WMO: Why do you write?
NW: I remember sitting in a treehouse at ten singing songs and telling myself stories. I cannot remember not writing.
WMO: What themes and ideas do you like to explore?
NW: I seem to write a lot about trauma. In my fiction I often have young “coming of age” protagonists.
WMO: What genres do you enjoy?
NW: It has been said that if they printed on toilet paper I would never leave the bathroom. I read everything and several books at once. For example, I am reading now: The Body Keeps the Score/ van der Kolk ( NF), When Ghosts Come Home /Cash (F), In the Balance/ Wentworth (F). Psychology, local fiction, cozy mystery.
WMO: What have you already written/published?
NW: Some book reviews/interviews, occasional CNF, lots of short stories, a YA novel in editing. Most recently, Alien was published in Potato Soup Journal. I am most excited that “Wherever You Go” was published by North Carolina Literary Review Honorable Mention for the Betts Fiction Prize, and nominated for the Pushcart and the O. Henry prizes. For a full list see my webpage at nhwilliard.com
WMO: What are you working on now?
NW: I am trying NaNoWriMo to jumpstart another long fiction piece about a young clockmaker who also makes bombs. I would love to do more book reviews; I learn so much. The YA novel, The Survivors, needs to be edited. I am finishing the memoir about my mother. But there is a lot of writer business too – website maintenance, creating workshops. I also read craft books and participate in WMO, NCWN, and a variety of local events and groups.
WMO: Who do you picture as your audience when you write?
NW: It depends. For my memoir, I was thinking of my cousin. For “The Survivors”, I wrote to give the character a voice but I do think it speaks to a middle school girl I know. Many times I write just to give the character a voice.
WMO: What do you find most challenging and why:
NW: Plot, character, setting, publishing, and publicizing? I feel that ending a story is often hardest. I wonder about my balance between despair and hope.
WMO: Whose work do you most enjoy reading?
NW: My guilty pleasure is my murder mysteries. Some current – Louise Penney, and Horowitz, and most of the classics, PD James, Christie, and Niago Nash.
WMO: What is the best advice anyone ever gave you about writing?
NW: Be a good literary citizen.
WMO: What do you look for in a writing community? What kind of feedback is most helpful while you are writing?
NW: I want people who are seriously interested in how craft can help connect with readers. I cannot often see, on my own, when the reader is lost, confused, or derailed. I can fix it when I know. To me, the story exists between the writer and the reader.