Meet William Speir, author of many books. Learn about his latest in this up close and personal interview.
I have always been fascinated by the myths and legends associated with secret societies, as well as the early orders of crusading knights (e.g. the Knights Templar, the Knights of the Round Table). I had just finished watching a number of television specials about the various secret societies to which many people believe the Founding Fathers of the United States belonged, as well as several shows about the Knights Templar and what happened to them, when the question came to me: “what would a secret society based loosely on the early crusading knighthood orders look like today and what activities would it perform to be relevant in modern times?” I sat down and began creating a group I called the “Order of the Saltier.” I developed everything about the Order – the symbols, the rules and governing structures, the ceremonies, the regalia of the officers and ranks, the Order’s aims and purposes, and the activities the Order would perform. Once I had the Order fully defined, the ideas for the first book began coming to me. Obviously, some of the events in the book are based on my own life, but set in the context of this secret society. Originally, I was only planning on writing the one book, but some of the people I let read the early manuscript drafts pointed out that I could easily write a series of books about the Order and the characters I had developed. The ideas for Books 2 and 3 came to me almost immediately after that, and I completed the Trilogy a few months later.
Is this the first book you have written?
No, I have written and published a number of books and papers over the years – mostly non-fiction. I published a number of textbooks on antique artillery concerning artillery drills, safety, tactics and deployment in 2005. I also attempted to write some works of fiction a number of years ago (gothic and fantasy), but I could never get those stories where I wanted them. After several years of working on them, I finally abandoned the effort and told myself I was not cut out to write fiction. It was when I was writing the artillery textbooks that I realized writing came easy to me when I was writing about something I understood very well. Once I had created the Order in my mind and on paper, it was easy to write about it because it was something I understood. Having the context of the Order so well defined gave me the structure I needed in which to build the story and the characters. The complete Trilogy was written over a five month period in late 2009, and I could never have done this had I not been writing about something that was so well defined in my mind.
How would you classify the genre of the book?
Book 1 leans more towards Crime Drama since the main action concerns the Order’s efforts to bring down a large crime syndicate. Books 2 and 3 are more Political Intrigue and Terrorism since the main action concerns the Order’s efforts to thwart an attempt by criminals to infiltrate the government. While all three books can be classified as Techno-Thrillers, they will be listed as Action-Adventure.
Who are your favorite authors and how have they inspired you?
The authors I read are ones who can tell a compelling story and pull me in so that I feel like I’m standing right next to the main characters. It’s a fine line between giving enough information to make a story real and information-overload, and these authors have always impressed me with their ability to provide just the right amount of information. The first novel I ever read was Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, and I still reread it every few years. The other authors I read regularly include: Frank Herbert (Dune), Tom Clancy (Patriot Games), Mary Stewart (The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills), J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), J. K. Rowling (The Harry Potter Series), David Eddings (The Belgariad Series and The Malloreon Series), Ken Follett (On Wings of Eagles), Thomas Harris (Black Sunday), Eric Van Lustbader (The Ninja and The Miko), James Clavell (Shogun and Noble House), as well as the classical authors like H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Alexander Dumas.
What’s next for William Speir?
Right now I am still working with the publisher to get Book 1 printed and distributed for sale. We will be launching a web site, in addition to the blog site already launched, to promote the book, and I will be attending events (in person and online) to promote the book once it has been released. Then, I will start focusing on getting Books 2 and 3 released.