1. What were some of your earliest inspirations?
I was a big star wars fan. So to help encourage me to learn how to read, my mother subscribed me to Marvel’s Star Wars comic books. Also, while in 2nd grade, the teacher would take an hour out of every day and read to us. She would read classicchildren’s books like Trumpet of the Swan, Charlotte’s Web, Watership Down, and this little, obscure book called “The Hobbit.” I loved Pooh, but The Hobbit really captivated me and was the catalyst for my love of stories.
2. Who were your earliest supporters?
The main people who recognized my interest in storytelling early on were my mother and a few of my English teachers in grade school. I also had a friend In high school who was as into comic books as me and wanted to create some of his own.
3. In what ways, did they support you?
My buddy and I created our own comic book universe, and we created a few issues (and trading cards) before turning our attention to more pertinent things (i.e. Girls). My mother always talked to me about my stories and the overall craft of writing. My English teachers always gave me opportunities and forums to create my stories, whether it was “fluency” times where I was allowed to write whatever I wanted to write about for an hour, or a class project where I was to write a complete 20 page novel which would be spiralbound into a “published” book, or even being given a chance to read my story aloud to the class.
4. Name some of your favorite classic stories and tell us why they are your favorites.
I was always partial to Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” due to the graphic writing of the central character’s descent. He was manipulated by everyone he came in contact with, which parallels my protagonist’s plight in Godmode. In addition to The Hobbit, the Narnia series has always been a favorite of mine for all of the symbolism and iconography, as well as Asimov’s Foundation series, for the awesome worldbuilding and overall coolness.
5. What can you tell us about your chance encounter with a ripped up Batman comic?
On my way home from school one day, I came across a Neal Adams drawn page of Batman. A bit further down the street, I saw another page. And another page. I picked them up, and by the time I had gathered them all, I had an entire issue of Batman in my hands, but it was out of order. Being the story junkie I am (and maybe a little OCD, too), I took the pages home and tried to put them in order It took me about an hour, but I was able to put the entire issue back together. The process taught me a lot about story structure, and also made me a fan of superheroes.
6. Where did you attend college?
The University of Michigan School of Art and Design, in Ann Arbor, MI. I majored in Graphic Design.
7. Tell us about your college days.
I thoroughly enjoyed my five years at Michigan. It gave me a chance to meet, network and befriend a multitude of people from around the world whom I never would have met otherwise, and it introduced me to some wonderful opportunities to accomplish some very special deeds. I worked in the Art School alongside some amazing talents, and I studied creative writing under the tutelage of a critically acclaimed author (Jonis Agee, author of “Strange Angels” and “South of Resurrection”). And being there when my school’s football team won the National Championship was also very special.
8. Name some of the comic books you wrote and illustrated.
The first comic I ever created was in the 2nd grade. It was about a masked superhero called Manglor. In high school, I created two comic book series, “Mr. Prime” (about a supercop) and Delta Sigma: the Deadly Sorority (about Mr. Prime’s assassin ex-girlfriend). I also cocreated a series of comic books with my friend Tony Deshae – my contributions were guys named “Starpoint Executioner” and “American Gladiator.” In college, I wrote and drew stories for two anthologies: “Tales of Vengeance” (which had my Mr. Prime character with a new uniform and the new codename “Marshal”) and “Assorted Meats” (Where I debuted the Weekend Heroes). Postgrad I produced three webcomics: “Unbeatable Heroes” (a humor strip about some random heroes going on weird, nonsensical adventures), “The Seizure” (an action webcomic about a boy defending mankind against an ancient force of destruction. It spawned a sequel where the boy deals with the consequences of his victory. This can be found at www.theseizurecomic.com), and “Weekend Heroes” (a spinoff comic from the Seizure dealing with a team of inept superheroes. This can be found at www. weekendheroes.thecomicseries.com/”)
9. Tell us about the years you worked as an entertainment journalist for the Michigan Daily.
For two years I wrote urban music reviews for the Michigan Daily. It had some very nice perks and allowed me to hone my writing skills. I was able to get free concert tickets (most notably tickets to see Pat Metheny and Lauryn Hill), interview music stars and – most importantly – get free music weeks before it was made available to the public. It also gave me a chance to broadcast my opinions on music to everyone on campus. It was a nice ego boost.
10. What can you tell us about your short story, ‘That Weird Kid’?
That Weird Kid is a short story I wrote based on my experiences in grade school. I was enrolled in advanced learning classes at an early age, but even in a school full of child prodigies, I did things a bit differently than others. I rarely played with other kids during recess, instead choosing to wander around the school pretending I was the star of my own TV show. While other kids were playing sports, I was drawing and writing stories. I was a fan of Nickelodeon shows “Dangermouse” and “You Can’t Do That On Television”, and I read satire magazines like “Cracked” and “Mad” and my sense of humor mirrored that, so many of the kids didn’t get my jokes. I was labeled ‘weird’ and often made fun of, which was ironic because many of the kids who called me weird would have themselves been called weird if they were in a “normal” school. It’s not a good feeling when you’re considered too much of a nerd by other nerds. My short story was my way of addressing some of the things I dealt with during that time, but in a way that all children can relate to, with some lessons everyone can use for how they relate to each other. It was published by a short-lived online magazine dedicated to positive stories.
11. What can you tell us about your young adult novel, ‘The Leopard Man’?
I have some wonderful nieces and nephews. One niece in particular was really the first to welcome me into my wife’s side of the family. She is brilliant, witty, charismatic, savvy, and cool as a cucumber. I wanted to do something to encourage her through her teenage years, and I also wanted to do a modern retelling of an African fairy tale, because I didn’t think they were represented as much as European stories. So I merged these two things together to write a suspenseful Young Adult story about a spunky teenage girl who befriends a her substitute teacher, only to find out a dark secret he has been harboring, which leads to her having to run for her life. Starring my niece, Ashlynn.
12. Tell us about the games you have created.
The most prominent game on my resume is a game I co-developed with Richard Garner. It was a trading card game based on The Transformers that we created shortly after Magic: The Gathering first gained prominence. Hasbro liked the idea, but for various reasons couldn’t use the game, but they were developing a separate game based on their Beast Wars property. They incorporated some of our game mechanics into their game and paid us under the table. That game was called “Beast Wars: The Mutating Card Game.” Since then, I have self-published one other game, a deckbuilding game based on Organized crime called “Syndicate: The Underworld.” In this game you and your opponents play as one of three crime families, or the police, in a bid to gain the most money and take over your city.
13. Tell us about your latest published novel, GodMode.
Godmode is a science fiction survival horror story about a man who has to fight his way out of a building full of bizarre and deadly monsters, all the while learning disturbing truths about himself. Elijah wakes up in a cage and can’t remember how he got there. He escapes and finds himself on the bottom floor of a corrupt pharmaceutical company. He learns eventually that he used to work there, and he wasn’t a very nice guy while he was there. He was forced to be part of their experiments because they held his wife and daughter hostage. And now he must rescue them.
14. Can you explain ‘biopunk’ to us?
Biopunk is a subgenre of science fiction that deals with the forced evolution of humankind. It is best knows in TV shows like Dark Angel and video games like Bioshock. It deals with the future of biotechnology the same way Cyberpunk speculated on the future of computers. We live in an age where people are getting bigger, faster and stronger all due to a few little pills. New treatments of once untreatable diseases are popping up, as well as man-made diseases that are resistant to conventional remedies. We deal with stem cell research and cloning right now, so one can only wonder what is next in this realm….and what the consequences will be for delving into it. According to Wikipedia, “ A common feature of biopunk fiction is the “black clinic”, which is a laboratory, clinic, or hospital that performs illegal, unregulated, or ethically-dubious biological modification and genetic engineering procedures.”
15. What projects are you working on at this time?
I don’t have any major projects I’m working on at the time, but I have some things I’m slowly developing. I am writing lyrics to my next music project, which is a concept album dedicated to James Bond. I will record and produce the album when I am done with the lyrics, and I will also self-publish the lyrics as a standalone chapbook, and I might do some illustrations for it, too. I am also in the early stages of developing a Sci-fi/fantasy epic. I have the first storyarc plotted out, and I just need to write it out. In addition to that, I have a completed manuscript for a literary love story that I am seeking beta readers, agents and publishers for.
16. What do you do in your ‘free time’?
I am a Geek’s geek. I am a comic book reader and collector and I am big into comic book-based movies (I also like brainless action films and Joke-a-minute satire comedies like “Airplane!” and “Monty Python’s Holy Grail”). I am a huge pro wrestling fan, and I dabble in music from time to time. Magic: The Gathering is my favorite hobby, but I will also take time to tinker with whatever idea I’m developing at the time. I’m also a sports nut and a diehard Pistons, Lions, Tigers and Wolverines fan. And if I don’t feel like doing any of that, I’ll either play with my wife, or vegetate on my computer and play the Marvel Avengers Alliance Facebook game.
17. Is there going to be a sequel to GodMode?
That depends on the readers. I’ve gone on record to say that if my book can garner 10,000 sales, then that would show me there is enough interest for me to write the next act in this saga. I tentatively have this planned as a trilogy, but I need to know that there are people who will support this franchise before I invest the time in writing it.
18. Do you see your goals changing as you age?
19. If so, in what ways?
Not really. As long as I keep getting ideas, my goal will always be to get them out of my head and into everyone else’s, and I will always have the goal of profiting from my ideas. And as long as I’m not harvesting my ideas full time for a living, that will always be a goal of mine.
20. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Quan Williams?
Get to know me! I think I’m a pretty cool guy, if I do say so myself. I’m open to networking with anybody and almost everybody, so don’t be afraid to send me an invite on twitter, linkedin, Google plus or Facebook. All I ask is that you don’t be a pest, and do take the time to support some of my creative projects. Read one of my books, play one of my games, or listen to one of my music projects. I’m sure there’s SOMETHING I created that you’ll like.
Quan Williams has previously published three other books and various short stories, as well as spending two years as a journalist for The Michigan Daily Newspaper. He studied creative writing under the tutelage of Jonis Agee, author of “Strange Angels” and “South of Resurrection.”
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