William Clifford grew from a small town farm boy to an industrial city dweller. Falls and ailments led to an early forced retirement. He had plans to write books and was encouraged to follow up on these plans by friends and family and medical caregivers.
In November of 2013, he began writing his first book in a series. That book was «Amy». He wrote 4 books that year and published the first two. «Amy’s Love” took the story in a different direction so cinched his decision to keep following the serial path. He wrote song lyrics and poetry for many years prior to starting doing the novel idea. He is married with three children and eight grandchildren. He lives with his wife in their empty nest. Their children have homes and families of their own.
Interviewer: Vassiliki V. Pappa
Vassiliki V. Pappa: Mr. Clifford, you grew up on a small farm but now you live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Which parts of your life on a small farm do you remember most vividly and how does this compare to living in a metropolis?
William Clifford: I lived in two different parts of the county. Both were filled with adventurous places. One area was a deep valley with a stream and railroad running down the middle of it. The farm was also blessed with a stream but had wide rolling hills. It gave room to our imaginations to soar. The town and city life was more restrictive but had its attractions.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: You seem a balanced and an optimistic person. Where do you draw your optimism from? Did you have a happy childhood?
William Clifford: I did have a widely happy childhood with many people around to give positive influence on us. Although I have been diagnosed with clinical depression, I find it hard to stay locked down by it. I have a very inspiring group of people around me to keep me balanced. My faith is strongly supporting my optimism.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: You became a writer after some illnesses which made you take an early retirement. But, let’s start from the beginning. What did this life journey teach you?
I had normal illnesses for the times. I was adventurous and trusting in my unformed qualifications to keep me out of trouble. I fell often and was hurt many times that made the one illness that stayed with me, more pronounced as I grew. I learned to use my imagination firstly. I did not have good memory recalling for the short term. I quite often made up for that with imagination. I learned to turn off my senses as needed, when pain and sensitivity became more intense. I found my faith and that pulled me out of the darkest times while working in the steel mills. I became hopeful. I learned the things that would give me something to write about.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: Your book «Amy’s Love» is a success. Which is the most charming trait of your heroine?
William Clifford: Amy’s determination is her most charming feature. She remembers her previous life which had been torn away from her. She was set in her focus on making this life worthwhile and happy. She was going to be bigger and more outgoing and forceful this time around. When God asked for souls to volunteer to take on this experiment, she did not hesitate to take up the challenge!
Vassiliki V. Pappa: Is it easier to write when you’re sad or happy?
William Clifford: When I am writing, I am always happy to start with. If something in the story saddens me, it doesn’t change my writing pace at all except maybe giving me an anxiety attack. I am always prepared to handle that. I am almost always happy while I write.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: You are married with three children and eight grandchildren. Was it difficult to combine work and family responsibilities?
William Clifford: It was only difficult when I was away from my family. I tried to establish myself in businesses to get me out of the steel mills. I was never successful with any of those and that made life at home much harder. My children are all gifted and strong people. They all had to leave home to have their own families before I was retired. When I did start writing, their families were well established. It is quite quiet here because they are so busy in their lives.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: Do you think that there is a secret to a long lasting relationship?
William Clifford: Hard work shared! Remember why you got together in the first place and talk that into existence. Sharing the load and adjusting to the requirements of the situation at hand. It is a partnership.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: You are 64 years old. Does aging bother you?
I never wanted to get old but my body was old when I was just becoming a man. It was broken many times over before I was thirty. At 64, I am being validated. I have become younger as I aged, because I became attuned to the body I had to live with.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: Once, a Greek poet wrote that all people are running in the same race with death and death always wins. What do you think? Is there a way to win in such a race?
William Clifford: I got to know death in stages and quite personally. Right now we seem to be on the same team. I have been ready for him for decades and now he is just waiting for me to finish my job. I expect he will take over by me and let my work keep going.
Vassiliki V. Pappa: Mr Clifford, Which is the most important: Τhe things we read, the things we learn or the things we experience?
William Clifford: Yes. All of those three make us adjust our outlook to some degree. Things we experience are able to help us learn more accurately. Things we read help us want to experience more fully. Things we learn help us read more clearly. I would not diminish the importance of any of those.
Thank you for giving me this chance to share the thoughts others want to know.
Vassiliki V. Pappa