Here is the text of my latest interview announcing the release of my second book: Crusaders of the Saltier – Book 2 of the Order of the Saltier Trilogy.
INTERVIEW WITH AN AUTHOR
A Conversation with Local Author, William Speir
Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with local Orlando author, William Speir, on the eve of the release of his newest book, Crusaders of the Saltier – Book 2 of the Order of the Saltier Trilogy. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation.
INTERVIEWER: First of all, congratulations on the upcoming release of your second book!
WILLIAM SPEIR: Thank you! It feels great to know it’s finally getting released.
INTERVIEWER: So, how does that work? How do you get a book published?
WILLIAM SPEIR: Have you heard the old saying that “the cheapest part of owning a boat is actually buying the boat?” Well, in publishing, the easiest part of getting a book published is writing the book. It can be a long and difficult process, and you have to be very thick-skinned or it’s not worth it.
INTERVIEWER: What do you mean?
WILLIAM SPEIR: Well, when you write a manuscript, you’re largely writing for yourself. You have a potential audience in mind, but the story and the characters are very personal. Then when you try to get it published, you have to let others read it. Editors have their opinions about what’s well or poorly written, publishers have their opinions about what will sell and what won’t sell, reviewers have their opinions about what’s good or bad, and readers have their opinions about what they like and don’t like. Suddenly you’re exposed to a lot of opinions about your work, and if you can’t separate yourself from the comments and learn to not take them personally, it can be brutal!
INTERVIEWER: Did you find their comments hard to take?
WILLIAM SPEIR: Oddly enough, no. Over the years I have learned to emotionally separate myself from my work. I approached this as a learning activity. I knew I had a story that I thought was interesting, and I wanted experts in their field to teach me how to write a better story – better meaning well written, marketable, and enjoyable to an audience.
INTERVIEWER: How did you find a publisher?
WILLIAM SPEIR: It took a lot of research. I sent out proposal letters to a number of publishers and got almost an equal number of rejection letters. Publishing companies are a business, and they’re looking for what will sell so they can make money. The action-adventure genre is flooded right now with new authors, and the back-story of my books is a little different. It took a while before a publisher saw something unique in my work that they thought would sell and agreed to review the first manuscript. I had actually written the complete trilogy before even starting to look for a publisher, and I think that helped. It’s one thing for a new author to have a single book they want published. The book may be good, but a publisher wants to know that the author can write more than just one book. Since I already had three completed, my publisher immediately saw the potential for multiple titles, which is a safer investment of their time and resources.
INTERVIEWER: So tell us about the series.
WILLIAM SPEIR: The series is called the Order of the Saltier Trilogy. The Order is organized like the orders of knighthood during the times of the crusades, but in modern times. They ask for no recognition, they seek no reward, they just go around helping people get justice. The Order can best be described as Mission Impossible (the 70’s TV series) meets the Knights Templar. Rather than acting as vigilantes, extracting justice according to their own code, The Order acts as an extension of the justice system, secretly helping law enforcement bring criminals to justice while keeping their existence secret.
In the first book, Knights of the Saltier, which was released last year, we’re introduced to Tom Anderson, a young man wanting to be part of something bigger than himself. He follows his own path, joins the military, and has a distinguished career. Once out of the military, he is recruited into the Order of the Saltier. Tom helps the Order take on a major crime syndicate, but when the boss of the crime syndicate discovers the existence of the Order, Tom and his fellow “knights” find themselves the hunted, rather than the hunters. Knights of the Saltier is also the story of a father and a son who are estranged, as so many fathers and sons are, and how they eventually reconcile and build a closeness as adults that they could never achieve as a parent and child.
The second book, Crusaders of the Saltier, picks up a couple of years after the end of the first book. The same characters from Knights of the Saltierare there, but there is a new character: Emily McCafferty, a member of the Order who becomes very close to the lead character of the trilogy, Tom Anderson. Their unexpected love story happens in the middle of the biggest crisis the country has seen since the Civil War. The very popular President has been assassinated and there have been several terrorist attacks all around the country. The new President decides that, for the country’s own protection, there needs to be some changes. He begins to transform the country into a police state, detaining citizens and abolishing rights in the name of “safety and security.” The Order starts to realize that there’s more going on than anyone knows, and when some members of The Order are captured by government forces, Tom and his fellow Knights must choose between helping to restore freedom or just watching helplessly as the country plunges deeper into darkness. Their choice places Tom and his fellow Knights on a collision course withforces that are bent on total control of the country, and in an intense firefight underneath the Capitol building in Washington DC, the fate of the country is finally decided.
The third book, Protectors of the Saltier, which should be released late this year, picks up one year after the end of the second book. Tom and Emily are continuing their adventures together. Members of the forces who attempted to push aside the civil government in Crusaders of the Saltier are still on the loose and planning a return to power. There is internal conflict within the Order as to how to handle these fugitives, and this conflict threatens to split the Order apart. The fugitives make their move, and at a military industry expo and conference here in Orlando, where Tom and Emily are presenting, the Order must band together to stop the fugitives once and for all.
INTERVIEWER: Wow! The series sounds really exciting!
WILLIAM SPEIR: Thanks. I hope the readers think so.
INTERVIEWER: What do the readers of the first book think about the series?
WILLIAM SPEIR: The reviews have been outstanding, both from professional reviews and from the readers. It’s one of the reasons I decided to push forward the release of the second and third books. I also released the e-book version of Knights of the Saltier sooner than expected, and the e-book of Crusaders of the Saltier will be out by late summer. I’ll probably have the paper and e-book versions of the Protectors of the Saltier come out at the same time since a lot of readers now prefer that format.
INTERVIEWER: Who are your readers? Who would enjoy this series?
WILLIAM SPEIR: Anyone who likes a good action-adventure story about people who work in secret with characters who have strong convictions and act on them. The main characters stay true to their convictions, even when it would be easier if they didn’t. That appeals to people these days. The books appeal to both men and women, as well as to young adults, middle-aged adults and seniors.
INTERVIEWER: Do women normally like action-adventure novels?
WILLIAM SPEIR: I don’t know if you can generalize that, but there is a belief that action-adventure novels mostly appeal to men. I wrote these stories to appeal to women as well as because I didn’t want anyone to feel left out. I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the books. The three people I use to review my manuscripts are all women, and I take their suggestions about how to make the stories more appealing to everyone.
INTERVIEWER: So, what’s next for you?
WILLIAM SPEIR: Well, most of what I’m doing now is related to marketing the release of the second book in the series. I’ll be doing interviews, book signings, author events, and things like that to get the word out about both the first and the second book in the series. The books are available for purchase online, but getting them stocked in the bookstores is a little harder – especially since the online distributors have really hurt the business of bookstores across the country. But there are a few physical book retail chains left and independent bookstores are starting to make a comeback, so I’ll be working with them to make sure my books are on their shelves and are bringing in customers.
I also have several more manuscripts waiting to be published. I just finished writing the sequel to the Order of the Saltier Trilogy called the Sentinels of the Saltier Trilogy. The second trilogy completes the series and takes the characters on a new set of adventures outside the United States. The titles for the second trilogy are The Lost Knights, The Knight’s Crucible, and The Knights Victorious, and will start being released sometime next year.
I also wrote a young adult book titled Chain Reaction, which is the story about a young woman who overcame incredible odds to become remarkable person. She lives by a simple philosophy: “our past may have brought us to where we are at this moment, but it doesn’t define where we’re going next.” I’m hoping to have this book released sometime this fall or close to Christmas. It’s a completely different kind of story for me, but it has a message that I think more people need to hear.
INTERVIEWER: Well, William, thanks for taking the time to meet with us today, and good luck with your new book.
WILLIAM SPEIR: My pleasure, thank you.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
William Speir was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has spent most of his professional career as a management consultant, working for companies and with clients across the United States, Canada, Bermuda, and the United Kingdom. He has lived in Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Connecticut, and Florida.
William Speir is a published author of several articles and papers on leadership and the human impact to change. In addition, he has published eight textbooks on the types, nomenclature, capabilities and deployment of field artillery in the 19th century. He teaches artillery safety to Civil War Reenactors as part of the Instructor Cadre of the Loyal Train of Artillery Chapter of the United States Field Artillery Association Artillery Schools.
William Speir currently lives in East Orlando with his wife Lee Anne. His son is in the United States Marine Corps and his daughter is a senior at the University of Central Florida.
For more information about the books of William Speir, you can go to the author’s web site at http://www.williamspeir.com. There you will find the synopses of his books, links to the book trailer videos for all of his books, and ordering information for Knights of the Saltier and Crusaders of the Saltier.