A university professor recently published his first novel, “The Lords of Leftovers,” about the survivors of a national catastrophe and their struggle to exist in a ruined country filled with bandits and armed militias.
As the former chair of the English department and the current Honors Professor of the Humanities, Dan Williams is acquired in his knowledge of literature. Despite the triumph of writing and publishing his first novel, Williams said the process was not always an easy one.
Williams said he was initially inspired to write the novel as a result of his discontent toward the ending of “Atlas Shrugged”, a post-apocalyptic novel written by Ayn Rand.
“It was a nasty way to end a book. People gave up on each other, and I wanted to rewrite the ending,” Williams said.
In the 1990s, Williams said he began writing as an attempt to add hope and unity to the story. He wrote consistently for a number of years and finally mustered up the courage to show his friend, Barry Hannah, the manuscript. Williams said Hannah encouraged him to send the manuscript to a publisher, who rejected the novel.
“I was absolutely crushed,” Williams said. “After the rejection I was too afraid to show anyone my writing.”
Williams, in the wake of defeat, said he halted his consistent progress on the novel. He said the story sat dormant until his rare and sporadic writing surges became more and more common.
Three years ago, he decided to finish the book and, upon completion, spent an additional nine months carefully going through each page. Once satisfied with the result, Williams said he showed his finished novel to an acquaintance, Dave Kuhne. Kuhne encouraged Williams to send his manuscript to Ink Brush Press, where editor Jerry Craven agreed to work with Williams and publish “The Lords of Leftovers.”
“When I heard the news, it was an out of body experience. I didn’t believe it for a while,” Williams said. “It finally became real when I held the finished product in my hands.”
“The Lords of Leftovers” is currently on the shelves of the TCU Barnes and Noble, but Williams said this is not the end of his career as an author. Craven asked Williams to write a sequel to his novel, which Williams said he is already three-fourths of the way done with.
“The hardest part of the process was putting faith into the manuscript and thinking it was good enough to keep writing,” Williams said. “But I drew to the end, realized the novel was going to get done, and decided maybe it wasn’t so bad.”