Interview with William!
Ever wanted to interview William? I did it for you, back in May of 2012! 😉Below are his answers, minus the subscriber-exclusive bonus questions that were sent out in my monthly newsletter last week. (If you don’t want to miss out in the future, subscribe here. It’s free, forever!)
Just remember, this interview was almost eleven years ago, and it does contain some PLOT SPOILERS for The Catch if you haven’t already read it!
CONTENT ADVISORY: domestic violence/abuse, mental health challenges, addiction, grief/loss, relationship difficulties.
In May 2012
First name? William
Middle names? Patrick
Date of birth? 7/21/75
Age? 36 (going on 37)
Weight? Between 200 and 210.
Build? I’m tall. I used to be pretty skinny when I was a teenager. I’ve always been in decent shape because I’ve always worked hard, whether it was fishing, or in my family’s fish processing plant, or wherever. Ever since my motorcycle was stolen, I ride a bike or walk everywhere. And here in hilly San Francisco, that makes for some intense exercise.
Hair color? Dirty-blond or whatever you call it. Kind of halfway between blond and brown.
Hair style? Nowadays I keep my hair cropped pretty close to my head. I’ve never had long hair, but when I was younger it was a little outgrown, and kind of curly. It was a bit messy at times.
Glasses or contact lenses? No.
Distinguishing facial features? I think most people probably notice my eyes first. They’re very blue. Besides that, I have a beard.
Which bodily feature is most prominent? I’m tall. That’s probably what people notice first.
Scars? Lots, from working as a cook and as a fisherman. My biggest scar is on my scalp from when I had a skull fracture in Alaska, but my hair mostly hides it, unless I cut it too short.
Type of clothes? My sister Kelly would say I’ve been wearing the same outfit since the nineties. I usually just wear a T-shirt underneath a plaid flannel shirt of some kind, and jeans. For shoes I usually wear something like Doc Martens, or maybe just some black sneakers, or deck shoes when I’m on the boat. I don’t like anything too wild or colorful.
Race / Ethnicity? 50% Irish and 50% Italian ancestry.
Mannerisms? I’ve been told I make people nervous because I have a very direct way of looking at people, and I have a serious expression on my face most of the time.
Are you in good health? Yes, though I do deal with anxiety and depression.
What words or phrases do you overuse? I’m more famous for not talking than for talking.
Are you more optimistic or pessimistic? I probably naturally lean more toward the pessimistic side, but for the sake of my mental health, I work really hard to keep it in check.
What makes you laugh out loud? Julia’s sense of humor. Unlike me, she’s never had much of a filter. Also, my brother Mike, when he’s not being an asshole. But I haven’t been in touch with Mike in a long time. Oh, and my friend Niall. He’s Irish.
How do you display affection? With most people I’m pretty reserved, but with people I love, I have no problem showing affection. I’ll hug and kiss my mother and sister. I’ll give the typical bro hug to my male relatives and friends, or do the typical guy back-slapping stuff or hand shake. With Julia, it’s all on the table.
How do you see yourself? At this point I see myself as a basically decent but flawed human being. I guess I do an okay job nowadays at being a good family member, friend, etc., which is all I’ve ever wanted. I’m more comfortable embracing the poet and songwriter side of myself than I was as a kid.
How do you react to praise? For most of my life, it’s been hard to accept praise. I’ve come a long way, but it’s a work in progress, and it probably always will be.
How do you react to criticism? I take it too much to heart, honestly. I’m better now at not letting it completely take the wind out of my sails. But I really try hard to do the right thing, and it sucks when I find out I didn’t.
What is your greatest fear? I’m especially afraid of spiraling downward again with the depression and drugs and alcohol, like I did before I went to Alaska. I don’t think that will ever happen again, but I’m very vigilant.
What are your biggest secrets? I just learned something huge the other day, and I’m going to have to keep it a secret from some people for a little while.
What is your philosophy of life? I don’t believe there’s any great reason or purpose for us being here. I think we make our own meaning out of our experiences. For me, I see my purpose as to be the best family member, friend – and now, boyfriend – that I possibly can. And to tread lightly and leave the world a little better than I found it.
When was the last time you cried? Honestly? A couple of days ago, when Julia told me that she still loves me.
Who do you quote? Poets. (Baudelaire, Hafiz, Rumi, Rilke, Neruda, Angelou, Coleridge, Whitman, Emerson, Oliver, Cummings...)
Are you indoorsy or outdoorsy? Definitely more outdoorsy than indoorsy, especially if it’s on the open ocean.
What quality do you most value in a friend? Integrity, loyalty, and the ability to call me out on my bullshit when they see it. A modicum of intelligence is nice, too, but it helps if they don’t take themselves too seriously.
What do you consider an overrated virtue? Chastity.
Is your family big or small? Who does it consist of? I have a large-ish immediate family. Besides my parents, there was my oldest brother Jimmy, who died of a drug overdose in 1997. Then there’s Mike, who’s three years older than me. Then me; and finally my sister Kelly, who’s three and a half years younger.
I have an enormous extended family with scores of aunts, uncles, and cousins. The relative I’m closest to is my Uncle Frank. I grew up working on his fishing boat.
But the person who really raised me was Nonna – my maternal grandmother. My parents own and operate Cardone’s, the fish processing plant down on Pier 45, and they worked all the time while I was growing up. Nonna passed away from a stroke when I was sixteen. I think of her and miss her every single day.
What is your perception of family? I come from a huge Irish and Italian Catholic family, so obviously I was raised to believe that family is everything. And though I don’t believe in blind loyalty simply because of blood, I do strongly value family in my heart of hearts. I won’t lie – I always hoped to have kids of my own one day.
Did you grow up rich or poor? Not poor, but definitely working class. I would consider myself fairly middle class at this point.
Did you grow up nurtured or neglected? Nurtured by Nonna (my maternal grandmother); somewhat neglected by my parents, who worked all the time. Nonna did the best she could, but she couldn’t handle it all on her own. My brothers got into trouble from a pretty early age. The worst I ever did (before adulthood) was smoke weed and get a tattoo.
What is your greatest achievement? Getting clean and sober. After that, it would be starting my own business, and finishing my degree in my spare time.
What was your first kiss like? Magical.
What are your ambitions? I’m not terribly ambitious. I just want to enjoy life, be a good human, and earn enough with my whale watching business to keep a roof over my head. And I want to make this work out with Julia.
What smells remind you of your childhood? Fish. I practically grew up on a fishing boat and in a fish processing plant. Also, the smells of my grandmother’s Italian / Sicilian cooking.
What was your childhood ambition? To be a fisherman, like Uncle Frank.
What is your best childhood memory? Cooking with Nonna, and fishing with Uncle Frank. If you count adolescence as part of childhood, then my best childhood memories would easily involve Julia.
What is your worst childhood memory? Getting beaten up on a regular basis by my oldest brother Jimmy. And my Nonna’s death, when I was sixteen.
Are you in a relationship? Now I am.
When did you last have sex? That’s pretty personal, and I don’t think I’ll answer that. Plus, I’m almost embarrassed to admit how long it’s been.
What sort of sex do they have? As my dad would have said, “a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.” Which is hilarious, because he was no gentleman.
Have you ever been in love? Only once.
Have you ever had your heart broken? Twice.
Are you most likely to fight with your fists or your tongue? I’ve only ever started a fist-fight once, and he ended up becoming my best friend. But I’ve had to defend myself plenty of times, and I’ve helped my brother Mike out of a few scrapes.
Where do you go when you’re angry? Home to my dog, Diego. He never fails to lower my blood pressure.
What is your current job? I have my own whale watching business. I own and run the boat, and the business itself.
What do you think about your current job? I love it. It’s a dream come true. I always wanted a job where I could be out on the open ocean.
What are your hobbies? I like writing poetry and songs, playing guitar, photography, and most recently, I’m learning to sail. And I still love to cook, even though I don’t do it professionally anymore.
Educational background? I graduated from Holy Cross Prep here in the city, then went to the University of San Francisco for three semesters before flunking out. I just recently finished my degree in business online.
Intelligence level? I’m smart enough that I earned merit-based scholarships to private school and college. I’m dumb enough that I let myself flunk out of college and screw up my relationship with Julia.
Do you play a sport? Are you any good? Not really. I’ve never been as athletic as the rest of my family. I’m not terrible at pick-up basketball, but that’s mostly because I’m tall.
What is your favorite animal? I’ve always been fascinated by albatrosses. And I’m pretty fond of my dog, Diego.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? Julia. And now… well, I’m not allowed to talk about that yet.
Favorite food? Anything tomato-based.
What is in your car? I don’t own a car, and I never have. I used to have a motorcycle (‘85 Yamaha V-max), but it got stolen. So now I bike and walk everywhere, and it keeps me sane and fit.
What is in your wallet? A picture of Julia and her daughter Paige on my uncle’s boat. I took that photo back in 2006, when I took them whale watching.
What is your most treasured possession? Box of memorabilia in my closet, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
What are your religious views? I was raised extremely Catholic, but it never took. I'm too much of a hedonist. Now I would just say I’m spiritual, or maybe agnostic. But I’ll admit to saying a few prayers while crab fishing in Alaska.
Are you superstitious? I picked up a few superstitions while working as a fisherman. Fishermen are a superstitious bunch. And I still wear the Saint Peter pendant Mom gave me when I went to Alaska; he’s the patron saint of fishermen. Actually, I thought I had lost that pendant until just a couple of days ago, when Julia gave it back to me.
How would you like to die? In Julia’s arms. Except that would probably upset her, so instead I’ll just say the same thing everyone says – peacefully, in my sleep.
What is your zodiac sign? Cancer. I’m told I’m a quintessential one.
What is your alcoholic drink of choice? I avoid alcohol. If I’m being honest, I was an alcoholic back in ‘95 and ‘96. Still am, depending on your definition of what an alcoholic is – I’m a recovered alcoholic, or recovering, or whatever you want to call it.
What or who would you dress up as for Halloween? I don’t do the costume thing. This year, though, I might make an exception and dress up as a pirate, for the sake of somebody I love. Back when I first met Julia, she invited me to a Halloween party. I only came as an excuse to see her, and I wore a black leather jacket and boots so I could claim that I had come dressed as something (a biker). That’s the last time I ever dressed up for Halloween.
Are you comfortable with technology? Sort of. It’s definitely not my forté, and I don’t have a personal Facebook or Twitter account or anything like that. I do have accounts for my whale watching business, though. My friend Niall designed my business website.
What is your greatest extravagance? I’m not an extravagant person, though some would say that buying a boat and starting a whale watching business was pretty extravagant. Aside from that, spurred on by my environmentalist godson, I’ve been taking sailing lessons lately. Those aren’t cheap.
What is your perception of redemption? The ability to take the painful lessons of the past and use them to make amends and better choices in the future.
What is your favorite fairytale? The Little Mermaid? You’ll get that if you know me at all.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? If you know anything about me at all, I bet you can guess the answer to that. But okay, I’ll bite. My idea of perfect happiness is sharing the rest of my life with Julia. Stay tuned.
What did you think? Did anything surprise you? If there are any other questions you’d like to ask William, let me know in the comments below, and I’ll pass them along! 😉And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my monthly newsletter – in next month’s issue, subscribers will get a first look at my interview with a fellow romance author – stay tuned for the announcement of who it will be! SUBSCRIBE HERE!