Today we have author A.C. Williams joining us on our blog to chat about her newest novel, New Name. New Name is the third part of the Destiny Trilogy, preceded by Nameless and Namesake, all three of which were published by our imprint Steel Rigg Books.
Crosshair Press (CP): Can you believe it? The Destiny Trilogy is complete. Does it feel real yet?
A.C. Williams (ACW): Not quite. It feels like just yesterday that I was holding Nameless, so it feels weird to realize it’s been like two years. But then I would swear I only wrote the initial draft last week.
CP: But wasn’t that years ago?
ACW: I came up with the concept in 2000 or 2001, somewhere around in there. I probably finished the first draft of the manuscript that would become Nameless in 2002. But it’s a very different story now than it was then, even though the main concepts are the same.
CP: So due to some of the heart-breaking events in book two, Namesake, you introduced a new cast of characters in book three. Who is your favorite new character in New Name?
ACW: That’s a tough one. There’s a bunch of new characters of varying importance, but by far the one who’s the most fun is Rain Stormcloud, one of the mercenary sisters Aura teams up with. Rain is the person you’d hate to meet in the grocery store, but she’s a lot of fun to write.
CP: Since we’re sort of on the topic of Namesake, did you realize how many people were going to be angry at you about it?
ACW: I’m usually a worst-case-scenario person. I always assume the absolute worst, so I actually expected people to renounce me as a friend. I mean, I’d hoped that readers would remember that the second book in a trilogy is usually the setup for a grand finale (unless we’re talking about The Matrix or Bryan Singer’s X-Men movies, LOL!). Some folks got that. Others didn’t. So it didn’t surprise me when several people announced they wouldn’t finish the trilogy, but it did disappoint me. I really appreciate the folks who hung in there and who were able to acknowledge the parts they loved in spite of the parts that made them sad.
CP: That’s difficult sometimes, especially when you have to wait for the conclusion.
ACW: Yeah, no kidding. And I’ve been biting my lip for a year, because I just want to scream at every reviewer who is giving up on the series that they haven’t read the end of the story yet. Because, believe me, nobody wants to miss what happens in New Name.
CP: Speaking of, how do you think people will respond to New Name?
ACW: Oh, there will be dancing in the streets. Well, maybe not that, but it’ll make a lot of people happy, that’s for sure. After so much discouraging feedback from Namesake, I wanted to make New Name the best thing I’ve ever written.
CP: Did you succeed?
ACW: Well, I’m certainly more proud of it. Namesake is still probably the hardest book I’ve ever had to write, but even for me, the story in New Name totally made up for it.
CP: Namesake ended with Aura in quite a sticky situation, but assuming she gets through that awful cliffhanger unscathed, what do you think is the most important lesson Aura learns in New Name?
ACW: Aura learns a lot throughout the course of book three. But, frankly, she’s been learning something every day since she woke up in the future, so it was time for her to start putting what she’s learned into practice. Aura is such a reflection of me personally, not because of what she’s gone through. Thank God, I’ve never experienced any of the traumas Aura has, but Aura is like me because she lived her life safe and protected and clung to her easy little faith because it was all she knew. But when life threw her a curveball and everything fell apart around her, she had to choose whether or not to use her faith. That’s an important distinction we miss sometimes, especially as Christians. You can have faith, but that doesn’t mean you’re using it daily.
CP: What’s one lesson you learned from New Name?
ACW: Aw, man. I can only pick one? Okay. Probably the most important lesson I learned from New Name is that I can still grow as an author. For both Nameless and Namesake, the manuscript I submitted to my editor had been originally written in 2012. I tweaked them before I sent them, but I thought they’d be mostly okay. Boy, was I wrong. I wanted New Name to be different. So I rewrote it from scratch before I sent it to my editor, and in the process of writing it all over again, I was actually able to fix the problems that plagued me in Nameless and Namesake. It was so encouraging to realize how much I’d learned over the previous two years of writing, and it makes me excited for how much more I’ll know in the future!
CP: So, you mentioned that Namesake was the hardest book you’ve ever had to write. Were there any difficult scenes in New Name?
ACW: Well, without giving too much away, Aura learns in this book that she is pregnant with Darien Stone’s child. And it’s the common practice in the world she’s living in that if you don’t want the child, you can abort it (sound familiar at all?). And Aura’s been through so much, she’s actually considering it. I won’t give it away, but writing the scene where she decides whether or not to abort her child was very hard for me. It’s such an important, controversial, and difficult topic, I wanted to make sure I was clear and that Aura’s feelings came through, rather than my own. Because it’s not my story I’m telling. It’s Aura’s.
CP: Do you have a favorite line in New Name?
ACW: Every word that comes out of Rain Stormcloud’s mouth. That’s a fact. Rain is the sort of character every author needs because she says exactly what she thinks whenever she thinks it with little to no filter. Rain makes chaos wherever she goes, and she just happens to have a fabulous sense of humor too. One of my favorites is definitely when Rain explains to Aura that she has an addiction to nicotine gum that’s she’s trying to break. Also the conversation about what to name Aura’s baby? Hilarious.
CP: What pop culture references should we be on the lookout for?
ACW: There are more pop culture references in New Name than in either Nameless or Namesake, so be on the lookout. There may even be some literary references. My brain is a pretty crazy place, so you never really know what’s going to show up in my writing. I will say, though, that there’s a certain gentleman in a fez and bowtie running around at one point. Just saying.
ACW: Well, I wanted to provide an easy entry into the Morningstar universe. Those three little shorts are three different perspectives on Kale Ravenwood. Ashes is written from Captain Talon McLeod’s perspective. Rise is written from Devon Chase’s perspective. Burn is written from Vix Valentine’s perspective. But they all give a little more information about Kale, and they provide some valuable insight into those three characters that’s necessary for the rest of the series. I’m hoping they’ll all be free soon, but I think Amazon is being difficult.
CP: So, for our last question, what’s one truth you want people to walk away from New Name with?
ACW: I guess, if I need to narrow it down to one thing, I’d want people to grasp the concept of never giving up. Just because you make the right choices and do the right things doesn’t guarantee that your life will turn out exactly the way you want. But even when life doesn’t go the way you expect, there’s still a plan. God’s still in control, no matter how bad things may seem, and He’s big enough to work all those bad things in your life into something beautiful. That’s Aura’s story. Don’t give up just because the road gets rough.
Thanks, A.C. Williams, for your time today! The most important question is, of course, where can you get New Name? The answers are easy:
- You can buy New Name on Amazon Kindle
- You can buy New Name in softcover format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble
- You can order New Name directly from Crosshair Press
Direct orders are a new service Crosshair is offering, and we’re really excited about it. You get your softcover book directly from us, and it includes the author’s signature! (And, on a personal note, we make more as a publisher from direct sales. So there’s that!)
So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of New Name: The Destiny Trilogy Part Three today!