"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Author Interview: Will Edwinson

Will Edwinson is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction and has written a newspaper column. His second book, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures, won first place in state competition, and second place at national. His nostalgia column that he wrote under another name, won second and first-place awards in two separate competitions from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press Association. He has written dozens of articles for Idaho Magazine. Will grew up on a farm in rural Southeast Idaho. After college, he continued to operate the family farm until his retirement. His passion was always writing. He has written four books. Besides writing, Will also enjoyed singing in his younger years. He has performed on stages from Sun Valley, Idaho, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  He is currently retired and living in Tucson, Arizona.

Tell us about your book, Buddy … His Trials and Treasures.
Buddy is a compilation of short story adventures about a young boy growing up in rural America during the 1940s.  Buddy is a bit like Tom Sawyer in that he quite often finds himself in hot water for which he must pay the consequences.  Unlike, Tom, however, Buddy’s mischievous deeds are without much forethought. They happen because he’s…well…he’s just Buddy.  Each adventure is a stand-alone story, but they are also formatted in such a way that one can read the book from cover to cover and follow Buddy as he grows up.
You live in Arizona but spent most of your life in Idaho. Can you tell us about your background and how it not only led you to become a writer, but how it influenced the stories you write?
Yes, I spent the bulk of my life in Idaho.  It’s only the past three years that I’ve lived in Arizona.  My background is in rural America and agriculture. My dad was a farmer, and his father before him. Early in life I knew that’s what I wanted to do too.  I love small town America, its culture (the sense of community) and its simple life-style. As for how my rural background influenced my stories, I’m not sure. Like many authors, my writing is not genre specific. I think of myself as a story teller, so I write in many genres. My stories are centered generally on what I see happening every day, and what I’ve read—or been told—about the way things were in the past.

You also write a newspaper column and have won awards. Tell us more about both.
How I got into the business of writing columns was sort of a fluke. I wasn’t seeking the job.  It happened at a book signing at Waldenbooks in Pocatello, Idaho. A young man in his mid-thirties walked past my table (people always try to sneak past the table of an unknown author). As he walked by, I handed him a flyer that described my Buddy book, and said to him, “Perhaps you’d like to read about my book while you browse the store.” He took the flyer, thanked me, and walked away. I later saw him leave the store and mentally wrote him off as a potential fan. 
About a half hour later, to my surprise, he returned to my table. He introduced himself as the managing editor of the Idaho State Journal, a daily newspaper. He had read my flyer and was evidently impressed, because he asked me if I’d be interested in writing a weekly column for the paper. I told him I’d never done anything like that, but the challenge sounded intriguing, and that’s how I got to be a newspaper columnist. I won two AP awards during my five year tenure; a second place, and a first place. I still write an occasional column for the paper from here in Arizona, but not on a weekly basis as before.
How do you feel about the ebook and self-publishing craze? How do you think it will affect traditional publishing?
I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet, but I will say this: good or bad, I believe it’s the wave of the future. The upside, I believe, is that authors who are trying to break into the business, but can’t get agents or publishers to give them a nod, will be able to get their books published.  The downside is, there are a lot of fly-by-night publishers that will publish anything.  Consequently, there may be less professional editing of these self-published books with the result of poor quality books getting published. As for traditional publishing, I think this new trend will cause the major publishing houses to rely on established blockbuster authors with a well-known track record. The only new authors they will go with, in my opinion, are those who have had a successful self-published book.
In your opinion, and in your experience, what aspect of the writing/marketing process presents the biggest challenge for writers in today's changing publishing atmosphere?
The biggest challenge, as I see it, aside from writing a compelling story, is that writers are now  expected to become involved—in a major way—in the marketing of their works. All the gurus that I’ve talked to, or read, say we should not concentrate on the book, but rather we should concentrate on marketing ourselves, the author. The book is secondary, they say.  We should be marketing our expertise on the subject we are writing about. This is might work well for non-fiction writers, but I don’t agree with this premise for fiction writers.  What do fiction writers have to offer for sale, if it’s not their book? The major thing we have to sell, as I see it, is a compelling story, and that’s where the emphasis should be.
There are lots of tips out there for writers. If you could boil it down to one or two, what would they be?
There’s a saying among screen writers:  “To write, is to rewrite.”  I think this holds true for any writer, so my tip would be to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, polish, polish, polish.
Where can a reader find Buddy?
It’s currently available at www.amazon.com,  www.barnes&noble.com, www.wheatmark.com,  or by asking for it at your favorite bookstore. It’s distributed by Ingrahams, so any bookstore is able to order it.
Are you working on a new project?
Two, as a matter of fact. I’ve been working on a revised version of my first novel that is now out of print. My plan is to release it in late summer. It’s entitled Shadow Revolution--Code Name: Operation Achilles. It’s a political fantasy about a twenty-first century style revolution and civil war in the United States. The war is fought with cyber weapons instead of guns and bombs.
The second project is an historical novel (with more fiction than history). It’s entitled Louisa--Iron Dove of the Frontier (Louisa is pronounced with a long i). The historical part of the story centers around Louisa Houston Earp, the half-Cherokee granddaughter of Sam Houston.  She was married to Wyatt Earp’s younger brother Morgan, for a few short years until his assassination in Tombstone, Arizona. The fiction portion of the story is, she could put on a pair of chaparajos (chaps) and spurs, strap a pistol to her hip (she was a crack shot, by the way), and wrangle dogies with the roughest of cowboys;  later come in from the range, put on her party gown, and feel right at home with Vassar graduates. She was also a trained classical concert pianist and played classical music in honky-tonk saloons. Her showmanship actually won the rowdy cowboys over to the point they accepted and actually enjoyed her music.  My plan is to release this one sometime next year. 
 Will's website & blog


Eunice Boeve said...

Will and Linda, I enjoyed this interview and am interested in Buddy. So will add it to my "To Read" list. The story about Louisa Houston Earp sounds good, too, so hope I'll know when you have it on the market. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post very much. Thanks Linda for the interview. We all ready know of the Earp boys. I think it's great that the "Lady" gets equal billing. Bill, I've read that now is the time to go digital with your books. You've got great storys that haven't hit that hot market yet. So find a pub you can trust and go for it.

Sherry R.

Linda Sandifer said...

Thanks for doing the interview, Bill. And best of luck with "Buddy."

Will Edwinson said...

You're welcome, Linda. Thanks for doing the interview. I'm excited about my new webpage that will be up soon. I'll let you and your readers know when it's up.

Will Edwinson said...

Greetings, Eunice:

I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.
The Buddy book is currently available at amazon.com. Also, I want to thank you for your expressed interest in Louisa. She turned out to be a remarkable character, I think. She was fun to write about. I think you'll enjoy reading about her. I'll certainly let you know when the book is released.