– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Hiding Cracked Glass’ blogtour, organised by Digital Reads Blog Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I began working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment, media, retail, and hospitality industries. Although I enjoy my job, I also want to re-focus on my passions: telling stories and connecting people through literature.
In 2017, I published my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. The sequel, Hiding Cracked Glass, released exactly three years later in 2020. I’ve also written another family drama novel, Father Figure, and created the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigation series about a humorous thirty-something guy dealing with murders and the drama of a small town. I am currently co-authoring a book with a surprise writer and finalizing the next Braxton Campus Mystery, both set to be released in early to mid 2021.
Most of my books are available in hardcover, paperback, electronic, and audiobook formats, as well as in a variety of bookstores. We’ve begun translating into Portuguese, Spanish, German, and Italian for some of the books too. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website.
Outside of writing, I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2,500 family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog, I have over 1,000 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I share several fun features, including the Book Bucket List, Tips & Advice, Author Spotlights & Book Alerts, and the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. You’ll find tons of humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers… where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.
A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Baxter, a two-year-old shiba inu, constantly tries to stop me from writing so I can play with him and keep him amused. How else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?
A blackmail letter arrives at an inopportune moment, and the recipient’s name is blurred out. Who is the ruthless missive meant for?
In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands, her sons try to figure out who’s seeking revenge on them.
Across the span of eight hours, members of the Glass family contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets, or find a way to bury them forever. Some didn’t learn an important lesson last time, and as each hour ticks by, the family has to come to terms with what happened in the previous months.
Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, and this time the stakes are even higher.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I live in New York City with my significant other and our dog, Baxter, a two-year-old shiba inu who runs our lives. During the day, I work at A&E Networks as the head of the Enterprise Program Management Office. Working in technology and project management has helped me a tremendous amount in the publishing and writing industries. I began my journey by creating a blog to share my book reviews, inspirational tips and advices, and sample writing. Another blogger introduced me to her publisher, and after a few conversations, we signed a deal! Three years later, this is now my ninth book to be published with them, and I am excited to share news of a few more planned in 2021 very soon.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Such a tough question! My fondest memory is visiting my local library and selecting several books in a series for young adults. They had colorful covers and a female main character… and even at seven or eight-eyears-old, I insisted that I had to read them in order. The only trouble… somehow in the last couple of decades I can’t recall the author or the name of the books. It’s made me so sad, and I’m on a mission to find them again because that’s what triggered so much in terms of who I’ve become. Apparently just not enough to remember the specifics. But that’s generally how things go with me when I recall my childhood. I hardly remember anything before fourteen or fifteen. As a grown up, I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie, Fredrik Backman, Kate Morton, and Amanda Prowse. I want to be a merger of all of them together!
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Probably Fredrik Backman these days… something about the level of detail and complexity in his characters has me in awe of his talent. And so little if anything has been lost in their translation into English. If I could have brunch with him and a reincarnated Agatha Christie, I’d probably be okay if I moved on to my next life right then and there… assuming I could retain that knowledge and use it to be an author again!
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Oh, how funny! I just answered this partially, but if we’re talking about tea… I’d have to go with someone British. Of all the British writers I currently read, I would say Amanda Prowse. We’d probably have a spiked tea though, if that’s acceptable. Now… to show you how truthful and honest I am, I just realized you asked about fictional characters, so I need to amend my answer. James Qwilleran, who goes by Qwill, from The Cat Who books written by Lilian Jackson Braun. I am pretty much gonna turn into him in a few decades! I’d like to know what I should do now to be happy then. 😊
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
None! Other than my own quirks about grammar and style. As long as I start with an outline and have complete silence, I can write. When I edit, I need a chunk of uninterrupted time. And when I am all done with the final draft of each round (either for alpha reading, beta reading, editor, final copy), I pour myself a Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale and thoroughy relax. It often leads to a second or third, then I need food or I’ll have quite a headache the next morning.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Never! I won’t embarass anyone but myself. I’ll pull lines or general descriptions from friends and family, but I won’t make it too obvious. I also tend not to picture anyone who’s frustrated me as the victim in any scenes; it makes reality and imagination too hard to separate. But my ideas tend to come from a merger of real people, rough sketches of imaginary ones in my head, and compilations of personalities and traits throughout my past.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Total plotteer (90% of the way). I usually write 10% of the novel’s length into the outline with character bios and chapter summaries. I include details on all the main scenes in each chapter too. From there, I will let the pantser take over when I’m writing the scene. But if I think of something new while writing, I let it flow before I try to get back to the original intent of the scene. I find if I don’t have a general sense of where I’m going, I can’t write as easily.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Sure! If you plan to write a lot of details about characters or settings, keep a separate document to manage them. Cut/paste from the novel into the outline or other document with any details you include so that you don’t have to read your entire novel to remember what you said last time.
When it comes to grammar, know the basic rules. Don’t get caught up in things that are subjective, as the key there is to be consistent. If you think an ellipsis replaces a period at the end of a sentence (a highly debated topic), that’s fine. Just always leave off the period or always include it. Don’t mix-and-match. Same with British versus American English spelling. British English has the ‘s’ on backwards where as American does not. You can write in either one, but be consistent with upward, downward, backward, etc.
Definitely get feedback after your first chapter. Don’t write an entire book only to find out you’ve missed important rules or style items. It’s easier to fix / learn in chunks than at the end… when you have to go through the stomach plummeting experience of fixing tense, grammar, or structure.
What are your futureplans as an author?
I have two new series in mind, one of which will launch in 2021. I also want to participate in an anthology and write a collection of short stories. My ultimate goal is to write a book in all major genres and in all the tenses. I find it challenging to see how versatile I can be. But the stories will always focus on plot and character as those are important to me. I also want to co-write a couple of books with authors who have a different style than I do but who would make a great partner… hence my upcoming 2021 novel, Weathering Old Souls, a co-written book with the amazing Didi Oviatt. My writing has never been stronger, and I love the balance we bring to each other’s style and voice.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Absolutely… this is a line not included in any of the excerpts, but it is one of my favorites.
The substantial heaviness chose to congregate in her chest, forcing Emma to blink away a smattering of tears and concentrate on a handful of difficult but precious memories. Poignant memoirs Ethan had repeatedly shared with her throughout the course of their relationship, one that had barely lasted two years before a vindictive and aggressive brain tumor stole their well-earned chance at happiness. Now a widow for just over three months, Emma habitually mourned the treasured lifetime she and Ethan had lost the opportunity to experience.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, James J. Cudney.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!