Swanton native Terry James was not an English major in college nor would he describe himself as a stellar English student in high school.
The local author is somebody who has a love of storytelling and a dream he decided was worth believing in.
Sometime in either eighth or ninth grade, he recalls his interest in writing being stirred. While his peers wrote about sports and crimes for a writing assignment for an American Literature project, he created a fictional society of humanity where society existed underground. After he read it in front of his class, a classmate leaned over and asked, “Where did you copy that from?”
This experience did two things for him. First, James says he realized that he had a knack for telling a story. Second, it silenced the writer in him. The response of indifference he had received from his classmates led him to the conclusion that no one really cared about his writing.
He focused on other things throughout high school and the years that followed.
Fast forward thirty years, a few months before his father died, James shared that his father stated that he had no regrets in life but wished he had been in a band. When his father passed away, James says something inside of him was ignited. He realized that he wanted to leave a legacy of some sort of himself. This was the fire he needed to reignite the writer inside of him. “I wanted to give myself a chance,” James shared.
James decided to write in the young adult genre. He chuckles, “I consider the self adolescent mentality as my mentality. It was an easier start for me than writing an adult novel. I wanted to keep it clean and decent, no blood. I wanted to offer something a little different, a new line of storytelling.”
In October of 2013, he completed the Tabloid Tabby and The Hunchback of Eerie County High School. This young adult fantasy fiction novel was to be the first in his “Tales from Eerie County” series. Originally signed with a publishing company, a contract disagreement led to a publishing decision that has opened doors of opportunity for him.
James discovered the world of self-publishing. “This is a time where self-publishing is easier than ever. Self-publishing offers freedom to write something different. It’s an opportunity to break tradition,” he explains.
Through CreateSpace online, James is able to self-publish his books. His “Tales from Eerie County” series includes a 2nd edition of his first novel retitled Tabby and the Hunchback of Eerie County High. The other titles include Tabby and the Disillusion of April followed by his third book, a prequel to the first book, Deceased Denise. He also has a fourth book published of compiled anthologies including short
stories and a section about traditional publishing versus self-publishing.
Self-publishing requires the author to self promote in order to get the word out about their written work. “Self promotion is one of the hardest things about the independent market,” James expresses.
James utilizes social media through Facebook and Twitter. He also has two blogs including https://authortjames.wordpress.com/ and https://drabbleworld.wordpress.com/.
Although he enjoys writing, it is not his full-time profession or priority in his life. His family, a source of support, comes first. James is married to his wife Robin, and they have five children: Shelbi, Dallas, Paige, Kailee, and Adalynn. Originally from Swanton, he now resides in the Deshler area. He spends his days as a clerk for the US Postal Service.
His youngest daughter thinks it is neat to see her father’s face on a book cover. Together, he and his eight year old daughter wrote and illustrated a picture book together one afternoon.
James who states he graduated with a 1.8 GPA in high school and has been in and out of jobs through the years, offers these words of advice to aspiring writers who may be hesitant to believe in their writing dreams. He encourages writers to never give up or let anyone tell you to give up. He also encourages interested individuals to do their research on publishing and to connect and be supportive with other writers.
James has several projects in the works including the conclusion of his Eerie County series, some superhero projects, and a stage play. He also has a horror type story brewing in his mind. In addition, he is working on a secret license project which he explains is a story already owned in which the author writes around that story. He is waiting to hear if his request for the license is accepted.
Reflecting on his writing style, James shares, “I want to dabble a little in everything. I am excited I got four books finished. I thought it might be a one- time thing.”
James says he has been questioned if he is a “real” author since his books are not in Barnes and Nobles. To this he responds, “If one person reads my book and says it is good, then I am a success.”
His books can be found on Amazon.com or visit his blog page for more information.
Tammy Allison may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org