Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interview with Walter Jon Williams up on Black Gate

Today's blogpost is over on Black Gate, and is my interview of my friend and former writers group-mate, Walter Jon Williams. I've known Walter for over a decade now, and here are a few facts that you may not know: 1) He is not the only person I've seen pose for a wedding photo (later printed in Locus), with a toilet; 2) He has his own action figure; and 3) He is 100% Finnish, despite his name. Oh, and he also writes books and stuff and is running the Taos Toolbox workshop again this year.

Here's an exerpt:
Taos Toolbox is a workshop I’ve created for writers who haven’t really broken into the market yet, but aren’t beginners, either.  I call it a “master class,” but don’t let that scare you.
For two weeks in the summer, I rent an entire ski lodge at Taos Ski Valley, and I and other instructors and the students work on our fiction.
We do a lot of things that other workshops do: round-robin critique, talks on world-building, character-building, exercises, contracts, etc.
We also do something few workshops do: we will workshop novels, and we’ll spend a whole week on plot, structure, and pacing.
tractorbeamTeaching that is really hard, which is why so few other workshops even approach the topic.
Terracotta Walter
This year I will be teaching along with Nancy Kress, who is absolutely sublime as a reader and teacher.  And we also have hot young writer Daniel Abraham as special lecturer.
In addition, the workshop takes place in an absolutely gorgeous mountainside retreat complete with hot tub, wi-fi, and an occasional bear.
Meals are catered, and if you get stuck staring at your keyboard, there are plenty of other things to do: hiking, horseback riding, river rafting, and wandering through the wonderland that is Taos.
We’re still accepting applicants for this year.  For information, please go to

To read the rest, head over to Black Gate!


  1. Another excellent interview! I've heard of Walter Jon Williams because I was in the Star Wars fandom for a while, and I think he wrote at least one Star Wars book. I don't think I've read anything by him, though. And quite frankly, his thought process ... well! *g* I can definitely see how that would cause conflict with a capital C.

    Fascinating story about his Finnish ancestors and the new name! When I was a teenager, I tried once to make a joke involving Finns. I make no promises that it's funny, though. What do you call a native of Suomi to whom you must constantly say, "Hey, man, get off my back?" A dorsal Finn.

    1. Thanks, Melanie! Yes, Walter did write a Star Wars novel - it was the first thing of his I critiqued when I joined Critical Mass. It also got him on the NYT Top Ten.

      And *I* laughed at the joke. I think Walter would too - in case it isn't obvious from the interview, he's got a good sense of humor.