The One Book Interview is lucky to have featured two bestselling authors in a row #11 – Elicia Hyder and #12 – Garry Rodgers. The problem is, how do you follow that? How about a million selling author who has a thirty-year career behind him and is still going strong? That’ll do.
Good people of the Internet – William King.
Name one book:
1 – everyone should read
Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. I first picked it up in my late 30s when I was struggling with my finances as a freelance writer and it completely changed the way I thought about money, time and what financial independence means. Some of the financial advice seems a bit dated , but the basic concept, of measuring the amount of life energy we spend to acquire a certain amount of money, and the way we exchange that life energy for possessions is a very sound one. This is a book that’s more about how you approach life than financial planning. It has provided a compass for navigating a lot of big decisions.
2 – you would take with you if you were going to be marooned on Mars
How to Breathe in a Very Thin Atmosphere! Failing that, The Lord of the Rings. It blew my mind when I first read it aged eleven. (I know, I am showing my age there with that hippy phrase.) It remains readable every time I go back to it, which is every couple of years. It’s big enough to provide a lot of reading to. The story is a great and very human story. The world building sets the benchmark for how to do it.
3 – you took a chance on and were pleasantly surprised by
Oliver Twist. As a teenager, I was one of those boys who read nothing but popular pulpish fiction. I found the Victorian classics very reader resistant. Dickens I associated with stodgy TV series forced down my throat in childhood. For some reason, possibly familiarity, I decided to give it a try one day. I struggled with the prose a bit to begin with, but the story drew me in, and Dickens portrayal of a sort of phantasmagoric dark London has haunted me ever since. As with Lord of the Rings this is a book I go back to every few years.
4 – you’ve written that is your favourite
Hard to say. I like all of them, for different reasons. If I had to pick one, it would be The Inquiry Agent. It is completely atypical of my work, being a historical detective novel set in the 1840s, but it captures a number of my obsessions. I love the period, have done since I studied it at University.
5 – that has influenced you most as a person
On The Road by Jack Kerouac. I read it at a very impressionable age and it infected me with the glamour of travel and the beatnik lifestyle. I read it now and all I can think of is how irresponsible Dean and Sal and their friends are, but back in my 70s Scottish housing estate, it was like reading a manual for how to live sent from another planet. It’s probably responsible for everything from my career choices to living in Prague.
6 – that has influenced you most as a professional
Trial and Error by Jack Woodford. Woodford was a pulp professional, a product of the Chicago of Ben Hecht and The Front Page, who became a Hollywood scriptwriter back in the 30s. His advice to writers has never been bettered and it’s pretty timeless. I struggled for years with finishing a novel then I read his chapters on how to do so. That was all it took. I’ve used variants of his method ever since and I’ve finished upwards of forty books.
7 – of yours that prospective readers should start with if they want to get to know your work and where they can get it.
Flesh to Shadow, the first Kormak omnibus. It contains the first three volumes of my sword and sorcery saga about a professional monster hunter. You can purchase it at Amazon or pick it up for free by signing up for my mailing list.
You can find William at: www.williamking.me
William King is the million-selling author of almost forty published novels,the creator of Gotrek and Felix for Games Workshop’s Warhammer line. He wrote the World of Warcraft novel, Illidan. He is also an Origin’s Award winning game designer.