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  • Book Expo America - Interview with Charlie Williams
Book Expo America - Interview with Charlie Williams
Written by
Helen Smith
May 2011
Written by
Helen Smith
May 2011
Charlie Williams, British author of Stairway to Hell and the Mangel Trilogy, will be heading to Book Expo America in New York in May. I asked him a few questions about what he plans to do while he's there:

Q:) Charlie, have you ever been to Book Expo America or any other book trade fair before? How about New York, have you been there?

Hi Helen. I have never even been to America before. The furthest west I have been is Llanelli, as far as I know. Saying that, I always wanted to go to the US and just never got around to it. Like most other English kids, much of the cultural stuff I consumed in the 70s and 80s was American, be it music or comics or TV, and you tend to get a feel for what it's like over there. So I'm expecting New York to be all red Camaros with the doors welded shut, donut-eating cops and rappers.

I have been to a few big book events though, like Hay, the Brussels Book Fair and various crime ones. I'm sure BEA will be tiny compared to them. It's in a shack, right?

Q:) Why are you going to BEA this year?

AmazonEncore are publishing a few of my books (first up Deadfolk on 10th May) and they have invited their authors over there. It's a hell of a perk, getting flown out to NYC. I don't know what we're meant to do there but whatever it is, it's worth it!

Q:) It's interesting that you've got five books coming out in consecutive months between April and August this year. That kind of publishing blitz sounds quite unusual - what's the background to it?

One of the books was a novella - Graven Image - which came out in April from Five Leaves Press. The other four are my Mangel series, which AmazonEncore are doing. I had some problems placing the fourth one with the original publisher, Serpent's Tail, and AmazonEncore stepped in to do it. When I mentioned that the first three were just out of print, they took those too. The idea is to publish one per month in the lead-up to the new one, which is called One Dead Hen and is out in August.

Q:) I love the covers. Did you have any part in choosing them?

They have been very fair about letting the author have an input, but I generally give abstract suggestions and let the designer get on with it. It's their job, isn't it? If I were a visuals man it might be different, but I'm not. Saying that, I didn't like a couple of ones they came up with and they were happy to go back to the drawing board. This is not the case with all publishers.

Q:) On your website you mentioned under the entry dated 21st April that "I've always advocated writing on the fly without an outline." Should I deduce from that that you won't be planning every minute of your attendance at BEA either? What are you hoping to get out of it while you're there?

I plan to get to the airport on time - that's about it. I don't know what to expect so we'll see how it goes. Saying that, I will have a look and see if there is anyone interesting I should seek out. Obviously there will be loads. Maybe I should just do no planning at all. Yes.

Q:) What do you hope to get from it?

Convince a couple of people that my books are worth a read, I guess. And pick up some books by others, I hope. And have a good time. It's books! I also want to try out my American accent and fool a couple of people. It's really good, I swear. Even better than Hugh Grant in Mickey Blue Eyes.

Q:) Any plans to step outside BEA and visit somewhere you've always longed to visit in New York while you're there?

I've always wanted to visit the swamps. Is that near New York? Seriously, I am really looking forward to getting a feel for the place. Statue of Liberty, Times Square... whatever - I think it'll be nice to just stand in the street and take in the traffic. I also want to check out a couple of the bookstores they have out there. Rock 'n roll lifestyle!

Q:) Any other events coming up where people might catch you reading or talking about your books?

There is one at Waterstones One in Liverpool on May 19th that promises to be cool. I will be alongside John Connolly and Steve Mosby and we will be talking about crime and horror and where they meet. The event is called, ominously, The Killer Inside You. Also my home town of Worcester is doing a lit fest this year and I will be at the local library on June 22nd. All this stuff is on my website, in case anyone is interested.

Q:) Where can people find you online? Do you have Facebook and Twitter accounts or a blog?

I have all those things! Here we go:


I can't say I am checking these all the time but hey, at some point I have to write.

Helen, thanks again for the interview!

Thanks, Charlie. See you in New York.

Let's be friends

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