Congratulations, Bill Fullerton, we've named your story,
Q. Okay, Bill, tell us a little about yourself.
A. At one time or another I've been a country grocery store clerk, oil field roustabout, infantry soldier, graduate student, paper pusher for the government, out-of-work, a newspaper columnist, and now a struggling fiction writer.
I came away with a Bachelor's from LSU and a Master's from Louisiana Tech (both in history), and have had academic work published. My fiction has appeared in Rose and Thorn, USADeepSouth, DeadMule.com, New Works Review, Chick Flicks, Muscadine Line, Nibbler, and now, Long Story Short.
After picking up a Combat Infantry Badge and Purple Heart in Vietnam, I lived in New York City off-and-on from 1970-1972 undergoing a series of eye operations and meeting my future wife. That experience is the background for my first novel, A Brief Affair.
Although born and raised in Louisiana, I'm now out-stationed with my family in Dallas where I've just finished my second novel, We Danced to Ray Charles. It's a coming-of-age, mainstream story, set in a small Southern town in 1968. As proof the age of miracles hasn't passed, it was named a semi-finalist in the 2005 Faulkner competition.
Q. How long have you been a writer?
A. I was a slow learner, but about halfway through the first grade I started to get the hang of writing.
Q. What made you put that first story down on paper?
A. I'm not positive, but odds are my fear of getting a whipping if I came home with a "F" in English on my report card played a big role.
Q. What types of stories do you write?
A. Most of my short stories have been romances, dramas, comedies, and/or unpublished. My two novels have been mainstream.
Q. Do you take most of your ideas from life? Or your imagination? A mix?
A. I use a lot of imagination to try and turn selected bits of my real-life experiences into something interesting. It's a challenge.
Q. What are your goal or goals as a writer?
A. To write at least one novel that's well-crafted, entertaining, and what Hemingway referred to as, "true." I suppose getting the thing published would be another goal. Otherwise, it would be like talking to myself.
Q. What do your family/friends think about your writing? Are they supportive?
A. My wife suggested I write my first novel which was based on our meeting in NYC, but I'm not certain she now doesn't regret that rash act. The attitude of my family and friends would probably best be described as benign tolerance.
Q. For you, what is most frustrating about writing? Most rewarding?
A. I've never pulled a Balzac, and rolled on the floor, tearing my hair out trying to think of the perfect word, phrase, or description, but I feel his pain.
The most rewarding part is when a reader says something you wrote touched him. It's very humbling, but also an incredible rush.
Q. Do you read much? What kinds of books inspire you to write-if any? Favorite authors?
A. A three-for-one question? You're tough. But I'll bite.
A1. A lot, at least these days. Back when I was working full-time, very active in community service work, and doing my best to help housebreak three kids, there was no time for novels. That was tough for a guy who minored in English Lit. Now, I'm trying to catch up.
A2. Good ones.
A3. The usual list of suspects: Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, P. G. Wodehouse, Elmore Leonard, Walker Percy, Walter Moseley, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, etc. etc..
Q. How do you handle rejection letters? Any hints?
A. I try to pity the poor fool who wrote the misguided sucker. If that doesn't work, there's always Jack Daniels.
Q. If I were sitting down today to write my very first story, what would your advice be?
A. Don't. If you reject that sound advice, I'd tell you to write, write, write, and then, while recuperating from carpel tunnel syndrome, read Stephen King's On Writing.
Q. What's your opinion on "How-to" books on writing? Helpful, a waste of money?
A. The good ones can teach you things you'd otherwise have to learn through
trial-and-error. The trick is picking out the right one.
Q. Do you have days when the words won't flow? What do you do?
A. Who me, writer's block? What a concept. But seriously folks, when stuck I either re-write, which often restarts the flow, or walk the dogs.
Q. What's a typical writing day like for you? Do you have a schedule? How do you keep from procrastinating?
A. Another three-for-one question. And I bet you're not even ashamed. Okay, here goes.
A1. For me, there's no such thing as a typical writing day
A2. Of course I have a schedule; it's just very neglected.
A3. You mean there's a way to keep from procrastinating?
Q. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and started writing? Do dreams inspire you?
A. No, but I've got a notepad in my nightstand in case it ever happens. Do dreams inspire me? Well, I'll assume the scope of that question is limited to writing and say, sometimes.
Q. Do you have a 'golden rule' of writing that almost always works for you?
A. Don't bore your reader. It's analogous to Elmore Leonard's famous writing maxim: Try to leave out the parts readers tend to skip..
Q. Did we forget anything?
A. Well, we've left out any mention of me winning second place in the tetherball competition at Boy Scout camp one year, fouling out in the second quarter of a basketball game, being class reporter in ninth grade, or breaking my nose while playing chess.
Q. What would you like to add?
A. My thanks to Long Story Short for all they've done for me and other writers.
At one time or another Bill Fullerton has been a country grocery store clerk, oil field roustabout, infantry soldier, paper pusher for the government, out-of-work, a newspaper columnist, and now a struggling fiction writer..
He holds a Bachelor's degree from LSU and a Master's from Louisiana Tech (both in history), and has had academic work published. His fiction has appeared in Rose and Thorn, USADeepSouth, DeadMule.com, New Works Review, Chick Flicks, Muscadine Line, Nibbler, and now, Long Story Short.
After picking up a Combat Infantry Badge and Purple Heart in Vietnam, he lived in New York City off-and-on from 1970-1972 undergoing a series of eye operations and meeting his future wife. That experience served as the background for his first novel, A Brief Affair.
Born and raised in Louisiana, he now lives with his family in Dallas where he's just finished his second novel, We Danced to Ray Charles, a coming-of-age, mainstream story, set in a small Southern town in 1968. It was named a semi-finalist in the 2005 Faulkner competition. Contact Bill. My blog: http://billsbilge.blogspot.com/