When you think about Boardman, Wis., the first thing that pops into your head probably isn't clowns running through the woods. But after reading E.B. William's "The Clowns of Boardman," you might be not be able to look at clowns the same way again.
"A few years ago, I was going through old paintings and I had this knock-off painting of these creepy clowns, and I was working in Boardman at the time, and it just came to me: The Clowns of Boardman," William said. "My friends had always told me that I should write something about those creepy clowns. I had never written a horror before and it just came to me pretty quickly. I took some time outlining it and generating ideas and I published it digitally last August through Amazon. Then I worked on the formatting, choosing who I'd go through and just went with Amazon's publication, too."
"The Clowns of Boardman" tells the tale of seven teens from Minnesota meeting three naughty clowns from Wisconsin, and is the brainchild of New Richmond native Billy Olson, who changed his name to E.B. William more than 20 years ago. William is a graduate of St. Mary Catholic School, as well as a 1988 New Richmond High School grad.
"I started signing my paintings and writings as E.B. William in high school and had it legally changed over 20 years ago," William said. "I never felt 'Bill Olson' had much of a ring to it and I have almost no connection with the Olson side of my family tree.
"The 'E.' stands for Earley, which is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. The Earley clan is an extremely talented group (my cousin Sheila Earley is, literally, one of the best drummers on earth, for one example) and I like to hope that I received a drop of their wit and talent. But of course, having grown up here, most everyone still just calls me Billy, which is just fine with me. After 20 years, I'm comfortable with just about any permutation."
William will hold a book talk and signing at the Friday Memorial Library at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17. Books will be available for purchase.
"The library has always been supportive and helpful with everything I've ever worked on," William said.
Another reading is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 19 at Covet in New Richmond. Twenty-five percent of book and Covet sales from 5-8 p.m. will be donated to the Friday Memorial Library Friends of the Library fund.
"I've been a writer and done writing and painting my entire life. I've written novels and books before, but this is the one I really went the furthest with. It has gotten good feedback on Amazon and from people who have read it. The support and enthusiasm from my friends, family and coworkers has been great," William said. "I'm super excited to keep reaching out to local libraries and stores to do as many readings as I can to help put the word out there."
Although this is William's first published novel — he has written several novels and stories that he has yet to publish.
"People have been so supportive of my writing and the book. It is very humbling to have someone come up to you and say they have been reading your book and tell you that they enjoyed it," William said. "As a writer, you have that time out in the community and that time at your computer writing it out, so when someone gives you that feedback, and that they actually enjoyed it, that means the world."
Clowns of Boardman is the first novel in a trilogy; people have asked William when the next book will appear.
"Right now, I'm busy working on the sequel. I'm actually hoping to have that release in October to tie that in with Halloween," William said. "And just to make sure there isn't any problems because of the clown thing we had a while back, I'll tell everyone right now that no one should dress up as clowns and run through the woods in Boardman."
For more information on William's author visit at the Friday Memorial Library, visit newrichmondlibrary.org. To purchase a copy of The Clowns of Boardman, visit Amazon.com and search E.B. William or The Clowns of Boardman.