Hey guys, welcome to yet another engaging and interesting Author Interview session hosted by Nerdy Bookarazzi. And this time I have a very talented Author, James J Cudney with me for a wonderful bookish conversation. So, I came to know about James only recently through an amazing fellow Book Blogger Shalini, who is organizing this amazing Mega Book Tour for the author’s new release, Hiding Cracked Glass which is releasing today. I’m super excited to be part of this entire Blog Tour and it has completely been a very great experience for me altogether.
James J Cudney is one of the sweetest authors you will ever see, don’t think I’m being polite with my introduction, I’m just telling you quite literally. He is a very sweet, polite and funny person who gives so much importance and respect to his readers, reviewers and bloggers. I have only known him for a month or so but he has already entered my favorite authors and most importantly, favorite personalities list. He is a genuine person and extremely down to earth. You will get to know how true I am while reading this Author Interview Session.
James J Cudney is a very successful author who has published nine books in the short span of three years. He loves to write stories that revolves around suspense, mystery and familial backgrounds. He is currently based in New York. Until three years ago James was building his technical career of 20 years. Though writing has always been a part of James’s life, it’s only three years ago he decided to make it a mainstream career. James is an avid reader, he reads two books a week and as an active blogger he never fails to update his book reviews on his blog and goodreads. James is also a Genealogist and a Researcher, he is very fascinated about it. You will get to know more about him as we proceed with the interview session. So shall we start ?
Hello James, welcome to this author interview session and thank you so much for doing this interview with me. I’m really happy to have you here in Nerdy Bookarazzi. I’m sure this session is going to be one of the best bookish conversations I have ever had with an author. Thanks so much once again for taking time from your busy schedule to answer my questions, it’s really nice of you. I hope you will enjoy this session as much as I do. So let’s get into it.
Tell us something fun about yourself that nobody else knows ?
I regret not getting a tattoo when I was younger. I find them fascinating and revealing, but there’s never been something I felt so passionate about that I was comfortable risking a permanent impact. I say that now but should’ve just done it a decade ago when I had several images in mind. I know I still have time… just likely not going to happen these days!
Who or what made you understand that writing is something you are extremely good at and it’s high time you make a career out of it ?
Tough one! I’m not sure I have the best answer. Everyone has always told me I’m a fantastic writer. But a writer is comprised of dozens of different skill sets. I am good at some but not fantastic at others. Most of the time, a reviewer or reader doesn’t (nor should they have to) organize a review by several of the key writing areas… but it still makes things difficult for a writer to interpret what they might need to do to improve. That said, when I left my full-time job in 2016, it took about a year to fully decide to focus on writing. I went back to full-time work in early 2020, which means I technically have two full-time jobs as I spend about 40 hours for each one each week. I tend to ignore the lowest ten percent of reviews because it’s often trolls or people who aren’t capable of truly analyzing an entire book. I don’t mean anything against them, but just like people are mean in conversations or political views, the internet wall has allowed for nasty individuals to spread hate just because they can. I look for the middle-ground in reviews to fine tune my craft. There has been definite improvement from the first to the current book, and I intend to learn more each time until I feel like I have reached my goals.
It’s pretty evident that you are quite interested in writing family drama, mystery, suspense genres, so what made you realize that this is the genre you want to write about ?
It’s best to write what you know. I also tend not to like to read science-fiction or fantasy, which narrows down the genres I should write in. I am an avid genealogist (by hobby) and grew up watching daytime and prime-time dramas. I love visiting small towns and feeling a sense of cozy home life in them. When I combined all this together, it made sense to write mystery, family drama, and suspense. I also like to play amateur detective but not usually with murders. I value my life!
Tell us about the genesis of Perceptions of Glass series ?
It came to me in a dream. I’d been reading family dramas with lots of character- driven angst in smaller families. I thought about sibling rivalry and whether I could truly make 5 men seem very different. In a book, that’s tough because there is a fine line to repeating descriptions and actions. You have only so many words to mark a man distinct. But… by changing the style of writing and focusing on each brother in a specific chapter, I capitalized on things other than words to make the character memorable. From there… it just became an exercise in listening to their plights… who needed help? What was their desire? How could I share the story? It ended, and I felt a sense of relief and sadness because I wanted to keep spending more time with them.
How many books are going to be there in the Perception of Glass series ? Do you always know that Watching Glass Shatter is going to be a series or is it something that happened in the due course ?
Originally it was just the one. Then I decided to write short stories about each brother; prequels to their life before the accident that opens up the first book. Unfortunately, I was side-tracked with other books and had to find my way back to the sequel this year. I do think there is an opportunity for a book three, but it will be a little while before I decide how to handle it. The concept in both is the appearance of a letter or a will that changes circumstances. How many can one family withstand, or how believable can I make it if this keeps happening? If there is a third, it will take place in the future, and it will probably involve Olivia’s death, as that would bring everything full circle. But so much would need to be worked out in terms of a mysterious letter showing up again.
Since you have written a couple of series you will be the right person to clear my doubt which has been lingering on my head forever, so my question is how do authors plan out their book series ? Can you please share your thought process while plotting a series ?
Every author approaches it differently. By trade, I am a project manager in the technology world. I am very organized, methodical, and focused on dependencies between things. I approach writing a series the same way. When I wrote Watching Glass Shatter, I prepared an outline and character bios, but I did not think about it being a series. That evolved as I digested the details of each character’s actions. With the Braxton Campus Mysteries, I have an Excel spreadsheet to track all the character details and relationships. I created and drew maps of the town and county. I decided who the core families were. And then I built out rough plots for 4 books. From there, it’s a matter of introducing 4 to 6 new characters each book, tying some to existing families, creating births and deaths so that it feels like a real world, and thinking about everyone as a collection of personalities, not just an individual character arc.
How do you perfectly characterize your character by giving them some quirks which made them unbelievably real ? So what’s the secret behind your extraordinary character creation ? And I also particularly want to know about the creation and development Olivia’s character ? I’m asking this question specifically because I adore and love Olivia and she has been a great inspiration to me.
Aww, that makes me feel so wonderful! You understand me. I begin with the physical description of a character and decide which physical feature will be their strength and weakness. Some receive physical ailments that define them, e.g. Teddy always cracking his knuckles or clicking his jaw – it explains who he is as a person, and when he doesn’t do it, you know that signifies a change in his personality. With Zach, it’s all about pushing the limits. He goes for the tattoos and the piercings. He can get away with a little bit of erotic moments or sexual tension. His body is always part of a description to keep reminding everyone that’s what defines him… until it doesn’t and you see the soft side of him with his daughter. For Olivia, she represents a consolidation of all the women in my life. She is indecisive but demonstrative. She is rude but controls it before she permanently creates a wedge. She is formidable, but you see her cry in the privacy of her own bedroom. In my character outline and bio, there is always a current and future state for main characters – and then the wave to get them from point A to be B must be fluid… some are direct and can easily be seen whereas others are a massive hyperbole of contradiction – the way all complex personalities are in reality. Olivia is her own worst enemy, and she will never do the right thing from the beginning because she over-analyzes everything.
Where do you find inspiration for your books ?
Bits and pieces of reality. If I witness someone laughing on the street with another person, I might suddenly invent a backstory and decide I must write about it. It’s very much an in-the-moment thing… then I flesh it out until the person feels real to me.
Why did you select Glass as the last name of your characters ? And how did you come up with the titles for this series ? These titles are indeed intriguing!
Glass is a family name. Peter Glass emigrated from Germany in the early 1800s to Maryland and married Mary Appel. They settled in West Virginia and eventually a daughter met and married a man who moved to Long Island, which is where my family has lived for over a century and where I grew up. About 25% of the names in my books come from family given and surnames. I liked the concept of Glass being such an easy word to play with… you can see thru it, but it can blur the truth. It is brittle but sometimes hard to break. Even when it breaks, it is still usable. It made sense as a description of a family who was splintering from a single event that happened today, which was really a reaction from something that had happened 25 years earlier.
What was the most toughest part in writing the Perception of Glass series ?
Deciding who would die. When you permanently end a character’s life, there is little you can do to bring them back without (a) delving into fantasy / sci-fi, which I am not good at, or (b) risk a major reader reaction by claiming things like ‘faked a death’ or ‘twin took his place.’ These are all good plot points but not reality for the most part, which is the core of all my books. Each of the brothers and Olivia face a problem we have all faced at some point in our lives (or will face)… but how they deal with it defines them.
In three years, you have written nine books, like how is this even possible ? How do you manage your time ? How many hours a day do you write and how long does it takes for you to write a book ?
I am an intense multi-tasker. I never just do one thing at a time (except write and read). So… I manage my time well. I also tend to be a homebody and do not have children, so my free time is all mine. Except for Baxter, my dog, who controls a lot of it too. When I wasn’t working, I spent 8 hours a day writing. Now that I am working a traditional job, Saturdays are writing days. All day.
If you want to bring a character that you have created to real-life, which character would that be and why ?
I think it would be amazing to have someone like Zach in my life. Each brother represents a piece of me… Zach is the guy I am 5% of the time, mostly because I couldn’t be like him 24/7, but I would love to have a best friend who was.
Who is your favorite member of the Glass family and what unique quality do you like about him/her ?
Olivia will always have a firm place in my heart. That woman has suffered through a lot, and she grew up in a world very different than most of us, yet through it all, she learns her lessons ever day and changes for the better.
What kind of impact do you want to make on your readers lives while reading Perception of Glass series ?
I suppose it is a little different with each character. Ultimately, I want people to realize that life is hard enough, why intentionally hurt one another? I’m not big about writing obvious lessons in my book. For instance, Caleb is gay. He’s hidden it from his family. Some readers have said that I’m propagating a stereotype there. His husband, Jake, makes tons of gay culture icon references and jokes. Some readers have said that I’m advancing a stereotype there. To them, I say… you know what? I have people like them in my life. I am celebrating the beauty of our differences, not stereotyping someone. There are many different kinds of gay characters in my books, and they have the spectrum of reality. Just like I do too. Of everyone in these books, Caleb and Jake have the most solid relationship; they are different but the same. They’ve made mistakes and done well for themselves. But to me, they are just a couple among a collection of couples in the books. People pick and choose from each relationship what they like or dislike. And that’s what I hope I can do with my books… offer shades of reality in ways someone might not have thought about before.
Perceptions of Glass series is based on Connecticut, why did you select Connecticut, do you have any specific reason behind it ?
I wanted something centrally located on the East Coast. Although I grew up in Long Island, it’s impossible to get on or off the island easily because of traffic. I needed my setting to be a place where an hour or two’s drive would get you to NYC or Boston, to allow for siblings to leave and live elsewhere but not be so far they couldn’t pop by for a weekend to the family home. Also, Connecticut tends to have more wealth, and since Olivia and Ben Glass were fairly rich, it felt like a place to start for them.
Who is your Alpha-reader whose suggestion means a lot to you ? And tell us a bit about this person ?
I have one alpha reader and about ten beta readers. All of them provide amazing input… some area great at proofreading or finding character flaws. Shalini has read all of my books except the first two before anyone else. She is amazing… kind… ruthless… direct… dedicated… and generous. She’s figured out how to share negative and constructive feedback in a way that doesn’t make me worried / concerned. She has no problem keeping up with my 100+ characters. And she reads everything 3 or 4 times. It’s pretty consistent too… although she doesn’t officially grade my work each time, I can always tell by her tone and types of comments where the book stands. Relationships like these enable a writer to truly grow and prosper. I’d be lost without her.
What do you think about movie adaptation of books ? Will you be ok with making a
movie out of one of your books ?
I would 100% be okay… even a television series. I had started working with a producer on ways to approach it last year… but when I went back to full-time work, I had to drop something, and that was it. I can’t do everything at the same time, but I already know who would play all the main characters. It’s just so clear in my head; these are real people to me.
What was the most happiest and memorable moment in your journey as an author ?
Signing my first contract is definitely the most memorable. It meant my dream was going to come true.
They say writing is a lonely job, what are your thoughts about it ?
I am good with that. I love alone time and don’t like going out very much. But I also live with my significant other and we have a great balance to each other and our lives. At the same time, I imagine and create 90% of a character, but beta and alpha readers help me finesse him or her – so it is not so lonely in the end.
Tell us how you reacted and what was going on your head when you got your first book deal ?
I was reserved but thrilled. I am not an excitable person by nature, so I did a happy dance in private, where I’m sure anyone would’ve thought I’d lost my mind. To others, I kept it quiet until it naturally just came up in conversations…almost casually I started saying things like, “Oh, I have a deadline due to my editor next week, can we push dinner until the following week?” Or “If I send you the author bio for my upcoming book cover, would you mind telling me if it sounds good?” I didn’t actually come right out and tell anyone except a few people I’m uber close with.
What advantage do you think does a book reader has over a non-reader ?
In terms of writing? Oh… I think it depends on your skill-sets. A reader might know how to better write a character or control the suspense where as a non-reader might be amazing at grammar and word choice but not strong at building personalities and defining structure to a plot.
What special trick do you use to subtly insert emotions in between the lines of your books ?
The rule of 5 – our senses. Each scene must draw on one of the five senses as a way to describe the character. By incorporating smells, tastes, sight, noises, or touch, you can evoke more imagery in a reader’s mind, and then, that’s when word choice focuses the picture in the direction of your emotions.
Has any book inspired you to take on an Literary Pilgrimage ? What book is that and where do you want to visit ?
Oddly enough, no! I adore all the places I read about, but for the most part, I tend to keep travel and writing separate. Only when I went to Italy did I take some notes for use in… Hiding Cracked Glass.
Do you believe in writer’s block and reader’s slump ? If so, do have any tips to get rid of it ?
Nope, I do not. If you are a writer, you can always write. If you are a reader, you can always read. However, if things are happening in your life that affect your personality or energy levels, then you might fall into a slump or block. I am in a reading slump right now. I used to read 2 to 3 books a week. I finally caught up on my TBR so that I can more freely choose books that I want to read (above and beyond new releases by series/authors I love or indies I support). But I don’t want to read right now… I’m tired from writing three books this year. I’m going through a lot of changes with a new job. My building is under massive construction, so my home life is a bit upside down. Focusing is harder than normal, hence why I’ve decided to relax my reading schedule. Same with writing… I have written non-stop for three years. I release book 10 (Weathering Old Souls, co-written with Didi Oviatt) in 2021, and I am committed to writing Braxton #7 (to be done by 12/31/20 and release in early 2021). But then…nothing for 3 months. Yes, I will write, but not to a schedule or an outline. I will let my creativity take over and see where it brings me.
What’s that one book you suggest to every single human being you meet ?
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It is as close to sheer perfection in character and plot as I can get. Yes, a tad bit racist, but I accept it was written over 100 years ago in a very different time. Still 100% wrong, but again, I’m strictly focusing on the ingenuity of her plot and character development.
What is that one word you find yourself over-using while writing a rough draft ?
After ten books, I’ve been able to stop myself from writing those words rather than pick them up during editing. Things like “that” and “but” are over-used…but now, it’s bigger words or themes. I tend to describe people’s eyes too much. I use ‘maybe’ and ‘perhaps’ more than I should too.
It seems you’re a pretty ardent blogger so what is blogging means to you and how much do you love blogging ?
It’s what helped develop my voice as a writer. I will never give it up, but daily blogging is a lot of time that I need to redirect soon. With blogging, you get out of it what you put into it. You cannot expect to grow your blog if you do not comment and respond on tons of other blogs. I did this for three years, but my time is so much more constrained these days. The less I comment on other’s blogs, the less people comment on mine. It’s completely understandable… but it is a place where I’ve met over 200 bloggers I now call friends and chat with every month on some other social media forum too. That means the world to me!
So, Hiding Cracked Glass is releasing today and what do you want to tell your readers about this book ?
In between the 1 st book in this series (Watching Glass Shatter) and this 2nd one (Hiding Cracked Glass, which is my 9th overall book), my writing skills have greatly improved. While WGS is truly about the emotions of a family under the spotlight, HCG is about the suspense in a single day. How many different thoughts will run thru a character’s head while trying to figure out the identity of the blackmailer. It’s not a suspense novel; it’s a family drama with suspense, mystery, romance, intrigue, drama, and pain. HCG is supposed to follow the structure of WGS but improve upon everything twofold.
Okay, I’m going to be selfish with my last question. The first book in the Perceptions of Glass series was released on the same day as the second book three years ago, so why particularly October 8th ? Does it has any significance ? This question is selfish because I share my birthday with Perceptions of Glass series release date and Shalini was kind enough to let me do the Blog Tour today (Awkwardly laughs) I think this series is going to be very special to me forever.
Happy Birthday! That’s the most important thing about this question. �� There is your significance to the date… if only I knew you three years ago! Actually, the publisher chose the first date for Watching Glass Shatter as October 8th , 2017. When I finished a first draft of Hiding Cracked Glass, it was the day before I began my new full-time job in February. I knew it would take 3 to 5 months for me to edit it with the new job, and the publisher needed 3 to 6 months to format and begin promotions, so I did the math and begged them to agree to publish on the 3-year anniversary. The timing just lined up, but I’m glad we can share this date together. That means a lot!
Finally, how do you feel about this interview session ? (I know I asked you a plenty of questions but the book nerd in me is pretty much over excited and can’t stop asking questions. Sorry!)
It was lots of fun! The most questions I’ve ever answered at once, but also many were new to me. I loved the trip down memory lane as well as getting to know you better too. I can tell a lot about a person by the types of questions they ask and the order they ask them in. ��
Thank you for this amazing opportunity. I appreciate all your support, and to hear you loved it more than the first book, I am growing more confident that this will be a successful book. No matter how many times I’ve gone through a launch, it’s always super scary to think about how it will be received. Thank you for giving me the privilege of getting to know you.
Thank you so much Jay!!!!!! Thank you for all your amazing and elaborate answers, I love elaborate answers. This means a lot to me. It made me really happy to have connected with you and I hope we get to do more such interviews in the future. And all the very best and congrats on the release of Hiding Cracked Glass. I know this book is going to be a huge success. It’s amazing and even more better, good and interesting than the first one. I’m so happy to have come across this book and I feel privileged to have read it beforehand. Thanks for the ARC.
Get in touch with the author :
Website | Blog | Amazon | Next Chapter Pub | Book Pub | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn |
Buy the latest novel of the author here!!!
Book Review of Book 1 : Watching Glass Shatter
Book Review of Book 2 : Hiding Cracked Glass
Finally, Thank you so much Shalini for this wonderful opportunity. You made this Blog Tour so much more fun, I loved it a lot. And thank you for arranging this Shortest Author Interview Session ever in the history 😛 Looking forward to do more such Blog Tours with you and Digital Reads Blog Tour!!!
So people, as the book is releasing today, there is a GIVEAWAY arranged for you guys. Participate in the GIVEAWAY and get a chance to win the copy of this wonderful Book.
Here is the Link to participate in the GIVEAWAY
I hope you guys enjoyed as much as James and I did!!
Until Next time,
10 thoughts on “Author Interview : James J Cudney #MegaBlogTour #GIVEAWAY @jamescudney4 @Shalini_G26”
Wow just read the whole interview. A masterpiece. Jay is wonderful and you asked the best questions.
I get some loving words from Jay. He is right and greatly perceptive of the words I say and some which I leave unsaid. It is all about the comfort and trust. Oh my.. We do have our hours of discussion. But every time I am with Jay, I discover a new facet in him. His book with Didi is on a different level. So I am learning more from him. I am honored and thankful that he calls me his friend. How he manages to understand me is beyond me. 😂😂 Sometimes there are 3 different topics of conversation and he has to jump around. Jay is wonderful.
If I have not said it before, thank you so much Meenu for the lovely words to describe me.
It has been a pleasure having you around.
I am described as an angel… Got to tell that to some people I know… 😂 😂 😂
And it’s all true. I’m entirely too lucky and thankful for having met you, Shalini.
You are my darling heart. No two ways about it Jay ♥️
Thank you so much, without your help this interview wouldn’t have been possible❤️🤩
It was incredible wonderful to listen to Jay talk about you, his alpha reader ❤️🤗
You’re indeed an angel with sarcasm 😜😍😁
Oh my I am an angel and you are sarcastic about it… What a backhand compliment if there was any praise, to begin with 😏🙄🤔
No I didn’t mean it that way 😂🙈 you are an angel with a great sense of sarcasm 😂😃🙈 now I guess I’m being pretty clear about what I meant to say 😂🙈😃
I loved our interview – brought back memories from a few weeks ago and all the questions! LOL This is such a wonderful post… the energy and beauty you bring to your blog is admirable and amazing. I’m so thrilled and grateful to have met you and been able to read such a terrific review. Thank you very much for all the wonderful elements here… I’m a lucky guy. Happy Birthday!!!
I’m very glad you liked it 🤩🤩 and I’m truly grateful and happy to have found you and your books, they did brought a lot of changes in me. I would’ve been missing out on a lot of things in life if perception of glass series hadn’t happened to me 🤗🤩
Thank you so much for your birthday wishes, it means a lot.
Happy publication day 😁😅❤️🤩
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