Frank J. Williams III
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Frank has been a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy since childhood, devouring every book he could get his hands on from Scholastic book services to the local library where his cousin Frieda worked as a librarian. Weaned on Issac Asimov, Ben Bova, and Zenna Henderson, he ventured into far off worlds and other realities that existed beyond the confines of the rough Hill District neighborhood where he lived with his working class family. Frank began writing his own short stories and poetry for pleasure in high school while working as a cub reporter for the Northside Community Press, a neighborhood newspaper.
As an adult working for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Frank attended the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in creative writing, where his stories recalling neighborhood experiences were cited by an instructor as being reminiscent of August Wilson’s works. While working and attending school, he was diagnosed with mid-level depression, which eventually caused him to abandon writing for a time. A chance encounter with the woman who would eventually become his wife led to a whirlwind courtship which culminated with his move to Minneapolis Minnesota (as August Wilson did) and his marriage to Terry Williams in 2002.
Through her encouragement and support, Frank resumed his writing and began taking courses at The Loft Literary Center in downtown Minneapolis. In time, he was invited to be a participant at the Camden Colloquium for several years where he read his works to audiences and received a positive response. Unfortunately, a devastating work injury in late 2003 left him physically debilitated for several years, and depression once again reared its ugly head. Everything changed, however, after a portentous event, and a personal decision.
In 2005, Frank discovered the Massive Multiplayer Online Game the Matrix Online. During his forays within this rich fantasy world, he joined a faction that was coincidentally made up of writers and aspiring writers. Encouraged to create a short story about his own in-game character for the faction website, Frank’s story was not only well received but at the behest of many of the faction’s members, over several months he expanded it into a 53-page novella which was enjoyed by the entire faction. A few months later, he received a cryptic email from two of the faction members which turned into an invitation to edit their fledgling story at that time referred to as The Simulacron. While impressed by the scope of their story, their first draft was only a few chapters long and very rough. On a whim, Frank decided to rewrite a few of the chapters in his own style and presented them to the duo. Impressed by his work, Rael Wisdorf and Nick Hede invited him to co-author their novel, now renamed Hawks Effect.
At the same time, doctors informed him that he would be placed on morphine as the final solution for his pain management. Faced with the prospect of no longer being an active participant in his own life due to the effects of the drug, Frank made a bold move. Due to a change in his spirituality, he decided to forego the use of both pain medication and his medication for depression as well. Through his own force of will coupled with his wife’s support and the motivation to be a part of writing such a tremendous story, Frank conquered his depression and found alternative drug-free methods to manage his pain. Relieved of those burdens, he joyfully threw himself back into his writing, which he continues to do today. Armed with a holistic approach to both mind and body, as well as a focus on practices from his Native American heritage, Frank has rediscovered his zest for life and the joy of giving back to his Twin Cities community through volunteerism and philanthropy.
When he is not writing, Frank enjoys life as a Shamanic practitioner, reveling in the connection between human beings and all life on earth. He is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, an avid Japanese Animation aficionado, and staff volunteer for Anime Detour, a yearly convention sponsored by Anime Twin Cities. A self-proclaimed Geek, and “granola making hippie,” Frank and Terry also own and manage their own organic foods business, and are enthusiastic supporters of Second Harvest Heartland, a statewide food shelf for the disadvantaged.