I’m really excited to introduce you to my guest today, D.J. Williams. His previous novels, The Disillusioned and Waking Lazarus, garnered praise from Hollywood’s elite, and his latest novel, The Auctioneer, is now available to pre-order.
Hi D.J., thank you for being here today. Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself first?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong until I was a teenager, then moved back to Los Angeles where I’ve lived for over thirty years. Being in big cities my entire life, and traveling to some incredible places around the world, has definitely shaped me as a storyteller.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was eight years old I read Treasure Island cover to cover and dreamed of one day writing a story that could stand the test of time. For many years, life took me on a different path. It wasn’t until I stood on the shores of the Zambezi River that a dream which I’d locked away was reawakened leading me to write my first novel, The Disillusioned.
And why mystery & thrillers?
I’m an avid reader in the genre, so I tend to write stories along the lines of Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, James Bond, Homeland, and others. And I like the idea that you’re bringing readers along this journey knowing there are twists and turns that you hope will leave them wanting more.
Were there any authors who inspired you or influenced you?
Definite influences are John Grisham, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Daniel Silva, and Lee Child.
What was one thing you wish you have done differently throughout your writing journey?
First, I would’ve started sooner! Second, I would’ve avoided the rabbit hole of trying to find an agent and/or publisher at the expense of writing more. If the story is good, both of those will happen. You can spend months, if not years of your life, trying to convince an agent to take you on, and that’s only the beginning. Convincing a publisher to take a chance on an author who is unknown is like climbing Everest without oxygen. It can suck the life out of you as a writer. Now, there’s the reality of the publishing industry, but if you’re willing to put in the work, sharpen your craft as a writer, and educate yourself on building a brand as a storyteller then an agent and publisher will seek you out.
Tell us a funny or interesting story
Surviving the night on the Zambezi River, we headed out the next morning into the bush to film footage for a documentary. An hour into the trek we came across an elephant who stood about fifty feet away. The guide suggested we get closer. I replied that my camera had a zoom lens. As the Land Rover inched forward I realized we were too close. The elephant’s ears flared, head lowered with tusks pointed directly at us, as a trumpeting sound echoed off the heavens. We flew backward while the elephant gained on us. I kept filming. Why? Because if it was the end, I’d have it documented for eternity. Suddenly, the guide slammed on the brakes, stood in the driver seat, and waved his hands at the giant beast. The elephant stopped a few feet away. With a dust wall between us, we froze for the next few minutes, until the elephant backed away behind a tree. I still have the original footage, and a photo in the archives as proof!
What was the most challenging part of writing a book?
For me, the most challenging is always the first draft. I spend months ahead of writing sorting through the characters and major plot points, but it’s always the first draft that’s the hardest for me. Once I get through that draft then rewriting, reshaping, and building on it tends to be an easier road.
How did you come up with the idea for The Auctioneer?
I’ve always wanted to create a character along the lines of Jason Bourne and James Bond, and the auction world seemed like a unique place to begin. And, a good friend of mine was one of the greatest auctioneers of all-time, so he helped me visualize the best way to introduce Chase Hardeman as The Auctioneer.
Without spoiling us, tell us something intriguing about a character in your book.
Chase Hardeman has made a choice to leave the covert operations for the government in the past, but the past always has a way of coming back to haunt you.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers?
Write. Write. Write. It’s the only way you’ll become a better storyteller. Don’t get caught up with visions of becoming a bestselling author. Instead work on becoming the best storyteller you can be and you’ll find an audience who will be passionate about reading your next book.
And any last words for your readers and fans?
I’m already working on the next novel in the series, so stay tuned.
If you loved knowing more about D.J. Williams, check his amazing video interview too!
Chase Hardeman, a former special ops veteran, is left questioning whether his past covert missions in the Middle East are the cause of the chaos that’s erupted in his life. Dreams of leaving a clandestine war behind and becoming a legend like his father in the auction arena teeter on the brink once he implements a contingency plan amidst an FBI investigation. Captivated by an old flame, Chase navigates the dark corridors of the collector car world in search of a myth. He believes finding this hidden treasure will reveal answers to a ghost buried in the desert of Mosul known to US intelligence as the Prodigal. On this perilous quest, Chase is drawn closer to a deadly threat as he leverages the criminal underworld to prevent a global terrorist attack. With the clock ticking, Chase is forced to relive the past in an imminent showdown and discovers the truth is not as it seems.