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A Conversation with new author, John T. Wills
By John T. Wills
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Not rated by the Author.
An online Interview with John T. Wills, author of Just a Season
Q: Who and/or what have been your biggest influences with regard to your reading and writing?
John: My favorite book would have to be “Roots” by Alex Haley. Mr. Haley eloquently presented the most realistic portrayal of the most horrific chapter in our people’s history. He allows us to see and feel what it was like to experience the worst crime the world has ever known from capture through successive generations of slavery.
Autobiographies and biographies about people who have achieved success, such as the Autobiography of Malcolm X or Dr. Martin Luther King’s biography to include successful entertainers and business titans have always captured my attention. Books of this nature allow me understand how difficult the road to success is and the struggles these people have had to endure in the process of achieving their goals. More importantly, these stories allow you to witness the fortitude and courage within these people making it possible to reach this illusive ideal called success.
I am also a huge fan of daily newspapers, particularly the editorial sections. Each day I visit the Wall Street Executive Library ( http://www.executivelibrary.com/ ), which has links to all of the major daily newspapers in the country and around the world. By doing this I can read, not only, current news articles but read the editorials from newspapers in various regions. This enables me to gain unique insights and different perspectives from writers whose audiences cross a vast demographic section of America .
““Q: Congratulations on your new book, Just a Season. Please tell us a bit about the novel and what inspired you to write it?
John: Thank you very much.
The novel “Just a Season” was born out of a dreadful horror and from it I am seeking to achieve a far-reaching noble purpose associated with the books success. About five years ago I lost my only son due to a tragic automobile accident. It was without question the worst thing imaginable for my wife and I, and most certainly my darkest hour. Adding to the terrible sadness of this situation was that my son’s death occurred on his own son’s first birthday. Elijah, my grandson is now six years old.
From this nightmare, I have come to understand that adversity can either destroy you or develop you. Now having said that, my salvation was to take this lemon and make lemonade. The primary purpose of the book is to use it as a vehicle that will, hopefully, generate enough monies to set up a college education trust for my grandson. It is my hope that this effort will ensure a brighter future for him.
In the story, I take you on an awe-inspiring journey through the life of a man who must continue to realize his destiny in the midst of adversity as the character bears witness to a life lived over the past fifty years. It is a fascinating story told from the perspective of an African American man, whose life is rich in lessons and blessings.
This captivating journey begins at Friendly Cemetery with a grief stricken father visiting his beloved son who was tragically killed. Knowing that our lives are marked by mere moments in the annals of time, the character makes an astute observation as he views his son’s marker. He sees a beginning date, a dash, and an end date inscribed on the stone, concluding that what remains of an entire life is hidden within the contents of this tiny little dash. Upon receiving this epiphany, the character decides to take a serious look, through reflection, at his life’s journey. Ultimately coming to the conclusion that in the final analysis what we call life is “Just a Season”.
Q: Talk about your main character, John Wells and all the people who played a major role in shaping his life. Is this character based on anyone you’ve encountered in your own life?
John: The main character, John Wells, was born during a time when hope for Negro’s in this rural segregated small town was something that was not likely to be realized. He was abandoned by his father and raised by a paternal Grandfather whose family had nothing to give him but love. “Granddaddy”, his mentor, instilled great values and taught him extraordinary life lessons to be carried on for generations. John’s life, one from a different perspective, is an incredible journey of hope, adversity and destiny. This great man, Granddaddy, assertively implanted the concept that knowledge is power. From this concept developed an understanding that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair, especially for African American men. The reader will travel through time reliving a life through John’s eyes.
John is a fictional character that I used as the story line to share lessons in concert with events of historical significance. There are certain life situations that are common to all of us. “Just a Season” has something for everyone - inspiration, joy, laughter, sadness, pain, and redemption. More importantly, the story will allow you reflect upon history and question the significance of your dash.
Q: How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish your book?
John: I wrote “Just a Season” in less than a year with a few months to edit it. However, finding a publisher took a long time mainly because none of the mainstream publishers expressed an interest in an unknown author trying to publish his first book. Therefore, I made the decision to self-publish. Then finding someone to produce a quality product at a reasonable price took about six months of research before finding Trafford who allowed me to retain all rights and control of the work. Once they were on board, it took about three months for “Just a Season” to become a reality. So in total it took about two years from conception to the shelf.
Q: Which part of the writing process was the most difficult and easiest for you?
John: Writing the book was the easiest part of the process because it was a story I believe should be told. It is a story that speaks to life, which everyone can relate too. All of us endure mountains, milestones, and valleys as well as the multitude of events and changes that have occurred over time affecting what we know as life. Thus, it touches people in a very positive way.
The most difficult part of this experience was enduring the process of getting the book published. Publishing is a business and as such, it requires a considerable amount of research to achieve successful results. This is to include finding those people and firms with integrity and devotion who are capable of providing quality support to the projects success.
Q: Tell us about your experiences on the road to getting published. How did it feel when you held your finished book in your hands?
John: There were some obstacles along the way but because of my reason for writing the story there were none that I could not find a way to overcome. Completing this novel has given me a great feeling of achievement and adulation. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that I will leave the gift of a college education for my grandson, thus ensuring a brighter future for his life. So to answer the second part of the question, I was elated to hold the finished book in my hands.
Q: I understand that you self-published this book instead of going the traditional publishing route. Why not the traditional publishing route?
John: Simple, none of the mainstream vehicles offered me an opportunity and like I said, this story had be told. So I did it myself.
Q: Do you plan to write another book? If you do, will you self-publish it as well?
John: Yes, I do have plans to publish other books. In fact, I am working on the next book now. I am not sure if future books will be self-published. However, since I have completed the process of self-publishing “Just a Season” I have learned how to navigate the process. This will benefit me if I chose to self-publish any future projects. I will reassess any decision concerning this issue when the time comes. Now, I would prefer to have a mainstream publisher but I have learned that this wish may not be possible. If it isn’t, I will have the knowledge and can use it to self-publish any future projects.
Q: How well has your book been received by readers and reviewers so far?
John: “Just a Season” has received “Five Stars”, “Must Read”, and “Outstanding” reviews to date. The story is resonating profoundly with readers to which I am humbled by the response it is receiving. I have received emails, letters, phone calls, ect., expressing a multitude of heartfelt responses. In other words, it is getting a lot of LOVE!!
Q: How has your life changed since becoming a published writer?
John: I am not sure my life has change all that much. Like I said, I am humbled that the book is having a powerful impact upon those who read it. I am just an ordinary man with what some might call vision. Therefore, I think of this accomplishment as “sending up timber”.
Q: What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading, Just a Season ?
John: Life is precious regardless of your circumstance – you can overcome life’s challenges. Never give up. You only fail if you quit. I hope the readers will come to the conclusion that we only have a minute, just a tiny little minute but an eternity in it. Live it….
Q: Do you have any final thoughts about your book you would like to share?
John: “ Just a Season” was written from the heart in an easy-to-read style, leading you through a life rich in lessons and blessings. This novel is guaranteed to hold your attention and provoke your thinking while it touches all of your emotions. It is my wish that each reader take a serious look at their life’s journey. Lastly, I would like to ask you to visit your favorite bookstore or my webpage – http://www.justaseason.com/ where there are links to purchase the novel through Amazon.com, Barnes&Nobles.com, and other online bookstores – and help me give this wonderful gift to Elijah.
Site: Just a Season
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