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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Meet Guest Author A. M. Wilson

Is it really August 23 already? It seems that summer has sped by and true to my word I am trying to post at least once a month. So much has happened in the short time between my last post and now.

Okay, I just realized that in my haste to post the new video for After I posted instead my documentary "Remembering Hal". Anyone who was confused I apologize. I am going to put that video on here now.     

Also will edit that post to include this video now. There will be a new version of "Remembering Hal" with better sound balance on my channel on YouTube soon.

Okay, so hope you all have been having a great summer. I will discuss the things I've been doing after I introduce you to my Guest Author, A. M Wilson. He is also going to be a guest on my show on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 4pm EDT on Red River Radio Tales from the Pages. 

If you miss the interview I am posting it here for you. Any listeners who remember the technical difficulties we had when A. M. was first on the show will also know that he was rescheduled to come back in August alsong with my other delightful guest author and poet, Cynthia Sharp. I will have Cynthia on the blog at a later time. Until then, please enjoy my guest today, A. M. Wilson:

                                       



Hi A. M. so happy you are on my blog. I am very glad you have come back on the show.

         Would it be okay to ask why you are called A M? What is your first name?
     A M came from a practical desire to have a name that       was unique and stood out -- especially in today's search field. Alex Wilson is a Detroit Tigers pitcher, an LA-based weather person, and a 19th-Century Scottish Ornithologist. My college freshman year roommate suggested A M as a way to separate myself from the pack -- drawing F. Scott Fitzgerald and David Foster Wallace as other noms de plume from notable authors. 

  So your name is Alex Wilson. I actually like initials for authors.

Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in Flint, Michigan, which has seen some hard times. Any fan of Michael Moore knows well the economic contraction that Flint has gone through. We moved when I was an early teen to a small farming community where my mom grew up -- Carson City, Michigan. The journey since then has taken me all over the U.S. from Owensboro, Kentucky, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to St. Louis, to Silicon Valley, California where I live now. A lot of that went into Populace, which I think is about not only the main character's coming of age, but also what it means to be an American.

     Besides writing, what is your occupation? Do you have any hobbies and/or interests? 
     I have a lot of hobbies -- I love to hike and cook. I play        guitar and try to solve complex math problems. My ambitions often outstrip my capacity, though, which is most often tied up with my year old son. 

     Who or what influenced you to begin writing? 
I began writing as a reaction to my parents' divorce. I was five or six and having a rough time. My mother, an English professor, offered me a big spiral notepad and told me to write, anything and everything that came to mind, about the experience. I was so young I think a lot of the early stuff were badly drawn pictures but over time I fell in love with telling stories, by using allegory and with trying to affect the world around me. I was hooked, and I've been trying to create stories ever since.

When did you begin to write seriously and what did you write? Have you published anything before Populace?

Populace is my first novel. I began to write seriously in college. I had a great friend and roommate who encouraged my work. His dad was the head of the English department, coincidentally, and while my grammar was sometimes lacking, he could tell there was a deep passion in what I created. I had my first fan, which spurred me to push myself to get better. He also offered up a lot of new literature that was so different from what I had read from my parents, that it blew my mind. I began to understand writing as a continuum, with James Joyce, and later Thomas Pynchon on one end, and Ernest Hemmingway and later Cormac McCarthy on the other. I had the privilege to fall anywhere on the spectrum I wanted. 

What is your writing process? Please tell our listeners about a typical day of writing for you.
In a word: chaotic. I don't really experience writer's block, but I do experience a lot of non-sequiturs and pieces that try to connect. Sometimes it works well. A lot of time there's at least twice as much on the cutting room floor as what makes it in the final. The only way I've figured out where I can keep the good (lots of ideas, creative and interesting!) is to embrace the bad, which is having to read then re-read then read again the work for continuity and clarity. 

What inspired you to write Populace?
When I lived in St. Louis, I would have to drive through Northern St. Louis. It had broken roofs, collapsed buildings and no people on the streets. It reminded me of the images I'd seen of a war zone. I had grown up with this experience in Flint, and seen it in so many places -- from Owensboro to Chicago, but not in the same way in foreign countries. To have such poverty alongside such wealth was one thing, but to be so aggressively ignorant of it was another. This was a uniquely American ailment. And I've always wanted to write a uniquely American book.

What went into the writing of this book? Did you have to do a lot of research and what was it? 
I did a fair amount of research, but I really relied on stuff that I had around me. My dad has a sailboat, and there's a long passage in the piece on a sailboat. I've lived in many of the cities listed (Owensboro, for example). I spent a lot of time looking at the distances and had a friend engineer check the math. I spent a lot of time, kind of oddly, looking at maps. It was important to me that the journey was as seamless as possible. I didn't want it to raise any eyebrows for the reader, and the best way to do that is to make sure that everything makes total sense. I've driven out west a couple of times from middle America. Those trips also influenced the book. 

Would you please describe the path to publication for Populace
Starts and stops. I drafted it, sent to agents, and had one interested. She requested that I "clean it up" a bit and resubmit, which was the month before my son was born. I ended up taking six months to clean it up, and then the agent asked for me to go back through the whole process. I said "this is good enough to publish," so I did. Create Space and Kindle Direct Publishing have awesome tools. I had a friend design the cover. It all came together really quickly after I made up my mind to do it.

Please tell our listeners a little bit about your book, Populace
It's a novel set after America has torn itself apart. All that remains of the New United States is Omaha, which is run by one company. The main character, Thomas Ignatius Stout, survived a terrorist attack and then was sent to find and destroy the man who committed the crime. 

Would you call it a dystopian novel? Why or why not?
Yes. Likely more dystopic than what I meant. Brave New World was a major influence on the book. I read it, and I remember thinking how incredible the logic of the whole thing was. It was inescapable. And to create a world like that was amazing. But, I think the heart of your question is do I consider the world dystopian, and in a way I most definitely do, but more specifically I just chronicled the world I saw around me. So I feel that if we say the book is dystopic, then we're saying that the world is dystopic. I think that it is in some ways, but that's the burden of a writer. We're tasked with the duty to lift men's hearts, as William Faulkner said. I think that it's like AA says about alcoholism, the first step is admitting you have a problem. People occasionally don't like my book -- they view books as a way to escape from their modern lives. But we in modern culture have so much escapism, I wanted to create a story that could entertain, sure, but also acted as a mirror -- as a cry in the woods for a better tomorrow. 

Are you doing any in person or online events? If so what are they and where can we find them?
Nothing scheduled. 

Well, that isn't true, because you are now on my blog and on Red River Radio Tales from the Pages. LOL

Finally this is the last question I always ask every guest. Are you a plotter or a pantser? In other words, do you write an outline or do you just sit down and write?
Ha, I like the term "pantser." I definitely just sat down and wrote when I started. I think now, I still do sometimes. It yields some really incredible perspectives and insights. Every once and a while I'll plan out things, but even when I get to the details themselves, I'll sit down and just come up with something. Then I have to make it all coherent, which is painstaking, but I think yields a much a stronger story, a much more emotional story, in the end. 

A. M. Wilson Bio:
A M Wilson has loved telling stories since he couldn't see over a kitchen counter. His first breakthrough novel Populace, an Orwellian thriller, is set for release in spring 2018. In his own words, Wilson has always loved humor, "humor that challenges our worldview, humor that gets us through hard times, humor that makes us realize our own humanity." As a novelist, has the burden to believe in everything as possible.

A M is from Flint, Mich., and has moved around a lot, entering a lot of brave new worlds -- to Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, California, Spain and Argentina. A M has been a farmer, a groundskeeper, a librarian, a fast-food worker, a bagboy, a political organizer and a shill. 

A M Wilson lives in the Bay Area with his wife and son. You can reach him at www.amwideawake.com





Synopsis of POPULACE

America 2151. New York. Washington. Chicago. Los Angeles. All wiped out from nuclear blasts. The New United States of America is centered in Omaha, where the Leviathan Corporation provides a muted, controlled existence for its populace. Synthetic drugs keep them sane. The people are safe — for now — from the threats on the outside. 

Summoned to the president’s office, unlikely hero Thomas Ignatius Stout receives an extraordinary mission: Hunt down and return, dead or alive, the vicious killer responsible for destroying the lives of millions and millions of Americans, Joe Ikowski, who remains a thorn in the government's side. Tom accepts his burden and leads an expedition past Omaha's protective barrier and into the great unknown. That’s when Tom’s journey really begins.

Taking him from Kentucky to Arizona to Mexicali and the Rocky Mountains, Tom finds far more than he is searching for — and starts to learn the deeply complicated, disturbing truths of his own identity and a world in which he had only before scratched the surface. In this poignant page-turner, a novel that blends elements of science fiction, political thrillers and an Orwellian-style future, rising novelist AM Wilson takes readers on a wild ride inside what could become the future of the United States, if we ruin ourselves from the inside. It’s a novel that will make you think, no matter what you think of America.

Seriously, if you like dystopian or urban dystopian books check this one out and hope you get to hear the interview on Red River Radio Tales from the Pages.

Now for my summer. We went to the Taylor Swift concert and it was held even in the rain. It drizzled all the time but there were times when you needed an umbrella. We had ponchos but we got soaking wet. It was warm so it wasn't too bad and the music and special effects were outstanding. Then the following weekend we went to see "Mean Girls" on Broadway. That was so good we had to go home and see the movie. But you know what, the show is better than the movie so if you get a chance go see it. 

Hope you enjoy the rest of the summer and tune in to the show today. If you can't get there don't worry. You can hear it in archives. Just click on the link either on Facebook or Twitter. 

Until the next time, I might surprise you and post another time in August. Stay cool and dry.


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