Author David Michael Williams’s genre-bending novel If Sin Dwells Deep releases on Oct. 2. It’s the second installment of The Soul Sleep Cycle, a series readers are calling “gripping,” “intriguing,” “compelling and dynamic.” David took a moment to answer the oodles of questions I had for him about the book, his writing process, and what’s next.
Q: Welcome to Tibetan Lemonade! Why don’t you start by telling me a little bit more about If Sin Dwells Deep?
A: What would you do if you could do anything you wanted? How would that change you as a person? If Sin Dwells Deep seeks to answer that question (and many more) through the perspective of Allison Greene, a conservative young woman who has the ability to control her dreams as well as those of others. In the dreamscape, she develops a persona far more rebellious than her true self, but she learns all too soon that the goddess Syn’s actions have real-life consequences too.
Q: What inspired the story?
A: Allison and a few of the other dream drifters of Project Valhalla were introduced in If Souls Can Sleep, Book One of The Soul Sleep Cycle. I had wanted to expand upon her story and reveal more about this secret government operation in the dreamscape, but there simply wasn’t room in the first installment. Instead of scrapping her plot, I broke it out as a separate book and added a few more storylines to move the saga, as a whole, forward.
Q: What was the most difficult scene to write? What was the easiest?
A: In some ways, the scenes that were the most difficult to write were also the easiest. There are a handful of chapters that appear in both Book One and Book Two because they are parallel novels — they cover roughly the same time span. Because these scenes appeared in If Souls Can Sleep, individual actions and dialogue were already mapped out.
And yet the corresponding chapters in If Sin Dwells Deep are reported from a different perspective. The new characters had to say and do the same things as in Book One, but their thought processes — motivations and intentions — had to make sense. I found these intersections fascinating to write because they had to be strong entries in both books without derailing the individual character’s story arc.
Q: Which character was the most difficult to write? Which was the easiest?
A: If Sin Dwells Deep features three point-of-view characters, and none of them were easy to write. Allison, the main protagonist, was challenging because I am not — and have never been — a young woman, though I could relate to many of her struggles. She can be socially awkward at times, sarcastic at others. My beta readers tell me I managed to make her very believable.
Then there’s William Marlowe, a psychiatrist who might be losing his mind. He had a horrible childhood and regrets some of the choices he’s made in the near past. He’s also openly gay and hypereducated, which stretched me as a writer. In some ways, however, I found him easier to write than Allison — perhaps because I got to know him a bit better in Book One.
Finally, we have the Wolf, a dream drifter who uses his powers to terrorize women. He’s a sick man who does despicable things. The darkness inside him took me well beyond my comfort zone as an author, and yet I thought it was important to make this antagonist as well-rounded and believable as any protagonist. His scenes were uncomfortable to compose, but I believe they represent some of my best writing.
Q: How would you describe your writing process? Did it change at all during the course of writing If Sin Dwells Deep?
A: First things first, I am a diehard plotter. I can’t write without an outline because I don’t like inefficiency. I need that roadmap, though I do let the story take detours as needed. I used an outline for If Sin Dwells Deep, but when it came time for the edits, I had to spend even more time refining it. I have this bad habit of backloading “revelations” in my first drafts, so when it came time to rewrite the book, I had to make sure I sprinkled enough clues, backstory, and so forth throughout the narrative. The story is all the stronger for this organizational exercise!
Q: Who are your go-to authors? How have they influenced your writing?
A: I tend to go in phases, but I feel Neil Gaiman can do no wrong. I like authors who aren’t afraid to experiment and produce something unlike anything else that’s out there. We don’t need another Lord of the Rings or another Harry Potter, for that matter. I’m drawn to innovation and risk, which is why I’m completely head-over-heels for the Saga graphic novels. I don’t need to be able to predict where a story might go; there’s nothing wrong with simply enjoying the ride!
Q: What tips or tricks would you give to your younger writing-self?
A: Be patient. Take risks. Write more. (Of course, my younger writing-self was kind of arrogant, so he probably wouldn’t have listened anyway.)
Q: What’s next for you, project-wise?
A: I’ve written a couple drafts of Book Three of The Soul Sleep Cycle, but I know I need to do at least one more round of heavy edits. If Dreams Can Die is slated for release in the spring of 2019, so that’s going to demand a lot of my attention in the months to come.
Well that wraps up our book release spotlight. David, it was a pleasure finally getting to chat with you. Readers you can read more about If Sin Dwells Deep at the bottom of this page, and you can purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Dwells-Deep-Soul-Sleep-Cycle-ebook/dp/B07G7HNHNN
Meet the Author:
David Michael Williams has suffered from a storytelling addiction for as long as he can remember. With a background in journalism, public relations, and marketing, he also flaunts his love affair with the written word as an author of speculative fiction. His most recent books include a sword-and-sorcery trilogy, The Renegade Chronicles (Rebels and Fools, Heroes and Liars, and Martyrs and Monsters), and The Soul Sleep Cycle, a genre-bending series that explores life, death, and the dreamscape.
David lives in Wisconsin with the best wife on this or any other planet and their two amazing children. He is a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association and the Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state’s oldest writing collectives.
Connect with David Michael Williams:
Check out David Michael Williams’s website, www.david-michael-williams.com, for more information about his books. Monthly blog posts include sneak peeks at future projects, scheduled events and appearances, and random thoughts related to storytelling.
You can also connect with him on your favorite social media platform:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onemillionwords/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/1MillionWords
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-williams-7229626b/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14427025.David_Michael_Williams
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/David-Michael-Williams/e/B00HEBQ7CI/
Don’t forget to check out If Sin Dwells Deep!
Even good girls have secrets.
When straight-laced Allison sleeps, the rebellious goddess Syn wakes. Having a fling in the dreamscape may seem like harmless fun, but when a sadistic predator learns her true identity, the fantasy begins to bleed into real life.
If Sin Dwells Deep — a parallel novel to If Souls Can Sleep — exposes the hidden world of dream drifters and explores the war between gifted government agents and those who would use their abilities to corrupt life, death, and that which lies beyond.
Buy it in paperback or for Kindle here: https://www.amazon.com/Dwells-Deep-Soul-Sleep-Cycle-ebook/dp/B07G7HNHNN