WILLIAM SIMON: There ARE No Secrets…

 "Until the screaming started, it was just another Monday morning….
 I’d come in early to review the weekend network traffic logs. I did that, sometimes, when the place was quiet and before the workweek began.
 I hung up my suit jacket, closed the door, and settled in with the stack of printouts.
 As I read the first page, I took out my cufflinks and put them in a trouser pocket, rolling up my sleeves until the air conditioner kicked in. In a silent protest against ‘business casual’, I kept my tie knotted, but unbuttoned my vest. Besides, I wanted to see how long it would take someone to notice the abstract-looking pattern on my tie was really Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner." SPIDER'S DANCE
[This is] a remarkably entertaining story, due mainly to the protagonist’s sense of humor. There are laugh-out-loud moments throughout, and these do not take away from the mystery or suspense. Unique characters, an original hero (we don’t get that too often), and an up to the minute topical plot carries SPIDER’S DANCE to the bank.
Raymond Benson, author of THE BLACK STILETTO, and THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK AND WHITE, six James Bond continuation novels, and the Spike Berringer Rock ‘n Roll P.I. series.

Meet William Simon…good friend, great author and honest-to-goodness Renaissance Man. Like his novel’s hero, Nicholas White wearing a cartoon tie, William strolls around with a silver-handled, black walking cane. Not because he needs it, but because it’s his own quirky statement to the world. (Don’t tell him it also makes him look incredibly dashing and gives him a nostalgic, noir presence.)

Both William and Nicholas White would have blended in perfectly in the circa ’50’s jazz, black-and-white movies, Frank Sinatra period. Instead, they were rudely dropped into the modern, high-tech, corporate intrigue of this era…and have adapted masterfully. Check this out:

 What's your day-job, William? 

I am the owner and lead investigator for an agency that specializes in computer forensics and electronic evidence exclusively.  I've been doing this since 2002, and it has led to some.... shall we say 'interesting' experiences.

(That's right, dear reader, he's a PI who can take a carefully deleted, broken, burned up hard drive and still uncover its secrets. Formidable? Cool? Uh...yeah.)

 Where do you get your ideas of espionage and intrigue?(she asks knowingly.) 🙂

I think it was Dean Koonz who once compared a writer's mind to a bubbling cauldron of stuff, and sometimes an idea floats to the top. It's all material, as writers we just need to learn how to use it.

What inspired your contribution(SPIDER'S TANGO)to the fabulous LOVE IS MURDER 3 anthology?

 I’ve worked as a computer forensic investigator since 2002, and some of the cases have been less than pleasant. 

The original draft of ‘Tango’, submitted for THRILLER 2, was much more serious, grimmer and, in some sections, brutal.  That didn’t make the final cut for the theme the publisher was aiming for. 

The day came a couple of years after that when submissions were opened for THRILLER 3, asking for stories of romantic suspense. 

In one of those coincidences that a writer would get nailed for – but happens all the time in Real Life – Turner Classic Movies had been running a marathon of Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn movies.  Which led to my digging out the DVD’s of “Remington Steele” and “Moonlighting,” both old favorites. 

After days of watching and appreciating clever and witty banter between the sexes, I re-wrote ‘Tango’ to fall more into that category.  I was stunned to learn it had been accepted for the anthology, and am very proud to be included in such stellar company.  I’m an unabashed fan of many of the authors in this, so it’s extra-special to be in their company.

Besides belonging to International Thriller Writers, you're an active member of two Houston RWA groups. What's a guy like you doing in romance groups like that? 🙂

I joined Northwest Houston RWA way back when (pre-Y2k!) because it was the closest writers' group I could find.  One of the things that struck me immediately was that 'romance' as a description applies to almost every book out there, and the one thing about both chapters is even though I write more in a mystery/thriller vein, everyone opened their arms and their hearts to all writers who came through the door!

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a semi-sequel to Spider's Dance, involving Michaela O'Brien's brother, Ian McAllister. He left the family, adopted his grandfather's last name and works throughout Europe. Let's just say nothing is what it seems.

In addition to that I'm developing a novel set in 1959 Las Vegas, with a casino manager and an investigator for the NDI (Nevada Division of Investigation)following the trail of a mysterious billionaire.

If you were not a writer/PI what career would you choose?

Federal Law Enforcement; it was the family business so to speak. I was the Black Sheep of the family for a while when I chose the corporate world instead.

Gushy fan question: Describe your favorite meal.

Italian restaurants get my attention. We live in Texas so, of course, Mexican cuisine is a favorite. A fine steak is always a good thing, and a perfect cheeseburger gets priority attention. Given a choice, though, Italian always wins. 

Thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions, William. You're a guy who likes his privacy, so we really appreciate this!

Additional praise for SPIDER'S DANCE:

“I absolutely loved the witty, elegant thriller, SPIDER’S DANCE. Chock-full of fascinating characters, SPIDER’S DANCE thrusts the reader into the high stakes world of Big Oil—and an even bigger cover-up. In the aftermath of a devastating environmental disaster, our eminently reliable narrator, Nicholas White, carries us through this suspenseful tale with a combination of fearlessness and panache. Nicholas is a man you can trust, written by an author who has been there. Throw in a sunken World War II submarine and a high-stakes international scam of harrowing proportions, and you’ve got a corker!” —J. Carson Black, Best-selling Author of ICON and THE SHOP.

(William Simon also publishes under the pseudonym: Will Graham.)

For more information on William: www.wmsimon.com


Got a question or comment for William? He’ll be stopping by today to answer them all with his usual dry wit!




About Sarah Andre

Romantic Suspense That Keeps You Up All Night! I live in sunny FL, love daydreaming, reading and chocolate. I write in the wee hours of the morning before my helpless hubby and 2 male Pomeranian pups awaken with their demands. :) My debut LOCKED, LOADED and LYING is available now.

Posted on August 7, 2012, in Author Interview, book recommendations, Sarah Andre and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 88 Comments.

  1. Welcome, Will–great to have you here!
    Why did you begin publishing under William Graham and then switch to your real name (or IS this your real name…?) 🙂

    • Hi, Sarah, thank you for having me here today! Initially, I was publishing under the name ‘Will Graham’ to keep my writing separate from my professional life. Due to a ‘perfect storm’ of miscommunications (mainly on my part at the time), when “Spider’s Tango” was accepted for THRILLER 3, I neglected to let them know my pseudonym. After about three seconds of thinking about it, I decided, “Aw, the heck with it!” and revised everything to include my real name!

  2. I can’t wait to read your story set in Las Vegas! I’ll bet it will be a home run. Thanks for interviewing William Simon- interesting guy.

    • You’ve already read some of it, Stacey…:) And your comments were, as always, very encouraging! I think you’ll like how it all turns out…:)

      • Do you have a tentative pub date/title for the Vegas story? I know that’s where you grew up, so I expect it will have a gritty, realistic setting.

  3. Great interview, Sarah. And Will, I loved Spider’s Dance. You pulled me in and kept me reading until I finished the last word and then you made me wish it hadn’t ended.

    Oh…waving at Lena Diaz a blog member, who I had the pleasure of meeting at RWA nationals.

    • Christie, thank you! You were one of the very first RWA writers I met back in (ahemkoffchokekoffchoke), and your support has always meant a lot…:)

      • Thanks for stopping by, Christie (famous romantic comedy and YA author!) You were also the first chapter member I ‘met’ and the first to critique the pathetic first chapter of my first novel. (Really, even though it’s been years, I can’t apologize enough!) 🙂

    • Hi Christie! Waving right back! It was so fun meeting you. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. Great interview, Sarah. And I’m looking forward to reading Spider’s Dance!

  5. William, I love the idea of a thriller set in 1959 Vegas. Can you tell us more about that?

  6. William, I loved the witty repartee in the excerpt from Spider. It’s great that you had that eureka moment to figure out how to improve your book. I can sympathize, because I have a British character and watched Notting Hill ad naseum until I could get the “accent” right. Hope I’ve managed it half as well as you.

    Great interview Sarah. Thanks for the book recommendation. But if this keeps up, I’ll have to reinforce my bedroom floor to hold the TBR pile that is staggeringly high!

    Diana Belchase

  7. What a nice interview…and I agree with Koontz’s comment that a writer’s mind is a bubbling cauldron!! Love that. William’s books will scare you silly, touch your heart, and make you thankful for the good guys!!! I’m a huge fan!

  8. Hi William, “Killer” opening line. You pulled me in right there! And I’m very intrigued by the sunken WWII sub in one of your forthcoming books. The sequel to my near-future debut book features a stolen prototype submarine that is now home to an assortment of ex’s–ex-cons, ex-spies, ex-terrorists. All led by a man mysteriously named “Pirate.”

  9. I’m not a big thriller reader, so when I bought the anthology with Will’s story, I planned to just give it away, but the opening totally pulled me in. Great, great story! More, please!

    • Thank you, Shana! Knowing you’re not a thriller reader, this really means a lot to me. If I can capture your attention, maybe I’m on to something…:)

    • Hi Shana (famous historical romance writer! We’re really having some big names celebrate William today.)

      A few weeks ago we had a ‘favorite first lines’ blog and I was dying to put up Will’s, but didn’t want to spoil today’s blog.

  10. Loved SPIDER’S DANCE, Will! Terrific interview!

  11. So if and when you’re back in Chicago to visit, we’ll have to go to Italian Village, my favorite Italian restaurant and the oldest one in the city… where Al Capone used to go.

    • Holy smokes, Raymond Benson’s here too!
      Thanks for stopping by, I enjoyed meeting you at Murder By The Book booksigning (with William.)

      What’s the name of said famous Italian restaurant? (Just in case I get up there one of these hot, summer days…)

    • Wow, Raymond, I can’t believe it’s still there! It was legendary when we lived there… along with Jazz, Ltd., owned and run by Bill Rinehart, a jazz clarinet player. Jazz, Ltd. closed years ago, but I always thought that was THE coolest name for a nightclub!

  12. I enjoyed Spider’s Tango and can’t wait to read the Las Vegas-set story, Will. I also appreciate the way you show up at local RWA meetings in suit and tie, twirling that silver-topped cane. I’m tempted to don a frock and heels for the next meeting.

    Thanks for another great interview, Sarah.

    • Ha, ha, Pat! I double-dog-dare ya.

      Thank you for commenting (and backing me up that he looks fabulous with that ‘accessory’.)

    • Actually, Pat, the cane is topped with The Hound of the Baskervilles…:) But a silver one…. hmmmm… might have to investigate that one! A friend suggested I needed one with a spider mounted on it; SPIDER’S TANGO, SPIDER’S DANCE, SPIDER’S TWIST, etc. Need to find one of those, too! And I’m glad you enjoyed ST! Nicholas’ adventures continue in DANCE…:)

  13. Well as Will’s little brother, do I have stories!!! But that will be for another time, I’m so proud of his writing and I can’t wait for the Vegas book to come out. I’m sure it is going to be outstanding!!
    Love you brother!!! Now get back to writing!!!!

    • “Little brother”…. pffft. Those of you who met Scott know he’s twice my size! Those who didn’t get the chance to meet him this trip, yes, it’s true…. at 6’1”, 235, I’m the “small one” in the family! Thanks for stopping by, bro!

    • Hey Scott! Nice chatting with you again.

      Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for coming over to support The Black Sheep.

  14. What a fabulous opening line, William! The best are simple when you read them, but usually so hard to craft.

    Loved the interview. Can you tell us more about your job in computer forensics? What are the tools of the trade (besides computers), and do you have any interesting discoveries or cases you can share?

    • Thank you, Gwen! And you nailed it perfectly; we don’t talk about the weeks it took to develop it…:)

      Just for fun, here’s the opener for “Spider’s Tango”, the short story in THRILLER 3:

      “Here’s a piece of advice you won’t find in any manual, leaflet, monograph, self-help book, or national talk-show: when an agent with the FBI’s Violent Crimes Unit opens an email, then spends the next ten minutes vomiting in the men’s room, do not under any circumstances lean across the desk and look at the screen…”

      As far as computer forensics goes, it is a matter of creating a forensic image of a drive and using specialized software and custom built computers to analyze what is there. Deleted files, encrypted files, hidden files, it can be found. The way modern operating systems (be it Windows, Mac OS, or Linux) work, there is no real way to erase the information completely. There’s a famous story in the industry about a suspect who re-formatted his hard drive forty times… yes, *40*. The FBI lab at Quantico was still able to recover enough evidence to convict him of trafficking in what we’ll politely call ‘age inappropriate photographs.’ The information is there, and it never really goes away.

      Scary, huh?

    • Isn’t he the coolest?

      OH, I’m gushing again.

  15. What an amazing first line, Will. I think we met briefly at La Madeline’s when Lorin Oberweger was in town. So … nice to “see” you again. 🙂

    Enjoyed the interview, Sarah!

    • Hi Deeanne,
      Thank you for commenting! Believe it or not you’re both in West Houston together…I can’t believe you met at a restaurant instead, LOL!

  16. You are entirely correct, Deanne, I remember you..:) Thank you so much for stopping by!

  17. THE PERSUADERS? That takes me back. Not many people I know remember that. Great interview, Will and Sarah.

  18. Great interview! I love all of Will’s books and can’t wait for more! 🙂 I still believe every bad guy should have a few minutes alone with one of Will’s heros!

  19. This is a wonderful interview. I am surely excited to read the Las Vegas style novel..it’s my kind of town, Las Vegas is!

  20. Will is one cool customer as anyone who has met him knows. Awesome interview, Will! Can’t wait to see where your writing journey takes you. Congrats on THRILLER 3!

    Great job on the interview, Sarah!

    I had the pleasure of hearing 5 pages of the Las Vegas story at one of our meetings–let’s just say it’s freaking awesome and I can’t wait to read it.

  21. Will, Thanks so much for joining us on Kiss and Thrill today- and Sarah, thanks for having such cool friends! and the great interview!

    I’m really looking forward to reading your work, Will. The only thing I love more than a truly terrible villain is a wonderful hero. From the comments, it seems you provide both.

  22. Thank you for having me here today, Carey! I hope you enjoy SPIDER’S DANCE; the villain is a bit *too* real these days, but people do seem to like Nicholas!

  23. Very nice interview. The books sound good.

  24. If you like sexy mysteries with a paranormal twist, I strongly suggest Will’s MIXED MARRIAGES.

    And Will already knows my question (I nag him monthly) — when is more Emma and Jonathan coming?

  25. Super interview Sarah and Will. I always enjoy learning more about good friends.
    I’ve had the pleasure of reading the opening to William’s Las Vegas set story. I CAN NOT wait to read it when completed. It’s guaranteed to knock your socks off!

    • Thank you, Jenn! I’m glad you enjoy it. Coming from you, high praise indeed…:)

    • Oh man…! You’re the second person to comment on his LV opening.

      Come on Will…how about just the first sentence…that way we’ll have Dance, Tango and the Las Vegas lines. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Jenn!

      • Sarah, if I wasn’t re-writing it all, I would! Had a brain flash yesterday that changed the whole scope of the characters and the story. Now, I have to go back and fix everything this will affect….:)

  26. William sounds like a very interesting man

  27. Thank you, Deborah. I hope you enjoy the books!

  28. Hi Will! How did you get involved in the field of computer forensics? Do you have degree in Computer Science? Do you need a special license to be an investigator? I bet you’re in high demand for brainstorming sessions with your writing colleagues

    Sarah, you know all the interesting people! Great interview and discussion. Looking forward to reading more of Will’s work.

    • Hi, Krista, nice to see you…:)

      Going back in time to the mid-80’s, computers were just beginning to come into the corporate workforce. I had a Tandy 1000 at home, and my director said, “You can turn a computer on and off? YOU are now The Computer Guy!” It kind of grew in leaps and bounds from there.

      I got curious about the forensics end of things with a consulting job I was working around 1996 or so, when the 800lb gorilla was America Online. Long story, and quite tame by today’s standards, but someone was accessing material inappropriate for the workplace, shall we say? (grin).

      In the State of Texas, yes, I have to have a current investigator’s license in order to do any kind of computer forensic work. More and more states are leaning in that direction.

    • I’m so techno-tarded that it’s all magic to me! Therefore, what William does is beyond fascinating.

  29. Thank you once again for being here today, Will. It’s been quite an exciting day with huge-named authors stopping by to support you!

    We hope you’ll join us again when your next novel is published.

  30. You’re story caught my attention with the first sentence. “Until the screaming started, it was just another Monday morning….; I love it. I usually start my day listening to whining….This book is on my list to TBR.

  31. Awesome interview, Will! As always, you’re one cool customer. For those who don’t know him, this man is a fantastic supporter of newbie writers. Always encouraging and understanding. Not to mention extremely talented in the writing department.

  32. At this moment I am going away to do my breakfast, afterward having my breakfast coming yet again to read other news.

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