• Reece Willis

Behind the Shadows - The Writing Process of What We Become

Updated: 2 days ago



The writing of What We Become commenced in late 2017, once the final draft of Towards the Within was complete. Initially it was a small idea of obsession with the main character pursuing his lost love across Thailand, but as the early drafts developed, the story blossomed into something so much bigger. The conclusion was the first section of the story I had in mind with everything else centred around this idea.

Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand


The story opens up with the song Closer by Kings of Leon. I trawled through my iPod to find a suitable piece to commence Ben’s journey, and found Closer to be a superb start with such a poignant theme for his path. Music is an integral part of my life. Most of my memories are bookmarked and easily accessed by a piece of music should I wish to travel back to a certain aspect of my past, and often I’m caught off guard by a song which can trigger a recollection I may have forgotten. I like to think Ben held himself together with the comfort and solace his music collection provided him. It’s often been a source of escape for me when times have been tough.


Temple grounds, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Ben’s character to a degree is based on elements of myself. For many years I suffered from depression which led me down an extremely dark and dangerous path. With the courageous patience and support from my wife I overcame my anxieties and have been in recovery for sometime now. These days I'm very happy and live a clean and healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically. But I know only too well how post traumatic stress disorder can take hold and destroy one's soul and appear unexpectedly at a moments notice.


Maya Bay, Phuket, Thailand


It was great to revisit Thailand, a favourite of the countries I have travelled, along with Hong Kong. I have some wonderful memories of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket and the beautiful people who reside in these special places. I also have a close connection with Sandgate, Hythe and Seabrook in South East England and it was a pleasure to write these personal locations into the book. What was also nice was to include my love of photography and Martial Arts as recurring themes throughout the story-line. I have practised Karate, Judo, Muay Thai Kickboxing and for the last fifteen years, Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun Kung Fu.


Sandgate, England


It’s been very emotional writing What We Become, and at times I found myself close to tears, being utterly absorbed into Ben’s world. As with all of the characters in my books, it’s hard to walk away from them, having been completely invested and committed to the conviction of their development. The story closes with The Silence by Manchester Orchestra and seemed a perfect way to end Ben’s traumatic journey.


Hong Kong Skyline

What We Become is available now from Amazon

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