Name: Jim Hartsell
Book(s) Title: Pushing Back, Matching Scars
Series Title: Boone
Genre(s): Southern, New Adult, Children’s, Non-Fiction
Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
Since I’m writing this on August 13th (Left-Hander’s Day), I should mention that I’m left-handed. In addition to that minority status, I’m also: a political liberal in a conservative state, a Unitarian Universalist in an overwhelmingly Evangelical Christian region, a hammered dulcimer player, a survivor of a domestic terrorist attack, and a Mac user. Out on the edge is where all the interesting stuff happens, in my opinion.
If you’re interested in the standard stuff, I’m a native East Tennesseean, married for 37 years (two grown children, one granddaughter and another on the way), live on the side of a mountain in a house my wife and I built (mostly with our own hands), volunteer at the local nature center and my church, and so on.
Million dollar question, are you working on another book?
I’m about a third of the way through the initial draft of the next Boone book.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
The illustrator is working on her part of my latest children’s book, which is not yet published. We think it’s going to be called “The Box of Toys”.
Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes?
I tend to write in bursts, but whatever I’m working on is pretty much always in my head, so I’m working on the story daily, and on some days I’m writing it down. I don’t set a number of words (for why, see the next question).
What tactics do you have when writing? (For example: outline or just write)
If I tried to outline, I would start rebelling against the outline almost immediately. I never know where a story is going to go, and I prefer it that way.
What is/are your book(s) about?
The Boone series (two out and a third in the works) is about a sixteen-year-old East Tennessee boy who is trying as hard as he can not to turn out like his daddy. Boone is young and sometimes foolish, impulsive and quick to anger, insecure, and doesn’t have money, looks, or connections to help him over the inevitable rough spots. But he’s trying, which I guess makes him more like the rest of us than not.
“Tango” is the story of Sam, who has a very low-key life (except for the tango lessons, which nobody knows about) until an old friend from college comes to visit, drawing Sam into his shady dealings and reopening old wounds.
“Rock, Paper, Scissors” is about Edward, who is shaken out of his routine life by, among other things, Melissa, who teaches him more about rock, paper, scissors than he ever knew before.
“Journey” is a short, dark piece about a teenager’s journey from rage to the beginnings of self-awareness.
“Glimpses” is a set of vignettes from my life and the lives around me, ranging from funny to inspirational to horrific.
“Father and Sister Radish and the Rose-Colored Glasses” and “The Mountain Climber” are both illustrated children’s books, about different ways of seeing the world around us.
“Sisyphus and the Itsy-bitsy Spider” is my first book, a non-fiction work written primarily for educators who work with students who are challenged by the absence of good behavior.
Does your book have a lesson? Moral?
I’ve had readers explain the moral of my book to me after they finished reading it, and it wasn’t what I intended at all. So I guess the answer is yes, but people tend to see what they are looking for.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Usually I’m just trying to keep up. That’s the fun part.
What has been the best compliment?
That my fictional characters feel authentic. One reader said that “Journey” contained “absolutely no bulls***.”
Who is your favorite author?
Totally unfair question, but here’s a partial list: Rebecca Solnit, Kurt Vonnegut, James P. Carse, Lewis Carroll. There are more; it depends on what I need to hear.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
Definitely Boone; he’s sort of an everyman. Not much going for him, but he’s trying.
Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?
King’s “On Writing” and Bradbury’s “Zen in the Art of Writing”.
Have you thought about joining with another author to write a book?
One of my good friends, a member of the writing group I belong to, and I have toyed around with the notion. Nothing solid yet.
What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?
Tough question. Most of them are closer to New Adult than any other genre (except my children’s books, of course). “Glimpses” and “Sisyphus and the Itsy-Bitsy Spider” are both non-fiction.
Amazon Author Page Link: www.amazon.com/author/jimhartsell
Twitter Handle: @jhartsell1152
Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/jimhartsellwriter/
Check out his books on Amazon!!!