I have more than one genre in which I enjoy writing, but for the sake of this interview we’ll stick with the genre for Abe Lincoln On Acid. I’ve always loved reading “what if” stories about history taking a different path. When my co-author, Brian Anthony, and I started our Lincoln series, it soon became apparent that adhering to the usual constraints of Alternate History was to our disadvantage. Obviously there is a paranormal aspect with a seemingly immortal Lincoln, but it was also important that it dovetail with real history as much as possible. This precluded Lincoln re-emerging as a national figure. Rather, all he wanted was to help his country and all the current politicians want him to go away. This way Abe Lincoln On Acid and its predecessor, Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy No. 1 are really what I would call “Secret Histories.”
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
The most challenging thing is to come up with a workable idea. At least that’s the case with me. I envy the prolific output of Stephen King and his ilk, but that’s not me. I also have to be obsessed with an idea. When I am I will work tirelessly, ever day, to get me to a finished first draft. And that requires discipline, as well. Sitting down at the computer, even if I’m not “in the mood.”
When and where do you do your writing?
I have my little office nook where I work best. I also work best in the morning, but if an idea grabs me at midnight, I’ll at least spend the time to jot down the basics for more serious consideration in the morning.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
That promoting books is harder and more expensive than ever. Many people touted the internet as a panacea for authors to promote their work. And while the opportunity to do so is a good thing, the reality is tough going because every other author is doing the same thing. Even in the old days of advertising, it was hard. My father was one of the original “Mad Men” in the 1960s and I remember him telling me that to be effective an ad has to be in the public eye for 90 days. I imagine that timeframe has lengthened somewhat. We as consumers are used to tuning out the deluge of ads and information so to really cut through takes persistence and a fair amount of cash.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
While I’m proud of everything I’ve published, the one book that is of special significance is A Note from an Old Acquaintance. It’s a love story written from a man’s point of view, which is not common. It seems to touch a chord in people and I’m happy that I could give readers the emotional wallop I intended.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would say it would have to be Stephen King. I would really love to talk about how he generates ideas and the process he goes through when he writes. Another author would be the late Jack Finney, who wrote—as far as I know—the first time travel romance, Time and Again. That has been my favorite book for many, many years. I’d want to ask him why he thinks no one has adapted it into a motion picture after the nearly fifty years since its publication in 1970.
BILL WALKER is an award-winning writer whose works include novels, short stories and screenplays. His first novel, Titanic 2012, was enthusiastically received by readers, and Bill's two short story collections, Five-Minute Frights and Five-Minute Chillers, are perennial Halloween favorites. A highly-respected graphic designer, Walker has worked on books by such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. His most recent novel, Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy No. 1 was published in 2013.