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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author William Jack Sibley about writing his new book, Here We Go Loop De Loop, A Texas Myth Unpacked. He talks about what inspired him, his creative process, and the advice he has for other writers.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

“I’m just a man whose intentions are good, Oh Lord please  don’t let me be misunderstood.”

When did you first WANT to write a book?

William Jack Sibley, author of Here We Go, interview on The Table Read
William Jack Sibley, author of Here We Go

When I graduated college with a degree in film, and I  wanted to be Alfred Hitchcock or Ingmar Bergman but  quickly realized I was only qualified to hang lights.

When did you take a step to start writing?

Wrote a play right after college that won a Southwest  Regional Playwrighting Award and got produced in Austin, TX. Then endured years of New York and Hollywood abuse  and decided (much too late) the least amount they can  mess with your work is by simply writing a novel. All my  editors have basically told me the same thing since, “Don’t  change a thing – tell me more.”

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the  first idea to release?

I seem to write a novel every 5 to 7 years. Stephen King and  Joyce Carol Oates I’m not. But I do intend to step it up.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from  the first idea to release?

5 years. (Wish I could say I’m able to toss these treasures  off in a couple of fortnights, but alas, not the case.)

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Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to  write Here We Go?

I have lots of stories to tell. We all do. Some are more gifted  than others in achieving this task. I’m somewhere in the  gifted middle. Writing is hard work. I love “having written” – not so much the onerous middle part.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Here We Go?

Shutting the world out. Keeping my mind focused. Stop staring at my dog who needs a walk.

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Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

I hadn’t written a female protagonist in a while. I’m a big fan of Nobel literature winner Nadine Gordimer who said,  “Recognize yourself in others.” If you’re smart, honest and  fair you can write decently about anyone or anything you  specifically are not. (Ask a Science Fiction writer that  question!)

Here We Go, by William Jack Sibley, author interview on The Table Read
Here We Go, by William Jack Sibley

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

I don’t write Simon Legree characters. I write real people  who are just as good, bad, ridiculous, noble, anxious and  unruffled as you and I. We’re all antagonist/protagonist in  our own lives. We’re all our own worst enemy. And at a minimum, each other’s salvation. The basis of all great  literature.

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What is the inciting incident of Here We Go?

A woman nearly runs over her drunk father crawling on a  deserted gravel road at 1:30 in the morning? As good a  place to begin a novel as I know.

What is the main conflict of Here We Go?

Realizing almost too late in life that you can’t have what  you feel you deserve but finding there are new roads to  attainment that can be equally sustaining if you dare to just  let it … be.

Did you plot Here We Go in advance, or fly by the seat of your  pants and write freely?

Total fly by the seat. I need room to find my way out of  freshly painted corners.

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Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Here We Go need?

(See above) All my editors have basically said the same  thing to me, “Don’t change a thing – just tell me more.”

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to  anyone inspired to write a story?

The good news – you’re the only one on planet earth that  can tell it YOUR way. The hard part – are you any good?  Listen to praise from everyone but take criticism from only  the smartest, most honest, caring people you know. Defend  your points but also be open to valid, constructive  appraisal. Quickly learn the difference between friends who  snipe for the kick it gives them and those who truly “get  you.”

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re  planning to write?

Novel # 4 underway – and that’s all I’ll say!

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

It’s ALWAYS worth the effort. Everything in life requires  effort. The degree to which one applies oneself is definitely  part of the payoff. If writing were easy and painless, we’d  be drowning in “letters home from camp” literature. To  write something that reads easy, unforced, witty and  insightful is like scrubbing the gymnasium floor with a  toothbrush. (Hemingway said “Kill your darlings.” My  advice is kill the Hemingway-fixation in your brain and find  your OWN fascinating, unique and distinctive voice!)

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

Facebook: William Sibley

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