sped toward Kendall, its headlights blinding. She lowered her gaze. The vehicle passed—and the product expo on its side caught her eye.
The face of her son. “Welcome, Baby Promise” scrolled underneath.
Kendall stopped. She watched her son’s face shrink away until the taxi vanished. Fortune was mocking her pain.
What kind of a name was Promise, especially for a boy? More Safe Lands strangeness. Her baby would always be Elyot to her.
Kendall choked back her sorrow and trudged the rest of the way to the messenger office. She used her SimTag to let herself inside and set her messenger bag on the front counter.
A single bulb cast yellow light and hard shadows over the messenger workstations and rows of nearly empty package shelves. Kendall crossed the lobby and slipped behind the counter, her running shoes scuffing over the concrete floor. She walked down the first aisle of shelves, her shadow creeping along beside her.
This place had always been ghoulie at night.
The task clock hung outside Tayo’s office door, located at the back. Kendall tapped her fist on it, officially tasking out for the night, and started back toward the lobby.
A low moan rose from the dark. She jerked her head around, spine tingling. Cocked her ears.
No more sound.
Kendall peered through the shelves on her right. “Hay-o? Who’s here?”
A gargled breath. “Help me.”
The words squeezed her throat. For a moment Kendall couldn’t move. Pushing down her fear, she forced herself around the end of the shelves. Peeked down the next row.
She inched toward the third one.
Kendall glanced at her messenger bag. Her portable Wyndo was inside. She could tap Enforcer 10 for help.
She bit her lip, then eased around the fourth row. Halfway down, a man in a messenger uniform lay on the floor, one hand on his stomach, the other under his back. White-blond hair. Big feet.
“Chord?” Kendall ran to him.
Red everywhere, like a bottle of spilled Shower Paint. It had soaked Chord’s white T-shirt and the top of his green shorts, puddling under him. Still spreading.
She swallowed the bitter burning of nausea. “What happened?”
Chord lifted his hand. Kendall reached for his bloody fingers, but he pointed upward, to a large box high on the shelves.
“You want the box?” she asked.
He nodded and choked out the word, “Hurry.”
Kendall had to climb on the lowest shelf to reach the box. She held the shelf with her left hand and slapped the box with her right until it slid over the edge, careful to use her arms and not put strain on her stomach. She stepped down with the box, keeping her hand underneath to catch it as it fell. It was light and open at the top. She set it on the floor and pulled out a messenger bag. Chord’s? She met his gaze.
“Deliver,” he rasped.
“You want me to deliver your messages?”
“To the … addressees. No one else. Secret.”
She found four messages in his bag. Messages with no codes. In the Safe Lands, it was illegal to deliver mail off the grid. Enforcers monitored everything. She read the addresses. Chord worked the Sopris route, but these addresses were mostly in Old Town, which was her route.
“Chord, why do you …?” She looked up to find him staring past her knees. Unblinking. Unseeing. His eyes dull, mouth half open, face slack.
A breath rattled past her lips. She spun around, slipping in the blood. Kendall ran to the counter, withdrew her Wyndo from her own messenger bag, and tapped one zero. Her thumb—shaking over the glass screen—produced a one-eight-eight. She deleted the numbers and carefully tapped one zero again.
One ring and a female face showed on the glass. She had silver hair, mimicking Luella Flynn, no doubt. “Enforcer 10. Where are you located?”
“Midlands-east-messenger-office,” Kendall said, breathless. “A man’s been hurt. He’s bleeding. I think he’s … dead. Oh, walls! Don’t let him be dead!”
Excerpt used by permission.
Who wants to win a copy? I’m giving away one ecopy for every 20 new blog/FB subscribers, so tell your friends. All you have to do to enter is follow this blog or my FB author page (1 entry each). Contest ends January 17.
So, dear readers, let us hear from you: if you were writing a book and wanted to place it in a real setting, where would it be and why?