Monday, October 15, 2007

You Oughta Know: Author Fon James



Every writer needs to be able to pitch her book when on the spot; in 30 words (or less), make us want to head out and buy BACK & FORTH.
Back and Forth is the book you wish you had read before you went to college and misbehaved! There is no other young adult novel like it! Step into the lives of Faith, Gavin, Chrissy and Remi to see how temptation, betrayal, faith and forgiveness all play an integral role in the journey to growing closer to God. (Did you say 30 seconds or 30 words…LOL)…cause I know ya’ll read that in 30 seconds or less (LOL).



What is BACK & FORTH'S backstory?
The ideas for this book were derived from my experiences in college, along with those I knew in college, my imagination, and God’s divine intervention. Initially, I began writing a different story, but God took over and thank goodness I let Him, because I would have been lost without His direction. This book takes a peek into the lives of those that struggle with doing right. A lot of us know what to do and we “say” we are going to do right, but when it comes to certain aspects of our lives, we straddle the fence and don’t really turn everything over to God. We partially turn it over. We try to handle portions of our lives ourselves, and we can’t do that. We can’t fight the devil alone… period, end of sentence. We need God to fight our battles. There were things in my life that I struggled with (and if truth be told, still continue to struggle with) and I know I’m not alone…so I know that readers will be able to relate to the characters and the messages in this novel.



When did you realize that writing was something that you wanted to do?
I realized back in 1998 while interning as a reporter in Cleveland, Ohio at the Plain-Dealer newspaper. I read a lot of books during that stint and I realized that while there were a lot of adult books, there weren’t many for my “young adult” age (at the time). So of course, I immersed myself into adult books (ummm, I probably shouldn’t have done that because it exposed me to a lot more than I needed to be exposed to at the time). While reading at night and writing news articles during the day, I realized that I could marry the two and write my own book. It was during that stint in my life that I made the statement (out loud) that I wanted to write a book. I later realized that I wanted to write for the young adults because I think they get left out of the literary arena when they aren’t in high school or tweeners. So here I am, nine years later with a young adult novel that is sure to keep the young people from going BACK AND FORTH between Myspace and Facebook and into a good novel like Back and Forth! (Well, I can at least give them another option)…but if they are on Myspace…they can find me there too LOL (www.myspace.com/fonjames)



What are three of your guilty pleasures?
Massages – Oh my goodness, I just have to get them!!!!
Fried pickles from this local Cajun spot in Katy, TX (suburb of Houston)
Strawberry Shortcake with a good novel that I just can’t put down (like Back and Forth)



What do you hope the reader will get from reading BACK & FORTH?
My hope is that each reader will clearly grasp the message to stop straddling the fence, learn to forgive, stand strong when tempted, and maintain their faith no matter what their surroundings dictate. I tried to keep this young adult Christian fiction novel un-preachy and real. My hope is that readers will take a look at their life and if there is anything they are struggling with, they will make the RIGHT decision, and march forward in the right direction. Like I said, this message can really be received by all because we all struggle with something.



What is the ideal space for you to write?
The ideal space for me to write in is one where I can just relax and hear from God. I actually got more writing done at work (shhhh) during lunch of course (clearing throat). But really, my ideal place is anywhere I can hear from God.



I know that you are self-publishing BACK & FORTH. Did you submit the novel to agents and editors? If so, talk to us about your journey through traditional publishing.
Actually when I first realized that I wanted to write a book, I also realized that I wanted my book to hit the market soon after I finished writing it. While I have hopes of being picked up by a traditional publisher in the future, my immediate goal was to see my book in print, and learn the process enough to eventually help others who will come along after me realize the same dream. Therefore I started Tucker House Publishing (www.tuckerhousepublishing.com). Learning this business if very important to me, so starting my company will help me achieve that educational component of my publishing goals.



Do you have a standard process to your writing? Are you an outliner or a jump-right-in writer?
Well I originally started out by jumping right in…but as I continued writing, I became an outliner. An author friend of mine, Stephanie Perry Moore helped me with that outline effort! Having that outline helped me to organize my thoughts better, which allowed me to free my mind even more to hear from God.



Thus far, how has the process of self-publishing been for you? If you could offer advice to those looking to self-publish, what might that advice be?
The self-publishing process has been one of continuous learning. I thank God that I have people in my writing groups, who have already traveled this self-publishing road, offering advice and support. If I could offer any advice, it would be to not go at this alone. You need the support of those that have done what you are trying to do, but you have to allow God to guide you to the right people, otherwise you could find yourself dealing with those that don’t have your best interest at heart. I prayed for God to guide me every step of the way and He has done just that! And still continues to guide me daily! I am very thankful!



What's your favorite thing about BACK & FORTH?
My favorite thing about Back and Forth is even though the book is slated for young adults, any adult will be able to relate to the characters. I also love the fact that the story is based on the campus of my alma mater, Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. It definitely gives the reader a glimpse into the life and culture of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and how things go down in the ‘Sip (Mississippi).



What three adjectives best describe BACK & FORTH?
Fresh, Heart-gripping, Triumphant



What three adjectives best describe YOU?
Determined, Helpful, Wide-eyed (one more please…Funny).



How do you spend your time when you're not writing?
What time? Is there more time when I am not writing? No one told me. Kidding - If I am not writing, I am hanging out with my best friend, a guy by the name of Donte’ James. He’s this really cool and mellow brother that I like to call my hubby (LOL)…he’s been in my life since 1998 and we’ve been married since 2003. So when I am not writing, we are doing our thing…including our lifetime goals. We catch a few movies, eat out, and of course get our praise on at church too. But I love hanging out with family and friends.



If there were a soundtrack to your life, what would be THREE MUST-HAVE TRACKS on that disc?
Let Go and Let God by Dewayne Woods. Stronger by Myron Butler and Levi; and Amazing Grace!



What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on promoting Back and Forth for its November 6th release! In addition, I have sketched two more novels for what I like to call the “On the Yard” series. There may be a sequel to Back and Forth, we’ll see - There are some other projects that I have in store that are still in the very early developmental stages, but keep looking out for the name “Fon James.” I have high hopes of doing major things…literarily and literally!



DREAM ON: BACK & FORTH has been greenlighted for the BIG SCREEN. Who would you like to see play your main character, Faith Walker?
First of all, from your lips to God’s ears!!! I would love to see actress Kyla Pratt (from the movie Love and Basketball and the sitcom One on One) play Faith Walker. Kyla was pretty young in those previous acting roles, but I think her current age would yield the perfect profile for Ms. Faith. Okay Kyla, I got the book ready, so give me a few months on the script and we’ll be set (LOL). Can somebody send this to Kyla for me (LOL).



Book Availability
The debut novel, Back and Forth, will be available wherever books are sold by the end of November 2007. You can always visit my website, www.fonjames.com to purchase a copy right away!

Book: Back and Forth
Author: Fon James
ISBN: 978-0-9799571-0-9
Price: $14.95

Email Fon James: fon@fonjames.com

2 comments:

Melissa said...

I loved the interview. I havn't read the book yet but feel like I want to run right out and get a copy. All of the publishing information was helpful. As an independent author, I have found places such as Nothing Binding.com to be very helpful in support and book sales. And, I am so glad to have found this post.

GENESIS said...

Awesome interview! This seems like a book I will enjoy, so it's going on my tbr pile..lol

I agree with their being nothing of substance for young adults to read...I was at that point to--still am--I think.

How ironic that she interned at The Plain Dealer and I worked there too, during the same time...

Small world!

genesis