Running a small press is just like running a business with a group of employees – well almost. I don’t actually get to see them every day and we can’t gather around the water cooler to chat. Since we all see each other only virtually, I thought it might be nice to ‘introduce’ our authors to both each other and their readers via a series of short interviews. These interviews will run every couple of days for the next month or so – it’s a neat way of finding out how similar authors can be, and yet so different.
Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to William Topek, the creator of the Devlin Caine Adventures: Shadow of a Distant Morning and A Shared Confidence. I honestly can’t recall how I met William but I remember the editor I was working with at the time who was going through our submissions. Her email to me regarding Topek’s first book was: “PUBLISH THIS NOW!” I never would have considered myself to be a fan of 1930’s private eye stories, but I have found my new literary hero: Devlin Caine, the protagonist of Topek’s stories. His books are intelligent, winding and replete with interesting characters. If you’re looking for a guaranteed great read, you’ll be so glad you bought his novels.
1. The first book I can remember reading is: The Gingerbread Man. A simple children’s story meant to warn against the excess of pride, but I think I saw it more as a protagonist doing it his way and going out in style. I thought of this little fellow the first time I watched the movie Blade Runner, where Tyrell tells the replicant Baty: “The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you’ve burned so very brightly, Roy.”
2. The first book I ever wrote was: Shadow of a Distant Morning. I’d written several stories and a few screenplays, and thought if I ever wanted to try my hand at writing a novel, it might be fun to write one of those old Thirties/Forties private detective stories. It was.
3. An average day in my life goes like this: The non-average days are too various to describe, and the average days aren’t worth the effort.
4. I found out about Central Avenue Publishing from: Twitter. I decided to submit my book because: I saw a tweet that they were taking submissions and, having had no luck with the more traditional routes, decided to send my manuscript. They accepted and have now published two of my books. This is one time where social media really paid off for me.
5. The last book I read was: James Gunn’s The Immortals. Silver-Age sci-fi, the basis of a very short-lived television series in the early Seventies, and an eerily prophetic view of a future where the commercially-run health care industry dominates.
6. In order for me to sit down and write, I need: A clean, uncluttered work space and plenty of room to pace.
7. My ‘day job’ is: These days, whatever I can find at the moment.
8. I carve out time to write by: I usually have plenty of time. It’s convincing myself that I deserve to indulge myself in something I enjoy that’s the problem.
9. In order to find time to write, I feel as though I sacrifice: Time that could be spent on perhaps more practical matters.
10. I am currently working on: Making notes for several novel and screenplay ideas, including the third installment of my series featuring 1930s private detective Devlin Caine.
11. The best piece of advice I ever got was from: A former girlfriend’s stepfather, who told me: “Sounds like you’ve got a big book of ‘shoulds’ you need to throw away. And if you’re really as good as you say you are, you’re a real ____ not sharing it with the rest of us.”
12. The best piece of advice I would give is: The artist’s job is to be invisible and let the light shine on the art itself. Don’t try to show off how well you can write. Hang back, do your job, and tell the story.