Joy ~ Who or what was your inspiration for writing A World I Never Made?
James ~ I had written two other novels that were not published. I was determined, however, to keep on writing. One night I was told a very sad story about a young woman who had committed suicide and left a taped message to each of her parents and siblings. This woman had been seemingly happy. But what if she had had reason to be angry at one of her loved ones? What was on those cassettes? What story did they tell? I got to thinking about a father-daughter relationship that had gone wrong, that had given the daughter reason to be bitter, and angry at her father. And then it occurred to me that a faked suicide could be the premise for a story not only of adventure but of the process of redemption for such a father and daughter. This was the genesis of A World I Never Made.
Joy ~ I really enjoy learning about the path that an author's thoughts have travelled when arriving at a premise. A sad situation turned into something positive with your story.
Joy ~ Are you currently working on something new? If so, will you tell us about it?
James ~ I am about a third of the way through a novel about a divorced Manhattan D.A. (the guy who handles all the office’s toughest murder prosecutions), whose twenty-two year old son is wrongly accused of murder. The son is not a likeable character. Arrogant and spoiled by his mother (who is re-married to a super rich Syrian oil magnate) he is selfish and contemptuous of most people, including his father. Nevertheless the father quits his job, so as to negate any conflict of interest, and, with the help of a beautiful attorney friend, works his way through many layers of deceit and great danger, to prove his son’s innocence.
Joy ~ Ohhhhhh, this sounds intriguing. Quitting his job as the D.A. speaks loud and clear about his commitment to his son.
With this response, you have somewhat answered my next question.
Joy ~ Do you have any plans to incorporate your former career as a lawyer into a future novel?
James ~ I did not do criminal law, but often tried civil cases to juries, so yes and no. The criminal law element I can either figure out or do research or consult with an expert.
Joy ~ I love the courtroom, so I look forward to the possibility of reading some jury scenes in your future books.
Joy ~ What does a day in the life of James LePore look like?
James ~ I try to write every day for four or five hours. After that my brain is tired so I do something else that doesn’t involve too much thinking. People can look at my photography at www.nakedeyeimages.com.
Joy ~ There are many book bloggers that enjoy photography, too. We'll all have to take a peek! :)
Joy ~ What is your greatest challenge as a writer? What is the most rewarding?
James ~ I think the greatest challenge is to write as truly and honestly as possible. Hemingway said that good writers have built-in ‘b.s.’ detectors, which I hope I have. When I hit this mark that’s the reward in itself.
Joy ~ I agree that reaching one's own goals is pure satisfaction.
Joy ~ Do you believe that a writer needs to read, read, read in order to write? What are you reading now?
James ~ Yes, I think reading is essential. I am currently reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, a tour de force so good that it should not be a model for writers but simply an inspiration.
Joy ~ Unfortunately, Cloud Atlas is not the book I read by David Mitchell, but I have read numerous raving reviews about it and have it on my TBR list. I'm happy to learn that you are among the ravers, too.
Joy ~ Do you have a home library? If so, what genre dominates the shelves? If not, why not?
James ~ I have thousands of books, mostly all novels. They include most of the American, English and international classics, and many contemporary novels that fall into the adventure/thriller genre.
Joy ~ Thousands!!! Wow! So there's no need to ask if you've been a reader throughout your life - well, since adulthood anyway. Well, I guess you could be a collector and not a reader, but I thinking you may be both. ;)
Joy ~ I have corresponded with many publishing representatives, authors and bloggers to ask their opinion of negative or underwhelming book reviews. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on that topic. Do you agree with the cliché, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity?” Why or why not?
James ~ I’m not sure how to answer this. Bad reviews can’t be good, but then again Van Gogh never sold a painting while he was alive.
Joy ~ Well, I hope you have many, many years of positive reviews to enjoy.
Joy ~ Highly recommended books – would you share a few of yours?
James ~ There are too many to list, but here are a few:
Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway
The Leopard, by G. De Lampedusa
So Long, See You Tomorrow, by Wm. Maxwell
Cry The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton
James ~ Okay - I'm slightly embarrassed. I have not read any of your choices. I have heard of two of them, but they haven't made it into my hands . . . yet. At least, Cry, the Beloved Country (Paton) is on my TBR Shelf. That should count for something, huh? :)
Joy ~ Thank you, James, for sharing some of yourself with us. It's always interesting to learn a little bit about the person behind the book. I appreciate your time, and I hope you enjoy your monthly tour around the blogosphere.