Wednesday, May 6, 2009

By Darkness Hid: Author Jill WIlliamson

I Met Jill Williamson in 2007, at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I immediately clicked with her because she LOVES teens and LOVES writing for teens.

Imagine my excitement when I learned last week that Jill's first novel, By Darkness Hid, was just released. It sounds awesome. Here's what Jill has to say about it:

Q: Tell us about why you love writing for teens.
There is something wonderful about being young and experiencing life for the first time. Plus teens are the best to write for. They are fast and loyal readers. When they find characters they love, they really get into it. Finding great books was so magical for me when I was young (It still is!), so I just want to entertain teens and get them excited about my stories.

Q: When did you first start this writing journey?
Back in 2004 I started to write articles for magazines. I wanted to be a speaker at teen events, so I focused on periodicals for teens. Then the new Harry Potter book came out, and a new barrage of debates within the church community flared up as to whether or not the books were evil. The debate inspired me to write my own teen novel that all Christians would love. Yes, I was a bit naive. But that’s how I got started. I’ve since learned that no author can make every reader happy.

Q: What kind of response have you had from teens about your new novel?
They love it! The cover is really beautiful. I get a lot of comments from teens about that. Kirk DouPonce designed it. I think that a book cover is really important to teens when they consider reading a book, so I’m thankful Kirk is an amazing artist.

I’ve also sent a lot of teens to my Web site to read the first chapter and they get hooked. I tried to tell a story that would grip readers like the best movie. So there is a lot of tension and conflict in my story that keeps the readers turning the pages. Here are some comments I’ve heard back from teen readers who’ve read some, or all, of my book:

“By Darkness Hid had me arguing with my mom as I wanted to stay up all night to read it. Now anytime I think about knights, Jill’s book comes to mind. I enjoyed reading it so much, and I cannot wait to read the next one!” —Keegan, age 13

“Now I have to read the rest. This chapter was so good.” —Rachel, age 14

“By Darkness Hid is not fine—it’s great! I loved it. And not once did it bore me. It’s full of adventure and romance, with unique characters you sympathize for. It makes you wish you could go back in time and live through a culture full of danger and mysteries. I just wanted to keep reading more and more.” —Cosette, age 17

“I got By Darkness Hid finally delivered yesterday. I'm on chapter four now. Would be farther but I had a birthday dinner for a friend to go to last night.” —Chris, age 19

“No! That can’t be it! You’d better make a sequel. I was so into it. I loved it all! I didn’t think you could just end it right there. Please write more! This was a great read.” —Querida, age 16

Q: If you could sum it up in one sentence, what do you hope teens will take away from the novel?
That there is only one God and he has a unique purpose for every life.

Q: Do you base your characters' personalities on real-life people?
Occasionally. I didn’t do that at all in this book, probably because it’s a medieval story rather than a contemporary one. Plus that can get a little dangerous. It can also be fun. But a writer walks a fine line when they use people they know as models for their characters. Because ultimately, the character is unique. It would be safe to base characters off of historical figures, though. You couldn’t get into too much trouble that way.

Q: Where can we find your website for teens who like to write?

And the companion blog is here:

Q: Where can we learn more about your book?

There is tons of information about my book on my Web site: There is a book trailer, some free downloads, a sample chapter, and a fun interactive map of Er’Rets where you can learn more about my fantasy world and the characters who live there. I’m also running a monthly contest for anyone who wants to help me spread the word about By Darkness Hid.

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I know all about waiting--for the right guy, for high school to end, for my boobs to come in (two out of three ain't bad).

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