Q&A with Jayson James: Author of Finding Our Way
My guest this week is Jayson James author of the friends to lovers romance Finding Our Way He’s kindly stopped by to tell me more about his debut novel, as well as reveal some of his hobbies, and share some advice for LGBT young people anxious about coming out to their family and friends.
Welcome to the Boys on the Brink Blog, Jayson. Something fun to start off with. Can you share three interesting or quirky facts about yourself?
Hmmm… That’s a tough question. Let’s see, I have a hard time with silence, especially when I am working on something, such as writing or drawing. I have to have music or a movie playing in the background. When it comes to my stuff, I definitely suffer from OCD. Everything has its place and I struggle when something is out of place. Lastly, I love to experiment with different drawing techniques even though I’ve had no formal training.
And how has your journey led you to be a writer?
I have written short stories and novellas for as long as I can remember, and have always dreamed of being a published author. For years, my friends and family have told me I should publish a book. After I wrote Finding Our Way, a couple of my friends kept on at me to publish it, convinced others would love to read the book. It was taking this leap that finally filled the void in my life.
How do you like to spend your time when you’re not writing?
I like to read a variety of books. My stack of books to read seems to be growing faster than I can get through it. I love having a Kindle now, so my piles of books are all electronic. I also love watching movies; I have them playing in the background most of the time. Then there is my drawing, something I will go through spurts of, doing mostly pencil sketches.
The thing I loved most about Finding Our Way was the authenticity. Everything about it felt very real to me. Can you remember how the idea for the story first came to you?
I’m so glad to hear that! For years, I wanted to write a story about two best friends who were very close and after a chance encounter, come to realize there had been something missing from each of their lives. After opening their eyes to who they really are, they need to decide whether to do what is expected of them or do what will make them happy.
I wrote the part with Derrick and Janie at the burger place after having a similar experience myself. This was actually the first part of the book that I wrote. I had imagined myself being younger and having an encounter with this guy who would later become Brad. I wrote a couple of pages and saved them to my desktop. A month later, I had an idea about this guy being the same age as Brad, checking him out and feeling conflicted about a drunken episode with his best friend. The biggest challenge I had when I first started the book was that I hated how the story unfolded in third person, yet I didn’t feel it worked being told by only one of the characters. I struggled with this for over a week and almost abandoned the idea. Then one morning I woke up with the idea of Justin and Derrick telling their story together. Once I had this figured out, the ideas flowed.
Derek and Justin’s home lives are very different, one coming from a stable family, while the other’s parents are on the brink of divorce. Which is closest to your own experience growing up?
Justin’s home life was my own, without the alcohol. The Thanksgiving Justin endures was one of the more mild dysfunctional holidays I experienced. Much too often the stress was so bad I’d come close to snapping, but fortunately I overcame. To this day, I struggle when it comes to the holidays, although things have gotten better.
I know you’ve since written a sequel to this novel. Without giving too much away, what do you have in store for your heroes?
The first book focuses on Justin and Derrick and how they ended up together, while the second book, Tormented Discovery, shows how their relationship has progressed as they are still growing as a couple. Readers also get a chance to see life through Hayden’s eyes and experience firsthand what he and Ryan are like alone.
As Justin and Derek discover, accepting your sexuality and having to come out to your family and friends can be tough. Do you have any advice for all the young people out there currently going through a similar situation?
Don’t give up! Even if your own family does not accept you, there will be others who will surprise you (in a good way) as well as others that will come into your life and accept you for who you are.
Thanks so much for giving me this interview, Jayson. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?