Review and Interview – Jayson James – T.E.D.

After reading T.E.D., Lily asked if she could take peek into Jayson James’ brain and share what she learned with y’all. Who would say no, especially since she accompanied the request with a lovely review? At the top of this page is Lily’s review of T.E.D., with Lily and Jayson’s interview underneath

 

T.E.D (Tim-Eric-Delsin), by Jayson James

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, MM Romance

Stars:  5

 

Cover Concept 8

 

Blurb:

TIM is being bullied. No one in high school wants to be known as a tattle-tale and to do so would only make things rougher for him. The repercussions would most likely make him an outcast, and without any friends.
ERIC is frustrated with life. His parents are overbearing and if they ever knew the person he really was, they would throw him out of their house. His friends are not much better, they only like him when he is who they expect him to be.
DELSIN is gay and ready to come out. Unfortunately, life at home is on the brink of falling apart with his parents constant fighting. Admitting the truth could bring his whole world crashing down around him.
Each of these three needs to decide whether the risks of being honest about who they are outweighs the importance of being true to themselves. This could mean ruining life as each of them knows it. Maybe it is better to remain miserable in order to play it safe. On the other hand, doing nothing doesn’t seem to working either.

 

Review:

This story delves into topics including bullying, sexual harassment/ dubious consent, trouble at home, depression, suicidal thoughts, and mental health issues.

T.E.D. touched my core for many reasons, and made me cry my eyes out at times and giggle at others, but I couldn’t put it down until I finished the last page. Please do not think it is a depressing story, because there is a wonderful HEA and is skips any melodrama. This book is truly written with total empathy and insight.

I was blown away with the graceful, meticulous flow from page to page, and event to event.  Each character’s story is written from their individual perspective somehow without losing the connection with the others. It was like watching a movie. Jayson’s stories always feel like that to me.

Jayson wrote Tim’s story with such empathy, it initially broke my heart. But he did not leave Tim a total victim. He helped Tim grow.

Eric’s story is done with a total understanding. Eric’s actions are never justified, but rather shown as what they are. No excuses are given for Eric’s behaviour, but everything is explained eloquently.

Then Delsin is added, and he brings a total balance. Again, Delsin is written with empathy and a  critical eye to ensure the story is neither fluffy nor melodramatic. There is just a perfect balance to raise the reader’s understanding about growing up in differing home environments.

As usual, Jayson writes with a deep message that leaves his readers emotional and thoughtful about the characters and story they’ve read. He does that without demoralizing readers, so they can close the book at the end with a smile and sense of relief for the characters.

 

Publisher and Original Publication Date: Self-published, March 14, 2014
Purchase URL: http://www.amazon.com/T-E-D-Eric-Delsin-Jayson-James-ebook/dp/B00IC0NX7W
Formats Available: mobi, paperback
Length:  284 pages
Reviewed by: Lily
Author’s Website: http://www.jaysonjamesbooks.blogspot.com

 

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Lily’s interview with Jayson:

Lily: Your fans would like to know more about you and your background. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jayson: This has always been a tough question for me to answer. It reminds me of going in for a job interview. I get the feeling if I share too much I appear full of myself or if I share too little, I appear uninterested. Let’s see, although I was trying to think of something to talk about prior to mentioning Cooper, she is on my mind. Cooper is my black pit bull pug mixed dog. I got her when my writing started to take off and she has enriched my life in many ways.
Beyond Cooper, I am a bit of a socialite. As often as I talk about taking time off and staying at home, it does not happen very often. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. Although I dream and I am still determined to get a weekend where I do not go anywhere or do anything. Then there is music. I mean listening to it, although I am constantly singing along with a song I like. I periodically will create a new mix of music or I rotate through other mixes I have put together. Then there are movies, I love movies. Whether I am sitting down to watch one or simply having one play in the background, I enjoy movies. Okay, I guess that’s enough about me.

 

Lily: What made you decide to become a writer, and why do you write?

Jayson: For as long as I could remember, I’ve always had an active imagination. When it came to writing I would do some here and there, such as writing a story, poetry and even lyrics for a friends band. In my life plan, I had always wanted to be a published author in my lifetime. Then I had this idea that I could not get out of my head one night, I sat down and wrote it down. It was about this guy who was out with his girlfriend and he found himself more interested in this guy at the burger place they were eating at. I wrote this idea down, shared it with a friend who wondered what I was going to do with it. Not being sure what I wanted to do with it, I put it aside and did not think of it for about a month. While I was driving back from a trip I’d taken to California, I kept having this idea of the story that went around what I had already written. I started jotting down ideas and before I knew it I had taken these ideas and put them into a book. As long as I have ideas for books and people are interested in reading them, I plan on continuing to do so.

 

Lily: Are you a full- or a part-time writer?

Jayson: I am a part time writer. Some days more, most days less. I write whenever I get the chance. Oddly enough the times I am writing the most is when my next book to be released is going through the rounds of edits. I am not sure why during this time I get so inspired but so far it has worked for me. Every book I have started on during this time I have finished.

 

Lily: What are the hardest and the easiest thing for you to write in your stories?

Jayson: Perhaps the hardest (no pun intended) is writing about sex and masturbation. This might surprise anyone who has read my books, being I typically do not shy away from either. My mind goes to another place when I am writing these. I get an idea and next thing I know, I have typed it out. There have been many times I have called Jen and read to her something I think is too graphic and every time she tells me it is fine and to leave it. The easiest are parts of a book that I have well thought out in my mind. I am not one to sit down and write a book starting at the beginning and writing through to the end, with the exception of “Tormented Discovery.”

 

Lily: Who are your favourite authors and the titles of your favourite books?

Jayson: Nick Nolan is at the top of my list. Nick and I met after I left a review on one of his books. He was interested in hearing my thoughts on his writing and had an interest in learning about me. My favourites of his are: “Strings Attached,” “Black As Snow,” “Wide Asleep,” and “Double Bound.” (This is all of his books, in my favoured order being I like them all.)
Jay Bell was my first Indie author I ever read. I wrote to him to tell him how much I enjoyed his writing after reading two of his books and mentioned that I’d always thought of publishing. He was so nice and I decided that I was going to be as personable as he was with me if I ever published. My favorites of his are: “Something Like Summer,” “Something Like Winter,” “Something Like Autumn” and “Kamikaze Boys.” I have not picked up his latest book, but I have a feeling I will be both impressed and bawling my eyes out.
Stephen King is another one. He has this way of creating a story that sucks me into it and I keep on reading, although sometimes his endings I have to admit can be disappoint, I still enjoy his books. I used to shy away from his larger books, until I read “11/22/63.”  After I finished reading it on my Kindle I saw how thick it was in a bookstore. With this I had the courage to read “Under the Dome.” Next on my list is “It.”

 

Lily: I noticed that your books are edited so well, and always wonder…who edits your books?

 Jayson: Since the beginning, my best friend since the 7th grade, Jen has been editing my books. After reading Finding Our Way she wanted to see it published so badly that she began editing and polishing up my writing. She has been doing so ever since. I feel bad though because I know she used to read many more books than she currently does, however she insists that she loves reading my writing. She is not afraid to let me know when I am missing the mark on a book and I appreciate that immensely. I am so grateful to Jen. Honestly without her I do not know if I ever would have published. She has never asked for anything in return.

 

Lily: Is she your regular editor or beta reader?

Jayson: Jen has always been the first person to see (and hear about) any of my books. She goes above and beyond going through, making edits debating with me when I do not want to make a change and she is not afraid to call me out if my writing is subpar. Jen is my editor, manager, business partner and foremost my best friend. She reads my books more often than I do myself. Beyond her, I now have an editing team, which includes readers/supporters of my work. I am so grateful to have people who go through to make corrections and polish up my work, making sure that I sound good.

 

Lily: Does being a writer affect your personal life? If so, how?

Jayson: Yes and no. I have been amazed with the support from my friends. They are always excited to hear that I have a new book and they insist on buying my books. With each book I am getting more bold about sharing that I have released it. I still have to try not to blush when my friends brag about me. Recently I was at a dinner party and in the middle of the separate conversations someone I did not know said they heard I wrote a book. The next thing I knew, I was talking about my published works.
I have also met, for the most part, some great people along the way. It has been great getting to know my readers. I am always surprised when I hear about how glad a reader is to hear back from me, the author personally and not some standard response. Each and every person who picks up one of my books and reads it, I find wonderful. My readers get excited for me and share my successes as they come along.
I have learned so much along the way. I used to think it was about having a whole bunch of friends, likes and such was what it took, in the end it is a whole lot of people not paying any attention. I’ve seen writers come and go over the last couple of years.
I still get excited every time I read a review.

 

Lily: What about the covers of your stories? Can you tell us a little bit more about the covers?

Jayson: The covers are my own drawings that have gone through a few minor modifications. Some of the drawings have been merged with pictures I’ve taken, such is the case with T.E.D. When I went to publish my first book, I had no idea where I was going to get a cover from. Everyone else seemed to think that I would be the best person to design the cover of my own book. When I was not sure what to put on the cover, the answer was always the same with suggesting one of my drawings. My artwork prior to publishing had always been very private with a few people even knowing I drew. I still get nervous when I share my drawings. However, I am getting better at taking compliments on them. Although I have thought many times about changing the covers, any time I bring it up to anyone familiar with my work, I receive a resounded “You can do that! They are original and are part of your trademark.”

 

Lily: How did you come up with the title T.E.D. for your story?

Jayson: This is a question I’ve been surprised that I have not been asked more often. When I begin writing my books, most of the time I do not have a title in mind, so the document ends up with the name of the first character I write about. Over time as the book moves along a title comes to me either by my own thinking it up or someone I’ve told about the book making a suggestion. For T.E.D. by the time the book was finished it still did not have a title, so I sought the help of my friends both around me and on social media. For a week suggestions were made, with the most frequent one being that of calling it the title it ended up with. I was concerned that with such a strange title the book would not be well received, but I’ve had no complaints as of yet.

 

Lily: Can you tell us a little about T.E.D.? What made you write this story?

 Jayson: The idea was an idea I’ve had for quite some time. When I first had the idea I wanted to have a book where the reader could see the character going through turmoil with each time he wrote in his journal. I also thought it would be interesting to have the bully hold deep remorse after it was too late to take back what he’d done to drive someone over the edge. My original idea was to have Tim, the one writing the journal having a crush on his female best friend. As the story came together I found myself preferring the third character to be a guy, experiencing his own problems. I had not set out to write a book about bullying, more so about struggling with being a teen nowadays.

 

Lily: Have you ever identified yourself with a character you created?

Jayson: Yes, I have. I’ve often been told that I write characters people can connect with and often times feel are real. This is one of the best compliments to me, being I have always tried to write each as an individual. Perhaps the characters I identify the most with are Derrick and Justin from the Finding Our Way Series. These two are very much me. Derrick is my more reserved, conservative, supportive side who when provoked will step up to a fight. While Justin is my more outgoing, fun, life of the party who shines as long as he is loved and cared about otherwise he can resort to destructive behavior. I do not think I could write a character unless I felt some sort of connection with them.

 

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