For me, today is gonna be busy. I’ve gotta make a quick run over to Jenny’s this
afternoon in order for us to exchange gifts, and then I’ve gotta get back here in
time for dinner. On Christmas Eve we usually eat right at six pm, and then we havethis little family type traditional thing that we do. We all go into our living room right after dinner, fire up the fireplace, and then sip on coffee or egg nog together. That’s pretty nice, ain’t it? There’s also the slight chance that if we beg, plead,
or just plain get on Mama’s nerves enough that she might let us open one Christmas
gift. Underline the word “might.“ We’ll be really lucky if that happens, though,
because Ed Jr. and my mom believe in opening gifts on Christmas morning only. Mama
says we do that to be sure we celebrate Jesus’ birthday when we’re supposed to, Ed
Jr. says that we open them then so that he doesn’t have to listen to any pissing
and moaning about us not having any gifts left to open. He adds that if anyone has
a right to a peaceful Christmas, it’s him, as he has to cut down and put up the tree,
deal with mama’s relatives, and pay the tab for our entire Christmas. Not to mention
the fact that he’s a Korean veteran. You‘ve got admit his logic is not bad, at least
it‘s pretty original.
Let’s have a warm cyber applause for Ed Williams! Ed comes on our cyber stage here doing the M.C. Hammertime dance as Roll On Down The Highway by Bachman-Turner Overdrive blasts in the background.
Welcome to Wednesday Spotlight, Ed! Grab a seat and make yourself at home. And just for you, I have plenty of Atomic Fireballs to keep this interview fun and lively. Help yourself. Let’s get rolling with this interview, shall we? You’ve written a realistic story of a deep Southern Christmas from the perspective of a sixteen year old boy that lived it. Let’s talk a bit about that. What prompted you to write this tale?
Ed: Sharon, first, many thanks for havin' me, I mucho appreciate it! To get right to your question, I'll simply say this - most of the Christmas literature I've read over the years ranged from mildly to almost sickeningly sweet material. Apparently a lot more people lived out Cleaver-type Christmases than what I was used to. I don't mind a heartwarming story once in awhile, but I also like to howl at the moon as well when appropriate, and the Christmas stuff I was reading was wax sandwich-like at best.
That made me think - when I was growing up in Juliette, Georgia (its one claim to fame is it's where the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed) we had some very sweet Christmas traditions that were passed down over the years. We also had the yearly Christmas cockfight that the men put on. They'd typically have it a week or so before Christmas, and it was the only chance some of them had to earn money for Christmas gifts for their families. Chicken fights and gambling aren't very pretty, but they were a reality during our holiday time, a way to help some families enjoy a better Christmas. So, I got to thinkin' about it all - if I took those things, added in some other Christmas happenings that occurred in Juliette over the years, and then added in a 17 year old Ed Williams who is turbo-hormonally charged and telling the whole thing, that it might end up being something a bit different than the usual Christmas story. And I've learned over the years that bein' different seems to be a lot more fun than being seen as yesterday's drawers, so I figured I'd try writing it. And I did.
Sharon: LOL Ed, you’re a hoot and a half, I’m sure this book will be a real crowd pleaser. So can you tell me what genre ChristmaSin is considered?
Ed: Sharon, I would categorize it as early Juliettian Christmas literature. (Tami might tell you that it's humor or at least a stab at it). <
Sharon: I find it interesting when a book doesn’t necessarily meet the guidelines of a certain genre. To me, that makes it a unique read and makes me want to read it all the more! So is ChristmaSin your first book or have you written others
Ed: My first book actually came out back in 1998 - I horsed around and wrote this wild ass collection of stories about things we did back when I was growing up in Juliette - things like accidentally running over my virginal steady girlfriend's dog when I was slippin' out with another girl a bit more morally challenged, the night my father and I caught the choir leader at our local church exploring the panties of one of the choir ladies in the back seat of his car, stuff like that. Through a huge series of flukes these stories got published under the title, Sex, Dead Dogs, and Me: The Juliette Journals. It ended up being printed in both hardback and paperback versions, and the book actually got picked up by BAM nationally and B&N regionally. Then, in 2003, a sequel came out entitled, Rough As A Cob: More From The Juliette Journals. It was released in both hardback and paperback versions as well. In 2007, a story of mine, Sally the Screamer, appeared in the Southern humor anthology Southern Fried Farce. And now ChristmaSin' is about to be released. I've been truly blessed publishing-wise, I genuinely feel like the Forrest Gump of Literature due to the flukey nature of my publishing experiences.
Sharon: Let’s have a big round of cyber applause for Ed! That’s some publishing history—and one to be proud of. Mega congrats! Could you tell the readers a bit about your favorite genre and why this type of book appeals to you?
Ed: I love biographies and historical type books, there's something about real life happenings and people who do remarkably good or infamous things that fascinates me. When it's real, I can feel something.
Sharon: And there ya have it folks, a man after my own heart! Good answer. Now, Ed, what type of emotions are you hoping to draw from readers with ChristmaSin?
Ed: Sharon, the truth is, like most writers I hope its readers love the hell out of it. If they don't, however, I hope that they hate it like whiskers on a mother-in-law. I learned long ago that indifference is a person's worst enemy, and that's even more true in the literary biz. I don't want to bore anyone if I can help it, making someone mad or indignant is much better if it comes down to that.
Sharon: LOL Ed, Whiskers on a mother-in-law! what a scream! No one could ever accuse you of using the same old, same old. I love those clips you throw in, very catchy. Now, how long did it take you to write this book?
Ed: About ten or eleven months if I remember correctly. It was pretty easy to write once I got the sequence of events down in my head. My biggest worry wasn't the writing of it, it was the hope that it'd be readable once I'd completed it, more than a few drops of sweat beaded up on me over that. This is literally my first ever shot at a novel, and that fact did make me a bit nervous.
Sharon: I hear ya. That’s something writers all experience. But with your sense of humor, no doubt it’s carried over in your books. Now let’s talk about Ed Williams. How long have you been writing and what prompted you to start writing:
Ed: Sharon, I started writing back in 1995, and began totally on a dare. I'd gone to a business-type party one evening, one of those business after hours type deals, and told a wild country boy story to a group of guys there. You know the kind, the kinda stories where you shut up talking if a lady happens to walk up on you. After I told it, one of the guys in our group said, "Hey man, you ought to go home and write that down."
I went home and did exactly that - from that point on I guess I've never really stopped writing.
Sharon: The birth of a killer career, I’d say. Now, do you enjoy reading as much as writing or do you use reading to enhance your writing skills?
Ed: I write strictly for fun, and it's just like sex - when I feel like it I do it, there's no rhyme or reason as to when or how it happens. It's just the way it happens for me, and I like it like that. A lot.
(Laughter explodes from cyber space)
Sharon: Okay, Ed, brought the house down with that one. Now, what drives you to write? To keep plugging away at the keyboard even when you run into major stumbling blocks? Tell us about some of your major stumbling blocks and what you do to get past them.
Ed: Sharon, the truth is, writing for me is just like eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard over at the Dairy Queen, it's just pure fun. I don't think I've had a minute of writer's block ever in my life, and if it became anguishing for me to write I'd just find something else to do. Fun is the name of my game, and I aim to have it - if writing ceased to be enjoyable, it'd just mean that there'd just be more time for me to ride mega roller coasters or go to Vegas, two of my favorite personal entertainment options.
Sharon: Do you have any superstitions you’d like to share with the readers? Something you feel brings you good luck when you write?
Ed: When I write, I do so in a quiet environment, I'll suck on an Atomic Fireball and maybe occasionally get up and read a few strips from The Calvin And Hobbes Treasury in order to keep it all loose and fun. If I really need a literary kick in the ass to get movin', I just put on the Bachman-Turner Overdrive classic hit, Roll On Down The Highway. That song always makes me feel good, it can make me want to write, sing, have sex, and do the M.C. Hammertime dance all at once!
Sharon: Ed, you are indeed one in a million! Can you tell us something that makes you unique? Is there someone or something in your life that drives you? Pushes you to find your inner muse?
Ed: I'm proud to be the grandson and son of Ed Sr. and Ed Jr., I know exactly who I am, and I aspire to be nothing more or less. I figure I was put here for a reason, I think all this writing related stuff is happening to me for some reason, and I aim to do my very best at it. I really don't worry about what other people think of me, I love a very pretty lady, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, classic Nintendo video games, and not getting caught at hell raising. Being all the different facets of me is what really drives me, writing is but one part of who I am.
Sharon: And there you have it, folks, a well-balanced man! Well, Ed, that brings us to the end of this interview. I have three trivia questions I always ask my guests. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? If you could choose any era in history in which to live, which would it be and why? And last but not least, if you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and who would you want playing your leading lady?
1. Sea Island, Georgia - beautiful white sand beaches and the most private environment imaginable. I really dig it.
2. If I could live in any era of history, I'd have made sure that I hit age sixteen back in 1956. I mega love Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, and Little Richard, I just wish I could've been alive to experience all of them in their prime. Any of them can still outrock just about anything goin' today!
3. I did actually star in some literary fiction - Trish (Graves) Jensen wrote a book years ago called Send Me No Flowers, it was a Precious Gems Romance. It was about this South Carolina sheriff, who attracted a decent share of female attention, and Trish modeled him after me, I was so amazed. She dedicated the book to me as well, I'll always love her for that.
Sharon: Awesome! And finally, where can readers get in touch with you and where can they buy ChristmaSin?
Ed: They can find me at the following places:
www.twitter.com/ELW3 Y'all come join us for Twitterganza, October 2009!
I love emails from readers, shoot 'em to me, I answer everyone personally!
Oh, sorry darlin' it's–
Sharon: Thank you for a close up and personal with Ed Williams! It’s been a lot of fun and I hope you come back when your book’s released to chat with readers. Best of luck with the release of ChristmaSin and all future books, Ed. It’s been a pleasure! Now folks, keep a watchful eye for ChristmaSin to be released in November. And here is a sneak preview to the trailer.