Q. What made you choose your pen name?
A. I wanted a pen name that reflected my personality and yet, at the same time, kept my public life separate from my writing life. When I sold my first erotica, I called my mother to tell her the good news! I asked her for a suggestion for a pen name, and she said I should use her maiden name of Williams for the surname. The first name, Gwen, is actually my given middle name. The Williams surname is ironic, though, considering the fact my mother won't read my eroticas!
Q. What do your lawyer friends think of your writing career?
A. I am a lawyer by day, and there used to be this restaurant where all the lawyers liked to go to for lunch every day. Sadly, the terrible economy forced the restaurant to close. But for a time, there were a bunch of men lawyers, sitting around a table…listening to me talk about my publishing career…well, let's just say it made for some interesting table talk! I got razzed a lot and some of the lawyers like to call me Gwen, now, especially when they're being ironic with me.
Q. What does your dad think of your writing?
A. My poor father is gone, and it breaks my heart that he passed away before I sold my first novel. But Daddy was very funny about it, and also very sweet. He knew how much I loved to write, and he used to tell me that writing was a nice 'hobby' for me. My father was the only person who could ever get away with calling my love of writing a hobby.
Q. Did you grow up in a family of readers and writers?
A. My great-grandmother on my paternal side was a poet and a farmwife. My grandmother, also on my paternal side, was a writer and a genealogist. She wrote a definitive history of the Stoner family. My mother loves to read and is very literary. She wrote a play that made it to a regional playwriting competition. My mother is also a gifted actress, and at the age of fifty-one, played a lead role in a Brown County Playhouse production of Under the Gaslight. I was very proud of her.
Q. What about your dad?
A. Daddy was a doctor, and in particular, a psychiatrist. He read a great deal, but he preferred facts to fiction. In the last few years of his life, I was at a loss as to finding him the perfect birthday/Christmas gifts. So I got him a subscription to The Wall Street Journal. He loved it. He absolutely loved it. He was confined to the house and couldn't move around very well, but his mind was still sharp. He told me he read the Journal from cover to cover. It ended up being the best gift I ever gave him.
Q. Have you written any plays?
A. I have! My first play was a one-act children's play, a story about a cow at a slaughterhouse that infamously jumped over a fence and escaped. She was later caught, but the story had a happy ending. Peter Max, the artist, adopted her and she now lives on his farm in upstate New York. I called the play A Moomoir, and turned the story into a reflection on how the world treats post-menopausal women--er, I mean, cows.
Q. Are you planning to write any more plays?
A. I have written a number of plays, and, while they were well-received, I don't believe my playwriting skill is as evolved as my novel-writing skill. Playwriting is difficult; you have to be able to write dialogue in such a way the audience can 'read between the lines', as opposed to novel writing, where you lay the characters' motivations out upon the page. Playwriting is, in my mind, trickier.
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