ED- It’s always exciting for us, here at The Eerie Digest magazine, to introduce new authors to our legions of readers. William Fripp is one such author and his short stories have graced the pages of our magazine for the last few issues. William tell us about your love for writing and your earlier careers that led to it.
WF- I got my first job at the age of fifteen as a busboy and stayed in the restaurant industry for the next twenty years, but I have always had a passion for reading and writing. I wrote my first short story at the age of nine and have filled many notebooks with stories and poetry. Creative writing has been an avocation for me rather than a vocation, until recently when my first novel was picked up by a literary agent.
ED- In the positions that you held in the past you must have met many people. How have these acquaintances influenced some of the characters presented in your work?
WF- Of course, everyone I meet makes an impression of some sort and adds to the store I draw on for characters. I try to involve real life situations and people in my work, because I believe truth and fiction are closely related. The more believable your fiction, the more you involve the reader.
ED- What great writers have most influenced you and your writing?
WF- Wow…if I had to pick the most influential, I would say Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, but I also own every Michael Crichton novel and most of Stephen King’s library as well. If I had to pin it down, I would say Howard and Crichton are the most influential, Howard because of the sheer majesty of his vision and Crichton because of the sophistication of his style and the enormous scope of subject matter he chose for his work.
ED- What genre do you favor most, and why?
WF- I truly read everything, but I really enjoy fantasy and horror, especially heroic fantasy, such as the Conan series, because of the larger than life characterizations and sweeping panoramas that make up the world in which these characters live and interact. I am also an avid true crime and western reader.
ED- Tell us about the themes, and the main protagonists, in the first two stories that you contributed to our magazine, ‘Quija’ and ‘Salla’.
WF- Every year, I write a special Halloween story for my friends and family, and Ouija was one of those. The main character, Michael, is a man on death row, awaiting execution for a crime only he knows he didn’t commit, because for anyone else to believe it would require a complete suspension of disbelief. I have always been fascinated by the supernatural, and as a reader of true crime novels, the idea that otherworldly forces sometimes interfere in human affairs, and not always in the ways we wish they would, has always intrigued me. The idea for Salla literally came to me while working a third shift security job and watching the stars at three in the morning. I could picture in my mind someone else, on the other side of the world, watching their stars and wondering as I wondered at the vastness and artistry of nature. I wondered about the first human that actually had the intellectual leap required to question their uniqueness in the world, and Salla was born.
ED- In this month’s issue you presented us with an extremely great story on the level of Edgar Allen Poe titled ‘The Darkness’. Describe your thoughts behind this particular piece as you wrote it.
WF- This was my Halloween story for last year and I wanted to make it as scary as possible and to me nothing is more frightening than being buried alive, waiting to face your own demise in the pitch blackness of your own tomb. I wanted to create a character that was totally without any redeeming qualities, but that the reader could also feel some sort of sympathy for and I wanted to set it in a place and time where the punishment of crime was historically at its worst. Where better that Renaissance France?
ED- You have also written poetry. Please tell us about this aspect of your writing.
WF- In the tenth grade I had an English teacher who loved Emily Dickinson. She had us read Dickinson constantly as well as other classic poets, including Poe, whom I had already developed a love for. She was the first teacher that had really exposed us to poetry as an art form, rather than merely as a reading assignment. As a class project, she had us each write ten poems. I drew a complete blank until the night before the assignment was due. I awoke at three A.M. with verses running through my head and grabbing my notebook, began writing. When I was finished it was time to go to school and I had completely filled the notebook with more than thirty poems, which the teacher read aloud to the class. I have been writing poetry steadily ever since.
ED- Your first novel awaiting editing is ‘Ad Infinitum’. Can you give us a sneak-peek about this work and tell us when our readers can expect to read it?
WF- Ad Infinitum is my first completed novel length work and I am extremely excited about it. It is about reincarnation, the origins of life on Earth and good versus ultimate evil, an evil that usurps the life of young man named Walter Cavanaugh who commits suicide after the deaths of his parents. The entity, known only as the Other, uses Walter to commit crimes and fulfill its desire to bring an end to life on Earth. Fighting against the Other are Indira Singh, an Indian mystic, Mwele Botu, the descendant of an African tribal Shaman, and Aaron Stiles, an unwilling former child prodigy whose diagnosis of schizophrenia actually underlies a psychic power he has no idea how to control. The book is in the capable hands of my agent and is being edited right now. If I had to make a guess about when it will be released, I would say about this time next year, but if it’s any sooner, you’ll be the first to know!
WF- The Western is called Zachary Steele and is a story I’ve been working on and picking at for many years. I truly love Westerns, in print and on film, and when it’s finished, Zachary Steele will represent a piece of my childhood, memories of watching John Wayne with my Dad and reading his Zane Grey collection. The Conan trilogy also has roots in my childhood. Those early Conan novels by R.E Howard were truly the catalyst for my desire to write. The Howardian Conan series consists of twelve issues compiled by L.Sprague de Camp gleaned from completed stories and fragments of stories from Howards files after his suicide. They follow Conan from his early teens until he disappears at the age of sixty after leaving his throne to his son, Conn. My stories, called The Sons of Conan, picks from there and follows the exploits of Conan’s two legitimate sons, Conan the Second (Conn) and Taurus, as well as
Conan’s daughter Princess Radegund, as they try to keep their father’s legacy to them from crumbling without their legendary sire.
ED- You also have a site called ‘Bill’s Blog’. What does it entail and where can our readers find it?
WF- Bill’s Blog started as a book review site and eventually turned into a political blog and a repository for several of my poems, the three short stories you’ve so graciously included in Eerie Digest and excerpts from Ad Infinitum and The Sons of Conan. Readers can find it by following this link:
ED- William, we want to thank you for your time with this interview, and wish you much luck with everything that you do. I know that our readers have surely loved the stories that you contributed to The Eerie Digest, and we all look forward to a long lasting relationship with you. Please keep us aware of your work when it is ready to be seen by the public.
WF- It has been my pleasure and I can’t wait to write more stories for your readers. Thank you very much.