Award winning author, and dyslexic, Wally Jones
1) Let’s get to know you. What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.
2) What inspired you to become a writer?
About 15 years ago I had a recurring dream. Every night the same dream played out in my sleeping mind for over eight years. It was a pleasant dream and I began looking forward to it each night.
The dream was about a man who didn’t fit into society. Not that he was outcast, he just didn’t feel comfortable being around other people. He worked better alone. So, he removed himself from society and lived in a cave in the mountains.
Then the dream stopped. I missed having the dream, but I remember it fondly.
Roughly six years ago I had the sudden and overwhelming need to put that dream into written words. I have no idea where that idea came from, but I felt compelled to write, which is a huge thing for a fully dyslexic person. Words for me are extremely difficult. I have often said that words are like daggers stabbing me in the mind. I spent much of my life avoiding writing, but for some reason I had to get that dream on paper.
At first, my writing was very slow and really bad. The pages were filled with misspelled words, grammatical errors and poor sentence structure. It took me a year of writing just to learn how to write properly, and even then there were numerous errors due to dyslexia.
3) Which character of yours is your favorite and why?
I don’t believe I have a favorite character. I enjoy them all equally. I created all of them and in some way each of them represents a part of me, except Sam.
That said, I will offer a little insight on a few characters…..
Sam shares many qualities with my wife. She is strong, out-spoken, family oriented, and gives everything about herself to others. She also suffers from disabling anxiety and panic attacks. Writing Sam made gave me insight to how difficult being a woman truly is. It was a learning experience and I am better for it. I still have much to learn.
Kevin is most like my son. He is small and quiet but houses amazing intellect.
Grondi is the father I never had. He is everything I imagine a father should be and who I strive to be for my children. He is wise and caring, yet strict when needed.
Nechek is the righteous side of me struggling to always do the right thing. He is strong, intelligent, and compassionate.
People often attempt to guess which character I am most similar. The most common guesses are Nechek and Grondi, and it is difficult for me argue against that. Those who know me well would certainly say I’m a blend of Grondi and Nechek.
My wife jokes that I am most like Lexi. Not the vain teenage girl part, but rather the truth-teller that no listens to part.
4) What is the hardest challenge in being a writer?
I believe many writers would answer this question by saying writers block is the biggest challenge to overcome as a writer. Other might say Imposters Syndrome.
Honestly, neither of those have been an issue for me. In fact, I have more ideas for stories than I will even be able to put on page. And I know exactly why I write.
I understand that my situation is a bit unique, but Dyslexia is the most challenging part of writing for me. Owning neither the ability to encode or decode words is extremely rough. I struggle with words to no end. I write extremely slowly and it is error filled. It is mentally taxing, but I continue to grow and improve.
5) What is the most important bit of information you would want to tell a person interested in publishing a book?
About halfway through writing Sam the Chosen I decided to research how a debut author can get published, or in other words, the best way for a new author to obtain a publisher. It took a few weeks, but what I found was interesting and educational.
Many publishers, especially for new authors, want books that are easily accessible to a broad audience, with fun uplifting stories that are not too niche, that capture and fascinate the reader. They also look for books that are part of a series because they create instant future sales. If the author already has a strong following with a blog or social media posts that is huge bonus since most of the publishers work is already done.
What publishers don’t want from new authors are dark, serious, and heavy books from writers with no social influence.
So it quickly becomes a catch-22 situation. As a new author you need a publisher to get your name known, but they don’t want you until you are already know, but once you are known you no longer need the publisher.
It’s a vicious cycle.
My suggestions for new writers…….
1. Write every day. Writing is a skill. It improves the more you practice.
2. Post what you write to a website, blog, or free-lance group and start making a name for yourself.
3. Stay humble. Always accept criticism and offer no response.
4. Don’t get your feelings hurt. Not everyone will appreciate your writing. That’s OK.
5. Don’t give up. The publishing industry is brutal to crack into. Keep at it.
6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?
I like the clean white page. It is a blank slate, Tabula Rasa. I can make it anything I wish and the possibilities are endless. It is fun and exciting as the mind wonders in new directions.
7) Where is your favorite place to read?
Not sure I have one. Anywhere is fine with me.
Reading is an adventure of the mind, so location isn’t important to me.
8) What is you preferred method of reading a book? (Audio, paperback, hardcover, or eBook)
This is an interesting question and I believe my answer will ruffle a few feathers.
First, let me say that I prefer to read hardback books. I like the feel of them, the weight in my hands. I enjoy the texture of the paper, the sound of turning the page, the smell of age in the binding. It all combines for a complete and more immersive experience.
I’m also known for highlighting passages I enjoy. It’s fun to return to book after a few years and reread what I found so fascinating earlier.
And a small side note - I like being able to instantly turn to a specific page. I can’t do that with an electronic copy.
Now for the fun bit I’m sure some people will take serious issue with.
Listening to an audio book is not reading.
When listening to a book all the information can be digested and regurgitated with accuracy, but the brain does not behave the same.
It becomes an argument of science and semantics.
Reading requires eyesight and word decoding. Reading actively engages the brain causing gamma wave patterns as proof the brain is working. Reading is exercise for the brain.
Listening requires none of that.
Let the argument begin.
9) Name one of your favorite authors.
I cannot pick a single favorite author. There are simply too many wonderfully talented writers to only choose one.
I can select a “few” authors though…..
Dante was the original teller of epic tales. It is heavy, but fascinating.
William Shakespeare is perhaps the best story-teller ever. He had a gift for shinning a light into the human condition and showing us exactly what is inside, for better or for worse.
I also love the classics. Much of the fiction written through the nineteenth century is fantastic. I’ve read everything from all these authors.
I believe Oscar Wilde to be the best writer the planet has ever seen. He was brilliant.
I think Poe is the best American writer.
Conan Doyle is fantastic. Holmes is a friend of mine.
Dickens was a little long-winded, but the stories are amazing.
Wells wrote many of the most popular tales.
Stevenson told wonderful action and adventure tales.
Verne had the wildest imagination of anyone.
I am also fond of many modern classics.
Tolkien is a bit wordy, but it’s hard to argue against how epic his tales are.
Herbert wrote the single best book ever, Dune. Nothing else comes close.
Huxley wrote one of the most important book ever written, Brave New World. This should required reading for everyone on the planet.
Orwell wrote the other most important book ever, 1984.
I also like many contemporary writers.
Adams is wonderful and the epitome of British humor.
Jimmy Buffett, yes Jimmy Buffett, wrote a wonderful book, Where is Joe Merchant?
Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest changed me forever.
Crichton has too many good books to list.
Sagan wrote two books, one pure science, the other pure fiction. Both are incredible.
Earnest Cline wrote the single coolest book I ever read. It was just fun to read.
I’m sure there are more, but I should stop.
10) What is your best book memory?
This will need to be a two-part answer, one as a reader and one as an author.
I believe being a good writer necessitates being a good reader. However, the experiences for each are completely different.
As a reader, my favorite memory is reading Dune the first time. No other book comes remotely close to the depth of Dune. It literally has everything. The writing is superb and makes this amazing story seem effortlessly told.
As an author my favorite memory is something not everyone will understand, so I will apologize in advance.
My favorite memory as an author is having Sam the Chosen win Book of the Year.
I believe winning any literary award is a huge thing. With thousands of books released every year, standing out and being recognized for job well done is enormous. That bit of reassurance that others appreciate your talent means the world to an author.
11) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.
My book is Sam the Chosen. It is the first book in The Prophecy Storyline.
Sam the Chosen is an epic fantasy, thriller.
It is difficult to say a lot about the book without giving things away. The best tool is the synopsis:
The attacks changed everything. Life would never be the same.
So much carnage, and yet the enemy was never seen. Not even once. The truth is, humanity had no chance. You can’t fight what you can’t see.
Sam tries to return to a normal life after the attacks end, but constant reminders and paranoia feed the need for protection at all times. The desire to run, that internal voice triggering the urgency to escape this harsh world, is very real. Now an ill-fated camping trip will show Samantha just how deep the peril goes. Swept up in a new reality, she gains a deeper understanding of the way the world operates. For Sam, there is no returning to her old life. Sam is now Chosen.
Follow Samantha as she weaves a wild path around a mystery and a budding romance-and as the prophecy of an ancient race becomes solid truth.
12) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?
It my website and blog. I have random writings and new fiction. New material is being added often.
I recently added the first chapter of my second book, He Who Searched, the sequel to Sam the Chosen.
13) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)
FaceBook - Sam the Chosen - https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063523612546
FaceBook - Wally Jones - https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006726547019
Goodreads - Sam the Chosen - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59203517-sam-the-chosen?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=Uv3XSzjpZ7&rank=1
Goodreads - Wally Jones - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6211416.Wally_Jones
Twitter - @WallyJo25381582
Instagram - Sam the Chosen - sam_thechosen
Instagram - Wally Jones - rygel69
Linkedin - Wally Jones
14) If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?
No disability is insurmountable.