Monday, April 28, 2008

Sean Williams

Sean Williams is a New York Times-bestselling author of speculative fiction. He is the author of over sixty published short stories and twenty-two novels, including the Books of the Cataclysm and The Resurrected Man, and is a multiple recipient of both the Ditmar and Aurealis Awards. As well as his original work, he has written several novels in the Star Wars universe.

Recently, I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
While working on a novel, I always try to read something that will influence my writing just the right way. That doesn't necessarily mean a book in the same genre; more often it's the style and tone I'm looking for, like finding the right up-beat tempo to keep the weights pumping at the gym (not that I spend much time doing that). Because I've just started something intimate and fantastical for younger readers, the book I'm reading at the moment is Sylvia Engdahl's Enchantress from the Stars, a 1970 novel I somehow managed to miss during my childhood that an editor friend handed as inspiration. I can see why Firebird re-released it. Its devices are all completely visible, but it remains engaging. It's also like the best sort of pop music or puzzle: simple but timeless for reasons that aren't always immediately obvious. Those metaphors are contradictory, I know; the right one is eluding me today.

Before Sylvia Engdahl, I read Norman F. Cantor's In the Wake of the Plague, which I picked up at the Frick Museum while on honeymoon last year. (It takes me a while to get to books, sometimes.) That wasn't research material, but it could easily have been. On that front I have a couple of study guides on Shakespeare's Coriolanus piled up nearby, plus Michael Chorost's memoir about life after a cochlear implant. The tower is growing, and will need attention soon. I'm most keen, however, to launch into John Harwood's second Gothic novel, The Séance or Rob Shearman's mixed assortment of Tiny Deaths. Whichever speaks to me in the loudest voice.
Visit Sean Williams' website.

--Marshal Zeringue