Interview 108 – Shades of Aether author, Gail B. Williams, Part Four

Welcome back to part four of our chat with Gail B. Williams, author of Shades of Aether.

Read part one here.

Read part two here.

Read part three here.


Airship Ambassador: As you have quite a writing portfolio, what advice can you share with other writers?

Gail B. Williams: Feedback on writing is an absolute MUST!  And no I’m not just saying that because I am an editor too.  I know my writing has been strengthened by honest criticism.  I’ve read somewhere that the creative process starts with the writer, but ends with the reader. No author reads their work the same way a reader will, we need to know how someone else sees what we do or the creative process never gets finished.  An editor has taught me not to be over precious about my work, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve ditched the first version of Maker and that was two and a half novels worth. But you also have to find the right editor, someone who understands your genre and gets what you’re trying to do.  Getting an agent will teach you patience, because everything about that takes time; including getting an agent, getting a deal and getting published. I no longer have an agent, so maybe I’m not as patient as I should be. But with all of it, make sure that you’re doing what feels right to you. There has to be a balance when taking criticism, everyone has a different opinion and you have to be sure that what they say is valuable enough to make changes to your work for.

AA: It’s worth nothing that all of us could probably stand a bit of constructive criticism in our daily lives, too. Do you think that writers need to be readers, too?

GBW:   I do agree that writers need to be readers, because writing what you know does have a place in the author’s life.  You have to be aware of what else is going on in the world of writing, especially genre fiction so reading in a must.  When I was younger I was an avaricious reader.  I read tons and tons.  But I also read loads of different genres.  I especially liked to read UK based stuff, and usually less well known stuff.  Mind I also read a lot of pure fantasy; Weis and Hickman, Gemmell, Eddings.  Yes, I went off world too.  So I know that whatever genre that you write, you have to have a story and rounded characters.  My ratio of writing to reading this last year has been far too heavily based on writing I’ve got a massive to be read pile but finding time to read for pleasure has just got away from me.  The joys of being a writer with a day job. I’ve got about 3 books on the go at the moment, really need to find the time to actually read them.


AA: Hehe, my to-be-read pile might kill me if it falls over. As a reader, what has made you stop reading something before finishing it?

GBW: Usually it’s getting bored because the story is lacking or the character has done something that is just so out of character that it makes no sense.  There’s nothing more irritating than characters who are inconsistent.  I know this is supposed to happen with certain characters, but when I spot that it’s not what the author actually intended, then I switch off.  I have so little time I simply won’t waste it on something I’m not enjoying.  How do I avoid that?  Well I keep my characters as realistic as possible, make their reactions as real to who they are as I can.  And I tend to jam pack my work with twists and turns.  If I think nothing is happening, I remove it – though having said that there are times when very little happens because something tiny is going on and the reader won’t see the significance until much later.


AA: Boredom is a story-killer, for certain. You’ve been writing for quite a while, how has your work changed over time?

GBW: Oh yes. I started writing very young.  And I look back at that stuff and think – naive! I also think a lot of other less complimentary things, but mostly I didn’t understand enough how the world worked, how people were.  It was all very black and white.  I was also writing mostly romance to start, but now I’m more towards the crime end of things.  Apparently I kill and combobulate better than I kiss and cuddle – in words at least.

AA: That’s mostly a product of experience, I suppose. In all that time, what has been the most useful skills to learn?

GBW: Accepting criticism – and even harder – is learning to change things for it, to, as they say, “kill your darlings.”


AA: Ha, a lesson from George R. R. Martin? What story would you like to write but haven’t, yet?

GBW: The other four books of Aether! «Chuckles» Oh, there are just so many.  Of course, what I really want to write is “The Next Big Thing.”  Oh come on, every writer wants to do that.  I don’t believe that there is a writer alive who doesn’t have more ideas of what to write than time to write them.


AA: Oh, does THAT sound familiar. So many ideas, enough for several lifetimes. When you are out and about, are you often recognized for Shades of Aether?

GBW: No one’s yet recognised the real me.  The nearest I’ve ever got is we had a consultant in at work who said that she was talking to a friend of hers about me (I didn’t dare ask why) but this friend asked, “do you mean the one that reviews comics?” And since the consultant didn’t know that, that’s the closest I’ve ever come to recognition.  Early days though, early days.


AA: More marketing! If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?

GBW:  Rotting in my grave. Not the nicest of answers I know, but writing for me is therapy as well as escapism.  I need the creative outlet of writing. If I don’t write my brain gets itchy, I have to do it. Basically there is no reality in which I wouldn’t be an author, plenty where I wouldn’t be a published author, but I’d always be an author.


Ew, itchy brain! On that note, we’ll take a  break here in chatting with Gail

Join us next time for the conclusion when Gail talks about reading and other interests.

Until then, keep up to date with Gail’s latest news on her website,

You can support Gail and our community by getting your copy of Shades of Aether here.

Published in: on March 22, 2018 at 6:38 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Read part four here. […]

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