SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR: J O H N W I L L S
Before we get started talking about your books, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your occupation outside of writing?
I was born and raised in
where I attended Catholic schools to include college. I served two years in the Army and then joined the Chicago P.D., where I served for more than twelve years. I left the force to become an FBI agent and retired from the Bureau after twenty-one years. I began to write professionally in my first year of retiremeent in 2004. Since then I've had more than one hundred articles published on the subjects of officer survival, training, and ethics. I've also created a book series. Chicago
I also work from my home in
Virginia for a company in that deals in training. I check my emails each day to see if they are sending me to teach a class to police departments or military. Seattle
Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
Definitely an extrovert, I don't shy away from people that's how you get information.
Do you have any pets?
We have a one year old Cairn terrier named Missy. She has filled the hole in our hearts that was created when our twelve year old Westie, Angel, passed away last year. (I’m sorry to hear that. It’s so hard when one of our furry family members leaves us.)
What are your favorite books to read?
I start each day with the greatest book ever written--the Bible. Talk about great stories! (Totally agree!! It’s the best book, written by the greatest Author!) Afterward I read a variety of books, thrillers, mysteries, romantic fiction, true crime. I love reading Richard Paul Evans and Dan Walsh. Since I write book reviews for the
Journal of Books, I have the opportunity to read a myriad of authors and genres. New York
Where is the most unique place you have traveled?
Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
Family. My wife and I just celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. God has blessed us with three wonderful children and four precious grandchildren. The name, "Papa," has been the crown jewel for me. Whenever the grandkids call my name it's a constant reminder that I am rich beyond belief.
How many books have you written and how many of those are published? My third book, TARGTETD, is set for an April 6, 2011 release. It's the next book in a series I created, The
Warriors Thriller Series. The first two were titled: Chicago Chicago Warriors: Midnight Battles in the , and, Gripped By Fear. Windy City
Do you have one particular genre that all your books fall under (i.e. suspense, romance, etc.) or do you write in many different genres?
My novels are thrillers, but I've had stories published in several other books, both fiction and non-fiction. Obviously the magazine articles I write are non-fiction, so being able to write thrillers helps me to be creative.
How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser” (fly by the seat of your pants) ?
It's actually a bit of both. My books have the same two protagonists, but for each story I have to create a supporting cast of characters. I always have a few in mind, but as the story progresses I create others.
Prior to becoming a published author, how many rejections did you receive? How did you handle the rejections?
I was fortunate to have discovered a small independent publisher right from the start who liked my work and gave me a three book agreement.
How and when do you write? Do you keep yourself on a schedule or do you work while the muse is with you?
If I'm not on the road I write first thing in the morning at my desk on the second floor. I overlook the peaceful cul de sac where we live and stay at the computer for a couple of hours. If I'm travelling I write in airports, onboard planes, and at hotels. I try to write something every day.
If you have a new release coming out, tell us about it.
TARGETED comes out April 6th, and it actually tells two stories simultaneously, either one of which could be the main story by itself. A sniper is killing
cops, leaving no clues or eye witnesses. At the same time, a Catholic priest is arrested for child abuse. He makes bond and then flees the city to a small town on the east coast. The two seemingly unrelated stories merge in an unexpected violent conclusion. Chicago
If you could step into the world of anyone else’s novel or meet with any character, which/who would you choose?
I would love to step into the world that author Dan Walsh created in his first two books, The Unfinished Gift, and, The Homecoming. They take place during WW II, when life was simpler and unsullied by political correctness and technology. Family life was at the center of most activities, meal time was a time for sharing not only food but for telling stories and reinforcing character.
If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published, what would that advice be? Belive in yourself and in your talent. Be tenacious in your effort to share your work, knowing that someone out there will appreciate what you have created.
What's up next for you and your writing?
I have an eBook in the pipeline at Cygnus. It wil be an antholgoy of some of my published articles, and sold through the Officer.com website. I am also working on a non-fiction book called: Women Warriors, Stories from the Thin Blue Line. It's a collection of true stories about women in law enforcement, written by the women themselves. I will edit the stories and place them in a format I've created.
Anything else you'd like to share with my blog readers?
Writing has been a wonderful experience for me. More importantly, it's been cathartic to write stories that I've lived throughout my life. A pretty decent writer once said, "In order to write about life, first you must live it." Ernest Hemingway knew what he was talking about. (Love that quote!!)
Where can we read more about you and your work?
Visit my website: http://johnmwills.com/ I also have a blog: http://chicagowarriorsmysteries.blogspot.com/