Daniel J Williams grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Some of his favorite activities as a kid included scaring the bejesus out of kids on Halloween, terrorizing neighbors playing doorbell-ditch, and excelling in the ultimate sport of Dodgeball. He somehow managed to score a business degree and wasted years toiling in the business world, writing technical sheets and marketing materials.
He finally realized what was missing in his life: Zombies! Spending several years working on his breakthrough novel, Mace of the Apocalypse, he then couldn't help himself and penned three more novels with the same characters in a continuation of the story.
The Mace of the Apocalypse series spans the beginning of a zombie outbreak in San Francisco to its ultimate conclusion in San Antonio, TX. It can be purchased through Amazon.com.
1) Mace is a powerful character, when did he first come to mind and what were you thinking about him in those early days?
I really wanted to develop Mace into a strong yet complex and somewhat flawed character. I didn’t want him to have all the answers and be the perfect leader. I wanted him to struggle with the enormity of the situation and work his way through all the obstacles he would face. I kept thinking about the type of people that would best survive an apocalyptic event, and they would first of all need to be tough. The bounty hunter role fit perfectly with the type of personality he needed to possess. His troubled background and street smarts would help keep them all alive, but his search for redemption and spiritual questioning would keep him humble enough to make him a sympathetic character. I wanted you to root for him throughout the entire series. His relationship with Jade was also key to bringing a depth to his character that would otherwise be lacking.
2) Did Mace and the other characters like Jade surprise you as you went along?
I find the writing process absolutely fascinating and magical. You can have all these ideas of how things will develop, how characters will grow, and then poof, it all changes as you put pen to paper and the writing process takes place. I had a lot of fun developing Jade, especially in the second book when I wanted her to take on a stronger role. The last book was the most difficult to write, as the characters went through profound changes that impacted everyone around them. That also made it the most fun to write in a lot of ways. I knew it needed to tie everything together and make the series complete, and for the most part I believe I succeeded.
3) Did you always know that Mace would be affected by the virus that brought on this chain of events?
I wish I could say yes, but that just wrote itself towards the end of the third book. It took me a while to figure out where I wanted to take the story after that. There were different options I played with, but in the end I was happy with the direction of the story and his character. As I said, the fourth book was the most difficult to write, mainly because I found it hard to put these characters through all those emotions. I really cared for and about them.
4) Do you feel that the whole series played out as you’d expected when you started or did it become a series of surprises that took you down new paths as you went?
It originally just started out as a short story, so the whole series played itself out during the writing process. Each book was its own challenge, and I decided to pursue each book with only a general idea of the direction it would take.
5) Was it hard keeping up the intense pace through all four books?
The hardest part was actually slowing things down enough to put some heart and character development into the story. I love ripping into an action scene and just letting it go. It is a major adrenaline rush in its own way.
6) Your fans are a dedicated and very invested group, how do you think they’ll be affected by the close of their favorite series?
I hope they are happy with the ending. To be honest, I was a bit nervous how the final book would be received, since it really is a different story. From those who’ve left reviews, the response has been very positive. As far as the series being over, I’ve heard requests for more, which is very flattering. All I can say is maybe. I don’t want to put anything out there about a sequel and then have to rush to finish. If I do write another one, I’d like to take my time and thoroughly develop the storyline. I have played around with some ideas and I think it could work well, but I have another story I need to pursue first.
7) Are you glad to have completed your journey with Mace and the others or is it sort of bittersweet?
Oh, it’s very bittersweet. It was hard saying goodbye to these characters and this story. It’s like saying goodbye to family members. I still think about them.
8) Where do you think you’ll be going with your writing now that Mace is completed?
I have a very ambitious project on the table right now. Once I start it, it will be all-consuming for a while. This next book will be an epic time-travel tale and is going to take some serious research to pull off successfully.