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Friday, August 23, 2013
Mark H Williams
By OFW Editor: Michael Keyton
Published: July 22, 2013

Accomplishment: Mark Williams has written for BBC Cymru Wales TV and Radio, as well as the Welsh National Opera, and the Courtyard Theatre Hereford. Sleepless Knights is his first novel.


Share with us a 60-word pitch for your book.

Sir Lucas is butler to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table – the ultimate man behind the myth. Sleepless Knights tells the story of his unique and peculiar destiny, playing out in both the legendary Camelot past, and an increasingly apocalyptic and dragon-plagued present.


What writer (if any) would you like to emulate and why?


PG Wodehouse. For wit, word-mastery and world building.


At what point did you consider yourself to be a real writer?

I think most writers usually feel on some level that they’re busking it! But professionally-speaking, when I got my first commission writing radio comedy for the BBC in Wales. Specifically as a prose writer, finally finishing a draft I felt I was ready to show to the world, and then discovering someone who liked it enough to want to publish it – both of those were big milestones. But the biggest ‘real writer’ moment so far was probably getting the advance reading copies, and seeing Sleepless Knights in book form for the first time. There may have been dancing.


Is there any advice about writing or publishing that you think beginning writers should know?

On writing, there’s no better advice than Phillip Pullman’s: “Read like a butterfly, write like a bee.” On publishing: find out who’s out there, publisher and agent-wise – what they’re looking for, and how to submit. I find social networking useful, especially twitter (if rationed!) It’s a great way to meet fellow writers and keep up with news. It’s also good for building relationships with publishers and agents (ie: showing them you’re a real person, and not simply jumping in with the hard sell).


Self -publishing has become very popular recently, what would your advice be to an author wanting to self-publish rather than wait through the long process of traditional publishing?

Make sure you’re putting out your book to the highest possible standard you can achieve, ideally getting it professionally proof-read and edited.


Should writers strive for literary merit?

Depends what you mean by ‘literary’. If you mean terrific prose, then absolutely, always. If you mean approval from the gatekeepers of Literary Fiction, then good grief, no. Life’s too short.


Have you ever described yourself as “author” or, “published author"? (explain why or why not)

I think because I’ve always worked in different mediums, and want to continue doing so, “writer” has always done the job nicely.


Can you give us one word that sums up what writing means to you?


Sorryno.

"Welsh," she whispered. "'Sorryno' Welsh."

"What does it mean?"

She shrugged. "It's Welsh. Doesn't have to mean anything. It sounds nice. Sorryno."

She was humming again. Seventy-six trombones.

I released
Mark Williams in a hurry, fingers sweating like bratworst in summer. Sheri was daydreaming and that could mean anything. Sorryno had made quite an impact. He gave me the book and ran up  the stairs. I thanked him but Sheri was moving in on him, blowing an imaginary trombone. He slammed the door shut behind him, leaving me with 'Sleepless Knights' and Sheri looking confused.




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