OP-DEC: Operation Deceit
by K. Williams
A shadowy past becomes a sinister future… It’s 1933 and the height of Boston’s social season. Claire Healey overhears a terrible argument between her industrial-tycoon father and her socialite mother. Claire’s father sends her mother away, declaring she is hysterical with fatigue. Displaced by this disastrous outcome, Claire is brought to New York by her spirited aunt, to be raised beyond the reach of the damaging turn of events.
Nine years later, Claire returns to her childhood home to face her past once more. The world has long since exploded in war. A mysterious stranger named Carsten Reiniger has infiltrated the scene, placing his commanding presence among the old familiar faces of Boston’s elite. Intrigued by the newcomer, Claire struggles to piece together his identity and finds a dangerous connection to her troubling past. When Claire’s prying comes to light, she and her aunt are whisked away in the middle of the night to ensure their silence. Can Carsten Reiniger be trusted or is he implacably loyal to duty alone?
Aunt looked to Claire, who was nestled tight against her. She squeezed Claire even tighter and warily eyed Father. He glared at Claire with an unspoken threat.
“Carroll,” Aunt said with disbelief. “Look, it doesn’t have to be like this.”
“I don’t expect you to understand, Noreen,” Father said, lifting his chin arrogantly. “Let me make it simple. Your sister is sitting in a hospital in Switzerland for discovering the very same thing your niece did this evening. Do you really think I’m just going to let both of you walk out the door—to waltz off and talk to the police?”
Aunt’s mouth popped open. She struggled to find the right words to sling at him.
“You—f-f-ink,” Aunt said.
Father chuckled. “Careful, Noreen, or I may put you there with her.”
Carsten reappeared from the office and handed Claire’s father a slip of paper. The younger of the pair seemed a bit anxious. Claire’s eyes switched back and forth between them as her father read.
“Tonight,” Father murmured. He rubbed his chin with two fingers and exhaled. “So be it.”
Father tucked the slip of paper into his pocket. He pivoted back to Claire and her Aunt, throwing his hands up and joining them in a loud clap.
“So be it,” he cried at them. Aunt tensed, drawing Claire tighter to her side. “Mr. Reiniger—take the women into the office and keep them under guard while I have the servants make our final preparations.” He smirked, amused by something. “You can finish your date.”
Today I’m have the pleasure to be interviewing K. Williams, author of OP-DEC: Operation Deceit.
Hi K, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us about yourself and your background?
Like you said, I’m the author of OP-DEC. I recently completed my masters in screenwriting and film studies at Empire State College. I’ve been studying writing since high school.
What were you like at school?
Exactly the same as I am now, maybe a little more optimistic and hopeful of my aspirations, always introverted and not certain why I had to conform to arbitrary standards set by this weird little group of kids who thought quite highly of themselves as the best amongst us.
Were you good at English?
I was better at science. Truthfully. I really enjoyed biology and all things connected to that study. It was straightforward with straightforward answers—right and wrong. There was no subjectivity to gum up the answers to questions. English classes were more focused on covering a standard set of texts by a standard set of time, having conversations about them that were unfocused and unclear. I think that students are believed to be too ‘fresh’ to a subject to be told that we’re reading this so you can learn to think about something critically and how it applies to situations, what situations. Teachers attempt to frame studies in simple terms they think students will understand, but end up just making the whole thing largely confused. English would have been much better for me if they had gone over theory first, before charging in without focus on some confused idea of ‘critical thinking’. If you get what I mean. Earlier, in middle and grammar school, they try to teach students the structure of writing, but there is little to no explanation as to why or for what, the rules and reasons. I don’t even recall teachers going over the pronunciations symbols in the dictionary and what they mean, or what this grammatical term means. Something is missing from the classes all the way through. You walk away understanding where and mostly what kind of punctuation to use (oh semicolon you monster!), what a subject and predicate is; a verb adverb and adjective…I was a very good student in all my classes. That said, what was missing from my education has disserved me in my pursuit of writing. Yet, here I am using the language more proficiently than most, still struggling with exactly what is meant by certain terms. For instance, when I was about nineteen, I wasn’t clear on what the criticism meant that I used too much passive voice. I certainly wanted to understand in order to fix it, my dream was and still is to be a great writer, but when pressing for more information, it appeared that the critic couldn’t put words to idea either. Or perhaps, the audacity of the question offended them!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To use a semicolon without fear. That the amateur writing foibles fall away like leaves from a tree, leaving the stark and brilliantly formed branches of a well grown narrative.
Which writers inspire you?
My mother read Tolkien when she was carrying me and his work has been bonded to me since I can remember. He was a linguist and historian, I believe. In a way so am I—very much a historian, as for a linguist—I’m still learning. I’ve read so many books in my studies, with so many varied authors, it’s difficult to choose one for inspiring me outside of Tolkien. I can easily point to him and his body of work as it has been so connected to my life experience. The others are mere snippets, none less important than the next. It becomes a very confused ball of information. Shakespeare and The Bible are necessary readings because they’re referenced in almost every text you will encounter. To understand the references, one has to have exposure to the ‘originating’ text. Graham Greene is a more recent influence, linked to my book, as he provided the text that was adapted into a film and features in OP-DEC. The connection was important to me, for his work, the timing of his work, its flavor. The study of intertextual theory is one that featured prominently in my graduate studies.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
Carsten can flip a switch and become anyone. He should have moved to Los Angeles and become an actor. He’s startlingly handsome, but harbors a hardness—a secret perhaps—that makes him unapproachable to most. Just ask Claire, who struggles to utter a word to him on their first meeting, despite his friendly promptings. But, Claire too is special, made of the same tough stuff. She hangs in there, through an adventure that would be the ruin of anyone. They’re both quite brilliant people, whereas he’s allowed to hone that intelligence—she’s asked to stifle it because of her gender. Yet, it’s him who pulls forth this part of her, which is what will guarantee her survival if anything can. They defy convention for their own reasons, and yet…it works.
What are you working on now?
The sequel – OP-GHO: Operation Ghost, preparing the re-release of my first novel, Blue Honor and the release of the first installment of my fantasy/science fiction trilogy – The Trailokya Trilogy, Book 1: The Shadow Soul.
Which actor would you like to see playing the lead character from OP-DEC?
For OP-DEC – I have done some fantasy casting on my Facebook page. Most of the actors are lost to us, and others are too old to play the parts now. I try not to think about this too deeply. My goal is to adapt it into a film, and it is being considered. To put a face to the character before casting could lead to difficulty. Think for instance about Anne Rice and her vampire chronicles. I don’t want an expectation of who, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Is there anyone out there who can manage all the accents Carsten does and make them believable? He might be too much of a good thing to bring a little further into reality.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Deciding to finally write down OP-DEC happened when I was seriously considering graduate school. I wanted to do something that tied the loose ends of my previous undergraduate work with the things I was pursuing now: Film, History and Writing. The college I was interested in applying to had a very helpful dean at the time. The staff at the college were, in fact, all very helpful. I talked to them about what I was doing and what I was picturing as the end result. My idea was to write the book and then gear my studies toward adapting it, writing a screenplay. So I applied and so it went.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write whenever I can find time to sit down and do so. I don’t structure my time to be for specific things, if I can help it. My writing has always been organic. Trying to make it fit into a structure has never worked for me—it actually produces less writing and what does come is problematic.
Where do your ideas come from?
Sometimes I’ll have dreams, sometimes it will just pop into my head as a random idea.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I let the ideas take me where they will. They grow on their own and I find them more interesting that way.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Being honest enough with yourself in the edit phase that something needs to be worked out better. Finding the language that is extraneous and editing it out. Learning to write screenplays was very helpful in this regard.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I mainly read research materials now. Since Graduate school, OP-DEC and its sequel have taken over my life. Prior to that, I was catching up on some of the classics that I was never assigned in school or had the time to read. There were quite a few—Shakespeare plays, Jane Eyre, Little Women, Tom Sawyer, Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll, Alice in Wonderland, The Scarlet Pimpernel…so many I can’t list them.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Either. I find them both useful. Paper print books make it easy to write your notes on them, but my kindle has a notes feature too, and I can look at the notes all at once. There are advantages either way.
What books are you reading now?
Lorraine Diehl, Over Here! The story of New York City during World War II, Helluva Town, New York City during World War II, IRA History…you see where this is going…research for OP-GHO.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
The cover for OP-DEC was created by Scott Deyett of InHouse Graphics, out of Baldwinsville, NY. I found him through a mutual friend on Facebook. We quickly also became friends. I wanted something affordable but something that was a step above my last cover, which I designed myself (and I did a pretty darn good job of it too, as I do design for a hobby). The first book had made a little money, so I wanted to reinvest it in my brand. Scott and I chatted. The scene where Carsten is relaying a message on the phone in Mr. Healey’s house office, and Claire spies him through the door—that stuck out. I wanted to see that little desk behind the niche. I could almost picture it.
Do you have a trailer your book?
I do! I think they’re fantastic. I was so excited to have this made…
Do you think that giving books away free works?
I do. People are more likely to pick up a book for free from an independent author, or even a traditionally published author, that they’ve never heard of before. This exposure leads to recommendations to friends. Word of mouth is the most powerful sales tool in an author’s arsenal. If they can get others excited about their work, they will make a lot of sales. Treat your audience well—for they are king!
How do you relax?
Netflix binging and spending time with my dog. Doodling/sketching, painting, taking pictures, making graphics—and trying out new recipes and making some old ones.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ― Nikola Tesla
Tesla is a fascinating man. I would like to learn more about him than the very little I know. Hopefully my studies will take me in that direction.
What is your favorite movie?
I have a pair, and they are polar opposites. What Dreams May Come and Young Frankenstein. WDMC is vibrant color while YF is black and white. One is dramatic fantasy the other is comedic homage. They’re both adaptations of literature.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Come find my website, read my blog, and hang out on social media. I have a fairly large presence online and interact daily with friends and followers.
Any final words?
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about my work. I appreciate it! I hope that your readers will enjoy my answers.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she continues to reside, K.Williams embarked on a now twenty year career in writing. After a childhood, which consisted of voracious reading and hours of film watching, it was a natural progression to study and work in the arts.
K attended the State University of New York at Morrisville, majoring in the Biological Sciences, and then continued with English and Historical studies at the University at Albany (home of the New York State Writer’s Institute) gaining her Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, K interned with the 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging her interests in social movements and art.
Currently, K has completed the MALS program for Film Studies and Screenwriting at Empire State College (SUNY), and is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. K continues to write and is working on the novels of the Trailokya Trilogy, a work that deals with topics in Domestic Violence and crosses the controversial waters of organized religion and secularism. A sequel to OP-DEC is in the research phase, while the adaptation is being shopped to interested film companies.
Excerpts of these and more writings can be found at: www.bluehonor.com.
K. Williams will be awarding a grand prize of a paperback of OP-DEC: Operation Deceit (US only) to one randomly drawn winner and a digital copy of the book to 10 randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour.
Room With Books encourages our readers to follow the tour and comment.