Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.
Sabitha: Today we have William Long with us, author of the science fiction novel Children of the Black. William, can you start us off by giving a summary of your book?
William: Children of the Black is a fast-paced SciFi/Action thriller set in a universe recovering from a millennia-spanning war between interstellar superpowers. Claude, a former soldier, and Vision, an eleven-year-old orphan with psionic abilities, have been shaped by this conflict and now struggle to keep the lights on in their modest apartment. It is only when shadows offer much-needed credits in exchange for information on a lost superweapon that Claude and Vision begin to realize that some things are more important than money.
Sabitha: What inspired you to write this book?
William: I first wrote this tale in a series of notebooks while I was bored in class. It was an escape that I fell in love with but ultimately placed on the back burner for decades while I tried my hand at filmmaking. But a few years ago, I had a stroke and was forced to come out of work and face several significant changes in my life. That brought me back to my love of writing, and the first story I wanted to revisit in novel form was this one.
Sabitha: If you’re a filmmaker, do you have a “fan-cast” – do you have actors you’d cast as your main characters?
William: I’m not sure I have a full-fan cast involved, but there are some very interesting thoughts I’ve had about the characters and who I want to play them. For Claude, I built him around Harrison Ford circa 1986, but I see Alexander Dreymon (from The Last Kingdom) in that role. With Vision, I think Mckenna Grace would knock it out of the park, and I’ve always seen Aisha Tyler as my villain, Miranda.
Sabitha: How did you choose the title?
William: The original title for the story was Silver, but when I decided to turn it into a novel, I just felt like that title brought to mind images of shirtless men in the moonlight with the eyes of wolves, which is very far from what my story is. So, I decided to name it after humanity’s position in the novel’s universe. They are all children lost in the darkness of space, without parents to guide them or a map to lead them home, hence Children of the Black.
Sabitha: When you picture your ideal reader, what are they like?
William: As ideal readers go, I wrote the book to appeal to anyone who likes rich characters, detailed worlds, and pulse-quickening set pieces. If I’m honest, I wrote this book with the idea that it might be someone’s first foray into science fiction, whether they have read consistently since childhood or were inspired because they just saw the new Dune film. So, if you’re reading this interview, you are my ideal reader.
Sabitha: That’s a lovely sentiment! What do you most want your readers to take away from reading your book?
William: I wrote this book to be entertaining above all other considerations, but if there’s one thing I’d want anyone to take from my novel, it’s that life is messy. It’s brutal, and it’s hard. There’s far more gray than either black or white. Navigating through it changes us all, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sabitha: Thanks for sharing your story and your process. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?
William: You can find my book here, or on Amazon. I’m on Twitter and Instagram.