Today we're excited to chat with William Ritter, author of The Dire King: Jackaby series #4. Read on for more about William and his book, plus a giveaway!
Meet William Ritter!
William Ritter is an Oregon educator and author of the bestselling Jackaby series. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark.
Meet The Dire King: Jackaby series #4)!
Ritter’s debut New York Times bestselling novel Jackaby introduced readers to R.F. Jackaby, a quirky detective with a knack for the supernatural; Abigail Rook, his skeptical and observant assistant; Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly landlady of 926 Augur Lane; and Charlie Cane, a shape- shifting police officer. Beastly Bones and Ghostly Echoes followed the crime-solving team from their home in New Fiddleham to the depths of the underworld as they uncovered more clues about the evil forces behind Jenny’s murder. In The Dire King, while Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle of The Dire King’s evil plot, they continue to solve the mysteries emerging around them — like why the undead are popping up around town. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and Charlie deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for Jenny begin to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book? Not seeing the book I wanted to read on my bookshelf.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
My characters are like my children—which is to say, they annoy the crap out of me much of the time that I’m with them, but at the end of the day I love them all dearly.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
I began Jackaby without any title in mind, but it quickly became my working title while the first draft was underway, and then became the official title in the end.
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
In the first Jackaby, I really loved getting to write lines like “I excused myself to see a duck about a dress.” Moments like that let me know I was doing something right with my adult life.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
That I can. It hasn’t been easy or instant, but I can. There is no invisible barrier between being just some schmuck with a laptop and being an author. ALL authors are just schmucks with laptops who keep at it.
6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love my covers. The designer did a great job. The red door in the center of the blue cover on the first just felt like the perfect invitation to the adventure.
7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
My TBR is massive. I still haven’t gotten The Hate U Give, but I am looking forward that one. It’s been on my list for a while now. The final book in my series, The Dire King, also comes out August 22nd —so I’m obviously excited for that, too.
8. What was your favorite book in 2016?
I just got to read When Dimple Met Rishi, which was wonderful. I’m looking forward to sharing it with students when school starts back up.
9. What’s up next for you?
A new novel—possibly a new series—with themes that are very dear to my own family. Goblins and bears and children and mothers and feelings. I’m getting close to pitching it, but it’s still early in development.
10. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Generally not. That sounds far too much like math.
11. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The end of THE DIRE KING involves some pretty heavy emotions. I really wanted to get those right, and I had been watching them come down the pipe for years by the time I needed to actually needed to write them. I feel good about the end result. That’s a satisfying feeling.
12. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Jackaby, generally. He is blunt and very frank about many things, but he also keeps his most emotional cards close to his chest—letting those show a bit in the last couple books took some nuance.
13. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
There are times in drafting that are infinitely easier and more fun. It doesn’t need to be perfect, so there’s no pressure—I can squeeze in any old idea that comes into my head and cut or keep whatever I like. However, the sections that suck in the drafting phase are infinitely worse than they are the editing phase. While drafting, if I don’t know how to approach a scene, or if I have second thoughts about the plot, I have nothing. When editing, even if I don’t love a scene, at least I have something. I have a skeleton I can reposition and flesh out.
14. What would you say is your superpower?
Lately, it feels like not flipping over tables and/or weeping in the corner every time I turn on the news has been a superpower.
15. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I have tremendous respect for the ACLU, doing vitally important work right now to protect civil liberties.
The Dire King
By: William Ritter
Release Date: August 22, 2017
One winner will receive a hardcover set of the entire Jackaby series, including Jackaby, Beastly Bones, Ghostly Echoes, and The Dire King. (US only).