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.
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Populace-M-Wilson/dp/1985066750/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530315126&sr=8-1&keywords=populace or https://www.amwideawake.com
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.