Today William A Glass, author of the coming of age novel, As Good As Can Be, is visiting Ascroft, eh? to introduce himself and his writing.
Welcome, Bill. Let’s get started, shall we?
What prompted you to write about this historical event?
As Good As Can Be is about Dave Knight, a wayward boy who grows up during the 1950s and ‘60s. He’s an army brat and his father is an alcoholic. I was prompted to write this story because Dave and I have much in common.
How closely did you stick to the historical facts? If you used them loosely, how did you decide whether to deviate from them?
My novel is heavily autobiographical. The names of characters have been changed, time frames have been compressed in some cases, and tedious repetitive scenes were cut. Some events take place out of order. Other than that, the only significant deviation from historical facts is that one of the characters dies from her first suicide attempt rather than her last. This was done to spare the reader from this character’s lengthy decline.
What research did you do for this book?
I used Google to fact-check myself. For example, to make sure that a song I remembered playing on the radio during an episode was popular at that time. Other than verifying my memory, little research was necessary as Dave’s life closely parallels mine.
Do you use a mixture of historic figures and invented characters in the novel? Which is more difficult to write? Which do you prefer to write and why?
All the characters in As Good As Can Be are based on real people. I probably shouldn’t admit that for legal reasons, but I’m not too worried about getting sued. Regarding invented characters, I truly admire authors who write about imaginary figures in entirely fictional stories. My next project is going to be along those lines.
In an historical novel you must vividly re-create a place and people in a bygone era. How did you bring the place and people you are writing about to life?
That’s a great question! My answer is that my life proved to be great fodder for a novel. I grew up in an out-of-control military family (five wild children, invalid Mom, crazy drunken Dad) and we frequently moved. My earliest memory is attending kindergarten in the basement of the US embassy in Tehran around 1950. This story begged to be told and there’s no way I could have failed to bring it to life. Especially since I was willing to spend ten years and 27 complete rewrites to do it!!
There often seems to be more scope in historical novels for male characters rather than female characters. Do you prefer to write one sex or the other? And, if so, why?
I have no preference for writing female or male characters. I grew up with three sisters, and while we fought non-stop, the experience was invaluable. I learned that generalizing about people based on their sex will cost you an appreciation for their complexity and uniqueness as individuals. That said, As Good As Can Be centers around a boy and his Dad. While there are many interesting female characters, father and son get the most lines!
Thanks for having me as a guest on Ascroft, eh? I enjoyed the interview!
You’re welcome, Bill, and good luck with As Good As Can Be.
William A. Glass will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to enter the contest.
For more chances to win, visit the rest of the stops on Charlotte’s tour. Click here.
The novel is available online at Amazon.
About William A Glass: Bill is a retired business executive now living in South Carolina with his wife, Bettina. She teaches high school German while Bill coaches soccer at a small college. Their three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon, have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers. For recreation, Bettina and Bill enjoy hiking and camping out. Usually, they take their dog, Scout, along. When the weather permits, Bill commutes to work on his motorcycle.