Name William Hiles
Give us a brief synopsis of your story: It’s a story about the lone survivor of a WWI Royal Flying Corps patrol and his struggle to get back to his airfield while being pursued by a seemingly implacable enemy pilot.
Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about? I have a fascination for various time periods and the First World War is such an important, defining even, event of the 20th Century. A true watershed moment in the evolution of both the United States and Europe and the opening round of everything that comes after.
What research did you do for the story? I did a little specific research but mostly relied on some previous research I did for a novel set in that time period.
What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy? The challenge is having the historical background as organic and unobtrusive as possible. I’m creating a made-up story in a world that no longer exists but it has to feel as real and immediate as our world.
How do you define a hero? Ordinary people doing what needs to be done in extraordinary circumstances.
What is your writing space like? I write wherever I get the chance—whether in a small area at work or the dining room table or up in my office.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m bit of both. I generally know the basics of the ending but all the rest is a journey toward that destination. I am always surprised by the sights and events along the way.
Is being a writer ‘what you do’ or ‘what you are’? I suppose being a writer is a big part of who I am—but not necessarily all that I am.
Tell us a bit about yourself – I was born in a small Bavarian village, west of Nuremburg, Germany. My parents immigrated to Canada when I was 3 years old.
How do you come to be on this adventure? When war was declared in September 1914, I volunteered for the army and later for the Royal Flying Corps. I’ve always been fascinated by aeroplanes and flying.
Are you brave? No. I do my duty.
How do others see you? Dependable. Hard-working. Some question my loyalty and I have to prove myself more than most, I think.
Do you believe in a god? After what I have seen, after what I have done, after all that I’ve experienced, I no longer know.
How do you define a hero? A hero is someone who acts out of necessity to do the right thing despite hardship or risk of death. A hero acts out selflessness for the common good. At least that’s how I see it.
Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone? I love my family. I used to hate the enemy but after all that I’ve experienced, I can’t find the energy or motivation to hate them anymore. Perhaps it’s all of this—the waste, arbitrary and meaningless nature of war that I hate. But even then, I’ve surrendered to it all, burned through it, and in that empty space there’s nothing. Not even hate.
What is your favourite thing? My favourite thing? Standing in the middle of a wheat field as the sun rises, turning the sky from slate to rose to gold, and feeling the dawn breeze washing cool and sweet, bending the wheat in rippling waves. There is solitude and peace in those moments—before work and all the other daily tasks intrude. I have also found this same moment in flight as the sky breaks soft through the thinning darkness and everything turns to gold.
AUTHOR BIO (short)
An Air Force brat born in Japan, William Hiles is a writer, poet, artist, and game designer living in Texas with his wife and teenage son. Like many writers he’s had an eclectic list of jobs including a short stint in the military, cemetery worker, photographer, truck driver, cook, reserve campus police officer, library specialist, and IT technician. When not writing, he enjoys family time, cooking, studying history, martial arts, and baseball. His writing has been called vivid, emotional, fluid, metaphorical, and lyrical. He is a writer who engages all the senses. A storyteller in the truest sense.