Inside the literary mind of Bill Tyson
January 31, 2017
Caleb Pirtle III
Bill Tyson was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Raised in a military family, he was privileged to live in several different states across the USA. After graduating from University he moved to South Africa where he spent the next decade and a half.
He returned to Texas in 1986.
Today I am interviewing Bill Tyson, and one reviewer said, “Bill writes colorful characters with a well thought out, clean and intriguing plot.” He is a good friend of mine and a terrific writer. He can describe a scene as well as any scene in any book has ever been described.
Bill has also published three short stories on Kindle: The Cat in the Window, Goodbye, Johanna, and A Battle Forgotten.
Question: Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?
Bill: The Ghost of Grandpa Wills
Part 1: The Road West: Will Watson and his friend, Jake, take the road to the far reaches of West Texas in search of answers. But, it is a long, lonely highway and there is danger ahead—someone does not want them to reach their destination.
Part 2: The Devil’s Mouth: Follows up with the aftermath of Will’s first meeting with his Grandpa. Then to his horror, his family is threatened. Life quickly becomes very serious for the once happy-go-lucky Will Watson.
They are published as one volume.
Question: What inspired you?
Bill: One of my favorite songs, since high school days, has been, “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers. As I listened to it one day, a few years ago, a vision came into my mind. A woman, ravaged by terminal cancer, sat before a large fireplace. Shadows created by the flickering flames, danced around her. Tears streamed down her cheeks as the words of “Unchained Melody” filled the room wherein she sat. Her one, her only, true love had gone away to war many years ago. He never returned.
Before his departure, he vowed to come back for her. She had sworn to wait.
Now, many years later, she still waited, knowing he would be faithful to his promise.
However, from their love, a child had been born. A child now lost, and believed to be long dead.
But, that child was alive and believed his mother never loved him. That she had thrown him away.
Then, somehow, this cantankerous old ghost, Franklin Percival Wills, showed up. Don’t ask where he came from. I did not plan on him being there. Franklin just forced his way into the story.
He’s not a bad ghost. He’s lonely and misses his family. Just DON’T ever call him Percy, he hates that name.
I have since published three short stories in Kindle format. These reflect my time in Africa.
Question: Why and when did you decide to become a writer?
Bill: The desire became a “need” while I still lived in Africa. There I joined the Hilton Writer’s Circle in Pietermaritzburg, Republic of South Africa. They encouraged me but I had no idea about how to get published. This was in the late 1970’s.
In later years, back in the States, the need to write grew. The characters filled my mind at times, giving me no respite until I put their stories down on paper.
It wasn’t until I met the people at East Texas Writer’s Guild that I was to gather the courage and self-confidence to actually complete a novel and get it published.
Question: What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?
Bill: The writings of Wilbur Smith are some of my favorite and have probably influenced me a lot although I have not consciously tried to mimic any author’s style.
I also greatly enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”
I have read countless books by hundreds of authors down through the years. I imagine I have been influenced by many.
Qustion: Where do you find ideas for your books?
Bill: They seem to pop into my head. I know not from whence they come.
Question: Where do you find ideas for your characters?
Bill: My characters are a conglomerate of the many people I have known through the many years of my life. I have known hundreds of people in many difference places.
Question: How would you describe your writing style?
Bill: Informal, maybe. In my first book, I found myself trying to insert humor along with some mystery. I do want it to be realistic and lifelike. Even a ghost story must seem plausible within its own setting.
Question: What do you consider the most difficult part of writing a book?
Finding the time alone, undistracted, to set down and do it.
Question: What are your current projects?
Bill: Finding ways to market and sell “The Ghost of Grandpa Wills.”
Then I want to complete the series. I expect to have at least three more books in this collection.
I have several additional short stories about Africa in the works.
I also have a large collection of hand written and typed notes – full chapters – parts of full sized novels that I desperately want to complete.