Historical fiction author William A. Glass is here today to chat about his new coming of age novel, As Good As Can Be.
During his virtual book tour, William will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Bill is a retired business executive now living in South Carolina with his wife, Bettina. She teaches high school German while Bill coaches soccer at a small college. Their three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon, have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers.
For recreation, Bettina and Bill enjoy hiking and camping out. Usually, they take their dog, Scout, along. When the weather permits, Bill commutes to work on his motorcycle.
Please share a little bit about your current release.
As Good As Can Be is a novel about Dave Knight, the wayward son of an alcoholic army officer. As his dysfunctional family moves from one military base to the next, Dave develops a give-a-damn attitude that goes well with his ironic sense of humor. In high school, he joins other delinquents in a series of escapades, some dangerous, others funny, and a few that would be worthy of jail time should the troublemakers be caught. After barely graduating Dave’s drafted into the army and sent to guard a nuclear weapons depot in Korea. There he runs afoul of his sergeant and must scramble to avoid dishonorable discharge.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to leave something behind for my three sons, which would help them understand me. They are all highly educated professionals now and know very little about their father. Here is an excerpt that would probably shock them if you consider that the main character, Dave Knight, is me. The scene takes place in an army barracks in Korea:
It’s getting late when the game ends in dramatic fashion. Smitty has the deal and calls his favorite game: seven-card stud with queens, fours, and one-eyed jacks wild. “Ante,” he says and tosses a buck onto the table. After the others pony up, Smitty doles out two down cards and one up to each player. Dave receives the four of spades and seven of diamonds facedown with the nine of diamonds showing. Smitty has the high hand with an ace, and he throws out a small bet, which the other players call.
On the next round, Smitty gets a queen to go with his ace and increases the bet to five dollars. The other players all fold except Dave, who has also received a wild card.
The price of poker goes up on the next deal when Smitty gives himself another ace. He quickly throws in a ten spot. Dave hesitates a moment, then matches it. After neither player gets any help from their last up card, Smitty distributes the final ones facedown. He makes a show of not looking, but Dave peeks at his and is happy to view the five of diamonds. When Smitty tosses in another ten-dollar MPC note, Dave tops it with a twenty. “Ten more,” he says.
Smitty leans forward, peering across the table at Dave’s unimpressive up cards. Irritation is written all over his face that a cherry would try to bluff him. So, the acting jack snatches up his last twenty and throws it into the pot. “Back at you,” he snaps. After Dave calls the raise, Smitty flips his hole cards over. “Four aces,” he declares. “Read ’em and weep.”
As Smitty begins to rake in the pot, Dave reveals his down cards. “Straight flush,” he says. “I’ve got you beat.”
“Bull,” Smitty declares with an impatient glance at Dave’s jumble of cards. He reaches for more of the money, but Dave pushes his hand away. With a growl, Smitty rises out of his chair and rushes around the table. Dave is slow getting up, so he catches a punch on the side of his face. He comes to on the floor, lurches to his feet, and belatedly gets his hands up to fight. But there is no need. Smitty is holding his right arm up and cursing a steady, monotonous stream. His wrist is bent at a peculiar angle, and he winces with pain. O’Reilly and Gibson come over to help.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m polishing up the sequel to my first book. It’s called Knight’s Plutonian Shore. Here is the blurb:
Ever wonder what happened to the bad boys you knew in high school? The ones who drank, smoked, and got into fights? Many, no doubt, became salesmen like Dave Knight, the main character in this novel. For him, it was an easy transition into a world of strip clubs, boozy golf outings, and wild conventions.
However, Dave has a creative spark that sets him apart from the other salesmen. Perhaps he’ll use it to escape the down escalator he’s riding.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote my first poem in the fifth grade as homework. It was just four lines written shortly before bedtime, and I crossed that assignment off my list. The next day each kid had to get up and read their poem. While that was going on, I started adding verses to mine. They came easily, and my lengthy poem was a hit. After that, I often tried my hand at poems and short stories. During my business career, I became known for my written and verbal communications. Now I’m retired from business and enjoy writing creatively.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a dream retirement job coaching soccer at a small college. Much of As Good As Can Be was written on the team bus traveling to away matches. I also have free time to write during the offseason.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
One writing quirk is listening to music. My favorite band to listen to when writing is Nine Inch Nails. Sounds crazy but try listening to their Ghosts V and Ghosts VI albums while working or reading sometime.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up, I had no ambition other than to survive childhood and then get as far away from my family as possible.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Books have always been my refuge, and I feel a special kinship with book lovers. As Good As Can Be was written for those who enjoy getting immersed in a book and appreciate that bittersweet feeling that comes when a great book ends and you wish there were more. It doesn’t matter which genre you prefer; this novel will grip you from the first page to the last. The characters will stay with you. I’d love to hear from you after you finish it!
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you so much for having me. I enjoyed the interview!