Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, A.L. Williams – My name is Alec Lee Williams, a transgender non-binary artist. My pronouns are He/him/his or They/Them/Their. I have loved creating things ever since I can remember. My art is the visual and written expression of what is in my heart and mind. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar I and PTSD. Mental illness is the hardest thing a person can deal with and the journey to emotional stability is long and sometimes painful. Especially as a person of color. My vision is to make myself face the pain and the struggle.
Thanks so much, A.L., for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
A.L. Williams: I always wanted to write. There wasn’t knowing. It was just an accepted truth. When I was a child I loved weaving stories, but due to fear I did it with painting and drawing. I don’t know if I’m good at it. I just do it.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
ALW: My writing style is very emotion. My characters are little whispers in the back of my head. I don’t come up with a plot. My characters introduce what they want and need. Then I make it happen.
I also put emphasis on sexuality. To me sex isnt about sharing body fluids as some would say. Its about the intimacy that only aex van provide. It is about for that brief moment that you are outside of yourself. Thay moment that you just exist with no baggage. Just you.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
ALW: Immortal Scars was published November 14th 2019. It is the story of James and Andrew. They find each other in the middle of chaos. This forces them, especially James, to face their pain.
JSC: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
ALW: It takes me a month to a month in half. It all depends on how much I write.
JSC: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
ALW: I feature pretty much all of them. These books,and the ones in progress, feature marginalized groups from race, gender, bisexuity, ace, and many others.
JSC: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
ALW: I am full time. It allows me to write and publish as quickly as I do. Something I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
JSC: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
ALW:Always characters. They are what matter most in my stories and the stories I enjoy reading.
JSC: What qualities do you and your characters share? How much are you like them, or how different are they from you?
ALW: My characters are all me in one way or another. Eachone is a truama or trauman response of mine. I inadvertently did that and didn’t realize until my thearpist pointed it out. Now I realize what I’m doing is dealing with my issues one by one through separating them into difference people.
JSC: Describe yourself using… (choose one: a food, a book, a song, a movie, an animal, a drink, a place etc)
ALW: My Attic by P!nk
JSC: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
ALW: My goal is to heal and connect with others like myself. I also want the world to know that those of use that are “broken” can find love.
And now for A.L.’s new book: Hopeless Scars:
Lucifer has finally formed a relationship with his long lost son, but there is one problem. He is going to have to leave. Even if all he wants to do is stay. His fate was sealed millennia ago. Happiness isn’t in the cards for him and he has accepted that, but then why is he staying?
Dr. Adam Colton does everything in his power to save lives and he usually succeeds. All he wants is to be a good doctor and a good Christian man, but when Mr. Miller is rolled in on a gurney, he’s forced to face his sinful desires. He isn’t so sure he can fight what he craves so deeply.
When a child is brought in with a mysterious illness, it sets off a series of events that brings The Center for Disease Control and Prevention to town. It’s a race to save the child’s life.
The attraction between Adam and Lucifer is only intensifying as both are being dragged through the mud. All seems Hopeless. Can they find the strength to fight for what they want or are the Scars too deep?
“You would look so beautiful in a dress!” Hayley chimed from across the room.
“I’m not a drag queen,” James replied.
I sighed and turned from the large window, the drapes dancing with the cool March air. The remaining light of twilight faded. Pressed against the wall was a flat-screen television on a stand holding DVDs and a player, casting shadows along the white block walls. Pictures of James, Andrew, Hayley and me littered the room alongside a mix of minimalist modern decor, a stark contrast to the rustic adobe style home.
James, Andrew, and Hayley sat on the gray couch. A variety of soft blue and white color swatches covered the glass coffee table in front of them. I looked at my son James as he glared at Hayley. She continued to babble, while Andrew shook his head. James and Andrew were getting married in a year, so they had spent their time off planning the event with Hayley’s help. As James’ closest friend, she was more than happy to give her two cents on the details.
“Oh come, it would be fabulous,” she said with a ridiculous pout on her face.
James rolled his eyes, brushing a loc away from his warm brown face. “Not happening.”He continued flipping through magazine after magazine, his white eyes shimmering as he scanned each page, the covers displaying people in different wedding fashions.
She turned to me, her light golden brown hair bouncing around her pale face. “If you keep making that face, it’s going to get stuck that way, Lucy.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Do not call me that.” I couldn’t for the life of me understand why she had to be so obnoxious and loud. I always left her company with a headache. I pushed off the glass doors, unable to remember why I agreed to come over. I crossed the room, stopping in front of the glass coffee table and peered down at them. James stared down at the magazines with furrowed brows.
He glanced up at me. “What do you think?” He held up a magazine. I clenched my jaw. He was trying to include me, but I did not have experience with weddings.
I eyed the glossy pages. Splashes of bright blues, lavenders, and grays were spread across its contents. The people in the picture smiled, love and affection brightening their eyes. “Do whatever you want. I am sure it will be adequate.”
James looked down, chewing his lip. Andrew leaned forward, running his hand along his dark russet bald head, eyeing me with annoyance. “Whatever you choose will be beautiful.”
I thinned my lips. What did he want me to say? Human marriage ceremonies held no interest for me. When James had told me that Andrew asked for his hand, I was not sure what to do with that information.
Hayley shifted closer to him. She placed her hand on top of his. “Don’t worry so much, I’ll make sure you don’t fuck things up too bad.” James chuckled and nodded.
She turned and glared up at me. “Your son is getting married. How about a little more excitement?” My chest tightened. I understood its importance, but I did not care. How was I supposed to show otherwise?
Andrew leaned over and placed a kiss on James’s forehead. “They are all beautiful. I’m sure whatever you choose will be perfect.” James relaxed into and gazed up at Andrew, tucking his head in Andrew’s neck. He pulled away with a bright smile, a reflection of the one on Andrew’s face. When the moment passed, my son’s attention returned to the pile on the table, still beaming. Andrew peered up at me, jerking his chin towards the kitchen. He stood and I followed him.
We entered the kitchen and Andrew walked over to the fridge and started to prepare coffee. The kitchen was moderately sized with marble countertop and dark wood cabinets. The refrigerator quietly hummed as Andrew slid the pot back into the base, moisture sizzling at the bottom. He grabbed the mugs filled with the dark liquid and handed one to me. “This is probably silly to you.” I inhaled the rich scent and took a sip, the heat warming my chest. “This is important to him.”
I met his gaze, his dark brown eyes intense. It always amazed me how human and yet not quite human he was. He was not human, but a loa; a spirit that had accidentally landed a permanent body several decades prior.
He walked past me with the other three mugs, stopping at the swinging doors. “He has something to look forward to.” Smoke rose from the cups around his face, the memory of Beatrice’s warm brown face wavering in the haze. My shoulders grew tight as I set the half empty mug on the counter.
Andrew shook his head with a frown. “He’s happy. You should try being happier about it.” He left the room before I could respond.
I stared at the doors as they swayed slowly, wrinkling my forehead as his words replayed in my mind. I shook my head and returned to the living room, finding Hayley and James laughing. Andrew sat down and James leaned back against him.
I walked over and the others turned to me. “I am tired.” James’ face fell and my stomach twisted. “I will come over for dinner tomorrow. I just have a headache and need to lie down.”
The light returned to his face. “See you tomorrow night.”
“Night, Lucy!” Hayley chirped.
I grimaced and walked to the door. “Goodnight.” From the corner of my eye, Andrew shifted closer and James leaned back. Andrew eyed me over his shoulder and turned back, watching James flip through the magazine.They returned to their banter at me with a smirk and turned away. I walked to the door, their voices fading behind me, and left
My name is Alec Lee Williams, a transgender non-binary artist. My pronouns are He/him/his or They/Them/Their.
I have loved creating things ever since I can remember. My art is the visual and written expression of what is in my heart and mind. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar I and PTSD. Mental illness is the hardest thing a person can deal with and the journey to emotional stability is long and sometimes painful. Especially as a person of color.
My vision is to make myself face the pain and the struggle. To make the world see me and the rest of us and what social expectation and stigma have created. Mental illness and discrimination are a part of our history and it’s time the world sees it. The beautiful and the dirty. The painful and the euphoric.
With my art, I want to show those who don’t have mental illness what it’s like. I want those that do have a mental illness, specifically queer POC, to relate and maybe even letting go of their trauma and triggers by seeing it displayed. I want them to know they are not alone.
Now that I have decided to pursue writing my novels I hope will do the same.