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Monday, June 14, 2021

Interview with Will Shingleton


Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Will Shingleton.  

Will has written the book, 

Seamless Transition.  


First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.


Website: www.willshingleton.com

Instagram: @shillwingleton

Twitter: @will_shingleton

YouTube: Will’s Got Some Thoughts




That is great.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?


Sure! I’m originally from Birmingham, Alabama, but my wife and I live right outside of Greenville, SC. We moved from Alabama Crimson Tide country to deep into Clemson territory, and that has been a very educational experience. I’ve always loved reading and writing, but it took a while for me to decide to write creatively. I knew it was something I wanted to do eventually, but I had a lot of trepidation about being terrible at it, or about not finishing something once I started it. Life just got in the way sometimes, too. I made my first documentary podcast in 2018, and after a strings of successes and failures, that experience gave me the confidence I needed to try writing. I haven’t stopped since. 



That is great. So many offer the advice that the best way to be a writer is to write, write, write. I suppose "podcast, podcast, podcast" works as well. Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?


All kinds of places; my stories will almost always have some sort of sports tie-in, but mixed with something else. This book, for instance, is ostensibly about college football, but the main inspiration came from the history late night television. I like to write eclectic stories that combine things I find fascinating with my own, real-life emotions and experiences.



What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?


Other than writing, my main hobbies are watching/reading about sports and playing video games. Without those things, I doubt I’d have anything interesting to write about at all. Many of the characters in my books come directly from characters generated in video games I’ve played. 

I teach middle school and know so many people young and old play video games. I bet that really resonates with your audience. What led you from playing to writing?

After a while, I realized that the habit I’d developed of giving them all in-depth backstories wasn’t something that everybody did. Thankfully, I took the hint, and started using the storytelling muscles I’d been developing for years to write books. The sports world can be very insular, and its politics and machinations make for some very interesting character studies. However, it can also be quite universal, and drawing parallels between sports and “real life” is a strength of mine as a writer. 


What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?


You’ll probably suck for a little while, and that’s okay. 



What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?


If you’re writing a fictional story, make a map or chart of how your characters will grow over the course of it. Maybe a character’s fundamental flaw is being selfish, and your story helps them grow to be more compassionate and empathetic. Maybe they’re insecure and develop more confidence. Maybe they think they want something, but your story has them come to realize that they need something else. If you have an idea of where they’ll end up, getting them there will be a heck of a lot easier. 



Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?


I am a part-time writer, and a full-time freelance media producer. When I first started, I would wait until my wife went to bed and write until midnight. These days, in the age of COVID, I have quite a lot of time to write. That’s been one of the few positive takeaways from the past year of pandemic. 



Please tell us about your current release.


Seamless Transition is the story of a college football team’s ins and outs, and the often soap-opera like machinations and drama that can go on behind the scenes in the interplay between coaching staff, players, and the powers-that-be. Told in a documentary style that mixes interviews, press releases, and sports articles, Seamless Transition follows the career journey of Dave Medina, an ambitious and talented man who dreams of being the head coach of a successful college team; but when he gets the chance to rise up through the ranks and prove himself, the forces that want the old power structures of that program to stay in place conspire to oust him.



What exciting story are you working on next?


My favorite sport is actually soccer, and I have a soccer book in the drafting process that I’ve been working on for a while. There’s also a YA story connected to Seamless Transition that I’ve had finished for a while; hopefully, that will get published eventually, either by me or someone else. 



Who are your favorite authors?


I’m from Alabama, so I sort of have to say Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird is still my favorite book. John Green (also an Alabama guy) is another one, although my books are next-to-nothing like his. C.S. Lewis is an all-time favorite. I also love non-fiction authors like Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis.



What is your writer’s kryptonite?


Self-doubt. Writing is hard work, especially when you’re in that first/second draft kind of stage. It gets even harder when you’re questioning every word you type! Comparison is dumb. Don’t do it. 



That is good advice for a very difficult part of the writing process. Anything additional you want to share with the readers? 


I hope you like the book! I wrote it because of a pattern I saw: as a species, we kind of suck at moving on from influential and successful leaders. Someone has to pick up the mantle when that person inevitably moves on, but the way we do that tends to leave all parties unsatisfied. There’s an art to shifting power from one person to another, and if it’s not done properly, things can go horribly, horribly wrong. 




Thanks for joining me. I see as of the day of this blog interview, you are in the top 200 for books on football. Congrats! One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?


Amazon Link

Friday, June 11, 2021

Author Bio

Photo: Michelle Wilson Photography

Jerry Harwood was born in Ooltewah, TN. 

His mother was an elementary school teacher and he spent his afternoons reading books in her classroom or the nearby library. 

He currently is a writer, which makes sense based on the fact you are reading this here. 

He has experimented with other occupations: camp director, program director at a counseling center, college professor and middle school teacher. 

Jerry has backpacked Europe, taught in a Ukrainian University, worked in Rwanda after the genocide, is a first responder, sort-of remodeled a VW Thing, and has a love for Cherry Coke Zero that is only surpassed by his love for his wife, six children, and grandson.

Jerry has enjoyed to only writing, but also building friendships in the writing community, integrating the art work of his students, and providing his middle grade works for teachers to use in classrooms. His book, Jam Sessions, is not only available at Amazon and bookstores, but on Teachers Pay Teachers where it includes worksheets for journaling and creative writing. 

LINKS? Why yes, he has those too!

Blog: https://www.circumlocution.net
Email: JerryHarwoodBooks at the google mail
Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Circumlocution

Highlighted Work

This work is an anthology from my writer's group and includes several celebrated and published authors! Check it out! Oh, and ALL proceeds go to the Young Southern Writer's group at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

And if you ever want to join and live in the Chattanooga area, shoot me a message or leave  comment!

Crazy Buffet Writer's Club


Jam Sessions available in stores!


I read this book with my class, and the kids and I loved it. Phillip's story is so relatable without being cliche. He is a main character who is so much like many of the kids in our school, and my students connected with him immediately. There were moments of laughter and a few tears, and we enjoyed all of it! My class is asking for a sequel! In addition, the author donated a class set of books to my class. He is both talented and kind. Thank you, Mr. Harwood.

    - Michelle Gildersleeve        

And you can buy a classroom set for under $3

 HERE: TeachersPayTeachers


I just finished this book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a mental health therapist and worked with adolescents for several years. I highly recommend this book to parents of preteens and for any middle school aged child (or younger) that is experiencing anxiety, feeling isolated, bullied, or going through upheaval. Being a middle schooler is difficult. It could also be very helpful as preventive maintenance - a way to open a dialogue with your preteen about how to handle the roller coaster on which they are about to embark.

It’s a page-turner that kept me engaged. I really cared about the characters, and actually became emotional while reading the epilogue. You have to buy this book. It can help us all grow lenses on how to help young people in their struggles. I think I may buy several to hand out as gifts.

        - Dino Smith

Jam Sessions by Jerry Harwood caused flashbacks to my own middle school life. I was bullied, and my anxiety was definitely going strong during those years. I love that Jam Sessions explores the real life difficulties and the real life successes that kids go through in middle school.

This is an easy read. Short chapters, with light but still talented writing, creates a great little book with a lot of great lessons. I wish I had some kids in my life that were in this part of their lives. I’ll keep this one on hand, for when they get to this age.

A little side: I love that this author makes this book available for classrooms because I think the story would be great for middle schoolers to read. I know it would be relatable and give them things to think about.

- Jessica Belmont

 And you can buy a classroom set for under $3

 HERE: TeachersPayTeachers

Lillian Brummet reviews my Twelve Hours On the Block

 Twelve Hours On The Block was released in 2020 by author Jerry Harwood and his publisher (ThreeRavensPublishing.com). The dark, brooding cover (designed by Tracy Lundgren) looked at first to be an alley at night in a less-than-desirable area of a large city. However, upon reading the first few pages I realized that it was, in fact, a view inside of a penitentiary.  


In this sci-fi fantasy, graphic, pulp fiction style novel newly incarcerated Eli, meets fellow inmate Tay when reality fades away and they face a crazy wild adventure, keeping their sanity with light hearted banter and references to mutually appreciated TV shows and movies. The scene opens one evening in a SunnydalePenitentiary cell-block, where a carnivorous, seemingly super powered fellow inmate known as Hummbingbird kills a guard and starts a gruesome fire. From there, the night just gets weirder. Musical chanting spells, inmates uprising and hallucinations... or are they hallucinations? 


One of the most uniquely imaginative tales I have read, interwoven with ancient mythology and lore in a crafty way. While this is not a genre I would normally turn to, I am glad to have had the opportunity to do this review, and experience this author's interesting style and creative techniques he used in producing Twelve Hours On The Block.

Out of curiosity I visited Jerry's Amazon Central page, his blog (Jerry's Circumlocution) and his website. There, I learned that he has written, co-written or collaborated on numerous books including his first book Jam Sessions, a collection titled: Dragons & Dribbles (cool cover image on this one), and many others.  If you have time to visit his blog you'll find that it periodically shares interviews with other authors, short stories, recipes, book reviews and more. 


Interestingly, Jerry is the son of a school teacher, and he also spent time in that field. He has, in fact, had an adventurous life - according to his bio: "Jerry has backpacked Europe, taught in a Ukrainian University, worked in Rwanda after the genocide, is a first responder, sort-of remodeled a VW Thing, and has a love for Cherry Coke Zero that is only surpassed by his love for his wife, six children, and grandson".  

Monday, June 7, 2021

Interview with Nathan Timmel


Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Nathan Timmel. Nathan has written the book, We Are 100.  


First, let me thank you for joining me. I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.



We Are 100


Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?


Oh boy… that should be an easy question, but the truth is, I don’t remember. It’s just something I’ve always done from childhood. Ever since I could ham-fistedly grab a crayon, I was scribbling out words, then sentences, then paragraphs, and finally stories. So, I can’t really pinpoint a time when, say, my version of a John Keating inspired me, or the first story I ever wrote, because it’s been so long. I’ve just always been someone who has tried to get my thoughts out of my noggin using the written word. 



Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?



Professionally, I’m a stand-up comedian. I stand on stage and yap funny stuff into a microphone. 

My wife and I love stand-up comedy. I have to confess I googled yours and found myself laughing.

See Nathan's Comedy

So what led you from comedy to writing?

But, being a fella with thoughts that aren’t always humorous, I needed an outlet for things that wouldn’t get a laugh. We Are 100 became a conduit for thoughts of mine that wouldn’t work in a comedy club.



What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?


Because I’m a comedian, writing is my hobby. I spend a lot of time sitting in hotel rooms, and use writing as a way of being productive. Instead of watching TV, or drinking, I pound away at the keyboard.



What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?


I guess the only thing I would say would be to write, write, and then re-write. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you hunker down and try.  



What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?


I had an English Lit. professor in college that explained that there was an audience for everything. Everything. Just because one person doesn’t like your story, doesn’t mean another person won’t love it. So, write the stories you want to write; don’t write what you think other people want to read. Don’t chase an audience, create it.


How many hours a day do you write?

It varies… I write when I have an idea. I’ve never written for the sake of “getting my reps in.” If I have nothing to say, I’m not going to force it.



What is your favorite part about writing?

The editing. While I enjoy barfing an idea out onto the page, to me the real fun is going back and honing it; making the words crisp and pointed. 


What does literary success look like to you?

The simple act of accomplishment is a form of success. You finished something, which is fantastic. When I finished my first book, I had a thousand people tell me, “Yeah, I’m thinking about writing a book, too.” That was over a decade ago, and only one person followed through. It’s one thing to fantasize, and another to put in the effort. So, if you write a book, that’s success right there.



Please tell us about your current release.


We Are 100 is a thriller that asks: what happens when someone of means organizes and weaponizes people at their wit's end? 


Everyone feels powerless at some point in their life, especially when bumping up against large institutions. But what if you could take on a district attorney that refuses to prosecute rapists? What if you could exact revenge on the bank that incorrectly foreclosed on your house? 


Vengeance is an interesting fantasy, but when it becomes real—when it becomes violence—there are consequences. 


We Are 100 toys with your moral compass. It makes you question whether or not the “bad guys” are really the villains, since they’re acting as vigilantes against actual evil.



Can you read / provide us with a small excerpt?


In the sample you’re about to read, a man named Stuart Francart is making his move. 


One year ago, he took on a position as a janitor in order to gain access to a pharmaceutical company that wronged his family.


No one noticed him. People went about their business, typing away on keyboards, taking phone calls, and shuffling paperwork. In a way, wearing a janitor’s uniform was like wearing Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility. If you weren’t wearing a suit and tie, you were “less than,” and therefore not worth looking at. Maybe that wasn’t the case on some of the lower floors, Evan mused, but it definitely was up in the penthouse.

Evan generally pushed his cart down deserted hallways at night; having to navigate people in a hurry was challenging, but not horribly so. When he arrived at the boardroom door, Evan took a deep breath. He could still back out now, if he really wanted.

Instead, Evan turned the handle. Though he was quiet as he entered, all heads turned to greet him.

“Excuse me, we’re in the middle of a meeting here,” someone said, but Evan wasn’t sure who. His concentration was elsewhere.

After parking his cart, when he turned to face the group of six men and three women, the gun was level in his hand.

“Evacuate the building,” Evan stated, his voice monotone.



What exciting story are you working on next?


Right now, I’m focusing on my recording my seventh stand-up comedy album. After that, I have another nonfiction work bouncing around my noggin. 


Who are your favorite authors? 


Jon Krakauer, Michael Lewis, and Malcom Gladwell.



What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I don’t think Michael Perry’s Population 485 is widely-enough known. It’s really worth a read.


Any plans for the upcoming holiday?


I plan on telling the world that my book would make a great Arbor Day gift. Take that, trees!



What part of writing and publishing was most difficult for you?


Oh boy… I’d have to say the most difficult thing was getting the margins correct. Every time I uploaded the book, a glitch in the system would add page breaks where there were no page breaks, words would get cut off… 


Translating a Microsoft Word Doc into a publishable book is a pain in the tuckus. 


But it’s worth it in the end.



One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

Add your links here again


The book is available on Amazon, found here…


Or you can always click through my website, at nathantimmel.com