Q & A with Author of Fractured Angel

KEN WILLIAMS INTERVIEW

1.  WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?

I must say it is life’s events.  The people I’ve worked with, the events that have shaped my life are my inspiration.  Serving in Vietnam as a combat grunt with the 9th Marines showed the best and the worst of human nature. Going through a war has inspired me to share the non-glorious nature of mankind’s most brutal invention with those who have not gone through war.  And the way the nation simply pretends that millions of veterans that have been forever changed by war are somehow excluded from the social fabric of our country inspires me everyday to put in print that terrible injustice.

Also, the friends I made among the homeless and the demonization that they put up with is always a well of inspiration. Their story of extreme poverty amongst so much wealth in Santa Barbara is the background of many of my stories.

Inspiration sometimes comes with a dark side. The horrors of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and especially Syria have pushed me to write numerous short fiction and poems. I wake up with images of the children and women maimed and slaughtered. I get up and write before I do anything else. Much of this has to do with what I experienced in Vietnam and aboard the hospital ship: USS Repose. A minister told me her Vietnam veteran husband has likewise been deeply affected by Aleppo.

I write because I must. It is the way of survival. 

2.  SHARE WITH US A LITTLE OF FRACTURED ANGEL.

FRACTURED ANGEL is the story of Lynne Swanson, mother, professional, middle class who is forced to visit the world of the homeless in Santa Barbara CA when her fifteen year old daughter, suffering her first psychotic break runs there.  To access this alien world she is forced to seek the help of Kyle Wilson, a social worker for the homeless. Their interaction: mistrustful at first and eventually romantic drives the story as does the shock of the often brutal world Lynne’s daughter now finds herself trapped in.  With the approach of the cold and wet winter, known as the “killing season” amongst those who serve the homeless the search takes a desperate and dramatic turn.

3. WHAT IS YOUR GOAL AS A WRITER?

I look to the writings such as John Steinbeck and Harriet Beecher Stowe—author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as leaders in how novels change reality.  President Abraham Lincoln is rumored to have told Harriet Beecher Stowe when he met her: “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!”  In my small way I hope to be part of a wave that will challenge how people view the poor, the mentally ill and especially the homeless and help end this national disgrace.  

Especially with my poems and short fiction pieces I hope to tell the stories of those who suffer from the incredible brutality of war.  I try and write for the forgotten people:  Battered women.  The mentally ill.  Survivors of the powerful who have little regard for the pawns they play with.  I want Putin, Assad and others who rage war to face the faceless people who pay with their lives for their absurd notions of manhood.


4. WHAT OTHER WORKS ARE ON YOUR HORIZON?

I have two novels ready to be shopped around:  HOMELESSNESS, A COMBAT VETERAN, MENTAL ILLNESNSS, A LOVE STORY is in fact a love story between a Marine combat veteran of Afghanistan and a mentally ill Vietnamese-American.  The backdrop is an abandoned warehouse taken over by the homeless.

GAIA’S REVOLT takes place twenty years in the future when global warming is having devastating consequences in California and throughout the world.  It is a story of how the fabric of our society is brutalized by those events.  Conflict for natural resources, racial strafe, growing poverty and homelessness fuel unending war.  Sort of reads like today’s headlines doesn’t it?


5. WOULD YOU CARE TO SHARE A POEM WITH US?

MOTHER’S DAY, ALEPPO

Quiet!

Listen for the cries

of my baby

His Father

Brother

Sister

Beneath the crumbling rubble

only the icy snicker

of Death’s hallow laugh

echoes back

My tears

mixing with dust

cements my pain

Assad’s

Russia’s

Death planes

deliver as promised

Hush!

Is that a whimper

of my beloved son

or merely the

fabric of my heart

tearing in two

Further afield others

tumble death

from foul mouth

silver jets

Brave warriors all

who killed my baby

His Father

Brother

Sister

Wear those shiny medals

proud

Regale others with

your glories

Just do so quietly

so I can listen

for my baby’s cry

I’ll wander

haunted streets of Aleppo

cries of the innocent

driving me insane

ghostly apparitions

now my family

Homeless

beggar’s cup dangling

from arthritic hands

till Death is merciful

I care not

if I eat

I only care

To listen

For my baby’s

Cries

And that of his

Father

Brother

Sister

First posted on Huffington Post Blog.

Book available here.

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