Blog tour: The Chair

Welcome to the blog tour for The Chair by GB Williams! Fancy a peek behind the scenes? Here we go…

Hi GB! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Chair! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thanks Silvia, appreciate that. The book has two elements, the main story is that of Jay, a hacker who hacks into the wrong thing and, in running from his problems, crashes his car on the remote Cader Idris mountain. Luckily, Jay has the good fortune to be found by members of the mountain rescue team. They, Branwen and Cobb, provide shelter and safety to Jay and stand up to the people who come after him.

The second part of the story is about the local vet, Branwen Jones and the struggles she experiences. She doesn’t feel she has a place in the village anymore, and her attraction to Cobb is going unrequited. With secrets and pain to hide, she’s not ready for the additional stresses Jay brings into her life and she’s not sure she can survive it. For his part, Cobb, can’t believe that Branwen is actually interested in him. Even if he did believe it, the ghosts of his past won’t let him do anything about it. He lost another woman by putting her in the firing line, he can’t do that again.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I had the basic idea before I started writing it, and it had run around in my head for some months before I started writing. Then it evolved through many twists and turns as books often do. Also, the characters told me things about themselves that I didn’t know when I started, so there were some surprises for me along the way. Baron was the biggest surprise, he turned into quite a different character than then one I was expecting. Then once draft one was done, I read it and didn’t like what I read. There were too many point-of-view characters and I knew that I had to change that. Thus, I reviewed the book and looked who at could carry the majority of scenes, what that meant is that Simons and Baron both had to carry more weight than they first had. This gave Simons much more to do and allowed me to explore a lot more of him and his tactics, which meant that he took a much bigger part in the book, and I think it benefits from that. This was also the time when Baron really started talking to me, and I got to see Shoreham and the others through his eyes, it wasn’t the view I had expected, and again, I think that really adds to the depth and colour to the book.

Was The Chair your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: No, it wasn’t. The book was originally intended to be called “WilderNet”, but somewhere along the line it got changed to “Wilderness”. Then, just as I was about to send the book out, I realised that the title wasn’t good enough. So, I had to find something else, and for a while I wasn’t at all sure what to call the book. It took me a surprisingly long time to see what was in the book to start with, that Cader Idris means Chair of Idris, then there’s the other chair, so that was obviously what the book wanted to be called, I as the author, just took a while to see that.  And yes, I am aware that I talk about my characters and books at if they have a life and a will of their own, but that’s because in many ways, they have.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the roles of Cobb and Branwen?

A: For Branwen I would like a Welsh actress, and in this case, Gwyneth Keyworth comes immediately to mind. As for Cobb, well, I can never really decide. I’m torn between Damian Lewis and Paul Bettany, I’m sure either would do a good job. However, for Simons, I think James Purefoy would be absolutely perfect.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: The easiest to write was the scene in the bar where an ultimatum forms the crux of the story between Branwen and Cobb and reveals so much that was hidden. It shows Branwen’s strength and her stress levels, not to mention rather pulling the rug out from under Branwen’s feet as many things have to be reassessed. The most difficult to write was actually a scene of arousal, not because I’m squeamish about such things, but because the arousal comes from abuse. The first time I wrote that scene, there was no arousal, and it just sat so flat on the page it was boring, at a point when boring just didn’t cut it. Writing that in has caused complaints, but without it, it simply didn’t engage or ring true. The reality is that the reader will always bring their own sensibilities to the book. Some will hate what I’ve done, some will understand the necessity. In the final analysis though, this is a crime novel, and the abuser gets what’s coming to him.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Almost the entire original idea. The original story idea was a car crash and two people trapped together by a blizzard, and yes, it was intended to be a romance. But that felt far too simplistic. Then, I started thinking about why the person who crashed would be in the middle of nowhere. They had to be running from something, and I had to work out what that was, which was when the idea of hacking came up, and running to a location that didn’t have good internet connection. Then I had to wonder why the first person was in the middle of nowhere too. People don’t cut themselves off without reason, and that was when Cobb’s back story started to form.

With those two storylines building and intersecting, I realised it was bigger than two people trapped by and blizzard. So, I threw the romance idea out the window and turned it into the thriller it became.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: I’ve a thriller doing the rounds to find a publisher at the moment, that’s about a woman in her early 40s who has to travel across Europe to trace some missing evidence of high treason. She’s not a spy, just caught up in the action because of her husband and foster son. In the process, she remembers who she once had the potential to be, and I think it’s quite a cathartic piece for that character. Writing wise, I am currently working on a police procedural that has a light touch of the supernatural. This book is being a bit of a problem child, my characters seem to be on a different play book to me, and the story has bumped me off course a couple of times. I’m really wrestling with this one, but however it knocks me off course or gets knocked by others, I can’t put it down. I know that these characters need to be read, and I know there’s a good story in it. This has the potential to be the first of a series, but more books will depend on getting book one to a place where I actually like it. That will happen, it’s just taking longer than it should. Other than that, there are a number of standalones that I’m mentally mapping out, one particular action/adventure tale that I would like to get on the page.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I’ve just started reading “The Commandments” by Óskar Guđmundsson, translated by Quentin Bates. I’m only 30 pages in and this Icelandic offering is already catching my attention and I wonder how it’s all going to resolve.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: I am on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and I have a blog (links are below). However, I struggle with social media to be honest, it’s absolutely vital, and I know I need to engage with others, so I try. The flip of that is that I see all these wonderful photos and posts and I think, nothing I do is going to interest anyone. I really do spend most of my life at my desk, and I hate selfies, well I don’t like pictures of me at all really. I do find some interesting research points as I write and edit, and I guess I should post more about those. And my blog is crime related, so book reviews, author interviews, and a few odd topics, but all crime related. As for interfering with my ‘writing schedule’, we I have to say the idea of a writing schedule is way beyond my capability. I’m the only one in the house who doesn’t work shifts, which means, since I now work from home as a writer/freelance editor, I have to be flexible and work around everyone else. Then there’s the cat who demands my servitude. Besides, I like to stop at 10:30 to listen to Popmaster with Ken Bruce on Radio 2. I usually score 0 or 3, if I get into double figures, I’m well chuffed. Writing happens whenever, wherever, thankfully I’m rather prolific because if I’m not writing, I get brain itch. This all means that I spend a lot of time alone. That in turn means being on social media and interacting with other human beings, even if only through a keyboard, is a welcome reminder that the world still exists out there. So no, I don’t view it as an interruption, I view it as vital part of my job.

Twitter:               @GBWilliams

Facebook:          @GBWilliamsCrimeWriter

Instagram:          @gbwilliamsauthor

Blog:                     GB Williams Crime Blog 


What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Don’t give up the day job. If you’re a writer, you need to write, but when a book is released, the last person who gets paid is the author and they don’t get much, so you will need to have another source of income. The warning here, of course, is if you get too good at the job and start climbing the corporate ladder, you might just lose the time you need to write. There again, it’s never to late to start writing, any hour, any age. If you are a writer, you will write, enjoy the journey.

Thank you for your time!



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