I think that to write young adult novels, you must remain young at heart. And although I've never personally met author Jim Devitt, he strikes me as the type of person who's kept in touch with his inner child allowing him to create stories that strike a natural chord with his target audience while appealing to an adult crowd, too. That takes talent and is an admirable quality to have! We've invited today's Writer Wednesday author on Thursday because we wanted to highlight his latest book, "So This is Christmas!" during the holidays, and give you an opportunity to purchase it for yourself or a loved one. Buy Jim Devitt's book here.
What is your name?
Describe your books/genre to our readers.
First, let me start by thanking you for having me on your blog. My debut novel, "The Card", is a young adult/teen novel that sits more in the mystery/thriller genre. "The Card" hit #1 in three different categories on the Kindle Bestseller list. My most recent novel, "So This is Christmas", released a couple of weeks ago is for young and old alike. If you are in need of a little Christmas spirit, you're sure to find it in this story of discovering the meaning of Christmas, in the most unlikeliest of places.
How and why did you become an author? Do you write full-time?
When first asked that question a while back, I had to think about it for bit. Then it dawned on me. I had actually started my writing career early in life. In fact, without knowing it at the time, my first published piece set me on course for my career today. Without taking too much time, let me explain. When I was in high school, I entered an essay contest on why I wanted to be a bat boy for the Major League Baseball team in Seattle, the Seattle Mariners. The bat boy is the kid who works on the field picking up bats between plays, runs balls to the umpire and anything else that might occur during a game. I decided to enter the contest to win four box seats to a game (the prize just for entering.) Well, the rest is history. I won the essay contest, received a $500 savings bond and earned the job to be a bat boy for the season. As it turned out, I didn’t write anything again for a couple of decades, but I did stay with the Seattle Mariners for eight years, working in the visiting clubhouse. This experience provided everything I needed to bring a behind-the-scenes experience to the reader in "The Card." I've completed the sequel, "The Scorecard", due out in February, that will bring even more adventures of Van Stone to life. I consider myself a full-time writer, just not always novels. I work with several companies and organizations, providing content for websites, social media platforms, press releases and advertisements. It's my hope that one day, I'll move into full-time writing for readers and not companies.
Your Kindle bestseller, "The Card: A Van Stone Novel" and your latest book, "So This is Christmas" are geared toward the young adult audience. What do you find most rewarding about writing for this age group?
Great question! When I started "The Card", paranormal romance was all the rage. While there is nothing wrong with that genre, there was a dearth of reality based young adult and teen books. Drawn to provide a different type of experience for the reader, I set out on the adventures of Van Stone. The same can be said for the holiday books that are available. All top sellers are Christmas romances. Maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot, but I wanted to provide something different for readers that doesn't have to involve finding love in someone else. In fact, "So This is Christmas" is more about finding love in yourself. The most rewarding thing about writing teen/young adult books is hearing from the readers. I've been touched by several emails from teachers and librarians about the effect that "The Card" has had on certain students. If I can help just one kid develop a love for reading, I've just received the best gift that any royalty can buy.
You have a fascinating background in professional baseball, zoology and education. Could you tell us more about it?
I consider myself very fortunate. My years in baseball allowed me to work with million dollar athletes, travel the country with the team and develop tons of material for writing! You can find many of the shenanigans in the pages of "The Card" and the upcoming "The Scorecard". I spent my college years in Pullman, Washington and Coral Gables, Florida. Throughout college and even post-graduate, I published numerous peer-reviewed research articles and presented at conferences throughout the country. I didn't write any fiction during this time. It wasn't until about three years ago that I followed that dream.
You write helpful articles for authors on IndiesUnlimited.com. What is some of your best advice for indie authors?
Wow, where do I start. The first thing I encourage is to write every day. It is so simple, yet so few actually accomplish that goal. it doesn't have to be much, maybe 500 words, but make sure that you are creating something every day. Second, reach out to the community. There are so many out there that are willing to help you in your process of writing and self-publishing. Sites like Indies Unlimited are full of best practices for your writing business. Finally, beware of scammers. Because of the explosion of indie authors, there has been an explosion of people trying to take advantage of you. Research anyone that you are working with, whether it be formatting, cover design, editing and even beta readers.
What are 3 things most people don't know about you?
I play trombone and that led me to being elected as a member of the College All-American Marching Band and recorded two jazz albums a long time ago. I love Christmas. You could call me a Christmas Junkie. Not in a sappy cliche' way, but in a "Living every day with Christmas spirit" kind of way. I love water, either the frozen or liquid variety. I've skied at 13,000 feet above sea level and scuba dived to 130 feet below sea level.
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
Another great question. I'm a big goals person. I write them down each year and more. The upcoming year will be a fun one. I have "The Scorecard" coming out in February. Besides that, my goal is to have two other books out by the end of 2014.
Connect With Him
You'll find me hanging out at the following places:
Writing has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. It has allowed me to work from home, spend more time with my family and it has changed peoples lives. To borrow the words of the immortal Lou Gehrig, "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Thank you for the opportunity to connect with your readers.
by MRH, CMO