7 Minutes in Book Heaven with C.H. Williams and One of a Thousand Names

Welcome to our Summer of Book Love series!

Every Tuesday this summer we will feature new episodes of 7 Minutes in Book Heaven which has your next summer read!

Meet C.H. Williams and his new book One of a Thousand Names.

This fantasy novel follows Rose, who is on a mission to avenge her father’s death. As she sacrifices her friends, she must make a decision about whether avenging her father is worth the increasingly steep price. With gods and shadows and betrayal after betrayal, Rose will have to decide whether coming face-to-face with the person who killed her father is really worth the high price of justice.

C.H. Williams is a fantasy author and illustrator living in the Mid-Atlantic with his husband. His writing couples the darker side of fairy tales with the radiance and joy of queer love. In addition to his fantasy fiction, C.H. published Gender and Personality Stereotyping in Collegiate Orchestras (Univ. of No. Colorado 2018) and Transition which is featured in Lockdown Literature: Anthology of Pandemic Literature.

Buy One of a Thousand Names

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/a/82376/9781733356954
C.H. William’s website: https://www.chwilliamsliterary.com/store/one-of-a-thousand-names-handbound-7shxg

Connect with C.H. Williams

Website: chwilliamsliterary.com
Instagram: @chwilliamsliterary
Newletter: chwilliamsliterary.com/stay-in-the-loop

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Credits

Host/Founder: J.P. Der Boghossian
Executive Producer: Jim Pounds
Associate Producers: Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Olila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shay, and Sean Smith
Patreon Subscribers: Awen Briem, Stephen D., Thomas Michna, and Gary Nygaard.

Transcript

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J.P. Der Boghossian:
Welcome to 7 Minutes in Book Heaven. My name is J.P. Der Boghossian. I’m an essayist, Lambda Literary Fellow, and founder of the Queer Armenian Library.
And this is the podcast where I interview LGBTQ authors about the new books they have coming out for us to love and to cuddle up with.
This is part of our summer of book love series. Every Tuesday, for the rest of the summer we have your next book to read at the beaC.H., or the pool, or in your bedroom next to the air conditioner.
New episodes of This Queer Book Saved My Life! return on September 18!

With me today is C.H. Williams. Hello!

C.H. Williams
Hello, thank you so much for having me.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely! I’m really excited for this conversation. So C.H. and I are going to spend seven minutes in this virtual studio talking about his new book, One of a Thousand Names, while also getting to know more about the amazing author and illustrator and human who is C.H. Williams. So, C.H., are you ready?

C.H. Williams
I am ready.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Okay, I will set the timer and here we are. Question number one, would you please describe for us your new book one of a thousand names as if you’re sharing it with your celebrity crush and telling us who that is, of course.

C.H. Williams
Absolutely. So, um, there’s a little bit of information. So celebrity crushes are just a little bit weird to me just because I’m a person who has to have some kind of emotional connection for a crush to bloom. Um, so I went with, you know, Taylor Swift, cause I’m a huge fan of hers. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a crush, but that’s what we’re going with today.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Definitely, let’s go with it.

C.H. Williams
So One of a Thousand Names, uh, is vigilante shit means sweet, nothing. Um, Rose is all about that revenge at the beginning as she sets out to avenge her father’s death, but by the time she gets to the end, she stops seeing her softness as weakness and starts to understand what an absolute strength it is. She loves her plants so much. It’s the only thing that’s consistent through the book with her, so she takes on the identity of one plant after another as she’s working through this kind of revenge. narrative arc. Sometimes it’s just internal, sometimes it’s with other people, but she’s got all these different plants and all these different names that she takes on. They’re the only thing that haven’t betrayed her or let her down or broke her heart or told her that she’s unlovable in some way. So she turns to them in this very dark moment when she initially gets news that her father died at the beginning of the book and it carries her through to the very end.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
That is so interesting. I cannot wait to read this. It is on the to read list for sure. Okay, question number two. What is a sentence from a novel, essay, poem, or other book that every time you read it, it gives you all the feels?

C.H. Williams
Alright, so this would unquestionably be the first line from Dante’s Vita Nuova. And the line is, “In that book, which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you, Here appear the words, here begins a new life.”

So, I’ll add, I wasn’t ever able to find this specific translation in any of the texts that I actually read. So this specific line is from a Star Trek voyager from the episode called, Latent Image.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Ha ha!

C.H. Williams
Yeah, my husband and I are huge Trekkies. So I love, I love Vita Nuova as a work in and of itself, but I love that it was referenced in Star Trek. And so it’s lots of feels for lots of different reasons.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely, I love that. Okay, question number three. What do you feel is the best sentence you’ve ever written?

C.H. Williams
So the best sentence that I have ever written is not a sentence that’s been published yet, but will be in the future at some point, and it is, She was indelible, the inevitable collision of world and self like stars colliding, A violent and beautiful life whose significance could not, Would not be placed into the hands of onlookers, For through the eyes of each a different telling. This is actually from the third book in my Merchant Series.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
And when is that going to come out? Because that sentence needs to be in the world.

C.H. Williams
Hopefully sometime next year. I have to draw all this stuff first.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Draw faster! Okay, question number four. What is the best romantic scene you’ve ever read?

C.H. Williams
This is a very hard question to think of

J.P. Der Boghossian:
haha

C.H. Williams
over this one, long and hard, but I settled on the very last scene from the Song of Achilles when their souls reunite. Obviously, the whole book is just heartache-y, romantic, gay, angsty feelings, and I loved every minute of it. But even as you’re reading through and you kind of, you know the story generally and you kind of know what’s coming,

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Yeah.

C.H. Williams
but I remember thinking for the first time when I read it that is, that is the most romantic. concept is Souls together for eternity and I remember reading it the first time it just hit me very hard Even though you kind of know it’s coming her setup is beautiful. And of course, it’s just a beautiful moment. You finally get that bond.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Mmm. Good Choice. Not that you need my validation, but I am with you on that one. Okay, question number five. What are your favorite scents or smells to write about?

C.H. Williams
Alright, so I actually have two. So first, anything citrusy, especially bergamot. I think it’s because I love drinking tea all the time. And so it always feels very homey and kind of nostalgic. And, you know, whenever you have these kind of citrusy, bergamot-y, tea-esque smells, you always have some kind of home domestic thing. And you get these chance for these characters to be kind of vulnerable. They’re eating and drinking and conversing,

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Yeah.

C.H. Williams
and resting. And then I also love writing about baking smells, anything about food being cooked or food being eaten. It’s so much fun to write about. You have this proverbial breaking of the bread between characters. So you get this really rich sensory world and you can really marry it to a really nice allegory.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Oh, that’s so cool. I like that. Is there any like particular baking, like bread or cake or whatever that you think is like the best?

C.H. Williams
It’s gotta be bread.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
bread?

C.H. Williams
Definitely

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Yeah.

C.H. Williams
that warm yeasty smell of bread rising. Yeah, hits the spot.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Now I want bread.

C.H. Williams
[laughs]

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Okay, question number six. What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever got?

C.H. Williams
Oh my gosh, so the worst writing advice I ever got was that my queer characters weren’t queer enough to be desirable or interesting to other queer people and I should change them.

J.P. Der Boghossian
[gasps]

C.H. Williams
I know! I know, it’s horrible. So I categorize it as kind of the subset of… advice that suggests that the best writing is the most marketable or palatable writing, when in fact those are actually entirely separate things. So that’s bad advice

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Wow.

C.H. Williams
Anyway, but like my queer characters are desirable and interesting to me. Other people can write characters that are desirable and interesting to them, and we can all lift each other up. There’s totally room for that, but commodifying queerness or acting like we need some kind of one-size-fits-all identity is terrible advice. I should go. Go up as a huge red flag if you ever hear that.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Like I want to ask a follow up like was it an agent or a publisher, but I won’t put you on the spot like that. Uh, okay. Question number seven, promote yourself. How do we order your book? How do we follow you on social?

C.H. Williams
All right, so you can get the paperback or the Kindle version on Amazon. You can get a digital copy or the paperback also on my website, which is chwilliamsliterary.com. You can also get the special hand bound versions. So, I do my own book binding and I often do pre-order campaigns where there’s a hand bound book and some trinkets that go along with that. So if you’re interested in the more kind of niche hand bound, you know, writing to printing, to sewing, to binding, all done by the author, you can get that on my website. As far as social, I’m mostly on Instagram. I’m at C.H. Williams Literary. There’s a Twitter and a Tumblr and a Facebook page that don’t get quite as much use, but I still try and post occasionally. If you really want the updates though, you can sign up for email updates on my website. When you sign up for email updates, you get a free copy of my first short story, which is Festival of Frost. Bonus, you get some extra fantasy.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
That’s what I’m doing when we’re done here. And that is all the time that we have. Thank you C.H.. This has been fantastic!

C.H. Williams
Thank you so much!

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Well, thanks everyone for listening today. This podcast is Executive Produced by Jim Pounds. Our Associate Producers are Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Ollila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shea, and Sean Smith.

Visit our Bookshop to buy the books featured on our podcasts as well as to browse new collections specifically curated by me.
thisqueerbook.com/bookshop

We’re @thisqueerbook on Facebook and Instagram. I’m also @jp_derboghossian on TikTok where I tok about LGBTQ books!
Be here next Tuesday for the next in our Summer of Book Love series. Until then, see you queers and allies in the bookstores.

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