Monday, August 17, 2015

WRITER 2 WRITER: An interview with William Meikle

William 'Call me Willie!' Meikle is the author friend of an editor friend, and someone I'd be proud to call a friend myself. He's funny, witty, and doesn't mince words, and is a dedicated and creative author to boot. Looking over his very impressive Amazon author pages (12 on the US site, 9 on the UK) it's easy to see that not only is he prolific, but he truly loves what he does. Nobody has that much writing under his belt and dreads sitting down and getting back to work.

One of the nice things about interviewing other people in the business that you don't know yet, is finding common ground. I too like to bang on a guitar and once fancied myself a singer/songwriter looking for a band. I also have given up trying to defend what I write and just revel in process, ignoring the critics and letting it find its intended audience. But I won't spoil this any further for you; you simply have to read the interview. Then go check out those pages upon pages of books for yourself. I bet you find something there to curl up with that will take you on an incredible journey and leave you out of breath and wanting more.

Read on,

An interview with author
William Meikle

  • Welcome William! Would you please tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?

I'm Willie, Scottish, now living in Canada up on the East Coast of Newfoundland, and I've been writing since around 1992, with over 20 novels and 300 short stories in print in genre publications.

I did my first writing a lot earlier, back in the mid '70s at school, but didn't have the fire in my belly at the time to do anything about it. I went to Uni, got a Science degree then ended up working in the City of London building IT systems for bankers and accountants during the Thatcher years. By the early '90s I'd had enough of that and moved back to Scotland. That, and a new wife, made me much happier with myself, and the writing just started to happen. It went slowly at first with just a couple of short stories a year, but, since 2007 when we moved to Canada and I went full time writing, has steadily cranked up to a whole bundle of novels, novellas and collections.

I write looking at a sea view in a place with icebergs, bald eagles, the occasional whale and, in winter, an awful lot of weather. I love it.

  • You grew up in an area rich in folklore and history, and then migrated across the big pond to what most Americans think of as our great white northern neighbor. You've also touted having enjoyed browsing a family library of pulpy offerings. Do you find inspiration in where you live, or is it more about the fantastic details and heroic feats of those tales of old that make story ideas generate in the mind until they begin to take form on the page?

Locale is always a big thing for me - a lot of my work is set in Scotland, and much of my newer stuff is now happening in Canada. Both have been rural environments in the main, apart from a spell in Edinburgh. As I said earlier, I now live on a remote shoreline and a strange sense of isolation has crept into a lot of my recent work. 

But I still go back to London for the Holmes and Carnacki tales. It helps that I spent ten years in the Old Lady back in the '80s so as a locale the old buildings, streets and parks are all still vivid in my mind. I find I need that kind of visual connection somewhere to get me into the stories in the first place.

  • Most of us who are writers started as avid readers, and remain that way. What have you been reading recently? Any favorite authors or genres?

I've recently read Dan Simmons' THE FIFTH HEART, and I'm on a reread kick of Tim Powers, with THE ANUBIS GATES coming around soon, an old favorite I'm really looking forward to visiting again.

I seem to gravitate a lot toward the Victorian or Edwardian era stuff, and London in particular. So give me Holmes, Carnacki, Dr Jekyll, Dracula and all the stuff they're doing so well in PENNY DREADFUL and I'm as happy as a sandboy.

But my favorite writer is still H.P. Lovecraft. I discovered him back in the very early Seventies. I came to him, not looking for horror, but for Science Fiction as that was where my prime interest lay back then. I believe the first story I read was THE DUNWICH HORROR in one of the cheap UK paperback editions. That was enough for me to seek out the rest, and I remember reading AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS while sitting on the back steps of our house on a hot summer's day. 

It was only natural that I should turn to some Lovecraftian conceits in my own writing, and in recent years I've found there's a wide variety of markets willing to share my obsession.

  • Since we both write in the modern day 'pulp' style, I know I can get away with saying when I talk about my writing 'pulp' to someone who has never read one of my tales, I generally get one of two responses. There's the blank look and the query about the Tarantino movie, or rolling eyes and the sniff of disdain, (which I'm sure Stephen King never gets). In either case I wind up having to educate folks about what pulp was, is, and how much of an impact it's had on entertainment media today. How do you deal with that sort of thing when all you want to do is bring new readers into the fold?

Seriously, I've stopped trying. I got fed up with the sneering condescension of people who think they're better than me, people who seem to take pleasure in telling me I'm a hack, and people who are too dull to have the imagination to enjoy a good story, well told. They can all sod off.

If you can't see the pleasure in TARZAN, JOHN CARTER, CONAN, SOLOMON KANE et al, or if you don't like every Ray Harryhausen movie, all manner of creature features, ghosts, stonking big robots, terror in space and lots of slime, then my work is not for you. Move along, nothing for you to see here. But big kids at heart can come with me—I have such wonders to show you. 

  • The extensive amount of work you have out is impressive, to say the least. Yet I wonder, do you ever have times when the ideas seem to have flown away for the winter, or you're in the midst of a hot project and the words just won't come out of hiding in the back of nowhere? How do you deal with that without getting all blocked up and discouraged?

I'm in a slow period at the moment as it happens—I wrote a novel, a novella and a collection up to the middle of July in 2016 and burnt out a bit. But I have another 2 novels still to write under contract by early 2017, and several ideas bubbling under from a publisher I love working with that should lead to more story collections, also around 2017. The fact that I know these things are there to be done seems to keep the engine running, and I'm now, just in the past day or so, feeling the motor starting up again and the next novel telling me its time to get going.

In the times when I do get completely stuck, I just chill out—beer, guitar and Fifties movies like QUATERMASS, X-THE UNKNOWN, THEM and IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA usually does the trick.

  • So what's new on the horizon as far as releases? Anything coming up that you can tease us with?

I've got a new CARNACKI story collection, THE WATCHER AT THE GATE just out in hardcover from Dark Renaissance. (

I have a new story in NATURE Futures in late August, my 5th sale to this market that is read by hundreds of thousands of people, and something that makes this wee ex-scientist strangely happy.

My next longer release will be PENTACLE, a novella from DarkFuse in September 2015, a wee quiet supernatural thing set in present day Edinburgh in a strange townhouse where an electric pentacle is discovered in the basement.

There's a possible secret pulp book project coming for Halloween, but I can't talk about that yet. It's secret.

I've also got a short supernatural Sherlock Holmes novel, THE DREAMING MAN coming next year from Dark Renaissance.

Apart from that, I've got a supernatural Ripper story coming in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF JACK THE RIPPER tales, several secret projects in the pipeline at Dark Renaissance, and 2 novels still to write in my current contract with DarkFuse. 

Busy, busy, busy - the way I like it.

  • A lot of us author-types have other hobbies and areas of interest. So if you weren't writing today, what else might you be doing?

I've been playing guitar badly since 1973, and I also sang in choirs and in folk clubs as a lad. If I hadn't got sucked down to London in the early '80s I might even have had a go at touring with a band, so musician it would be—something rootsy and bluesy, gravelly voiced with compulsory smoking and Scotch. I'd probably be dead by now.

Willie, thanks so much for sharing your extensive corner of the writing world with us!

Thank you!

You can find me at 
and on social media mostly at 

[NANCY'S NOTES] Willie's books can be found on Amazon US HERE and on Amazon UK Here


williemeikle said...

All looks good to me :-)

Dave Brzeski said...

Reading Willie Meikle is like entering the world of all those books, comics, TV shows & films that I loved growing up. One day, we really have to find a way to afford us sharing a pint at a convention bar.