I was privileged to meet Will Hinton several years ago and certainly enjoyed learning more about him through this interview! If you or someone you know loves Westerns, give Will Hinton a try! Remember, books make great gifts!
A little about your writing:
What is the title of your book(s)?
My books are a western trilogy, with book one being Lonely are The Hunted, book two is Rocky Mountain Odyssey, and book three is Shadow of Vengeance.
Get us excited about your books! Tell us a little about them!
In book one we find a young rancher committing what he thinks is a terrible crime of shooting down two lawmen. Turns out they were extremely crooked and ruthless, but the young man is on the run for what he considers the rest of his life.
He teams up with three other men as wild horse hunters as a means of making a living and the adventures continue from there. Love attempts to enter his life, but he fights against it out of the fear of being caught, etc. In the end, good triumphs over evil, but the rest of the plot and subplots are left to you, the reader, to discover for yourselves!
Book two continues with these same characters because I fell in love with them and they are now family! Come book three, and the same family ties continue. I plan a book four, and …
Who is your target audience?
Anyone who appreciates a western adventure laced with a bit of romance and realistic plots. There are no super heroes and my characters laugh, cry, hurt, and even die. There is no profanity or sex, however, I feel I’m more skilled as a writer than needing to use those to make it real.
Where did you get the idea for the story line? Did it come from a personal experience?
I grew up on horses, have read westerns nearly all my life, and the results are obvious. Lonely are The Hunted did grow out of an inspiration that was the result of a movie beginning. It was so impactful that I couldn’t drop it, and then started fashioning my own story as i worked at my job. Within a week I had nearly all the main events and decided to not waste the opportunity.
Which character in your story do you relate with the most and why?
The main character, Dan Kade, is something of myself in his hesitations, softness, etc. Having these traits, I wrote them into him because I understand what it’s like to have those feelings.
If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast to play the main characters?
This is something I have no trouble with; I have “cast” the movie or mini-series several times and have had friends and readers also do it for me.
Dan Kade is played by a yet unchosen star, but Red Elk is by Lou Diamond Phillips , Tom Selleck is Ira Stevens, Walter Brumly is Paul McCord, and the rest are yet to be found.
Is there a message or lesson in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
Not really, although I do desire for my readers to appreciate what it took to settle and tame our beautiful western country. Let’s face it, there is no other time in history save the Biblical times that have captured and held man’s interest like the western movement in north America. The time frame of that settling still intrigues men and women this very day.
What does your writing process look like?
I do a LOT of thinking during the day as I perform other tasks, plan events to be written, then redo them, go another direction, and keep doing that until I have the next several pages, or even the next adventure in my mind so that when I set down to the laptop, it pretty much flows. I do not often just set down to write without that process having been performed. I find if I do “just set down”, it’s pretty much a slow struggle to stay realistic and exciting.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names are important, of course, but many of those I use are the result of childhood games my mother and I played. Let me explain; when my mom was in her teens, she became the caretaker for my grandma. Grandma had cancer and was bedridden for the last year of her life. Mom cared for her, which forced her to drop out of school after 8th grade.
They developed a game they would play in order to help Grandma pass the time. They each made up names of characters in a family and would vocally role-play them through stories. Mom, many years later, taught me to do the same, and we spent hours role playing through western stories. That wonderful experience helped develop in me a deep imagination that has never shut down since! Sometimes I wish I could find the switch!!
Do you have any crazy writing habits like wearing a special hat or taking breaks to stand on your head?
No, afraid not. I’m crazy enough without any of that happening.
Do you ever experience writers block and what do you do to overcome it?
Oh definitely. During the second book I hit the proverbial brick wall. I decided to try and alleviate it. I would start a new story in a different genre. About 6 chapters into the future based Christian fiction book, snap! It worked. I have used that same story to break through twice more since. Now, after several years of that story bouncing around in my head, it is the primary work in progress. I’m at 91,000 words and starting the final “run to the end”.
How old where you when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t say I ever decided, per se, that I wanted to be a writer. I just have always loved to write. I started in 6th grade, which is a good story, but I’ll spare you that for now. That my first full length novel has been published was a work of God as He linked me up with my publisher before he became a publisher. The story is too long to tell here, but is a good one.
What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Wow, that’s a puzzling question. I guess I really don’t have a least favorite part or even a favorite part. It’s all a unified project of imagination, physical effort to sit down and put the story to the keyboard, and determining direction of the next part of the story. I don’t like re-writing, so maybe that would be the right answer.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
As I said above, the current work in progress is a Christian fiction set in the future and has been going on in my head for many years. I have maybe 7 or 8 more chapters to go and it will be finished. It is much longer than my westerns.
What question have you always wished someone would ask you about your book(s), but no one has?
Whoa, never thought about this one before. I’ve had some really crazy questions asked, and always enjoy the interaction. One guy wrote and asked me what made me think I could write what a woman was feeling about things since I’m not a woman. I chuckled as I wrote him back and simply told him, “I’ve been married nearly 50 years.”
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Just do it. Don’t worry about whether or not you can get published, just write. My publisher just said a couple of weeks ago in an email, “Don’t worry about the money, just have fun!” I totally and completely endorse that. It’s not about the money, it’s about personal satisfaction.
A little about you:
Do you have a favorite author or an all-time favorite book?
Oh my yes, I have both. My favorite author is Zane Grey. He is the cause of my many trips to the Rocky Mountain country because of his glowing word pictures of that area. He’s also the reason I use extravagant word pictures of the places I have seen. My favorite book would be his Riders of the Purple Sage. Wow, is he ever good.
Among your favorite books, which fictional character do you relate to best and why?
I guess it would have to be the Zane family who helped settle Ohio and West Virginia because of my growing up there and being such a huge fan of Ohio history. We lived near Marietta, Ohio, and had direct ancestors who knew and worked with the Zanes. Grey was born in Zanesville as a direct descendant of that family, and that was only 20 miles from my home. He had such a familiar touch to his three books about the time period of that settling.
If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What would your costume look like? What would your super power be?
I would be Will Riley Hinton and my costume would be boots, spurs, and a cowboy hat, just like my costume as I grew up! My super power would be to be able to talk to and understand horses even better than I could as a young man.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m a huuuuugge aviation fan, holding a commercial pilot’s license and a former flight instructor’s certificate, and though I no longer fly full scale airplanes I do compete with model airplanes. I love building and flying them. I also, on a large scale, build custom guitars and like playing guitar since I was 14.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Oh how easy that is to answer – I would go back to the Rockies again!!! Maybe spend time at a dude ranch.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Christian, husband, father, grandfather. (Okay, so I can’t count.)
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know about?
Tough question, because I’m very transparent. Maybe my deep love for animals? No, that doesn’t work everyone knows that. Aha! Got it – I used to race sports cars. (2 summers.)
Thank you, Will!