My guest today is Jayson James who was born and raised in Washington State, where he currently lives and teaches. Whenever Jayson has the time (and money), he likes to travel, hoping to see most of the United States over the next 5 years.
His first novel, “Finding Our Way”, was published in September 2012 and released the follow-up novels, “Tormented Discovery” and “Drifting”, in 2013 creating what readers would identify as the “Finding Our Way Series.” Much to his delight, fans are eagerly waiting to read what happens next with Justin, Derrick and the rest of the gang.
His new release is T.E.D. and he is offering a terrific giveaway. Please keep reading for the link.
Elin: Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
Jayson: Yes, for the sake of bills and living, I do have a day job.
My life is full, especially now that I have, as one friend put it, “a doghter” (dog daughter) named Cooper. I’d wanted to adopt a dog for the past two years but I did not think the time was right. It was my mom who reminded me that there never really is a good time to have kids. I am so glad that Cooper and I fell in love with each other the minute I picked her up. She has truly enriched my life.
I enjoy spending time writing, reading, watching movies and socializing. As I said before my life is full and I am always busy. Sometimes more than I would like to be. Recently I read that people are happier when they have something to look forward to. I think this is why I like to keep myself busy. Although I’ve been looking forward to having a weekend home, where I do not go anywhere. I get close, however something always comes up. It will be a real treat when I finally get those two full days off.
Elin: When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?
Jayson: Drawing is what comes to mind when I consider this question. It is something that I get inspired to do, typically with pencil. I will draw practically every second I can for weeks on end in all sorts of mediums. Then all the sudden, as if a switch gets turned off, I quit drawing all together. I’ve drawn all of the cover images for my books with much prompting from my friends. As I go along I get more creative and think the images look better. In my writing, I’ve had a few characters that are artists and they have talked about experiences I’ve had when it comes to creating art.
Elin: What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?
Jayson: I’m reading Nick Nolan’s “Wide Asleep.” This happens to be the third book with two of my favorite characters, Jeremy and Arthur. Within the first few chapters, I was crying and had my hopes up for things to work out. Nick writes real characters who are people who act like people, meaning not everyone sees or reacts to things in the same way. Nick’s books are each based upon a different fairytale, which I’ve always found clever.
Elin: In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?
Jayson: That’s a tough question! When I plan out they all come to mind. As I quit overthinking the question I realized that it is the character. Actually, all I had to do is glance over at my white board with my current work in progress on it. The characters are on the board: 1) The individual details of the characters are all each worked out underneath them, 2) Their storyline gets outlined underneath, 3) The story gets written, 4) Once the details are down everything below the characters is erased, 5) More outlining, such as chapters and other details, 6) This cycle repeats several times throughout the course of the book. The characters stay on the board typically until the second or third round of edits.
Elin: Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?
Jayson: My characters are never ready to fly. I like to write them as real people, thus they are changing and growing and even sometimes going in a downward spiral. I do have set ideas in many ways though. Such as with Derrick and Justin from the “Finding Our Way Series,”with each tellingl the story from their own perspective. Something I did with them (which drove some people nuts) was Derrick would use possessives such as “my dad” while Justin referred to them as “dad.” Derrick spoke with less contractions in his dialog while Justin used many and frequently swore.
Elin: Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?
Jayson: I enjoy writing characters that are both lovable and flawed. Such was the case with “T.E.D.” Each of the three characters that make up this book are real people that readers can identify and relate to on some level. Tim is the kid you feel sorry for and you want to give him advice on how to better his life, yet you also want to tell to suck it up and quit being a wimp. Eric picks on others to keep himself from being discovered. Delsin is dealing with his own monsters and struggles, yet is supportive and does what he can. Their lives are intertwined, having an effect on each other.
This is similar to “Finding Our Way” with Derrick Wilson being the one thing keeping Justin Parker, whose home life was falling apart from going too far on the self-destructive path his was traveling down.
Then there is Kristian Kirkpatrick who is my own villain. He is handsome, charming, cunning and just plain evil. Everything about him is someone that I cannot stand. Yet, I would like to write a book with him as the main character.
As far as other villains, I have always wanted to write a book told from the point of view of the killer. The closest I think I have ever gotten was a book I started writing a couple of years ago about this guy who decides to kill his wife.
Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.
Jayson: A new book called “Pieces of Us.” When completed, this will be only my second novel to have a title from the beginning of the writing process. It is about a guy and girl who are best friends in high school, growing and learning about themselves and others. I’m quite excited about this novel, as it will be different in many ways from my previously published works. Typically, I will not talk much about a book until it is in what I call, “the downhill stretch”, known as the last third of the book. This one I’ve been discussing quite a bit with my friends and I think the storyline is developing wonderfully.
Elin: Could we please have an excerpt of something?
Jayson: Gladly! This comes from my new release, T.E.D. This is the scene gives the reader’s insight to Eric, who is bullying Tim.
Sheila had been partially correct that he was hiding something. There was no way in hell Eric was going to ever let anyone know what that was though, especially not his two best buddies. Conrad was the meanest person he’d ever met and would no doubt kick his ass, and without much effort. Keifer would be more subtle, slowly not hanging out with him or returning his calls.
Definitely not his family either. Eric’s parent s made no qualms about expecting their youngest son to provide them with at least one grandchild. He could remember a long time ago when his older brother Ethan lived at home. He missed Ethan and wished that he could see him again.
Eric was thirteen years younger than Ethan. When he was six, he remembered waking up to shouting. Ethan was standing in the living room, with his parents. His mom was holding the door open and his father was face-to-face with Ethan. They all looked angry. Eric’s dad bellowed, “There is no way any son of mine is going to be into this shit. If you want to get involved with those kinds of people, than you can get the hell out of my house.”
Ethan looked to their mom, “Are you going to let him just throw me out?”
She didn’t even hesitate, “Your decision is why we are asking you to leave. If you decide to make the right choices, you can come back. Until then I’m afraid you are basically dead to us.”
“It is not a choice!” Ethan shouted. He kept on repeating that as their dad shoved him out the door and their mom closed and locked it.
Eric was crying, not wanting to see his brother go, “Where’s Ethan going?”
His father walked past him, “He doesn’t live here anymore.”
His mother picked him up, holding him and looking him in the eyes, “Ethan is doing something very, very bad. It is something that if he doesn’t stop doing, he will eventually die from. I know this is hard for you to understand, but Ethan is no longer a part of our family.”
Eric cried and cried, wanting his brother back. Ethan was the only person Eric ever felt a family bond with. His father put his arms around his mom and him, “You’ll understand when you get older.”
Nearly nine years later, Eric still ached to see his brother. His parents told him that Ethan had a bad drug problem and they feared for his safety and the wellbeing of the family. They sent him to a counselor who explained things like tough love and coping with the loss of a family member. This guy pretended to care about Eric and get him to tell him things that were supposed to be kept private between the two of them. Once Eric learned the counselor was telling his parents everything they talked about and how mad his parents got, he started saying the things he thought he needed to say, which worked and a couple of months later he did not have to go anymore.
Years later Eric would overhear his mother on the phone with her sister, “I’ve been hoping Ethan would get over his homosexual tendencies for years. I know now that he never will. It’s been so long I often forget I have another son. He died to me the night he told me that he was gay.” Eric never let her know that he’d heard what she said. Several years later Eric would learn what gay was and what homosexual tendencies were.
Eric’s eyes were starting to tear up as he thought about Ethan. There was a guy in the magazine he was reading who looked very much the way he remembered Ethan had. He hoped that his brother was okay and that they could be a family again someday. He planned on tracking him down the first chance that he could.
His father walked in the room and said, “What are you crying about? Is there a sad article in your Women’s Day?”
“Ha ha! I got something in my eye.” Eric closed the magazine and quickly left the room.
Many thanks to Jayson for answering my questions so sportingly. Here are the details of his latest release and at the bottom of the post you will find a link to his giveaway.
T.E.D. by Jayson James
TIM is being bullied. No one in high school wants to be known as a tattle-tale and to do so would only make things rougher for him. The repercussions would most likely make him an outcast, and without any friends.
ERIC is frustrated with life. His parents are overbearing and if they ever knew the person he really was, they would throw him out of their house. His friends are not much better, they only like him when he is who they expect him to be.
DELSIN is gay and ready to come out. Unfortunately, life at home is on the brink of falling apart with his parents constant fighting. Admitting the truth could bring his whole world crashing down around him.
Each of these three needs to decide whether the risks of being honest about who they are outweighs the importance of being true to themselves. This could mean ruining life as each of them knows it. Maybe it is better to remain miserable in order to play it safe. On the other hand, doing nothing doesn’t seem to working either.
You can buy T.E.D. on Amazon here: http://amzn.com/B00IC0NX7W