Interviews

Interview with Justin Jay

Justin Jay is the writer of the upcoming book “The Other Side”.

1.What first inspired you to write?

This may come off as shocking to many, but to be honest…It didn’t start with reading books, despite how much I loved to.I’m actually a huge video game nerd, as well as a movie buff. Stories in those respected mediums, have unique ways of giving stories to people of all ages. When I was four years old, I played the first story to ever captivate me. That game was Final Fantasy VII.I remember during playing the game, and even after, I felt myself wanting to create the same magic that the game enveloped me in. From that time onward, I had been writing stories in the many ways I could.That being with my childhood imagination, creating stories for toys to act out, writing stories in notebooks, and just thinking them over in my head.Hearing the dialogue through my characters’ voices was soothing. And as an only child, I thrived on it. Over the years, (10-14) I honed this skill and ended up writing fan fictions for popular series’ like ‘Devil May Cry’, ‘Zelda Four Swords’, ‘Ocarina of Time’, and ‘Windwaker’.I wish I could still find them now. They’re relics that are long gone.Many of my teachers and principals found the language and ratings to be beyond my age, so many times they would confiscate it, and I would do whatever I could to retrieve them. It was disheartening to lose so much.Sometimes my teachers would assign us an assignment that would allow us to create a story from scratch. Even though the minimum requirement was a paragraph, I never felt comfortable ending the story so soon.Sometimes I’d walk in with five pages or more. I would earn a 100% and many compliments on my ability to write captivating stories.Even then, I knew that someday I would tell my own tale. One that couldn’t be taken, and one that is truly original. The question was, when.

2.How do people react when you tell them you’re an author?

When I was younger, to be honest, people were very skeptical and many other times doubtful. Understandably so…It’s normal for a child to have far-fetched dreams. This on the other side, fueled me to do more. I’d say for the 10-year journey of writing ‘The Other Side’ and its offspring, people tended to change as I’d have more work to show.Instead of just saying ‘I wrote a book’ I would often print out a draft to show just how serious I am. The same would occur with the many ideas I have for clothing brands.Now, people get pretty excited when they learn that I’m an author. The first question is always, ‘Do you have any books on sale’?It’s a great conversation starter, because afterwards, the person and I would have a lot to talk about. We can take the time to learn about each other’s’ special interests, as I would theirs. They seem happier when I show them all that we’ve done.

3.Which authors inspire you?

J.K Rowling probably inspires me the most. Not just her writing, but her spirit as well. Over the 10 years of writing, I’ve followed many of her interviews, tweets, books, and movies to learn that she is not afraid of showing the world the inner machinations of her imagination.There were times where I’d shrug away from an idea, not because of it being bad, but just thinking that it wouldn’t be appreciated in the way that I did.I remember first reading of J.k’s ‘Knight Bus’ and thinking, ‘Wow, she’s so brave…’I remember from that day forward, reaching back into my books and re-adding the things I was ashamed or insecure about.J.K Rowling not only inspired me to be myself, but also to follow your best judgement. She once said that there was a voice in her mind that said ‘If you publish it, it will be successful’, and I identified with that moment because I, had always heard the same.

4.What is the best book you have read recently?

The best book I’ve read recently was written by Dr. Jordan Peterson. He is a developmental psychologist who in my opinion is very well-rounded on certain subjects regarding the human mind. I highly recommend his book, ‘12 Rules to Life’ if you’re into ‘self-help’ books.But even if you’re not, I still recommend it. He’s articulate, very well read, and you can learn a lot from him.

5.What did you research for your book?

Ho-boy this could take a while, haha. Well, speaking of psychology…I’ve actually had to do a lot of soul-searching to lay the groundwork of this story.Throughout my years I have and still hear many voices in my mind. So, the makings of this book involved a lot of psychology research, as well as the study of the multiverse and things that span beyond that.I’ve studied a lot of human psychology, space, spiritualism, religion…Life and death, the list is truly boundless.It’s safe to say that you can find each of these elements as a very prominent tone in this story and the ones to come after.‘The Other Side’, is a medley of all.

6.What inspired you to write fiction?

The idea of writing fiction came up as a way to escape the world around me. All writers can identify with this notion. But more specifically, I guess it’s nice that with fiction, you can lie without being punished for it, if that makes sense.You’re the creator of your universe, and you can do whatever you would like with it. Just make sure there are no plot holes to sink the ship, because those are the only lies you’ll be lashed with.While fiction is a nice escape, I have meshed each of these stories with a solid background of my history along with countless others’. I classify this series one that is fiction based on reality, and reality based off of fiction.

7.Where did the idea of the book came from?

10 years ago, in March 2008 I walked the halls of a community college that my mother had brought me to. She needed to concentrate on her homework, and to be honest…I was going to stay home.Thankfully I didn’t. I remember the night before, something terrible happened with a girl that I was talking to. I was depressed and trying to sort myself back together. That day in particular though, I kept hearing one distinct voice…The one I used to call ‘The Devil in My head’. He had been taunting me all day, and I just needed to leave my room. And so, I left the house and journeyed off to the college with my mother.We entered the library, and I took some time to use the libraries computer as she was. At some point, I needed to use the bathroom. Upon entering the bathroom, I took notice to its bizarre entryway. This bathroom didn’t have a door like most. It was a doorless pathway shaped like an ‘L’.There was a mirror at the edge of this pathway. If you were standing in the middle of this murky bathroom, you could see light at the end of the pathway. I stood there, in the middle of that bathroom when the voice suddenly asked, “What if there were a world, at the other side of the mirror?”I still get goosebumps about it when I think about it. Suddenly my eyes followed the end of the ‘L’ shaped pathway, and I thought that if I were to walk into the mirror, that I could find out what was at the end of that reflected path. I washed my hands and dashed back to the library to write the newest thought…The blueprint that created what the ‘The Other Side’ is today.

8.Do you read all of your book reviews and ,if you do, how do you react to them?

That’s a good question. Well, interestingly enough, most celebrities and authors will often say to NEVER read your own reviews. Most are too afraid to read it because of how it’ll make you feel. And I don’t blame them. You’re pouring your innermost thoughts and feelings onto paper for the world to see. Those comments determine just how much more or less traffic you’ll intake.That said, I’d say the only thing that’d compel me to see reviews is impulse and curiosity itself. In the past, when I was younger and much more reckless, I published a test version of the book and many parts of me regret it.I received so much negative feedback, that to be honest, I’m surprised I’m still an author.However, that doesn’t mean that I think all reviews are bad. Even if readers have things to say about your book, to some degree, they’re trying to help. I think that about all those who hesitantly or brutally told me what they thought about the book. I think it helped a lot. I knew what to look for, and I knew what not to do.I also try to take comments and concerns with a grain of salt. Sometimes a reader could’ve encountered a ‘pet peeve’, that someone else may enjoy. When it comes to ‘constructive criticism’, I listen intently, and try to understand what the reader is critiquing, and how they came to that point. The same occurs with me in real life. Sometimes you just need to swallow your pride and know that not everyone will enjoy what you’ve done.

9.What other authors are you friends with and how did that help you with your writing?

I’m happy to say that I do have friends that also write stories. My first friend and follower is Joshua Dilmore. Not only was he  one the first to follow, but he was responsible for starting a ‘domino effect’ of positivity. There’s just something about his nature that charmed other people into following the page and sharing their support in the comments.Each time I post something, I always look forward to Josh’s comments. He himself is a published author, through his university’s newspaper (The Mississippi Collegian). He is an extremely talented write who can tug at a few heartstrings I might add. His short stories will grip you by the heart and will inspire to create something of your own. He’s also in college for writing, which is nice. So, while reading his writing, I’m constantly learning from him.

You find his work here- Themississippicollegian.com/category/uncategorized/

Instagram- @Mrbig96

My second author friend would be Ruth, the author of an upcoming book ‘Fireflies Glow Only In The Dark’. In June, you can find her wonderfully written book on Amazon. You can find her account here- @Ruthnmorse .Ruth’s goal is to show the relationship between parents and children. She wishes the world to see how important it is to keep a childlike view of the world, even after growing up quicker than expected. Her many excerpts can be found on Instagram. I highly recommend taking a look.It helps an extreme amount to know that you’re not alone in the creative realm. Sometimes the indie author route can be scary, as finances and the threat of not being published by someone else looms over your shoulder. Being in the presence whether online or in person, is comforting enough when there’s other people to talk to about the wonderful feeling of creating worlds and characters. I’d say, it’s helped an extreme amount throughout this long journey.

10.What is your best memory as a writer?

My best memory as a writer started out with what would seem like a nightmare. I remember reading the stories older versions from ages ago and thinking ‘My god…what is this’. (I feel like we all have thought this at some point).I think that was because I’d often worry about the stories content. For example I’d worry about the characters voices and the kind of people the world would see them as. I would also worry about how the story itself would appear. My best memory as a writer began when I finished my 6th major re-write of the story, and found myself laughing at the jokes posed by the characters, the insiders, the plot- everything just unraveled the way I’d finally wanted. I felt so happy in knowing that time and effort can truly bloom into something worth creating. So here’s to you, patience.

11.How did you come up with the title of the book?

The story started off with names like ‘The Other World’, ‘The Other Side of The Mirror’, ‘The Voice’, but eventually I remember numerous times while writing the book, the phrase, ‘The Other Side’ was used by characters in the story. I also would think back to the day when the idea first came about, when the voice whispered the idea of a new world to me. The simplicity of the name was what stood out most. I liked that it gave the message of the story, while still sounding unique in its own way.

12.What are your favorite under appreciated novels ?

Not many people enjoyed ‘Five People You Meet In Heaven’, but I certainly did. Perhaps it is due to my overt fascination of death, and its many mysteries. Mitch Albom focuses on a unique perspective, which is pretty much you as a soul, who gets to review the most pivotal moments of your life, which shaped you as the person who died on said date. Many people say it didn’t captivate them, but it certainly tugged at a few heart-strings for me. After reading this book, I questioned each moment in my life with wonder.

13.Have you ever experienced writers block?

Yes, and each experience comes with a unique lesson. It is certainly a pain, needless to say, but I enjoy the process of getting out of it.Normally, I get into writers block simply with crippling fear and anxiety. Sometimes, I’ll think back to what previous reviewers said, and would walk through the chapter with burgeoning thoughts looming in my chest with each written word. But the key to ending writers block, is really just writing.Honestly. Even if you have mental fog, just draw the scene out. Talk about it, do something inspiring. It’s rewarding when you get out, but when you’re in…you won’t forget it. One thing I can say for sure though, is that as you get older (at least for me) it gets better.Another subtle cause for me, believe it or not, is any outer lying substance outside myself. So for instance coffee. For the first day, this isn’t the case. Maybe for not even the second. But for everyday afterward, I become so enveloped with the damn thing that I just say ‘More…I NEED more. I must not endure writers without it, I will undergo fatigue and writers block…’When this minor form of substance usage becomes a problem, I’m unable to write.The easiest solution to writers block? Meditation and music.

14.Do you have anything to say to your readers?

To my future readers, I hope to make the best connections possible. I want to create a universe for you to lose yourself in the same way that I enjoyed many stories. I hope that ‘The Other Side’ is a story that you can find hope and courage in, along with relation to the characters that we’ve spent years crafting.

15.Anything else you want to say about the book?

There are a total of 10 books that follow this series, and more could be coming along. They won’t take 10 years for each individual story, but we will put a lot of time into the stories.Each of the social media platforms will focus on a different aspect of the series. For example, the YouTube channel will focus on a deep analysis of characters, story writing details, tips, music, and even book reviews.The Tumblr will be focused on the lore. If you already follow me on Instagram and Twitter, then you’ll see that’s more of a personal touch to the story. (You’ll find my five-month Husky, Lunae Lux on there)

16.Can you describe your upcoming book in three words?

A mirror world.

17.What is one of your favorite quotes?

“If there is a rifle hanging on the wall in Act One it must be fired in the next act. Otherwise, it has no business being there.”- Anton Chekhov

Thank you so much to Justin for agreeing to the interview.I cannot wait to read the final draft of his book.He worked so hard on it and I cannot wait to see how it turns out !

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