Jay’s ‘This Is My Truth Now’ web site is a great collection of book reviews, author pages, books, alerts, giveaways, book bucket list, blasts from the past, cool stuff, tips & advice column and his blog.
I met Jay (James Cudney IV) a few years ago as we connected through our blogs. He is a wonderful soul, full of warmth and humour and how he combines a full-time job with a constant flow of writing, reading, writing reviews for others’ books and running his own web site is astonishing. He is full of ideas and these hold many blessings as they are always about supporting others. I hold much gratitude for our connection, as I am sure many others do.
He is a prolific writer and his books hold compelling plots, complex relationships and mysteries and have been translated into many different languages. Watching Glass Shatter, Father Figure, Braxton Campus Mysteries: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, Haunted House Ghost and Frozen Stiff Drink.
Jay is a humble soul, who much prefers to shine a light on others, so it is my pleasure to feature an interview with him here today, my review and an excerpt of ‘Watching a Glass Shatter’.
Over to you, Jay. Take it away, my lovely….
- Where were you born?
I was born in Fort Myers, Florida. My paternal grandparents retired and move there in the 1970s to run a bar with friends. After my grandfather had a heart attack, my parents visited them and fell in love with the area. They bought a house on a canal, and a few years later I was born. When I was two, my maternal grandmother became ill, and my parents missed the rest of the family. They moved back to Long Island, where most of my family has lived for one-hundred and fifty years, also where I grew up.
2. What is your earliest memory and what feelings does that hold for you?
I actually have very few early memories. I have an unusual memory, and it’s not easy to explain. I’ve forgotten most everything from my childhood and teenage years, but I remember random restaurant check amounts and facts that I learned over time. I can’t sort out how I forget certain things and recall others, but it’s definitely inconsistent and sometimes troublesome.
One memory I do have is that a phantom used to visit me and hover near my bedroom door in the middle of the night. I tried to get out of bed many times, but it held me back, and I’d wake up screaming in a nightmare. I sometimes think it was real, and I never understood what caused it. On the positive side, I do recall spending lots of time with my paternal grandfather who used to keep sugar-coated spearmint candies in his car. Every day after school, he’d come to visit my mom for a cup of coffee, and I was allowed to sneak into his car to have just one candy. I loved spending much time with my relatives when I was younger.
3. Do the dramas and intricate personal relationships you write about come from your life experiences, or observations of others, or maybe a mixture of both?
Most are not from direct personal experience. In all of my books (except one), the main character comes from a very large family with multiple siblings. I am an only child, and although I am close with my cousins, it’s a different experience not having another person who’s descended from the same person as you. I often felt like I was on my own, and as a result, I spent more time thinking, reading, and watching television. That’s where I saw relationships develop and fall apart, and when I consolidated those experiences with various ones with friends and extended family, I created my impression of what it must be like to have such a large immediate family. If you ask any of the people who know me best or who’ve known me for a long time, they will tell you that I’m almost always silent and quiet in group settings. I am truly an observer who prefers to watch others interact than delve into the experience myself. I’m a sensitive soul, and conflict has always been a painful notion for me. I’d rather not get into a disagreement, so I tend to hide in the background and not discuss my opinion in a public situation.
4. What is important to you?
Truth. Equality. Honesty. Doing the right thing. Being fair and forward-thinking. Taking one extra step to ensure you’ve communicated properly. Never treating someone poorly. Learning every day. Treating others with respect. Saving for the future. Helping others. Being seen as a good person.
5. What are the saving graces that have helped you during these current times?
Luck and hope. I grew up Catholic, and I was more religious when I was younger. I’ve struggled with faith on and off throughout my life. But under all of it, I value the Golden Rule. It has almost always worked out for me. In the instances where it didn’t, I had little control over the situation. I’ve been healthy and safe my entire life, and my parents always protected me from the dangers of the world. I am often a perfectionist with high expectations of others. Consequently, I am also often disappointed because I feel like others don’t always do the right thing. It impacts me personally, innately almost. It is in those moments where I feel the world can be a bad place, but it is also in those moments where a conversation with my mom or a good friend will awaken my hope again. I’ve worked hard to get where I am today, but there’s a been an angel or a guiding light behind it all. I am grateful more than anyone can ever know.
6. What have you always wanted to do and want to find the time for?
I wish I could learn how to be an artist with either paint, ink, or a camera. I do not have visual design talent in any way, shape, or form. I do well enough in pulling together graphics for book marketing and home décor, but it’s basic and light because I do not have a ton of patience or natural experience in these areas. I tend to know a little about a lot of things rather than a lot about any one thing specifically. I’d love to master one of these skills in the future.
7. Do you enjoy another creative outlet, apart from your writing?
Genealogy. It’s creative in that it’s analytical research to figure out the past. Through research, database analytics, and guesswork, I’ve found 2000 ancestors, and it makes me feel good that I’m confident in most of the connections’ validity. It’s a puzzle, and I enjoy solving it to the best of my ability.
8. Do you have a mantra? If you would like to share it.
Not really… I suppose it could be something along the lines of “Get more detail.” In anything I do, I’m like a two-year-old, asking the Who-What-When-Where-Why-How questions until I get to the root of a situation. When most people accept an answer, I keep on digging until I’m 100% certain and understand all the reasoning behind something. Though I don’t shout it from the rooftops, whenever someone asks me for advice or asks a question, I can be relentless about getting down to the details. But I also know when to back away without being tedious or painful about it!
9. What gifts you the most encouragement to achieve all you do?
I strive for perfection, yet I balance it with efficiency. It’s my own version of the 80/20 rule. One of the most significant attributes in my personality is the ability to see all sides of a situation. It can be a good and a bad thing because I am a bit of an empath in that I feel bad choosing and letting someone down when there are winners and losers in a situation. I also can make decisions quickly on rational or logical things, so I’m balanced well. It can drive me a little nutty tho too.
10. How do you feel about change?
Change is a good thing, as long as it’s managed well and expectations are set about the impacts of change. I dislike change without the communication of change happening in the future. If it’s last-minute, I deal with it, but I’m usually not chipper about the change.
11. Do you need silence to write?
100% yes. I need silence in everything I do. I have a hard time functioning with any noise around me other than nature. If the dog barks or someone makes noise in the hallway outside the apartment, I’m immediately distracted and unable to focus. I think it comes from spending so much time on my own as a kid, which I enjoyed… even now, in the social distancing and quarantine, I’m a bit thrilled. As an introvert, I’m happy to spend 24/7 inside and independently, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss and love my friends and family. I just mean that I can be okay under these conditions if I can chat or email with everyone. In time, we’ll visit in person again.
12. What draws you to write mysteries?
I like the challenge of solving a puzzle, creating drama among intriguing characters, and pulling the wool over someone’s eyes. All in literature though… never in person. That wouldn’t be right!
Watching Glass Shatter
This is a family saga, with a unique plot twist that is only revealed in the last few pages. Cudney’s writing style drew me in and I was eager to know the outcome. I cared about the characters, right from the outset to the very end.
It is skilfully written as the story unfolds through each character being gifted their own chapters. Families are complex, especially large ones, and the web of secrets hidden within this one highlight that. Cudney describes how each family member’s story is edited for other members of their family. Fear, lies and deception hiding layers of secrets and, as the carefully crafted facade of Olivia the family’s matriarch, disintegrates through shock and grief, then other facades within her family crumble.
‘Watching Glass Shatter’ is the perfect title and I am looking forward to reading more from this talented author’s imagination and pen.
List of Published Books:
Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)
Father Figure (April 2018)
Braxton Campus Mysteries
Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)
Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)
Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)
Frozen Stiff Drink – #6 (March 2020)
For all those who wish to connect with Jay and keep up to date with his latest creativity, all his online links are below:
Websites & Blog:
Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney
Social media links:
It has been great to welcome Jay here today and I know you all join with me in wishing him loving energy for all his creative endeavours. ❤