OP-DEC: Operation Deceit
Author: K. Williams
Genre: Historical Thriller
A shadowy past becomes a sinister future… It's 1933 and the height of Boston's social season. Claire Healey overhears a terrible argument between her industrial-tycoon father and her socialite mother. Claire's father sends her mother away, declaring she is hysterical with fatigue. Displaced by this disastrous outcome, Claire is brought to New York by her spirited aunt, to be raised beyond the reach of the damaging turn of events.
Nine years later, Claire returns to her childhood home to face her past once more. The world has long since exploded in war. A mysterious stranger named Carsten Reiniger has infiltrated the scene, placing his commanding presence among the old familiar faces of Boston's elite. Intrigued by the newcomer, Claire struggles to piece together his identity and finds a dangerous connection to her troubling past. When Claire's prying comes to light, she and her aunt are whisked away in the middle of the night to ensure their silence. Can Carsten Reiniger be trusted or is he implacably loyal to duty alone?
1. Tell a little about yourself. What you do when you’re not writing? What are your aspirations for the future?
I’m a recent film studies graduate, a dog mom, blogger. Sometimes I sketch doodles for my Zo Duck pencil series, sometimes I paint. More often I cook, but mostly I just sit around binging Netflix.
Aspirations for the future…I learned to cook from my mom—from the time I could walk. She’s an avid baker among other things. So for the past few years, I’ve been scouring the internet for cake recipes that tend to be a little more involved than the usual birthday cake. Last year it was a coconut cream iced white cake with lemon filling. The year before that a turtle cake. I’m looking at a red velvet cheesecake this year, or a peanut butter ball cake—a strawberry cake (I found the recipes on Pinterest, and for those interested, they can be dug out of my Culinary K board). I’m pretty much focused on that until June. Other than that, I will be doing commentary of current events and issues on my blog. Releasing my first novel, Blue Honor, with Booktrope and putting the first installment of my new trilogy out: The Trailokya Trilogy, Book 1: The Shadow Soul. Lastly, keeping my fingers crossed that OP-DEC does well with readers as my screenplay for it is in the hands of studies taking it under consideration for a film. I focus on cake recipes to distract myself.
2. When and why did you start writing?
I blame the film Memphis Belle (1990). I was just starting high school. Everything suddenly congealed into something that made sense. All the history documentaries I grew up on, all the films I watched, the tons of reading…I want to be a writer! And, so I started. The first embarrassing foray was an attempt at telling a World War II story about nurses in the South Pacific. I might return to the idea someday, but I could never quite get down what I wanted to do in that story. From there, because historical writing if done properly requires a lot of research and time, I chose to write high fantasy. All of this was sincere, but I hardly had the skills or expertise to put together a book of much worth at fourteen. Thankfully, I stuck with it and the skill and expertise is coming along pretty well by now.
3. Have any particular novels or writers influenced your writing?
For OP-DEC, I prepared to write by reading the book version of This Gun For Hire by Graham Greene. I wanted to immerse myself in the writing of someone popular at the time the story takes place. Since I was using the film in the novel, it was perfect, because whatever echoes I would shout back in my narrative would be aligned to that idea, running a whole tract of intertext under the narrative I formed. Once I read the book, I became very interested in Greene. He wrote spy novels up through the Vietnam War. Most of his work was adapted to film. He also served as a spy during the Second World War. The best advice about my field was taken from an interview in a biography on him about how he felt having his material mangled by Hollywood. He simply said to the questioner, my book is not harmed. It’s there on the shelf, just as it was…or something like that. He was happy to take the pay check to feed his family and wasn’t troubled by changes someone might make to his material in revamping it to the screen. I had found another writer of like mind! My books, should they ever make it to the screen, will not be changed, but the film will be a great book trailer.
4. Give us some backstory behind OP-DEC: Operation Deceit. Where and when did you write it?
I wrote OP-DEC years after having a dream about it. I mulled the story over in my head a lot. I wrote down the synopsis on a scrap and added to the pile when I felt it necessary. Forgetting it didn’t scare, because I figured if it was meant to be written down, I would never forget what it was that was meant to be written. Finally, just before I enrolled in graduate school, I decided to write it all down. The book would be the focus of my studies, having written and published it before the Fall Term, I could then examine how adapting my own work would take place and do the adaptation for the final project. Best three years I spent on a project, by the way. My writing was polished. I did very well carrying 3.92 GPA to graduation. I received a fellowship. I was signed by a manager to option the script I had yet to produce. I did produce that script.
However, more interesting is the process of actually writing that book. After years of mulling it over, it took me about six weeks to put it all down. At times I’d get stuck not clear on a historical point and needing to research it, or unsure of how to proceed in a way that didn’t take me completely away from the ending I was focusing on achieving. My research extended to moon phases, because U-Boats will not surface on the ocean in full moon light. Like kismet, the moon phases, the release of This Gun For Hire in theaters and so many other items all lined up in the history. Obviously, forgiving a fictitious U-Boat and crew picking up a fictitious spy…but the war events are accurate history.
5. What was your favourite part of writing OP-DEC: Operation Deceit?
Learning more about Germany during the time period. Learning phrases and cultural peculiarities. Being fascinated by my appreciation of German culture against the terrible things that the Nazi’s did to their people and others, when it seemed that all of Germany was behind them. Things aren’t so black and white as many of the books about the war would like us to believe. For instance, the other day, I found a photograph from the war that depicted a German soldier going to stand with a line of civilians in Yugoslavia who were to be executed. He had refused and given his life in protest against this. There should be more said of these people. Being able to do a little exposure of this in OP-DEC has been very satisfying.
6. What does your writing schedule look like?
I don’t schedule. I find it too binding. Writing comes to me when it’s going to come to me, and I can’t make it happen outside of that—otherwise I end up with a lot more to fix in the end. That takes away from time I could be productive writing much better things.
7. Which fictional character would you like to take to dinner and why?
When asked this before, I answered with Wolverine and Captain America. They’re my longtime comic book crushes, since I was a girl. But then there is Dr. Who (4th and 10th gen) along with K-9, or Sherlock would inevitably supply the best conversation by sheer intellect.
8. Besides your lead, do you have a favourite character in the story?
It’s hard to pick. Noreen is a firecracker, the French Twins, Marcel and Gustave are exciting and Kohl is adorable.
9. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
That Jane Austen’s spelling and grammar was a nightmare. I used to be so frustrated by the publishing houses that harped on how perfect your manuscript had to be before it got to them, or what their definition of perfect was. Writing has become a precursor to film in many cases and the artful wending of words has become less of a thing traded in for thin lines of text that aren’t very descriptive at all, short and often choppy…more like Hemingway wrote. I’m never quite certain about this show don’t tell bender. For instance, if I were to show the creation of the seven parallel universes in Trailokya, I’d need about 7 books, one for each just to write about that. Sometimes the smarter choice is to just tell. The point of writing a novel is to tell a story. Again, I think it stems from changing novels from being sand alone forms of entertainment or literature into precursory material of film. It’s much easier to adapt Hemingway than it is to adapt Dickens.
10. Any advice for aspiring authors?
It is very possible.
Think on those words, simple and clear in their meaning, and repeat them to yourself often. Don’t hold out for a large publishing house to take notice of you either. There are smaller steps between the big steps which you must take to get to where you’re going. Independent publishing may cost you up front, but that is an investment in you and your writing that can really pay off in the long run.
Picture the journey of the ring…from the time that it wound up in Gollum’s hands until it was destroyed along with him in the fires of Mount Doom. There were many years that passed, and that ring took a convoluted path, but it wound up getting where it needed to go. Though it’s a tale of creating a beautiful and powerful object and then destroying it, the point is about the journey that it took from that creation to its culminating act.
The path will not be short, nor straight. Be kind to yourself. Be prepared to take a lot of crap. Be intelligent about the criticism you receive. Be mindful of the responses from the universe, and know that some steps lead seemingly backward when they are the way forward. Be creative enough to use the lulls. Be willing to continue even when you’ve run out of lembas bread and have but one friend left who will see you through. Your humility, honesty, and integrity will get your through. Then you get to start all over again with the next book!
About the Author
Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she continues to reside, K.Williams embarked on a now twenty year career in writing. After a childhood, which consisted of voracious reading and hours of film watching, it was a natural progression to study and work in the arts.
K attended the State University of New York at Morrisville, majoring in the Biological Sciences, and then continued with English and Historical studies at the University at Albany (home of the New York State Writer’s Institute) gaining her Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, K interned with the 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging her interests in social movements and art.
Currently, K has completed the MALS program for Film Studies and Screenwriting at Empire State College (SUNY), and is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. K continues to write and is working on the novels of the Trailokya Trilogy, a work that deals with topics in Domestic Violence and crosses the controversial waters of organized religion and secularism. A sequel to OP-DEC is in the research phase, while the adaptation is being shopped to interested film companies. Excerpts of these and more writings can be found at: www.bluehonor.com.
Grand Prize - Paperback copy of OP-DEC: Operation Deceit (US only).
Runner-Up Prize - 10 Ecopies of OP-DEC: Operation Deceit (Int).
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