Today I am talking with fellow Creativia author James J. Cudney. Hi James. …oh sorry, you like Jay,,.. Hi Jay!
Please tell us a little about yourself and your writing:
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 spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. I typically write in contemporary or historical fiction, mystery, thriller or suspense, with a focus on family drama.
Outside of writing, I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K 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 at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains 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.
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. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?
Tell us about your book(s):
Watching Glass Shatter, my debut novel, a contemporary fiction and family saga novel, was published on October 8th, 2017. It’s a 6-month look at a family affected by the death of the patriarch and a secret he leaves behind in his will. The secrets send his widow, Olivia, on a journey to re-connect with each of their 5 adult sons before she learns the full extent of something that happened many years ago to Ben. The book is structured to show important scenes in each family member’s life, alternating chapters for all the major characters. Readers get to see each family member’s grief, but they also learn of more secrets being kept from Olivia and her eventual reactions to each off them. As she begins to unfold the mystery, the story brings everyone back together for a family meeting which should have taken place years ago. It’s almost too late when it finally happens, but through it all, every card is put on the table and the walls are broken down. Some characters will be ok; some will not be. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I also just announced there will be a sequel in the Fall of 2018 which will have a similar look at what happens to the family after everything is finally revealed – or was it!
Father Figure, my second novel, in its final editing stage, will be released in early 2018. It’s the story of two women, separated by about twenty years, each trying to discover who they are. Amalia Graeme suffers at the hands of a vindictive mother, but she desperate to find love and escape her small Mississippi town. In Brianna Porter’s story, which takes place 20 years later in NYC, she finds a connection to Amalia while trying to locate the father she never knew. In alternating chapters, each woman’s life takes a few steps towards something positive, but she is pushed back down by the people around her. Readers will see what happens in one chapter and then understand the impact on the other woman nearly 20 years later in the next chapter. It’s a story about parents, children, love, loneliness, maturity and devastation. No characters are safe from loss in this one, especially when someone is desperate to keep a secret hidden. Ultimately, Amalia wants her freedom and Brianna wants to meet her father. Unfortunately, those two things cannot happen at the same time.
Are you a painstaking plotter or are you a discovery writer?
I am a painstaking plotter. I write a very detailed 30-page outline before I begin writing the story. Once I have a very strong handle on the story, I will entertain changes along the way as characters speak to me and idea appear. Let’s say 90% plotter and 10% discovery!
Although it’s often hard to select just one, do you have a favourite or least favourite character?
I adore everyone in the Glass family, from my first novel. Ultimately, I have two favorite characters. One is Olivia, the matriarch who must address all the secrets in the family. The second I cannot reveal until 11/20 after my “favorite character” poll is completed. I am planning a surprise for fans of my work which is dependent upon which character wins this poll. To see more, check out:
What do you feel is your best advice to share with other aspiring authors?
Writers need to know why they write before they can be successful. It’s a bit like knowing your objective or goal with anything. Until you know the outcome, it’s hard to navigate a path or even know when you’re truly finished. If it’s fame and fortune, then you have to spend equally as much time marketing and promoting as you do writing. If it’s creativity, and all about reaching people, then write great stories and post them free on as many sites as possible. If it’s a balance of both, you need to do something every day to work towards your goal, whether it’s writing 500 words or sending out a few tweets. Knowing your tone, style and voice as a writer, but also as an author and a person, is equally as important to your success.
To give readers an idea what you offer, are you willing to share a brief excerpt from your book?
“Because one by one, I’m losing them. I’ll never again have those intense innocent dreams. I’ll never be that little girl who imagines falling in love, stripping petals off a forget-me-not until the last one says, ‘he loves me so.’ I won’t ever get to dance in a magic that heals the world. And my heart knows what darkness lies in wait each night, stealing a piece with every sun that sets and moon that rises.”
Olivia’s eyes glistened from the stars yet to disappear across the morning sky. She couldn’t cry anymore even if she wanted to. “Was I a good mother?” She screamed at the top of her lungs, long and piercing, scattering a few birds out of the trees above them.
Diane covered her ears as she rushed over to her sister. She at first went to cradle her and provide comfort, but a wave of energy consumed Diane, and she instead shoved Olivia into the pool. Diane’s hands trembled as she watched what she’d done, releasing the pressure from a seventy-year-old radiator valve long overdue. A gasping hiss rose above the pool’s gentle waves.
As she sunk to the pool floor, Olivia found relief forming within her body from finally telling someone else what had transpired. Kicking her feet with the swiftness of a school of fish escaping a shark, she shot to the surface and swam to the edge for safety. “Was that necessary?”
“I’m sorry, Liv. I… I… thought it would help. You were so intense.” Diane’s eyes shined as though she suddenly realized everything Olivia had spewed. “What do you mean dying?”
Do you have a blog? What is the link?
Yes, This Is My Truth now started in early 2017 and can be found @ https://thisismytruthnow.com. I have over 500 book reviews, author profiles with Q&A, the revealing 365 Daily Challenge and fun polls, awards and tags. There’s something for everyone!
What do you enjoy writing about most?
Family connections, relationships, secrets and drama. It’s what we live every day, but if I can do it in a way where readers both learn and enjoy themselves, I’m completely in my element.
OK, now the part that most authors dislike (bwa-hahaha!) Please tell us about YOU and Describe yourself in 5 words:
Organized, Introspective, Obsessive, Open-Minded, Eclectic
When you are NOT writing, do you have a favourite pastime?
Genealogy. I’ve assembled a family tree going back to the 1700s with about 2500 people. I love researching past connections and finding new branches to explore.
Do you have a Rule to Live By?
It’s as simple as “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” I have very high expectations for myself and for other people; I try to do the fair thing on all occasions. It’s hard to balance getting your feelings hurt with progress, but I try not to take anything personally. I just want to help people figure out how to be more careful and considerate.
Is there a “Charity” or “Cause” you feel passionately about & Why?
I’m an animal lover, so pet care is very important to me.
You can find Jay at his social places here:
Jay’s blog has the 365 Daily Challenge which is fun for people to follow and interact with me. He chooses a word that says something about him and relates it to other people. You’re sure to find an embarrassing confessional of a characteristic or story about him revealed each day AND he has a blog tour running.
On this blog tour, you will find: Several opportunities to win e-versions (ePub, MOBI or PDF) of the book via special GIVEAWAYS In-depth interviews with the author about everything from the book to his personal life ‘Watching Glass Shatter’ Book Reviews Videos with the Author & Friends Special news about the Glass family and future book releases!