William Holley was born in 1969 in Kent, England, and has been writing ever since he was old enough to pick up a pen. True, it took him twenty years or so to work out which end of the pen he should actually write with, but this didn’t stop him honing his literary skills until he is, at last, ready to unleash his first novel Wychetts on the unsuspecting world.

Currently living in a swamp on the outskirts of Aylesbury, his hobbies include walking (sometimes), cooking (his signature dish is microwave lasagne), and time travel.

William is also handy at illustration, and designs his own book covers. He’s practically useless at everything else though.

The above photograph was taken on one of William’s time travel trips to seventeenth century England. The pistol wasn’t loaded, but he can’t remember why he had a colander on his head.

Writing Wychetts- An Interview With the Author

Q: How long did it take to write Wychetts?

A: More than six years, on and off. Probably more “off” than “on” though.

Q: What gave you the idea for the story, and where did the title come from?

A: I’d had the idea of writing a book about a magical old cottage for a number of years, as I love old timber framed buildings (which are not uncommon in the South East of England) and think they all have a magic of their own. I had the characters and a basic plot, but one thing I didn’t have was the title. One day, whilst I was living down in East Sussex, I walked past a house with the word “Wychetts” on the gate. I couldn’t see the actual house, but the word seemed perfect for my story as it conjured up a vision of a beautiful old thatched building!

Q: How many Wychetts books will there be?

A: If you’ve visited the Stories page then you’ll see there is a third book on the way, and I have plans for at least another three.

Q: Great! Are they “one off” stories, or do they form a serial?

A: I’d like to think the books stand up as individual stories, but are linked by an overarching plot involving the central characters.

Q: Sounds interesting. Could you give us more details?

A: I don’t want to ruin things, but let’s just say the relationship between Bryony and her mum (her real mum, that is) has a massive influence on events, and things are not quite as they seem!

Q: Who is your favourite Wychetts character, and why?

A: Stubby the mouse is great fun to write, he says things I wished I could say to people (if I was a mouse and could get away with it). I also like Twisted Bough from the first Wychetts book. I wanted to have more of him in the story, but his lack of mobility made that difficult.
Of the human characters I really like Bill; he’s a bit of a failure, but always means well and has an unflinching optimism despite all his setbacks.

Q: What are the main differences between Bryony and Edwin’s characters?

A: Apart from one being a boy and the other being a girl?

Q: You know what I meant, cleverclogs.

A: Yeah, sorry. Well to sum it up I think we see different sides to their characters in the first two books. In Wychetts Bryony seems harder, more selfish and strong willed than Edwin, whilst Edwin seems to have a clearer sense of right and wrong. But in Key their positions are reversed; here we see Bryony trying to do the right thing (eventually), and it is Edwin whose judgement gets clouded by his desire to prove himself the Principle Guardian. But generally I’d say the main differences are that Edwin is more inquisitive than Bryony, and more likely to think things through before making a decision. Bryony is more a creature of impulse, and quite inventive when it comes to turning situations to her advantage (e.g. making deals with Katya and the Ratello Mob). Of course, it doesn’t always work out to her advantage though!

Q: So how do you see the relationship between Bryony and Edwin changing over the series of Wychetts stories?

A: Good question. At the end of the first book they seemed to have reached a mutually grudging acceptance of each other, but in Key we were back to square one again. As the stories continue it is inevitable they will grow closer after sharing so many experiences, but I think there will always be a potential for conflict as there is in most sibling relationships. Obviously you’ll have to read all the books to find out!

Q: Someone has pointed out that a weasel with an eye patch is not a new idea. Had you watched the Ice Age films?

A: No, I’d never seen them before I wrote Key to Magic, unless I had seen a clip and the image of a one eyed weasel had been somehow burned into my subconscious. In any case, it doesn’t matter. My one eyed weasel is a stoatally different character. Stoat-ally. Stoat. Weasel. Geddit?

Q: (sighs)

A: Um, sorry. Next question?

Q: Do you find writing easy?

A: Sometimes, when I’m in “the zone”, it’s the easiest thing in the world and it seems like the stories write themselves. On another day, however, I struggle to write a single line. I’ve found the trick is just to keep going, never be tempted to close down the computer and say “I’ll give it a little break” because the “little break” can last for six months (which is why the first Wychetts book took so long to write). Anyway, I’d say writing is easier than having a real life and mixing socially with people!

Q: You design your own book covers. Is there any chance we’ll see an illustrated edition of Wychetts?

A: Maybe one day. It’s something I’d like to do but right now I’m concentrating on the writing side of things.

Q: What a fascinating insight into the creative mind. Thanks for your time, William. We all look forward to reading the next Wychetts books!

A: My pleasure.

9th July 2012

William Holley was talking to himself.

A: No I wasn’t!

Q: Yes you were. And now you’re arguing with yourself, which is even more tragic.

A: Oh yeah. Sorry, I’ll be quiet now.

Q: Thanks.

If you would like more information on the Wychetts stories, or would like to ask the author your own questions, check out the Contacts page to find out how to get in touch.


© W Holley 2012 - All Rights Reserved