An author who has been unfailingly encouraging, to me, and, therefore, stands as a literary beacon for me, is William F. ("Bill") Nolan.
I was assigned to interview Bill for "Reflection's Edge," (an online e-zine) back in 2003. Bill was then 78 years young.
I was a new-comer to fiction writing, having spent all my writing life as a journalist. Yes, I took some courses in writing fiction, but even those I took under the Journalism number "19" at the University of Iowa's famed Writers' Workshop.
Honestly, I didn't feel I had "lived" enough to be writing stories when I was only 18 years old. What did I know of life, love, loss?
When I met William F. Nolan (a living legend in Dark Fantasy and, perhaps most famously, the co-author of the acclaimed science fiction film "Logan's Run") he was kind enough to take a look at something I was working on at the time (Something that never saw the light of day.)
Bill was not super critical of my fledgling efforts. He did not praise insincerely, either. He mentioned that a fictional character in my book (the Sheriff) was a name he felt he had lived in another life. Bill has some interesting ideas like that, and he is an ardent vegan/vegetarian and animal rights activist.
Time went by, and I continued to write short stories (I suspect we both prefer that format but have been forced by circumstances to write "long"), culminating in two volumes entitled HELLFIRE & DAMNATION, which are organized around the sins or crimes punished at each of the 9 Circles of Hell.. I asked Jason V Brock to write the Introduction to the second volume, because I greatly admire Jason's work, as does Bill.
Jason and Sunni, his wife, had taken up residence near Bill (or vice versa) and were helping the now-86-year-old guru to adapt to changes in the modern publishing world. As a "mature" person of a certain age, I could relate to Bill's feeling that the computer kept him from producing work. [The Internet does have that effect.] Yet he has embraced change and prospered with it, producing award-winning work into his eighties. (We should all be so lucky!)
With Sunni and Jason's expert assistance, Bill produced a reminiscence of his 60 years of friendship with Ray Bradbury, published soon after Bradbury's death, and won a Bram Stoker award with that book this awards season (Horror Writers Association). (You can read my review of his book on www.WeeklyWilson.com).
But William F. Nolan is far from just a writer of horror, as am I. To quote his Wikipedia entry: Nolan is perhaps best known for coauthoring the novel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan%27s_Run \o "Logan's Run" Logan's Run , with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Clayton_Johnson \o "George Clayton Johnson" George Clayton Johnson , but has written literally hundreds of pieces, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry \o "Poetry" poetry to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonfiction \o "Nonfiction" nonfiction , to prose, for many publications, such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_Illustrated \o "Sports Illustrated" Sports Illustrated , "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_(magazine)" \o "Rogue (magazine)" Rogue , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboy \o "Playboy" Playboy , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Discoveries \o "Dark Discoveries" Dark Discoveries , http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nameless_Digest&action=edit&redlink=1 \o "Nameless Digest (page does not exist)" Nameless Digest , and others. He also had a long career in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_industry \o "Movie industry" movie industry , primarily working for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Curtis \o "Dan Curtis" Dan Curtis ("Dark Shadows" and "The Night Stalker") and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1976 horror film http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnt_Offerings_(film) \o "Burnt Offerings (film)" Burnt Offerings which starred " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Black \o "Karen Black" Karen Black and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bette_Davis \o "Bette Davis" Bette Davis . Bill was also a cartoonist for Hallmark in his early days and never fails to place a drawing within the autographed books he sends me, which I treasure, just as I treasure him, his encouragement, and his unfailing support.
He took the time (two days' worth) to read my very first solo novel (THE COLOR OF EVIL) through in its entirety and suggest editorial changes. He gave me good advice about a writer who was harassing me in every way possible. Nolan knows wheat from chaff, and his endorsement means something---to me and to many, many others.
Bill provided some wonderful blurbs for my book(s): "Connie Wilson is a born storyteller!" for instance, and a guarantee that the reader would enjoy my novels.
Because of William F. Nolan's praise, THE COLOR OF EVIL was reviewed in some well-read magazines that might not, otherwise, have taken a second look. THE COLOR OF EVIL series went on to win awards (E-Lit, Pinnacle, Shelf Unbound, Silver Feather).
Not horror, since it is more paranormal thriller (just as "Logan's Run" was more science fiction), but awards, nonetheless.
Recently, I received a hardbound copy of Bill's latest book, "Like A Dead Man Walking," which is autographed as follows, "For Connie! A friend and fellow writer whose talent I respect! As ever! Bill"
I cherish William F. Nolan's work and his friendship, and I hope he keeps writing forever.
HAKI = KILLER, the third novel in THE COLOR OF EVIL series, follows young Tad McGreevy and friends at Cedar Falls' Sky High Lab School through the second semester of their senior year.
Recently named a "PageTurner" by Shelf Unbound magazine and NABE Pinnacle Thriller winner, the series details the adventures of the young man (Tad McGreevy) with the power to detect auras around others (Tetrachromatic Super Vision) and to relive the crimes of those with "the color of evil" in his dreams. Khaki = Killer.
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