Author James J. Cudney has a new book available today, Academic Curveball. I have already pre-ordered my copy and expecting delivery very soon. It really does sound exciting.
In honour of the exciting occasion of a new “book baby”, Michael and I have invited Jay over for an author interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an author
If there were ever a picture of a regular guy in the dictionary, I think it’d be me. We all have our talents, best features, positive traits, but we also have a few on the other side of that coin. When I add it all up, I just feel normal across the board. I like being normal because it gives me an ability to see, connect with, and interpret a huge variety of things in life. I’m an only child which I think shaped a lot about who I am today. I’m generally very quiet and introspective. I tend to look for like-minded people but also for approval on anything I do. I like to fit in and see the more positive sides of life and people.
This is a picture of Jay. I don’t think he looks ordinary at all.
When I’m not writing, I am usually researching, reading, watching television, or hanging out with Baxter (my dog). I have a few other hobbies (genealogy, cooking, gym) to keep me entertained, but ultimately, I’m such a creature of habit (90% of the time, the other 10% can be wild!) that it’s quite predictable where I am or what I’m doing. Writing became a way to express all those things in my head that I wasn’t personally experiencing. Whether it was the dynamics in a large family or a web of deception and mystery, images and stories flood my head constantly. I will never lack for ideas, just the time to write and edit them into discrete novels and posts for people to read. When I quit my job in 2016 to take a step back from a very complex and time-consuming career, I went back to my roots and started creating things using my words and imagination. Before I knew it, I had a whole novel ready to go and shared it with a few online readers who knew not even my real name. From there, confidence increased and the book improved, and within a year, I had found a publisher willing to take a risk on me.
This is a picture of Baxter – isn’t he cute?
Where do your ideas for your books come from i.e. personal experience or pure imagination
It’s probably a combination of both, but it always starts out as pure imagination. A character or a plot appears, then I just download into an outline. From there, distinct people take shape. That’s when I’ll incorporate real-life experiences into dialog, setting, and narrative. Often it’s a tidbit of a conversation I overheard, or a personality trait from someone in my life that we all joke about. In the end, I want only to make people laugh and relax.
Have you always like writing
I have. Writing is a general term for me. There’s fiction and non-fiction, creative and business, etc. Within writing, there is the creative side and the formulaic side, e.g. editing, proofreading, consistency, etc. I’m very strong at creating ideas and characters, mapping out scenes from chapter to chapter, and coming up with imagery to transport readers into a setting. But I can get caught up in the semantics and technical aspects, e.g. ‘had gone’ versus ‘went,’ inclusion or exclusion of ‘that,’ at al. I do not like that part of writing because it’s often difficult to please people. That’s why I love working with an editor who can handle all of that for me!
How do you market your books
My publisher handles Amazon, BookBub, and a few other areas like that. They’re fantastic at finding new readers through those avenues. I mostly handle social media and blogs by sharing when I have free or discounted promotions available or if I’m telling everyone the status of a new book. I need to do more of it because it’s a 24/7 activity in today’s age. I try to review everything I receive on social media or the blog in the morning and again in late afternoon. I used to have more time to chat but that’s slowly had to be capped in order to have enough time to write and market.
As a writer who just had his one year anniversary of being published (10/8), I am still building fans and followers. Part of my approach is about sharing my writing, but it’s also about connecting through the 150 book reviews I write each year and by reading other social media sites and blogs to find people I have things in common with. It’s a balance between just being yourself / letting it happen naturally versus being proactive to search out readers. If I had a team of marketing specialists, I’d let them handle it, but I’m still new and early in this career, so I have to stay very hands on and connect with people myself. I enjoy it, so it works out all around.
Where do you see yourself in five years time
From a literary standpoint, I’d like to be in a place where I have a core group of readers and followers who support my work enough that I do not have to work full-time in a different career. I intend to publish 1 stand-alone novel each year and 2 to 3 smaller books in my mystery series each year. I want to have a variety of options because I read and write in different genres, and hopefully there is cross-over because my style and voice are what people like most. I also would like to help other new writers as I grow and move forward, work with folks in the publishing industry on marketing and advertising for books, and attend conferences and award programs. Outside of the book world, I hope everything keeps going as well as it is, so all my friends, family, and loved ones are happy. I’m likely to be out of the NYC area in five years to gain more space and less expenses!
When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.
Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.
Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.
In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents.
Purchase Academic Curveball
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