Interview with DJ Williams

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by Claire O’Sullivan

 

DJ Williams

 

I’m pleased to let you know I snagged an interview with DJ Williams, the author of The Auctioneer (which was très cool, along with a copy of the book) which is right here. Sorry, not the book, but the cover… 

The Auctioneer DJ Williams

Here’s the link to purchase it:

‘The Auctioneer’ by DJ Williams ↵ 

Claire: Hi DJ. Thanks for giving this interview and it’s a pleasure to chat with you. I can’t wait to talk about your new book, The Auctioneer. First, I have to hear about your background and your bio– ‘with the DNA of a world traveler.’ Can you tell me a bit about that? 

DJ: My parents were missionaries in Hong Kong where I was born. I was fifteen when the family moved back to L.A. I’ve been in Los Angeles ever since. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many countries, but it was when I found myself in Zambia along the Zambezi River that I realized my dream of storytelling from the age of eight after reading Treasure Island, was the next step of my journey.

Claire: Zambezi! That’s where the Zambezi River was flooding just this month. How incredibly devastating. What you saw and experienced shaped your first novel, The Disillusioned. How so? 

DJ: I don’t want to give away the entire story but it does revolve around human trafficking. It wasn’t until a few years after those three days on the Zambezi River, that I finally sat down and began writing what would eventually become The Disillusioned. I didn’t tell a soul, not even my wife! I finished the first draft and sent it to executive writer/producer Judith McCreary of Criminal Minds, CSI, and Law and Order: SVU. She was gracious enough to read the book, with the caveat that if it was terrible that only the two of us would know it existed. When she called me back a week later she gave me the thumbs up and a year later the novel was published.

Claire: Your readers are certainly glad you talked to Ms. McCreary! You also have been involved in music, production and directing. That kept you busy. I understand you have directed episodes of The Restoration Road with Mitch Kruse. 

DJ: Yes, I was part of several indie record labels, and later worked at an entertainment company in Los Angeles, before branching out on my own to produce and direct. I’m currently in production on Season 16 of The Restoration Road with Mitch Kruse, as well as developing other projects for film/television.

Claire: I’ve watched The Restoration Road and a videocast with Mitch on his site, with a picture of two rows of classic cars in the background. Was Mitch an inspiration to The Auctioneer?

DJ: Mitch and I have been friends for nearly twenty years, beginning shortly after he sold his auction business. He is one of the greatest auctioneers of all time. With the many stories he’s shared over the years, he was definitely an inspiration to spark my crazy imagination.

Claire: It’s not cut from the same cloth, plot-wise as The Disillusioned and Waking Lazarus. You have some very colorful characters and a terrific twisty/turny plot.

DJ: I’m always working to become a better storyteller, and when Chase Hardeman emerged in my imagination I knew this series was going to be a departure from my first two novels. It’s a different world, more along the lines of Jason Bourne meets James Bond meets National Treasure with plenty of thrills, chills, and espionage. I also wanted to write characters that could go the distance, i.e. Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne, so that the world would evolve with each novel.

borsch

Claire: The Auctioneer is a fast-paced novel that grabs you in the first sentence until the last. That last line was killer so I must know, will there be a sequel?

DJ: I’m in the first draft stage working through the details of the plot and developing the characters so readers will go deeper into the world that began with The Auctioneer.  

Claire: Excellent news! For our writers, are you a planner, panster, or plantser? And any other tips for writers?

DJ: While I wish I could say I’m a planner, the reality is that once I sit down to write all the plans seem to disappear as the story comes alive on the page. So, I’d be more of a pantster. Storylines and characters evolve and take me along the adventure. Now, I will say that I do know how the story begins and ends before I write a single word. If not I’d be writing with no end in sight.

Claire: You went the independent route, right? 

DJ: Yes, I used resources from Reedsy where I found a great cover designer and publicist. With my past experience building businesses and entrepreneur DNA, I’ve found that it’s become the best outlet to get my stories to the world. Now, when the right time comes there may be an agent or a publisher who partners with me, but for now, I’m proud to be an indie. The Auctioneer launched in February 2019 and has quickly climbed the charts on Amazon Hot New Releases, ranking #21 (Espionage Thrillers), #22 (Vigilante Justice) and #30 (International Mystery & Crime).

Claire: You have a great imagination and ability to weave a tale, and your background is so varied, I definitely can see why your books shot to the top. I already purchased The Disillusioned and‘Waking Lazarus, so it looks like I’ll be emailing you for another interview. I can’t thank you enough for your time to see into your brain, and where you get your inspiration. 

DJ: This was fun, and I’m looking forward to hearing how you like The Disillusioned and Waking Lazarus.

***

I had a great time interviewing DJ. Now, let me first tantalize you with a bit of The Auctioneer. 

Starting off, as a writer, DJ makes every word count in a well-written, tightly-packed action thriller. A great way to see action, dialogue and setting with the ability to bend rules. If you’re writing a thriller, crime fiction, underworld intrigue, grief, loss, betrayal, mystery, and a clean read, you’ll enjoy The Auctioneer. This novel’s difference is in how his main character overcomes not really understanding his father’s world to understanding it perfectly within the setting of priceless classic cars in underworld trading and solving a murder all at the same time. And, there’s a hint of romance. 

As a reader, The Auctioneer is a pure thrill ride. A young man takes on the mantle of his much-loved father. Chase Hardeman is the son of an ethically-challenged auctioneer and one-time politician. The ex-special ops soldier returns home after his father’s death, only to realize things were not bad. They were worse. Not simply his father’s shady business dealings, but things at home are about to take a turn. 

Within these pages, you’ll find a complex page-turner with twists you won’t see coming. Chase’s life is in constant danger because of the… oh wait. I hate spoiler alerts, so… that’s all about you get for now.

car

 

For a link to ‘The Disillusioned’

And to ‘Waking Lazarus’

A portion of his work goes to the Wounded Warrior Project. You can read more about DJ Williams here: djwilliamsbooks.com

 

wounded warrior project

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‘Warrior’

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Warrior

Once again, Linda Rodante hits it out of the park. ‘Warrior’ is her latest in Christian romance and suspense, but let me take a moment to pause.

dramatic pause prince.gif

Okay, pause complete.

Linda writes compelling stories that resonate in individuals, truly, no matter their background, the struggles of everyone, meeting God’s redemption. His grace. How individual characters fit into the story as part of the Grand Tapestry by the Master Weaver.

‘Warrior’ is a bit different, yes there is romance and suspense, but the story revolves around three people: Josh, an assistant pastor with a vision, Reese, Josh’s best friend and once bad boy, and Kati, a fervent believer hiding her own past and training hard for confidence–using the vehicle of kickboxing.

kickboxing woman

When the challenge is given, Josh prays. It’s time. ‘Go big or go home,’ is a tame version of how God wants to work in this story. He calls upon Josh and the congregation to be radical, dangerous, fearless. This is not a story about bad guys/good guys, this is a story about war. Spiritual warfare that doesn’t include the flying, flashing angels and demons. The kind of war you and I don’t want to talk about. Breaking chains.

Do Christians listen to a sermon, happy, maybe rushing to go home to ‘get on with their lives?’ Yes, we do, in fact we become so cushy comfortable that our lassitude is really apathy and what is more sad than our lukewarm, milk toast attitude? That comfort is not a win for us, it’s a win for the Enemy.

But for those who fight, it’s a glorious battle. But not everyone survives the skirmish, the battle for those who fight the good fight.

Linda wrote this book, coming out of her own comfort zone to uplift, encourage and inspire those who know of the battle that wages around us. Honestly this could be recommended reading for those interested in spiritual warfare (and required reading for seminaries).

Excellent read.

 

‘Pursuit’ by Indy Quillen

I am relatively new to Indy’s writing, I confess. However, having read the first two in her Fox Walker series, I’d say I’m hooked.

I’ve read ‘Tracker,’ and last night finished ‘Pursuit.’

pursuit indy quillen

I would have to say, she has done her research, and it shows. Not simply in crime and investigation,  the FBI, local police, retired profilers (which is daunting in itself), but again in her research of First Nations ways.

I suspect she has put all of these tracking, hunting, cooking culture into practice. Bow hunting. Walking from toe-to-heel (that one from ‘Tracker’). Cooking with mud. Who knew? I stopped to take notes… And much, much more.

‘Pursuit’ is a gripping tale of Walker tracking a murderer who has deadly skills. His question is, why did the FBI not send their own? Fox, armed only with a knife and sharp skills finds more truth than he was prepared for.

Great writing. Next book is on my list!

 

Are You GDPR Compliant?

Please check out Marilee McDonald’s blog. You may be required. No wait. You are likely required. If you have any contact with any person living in the EU, you are most definitely required.

https://www.maryleemacdonaldauthor.com/gdpr-compliance/

I am going to do what I can to put the compliancy check box here. It is already on my website, total pain. Next… Facebook. Then… LinkedIn.

author funny tease

Because the EU has nothing better to do than to crap on people’s lives. Idiots.

 

AND YES as I preview, it has my information in there. If you can, please edit that out, add a fake I mean ‘your’ name, optional for website, and check box if you want to receive updates.

Pfft.

-Claire

 

 

 

 

 

‘Beyond Being Good,’ by Katrina McCain — A Five Star Author

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Today I’ve had the pleasure to interview Katrina McCain on Beyond Being Good, her first breakout non-fiction that tackles the ‘trying to be perfect as an imperfect person.’

Katrina

Claire: Hi, Katrina. New author, how exciting! You’re from North Carolina, right?

Katrina: Yes–I grew up in Charlotte and attended college there. My younger brother lives in Texas, and I am married (5 years, now). My husband, Jarrett and I have a 2 year old daughter and another on the way!

Claire: You’re a busy mom, and congratulations. You have a fascinating past as a fashion model ~ what a different world than your ministry, Pearls of Hope. What is your ministry about?

Katrina: Pearls of Hope Outreach, is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina. We have 16 members between the ages of 20 to 35 years old. We engage in Bible Study and outreach ministries. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other Christian women in the area. I’ve really grown personally from the experience.

Claire: That’s terrific, getting young women involved in studying the Word and in outreach ministries. So, tell me a bit of your testimony, coming to Christ?

Katrina: It’s been a long road to Jesus. My parents are ministers and I admire them greatly, but I always felt like I was missing something. I knew right from wrong, but I struggled. Once in college, I reinvented myself, launching into a 9-year fashion career. I began to compromise for the sake of having friends. I did things I knew displeased God, yet did them anyway. I became hypocritical, because I lived one way around friends, but portrayed the “good girl” to family and church. It became exhausting.

Claire: Exhausting is a good way to put it.

Katrina: I guess you could say I was a “goody two shoes” type of person. People thought I was a Christian, but I knew I wasn’t. I had a lot of head knowledge, but not a relationship with God. Because of my upbringing, I determined to maintain my virginity, which by the grace of God, I did. But I found my friends’ lifestyle to be a huge hindrance on my dating life. I cut corners in my dating, which led me into a relationship with a boy with his own issues. Ultimately, he lost his life over his choices. He was robbed and shot 9 times and died in the summer of 2007. We were only 21 years old. I was devastated!

Claire: How heartbreaking!

Katrina: I felt so alone, ashamed around family. Even though they extended their love to me, I wasn’t sure if God was still there. For a long time I believed God was punishing me, but Scripture tells us that God is close to the broken hearted (Ps. 34:18) So, one night, I prayed this really sloppy prayer. I was so remorseful. I asked the Lord to forgive and change me, and though I wasn’t really sure what that meant or even what it entailed, I believed with all my heart that He could do it. That prayer was my first step to salvation, and I’ve been on this journey, ever since.

Claire: Very powerful testimony. A lot of heartbreak, too.  Who would you say was the biggest influence in your life’s path?

Katrina: My mother. Hands down. She has a heart for people and whatever you’re going through, she finds ways to understand with compassion. Nothing is off limits. She’s open to listening and discussing anything with any one. I desire to be like her.

 

Claire: It sounds like she really grounded you. Quite the variety from Mother Teresa type talking about Betty Crocker to Jerry Springer! I would love to meet her.

Your book is for every woman. But tell us a bit about Beyond Being Good.

Katrina book cover

Katrina: In the fashion world, the image of perfection can be debilitating. The expectations are outrageous. The same can be said in our personal lives. The pressure of perfection is one that God never put on us to carry. Salvation is a gift, not an object we have to work or prove ourselves worthy of. In Beyond Being Good, I share my mistakes and failures. People need to know that they are not alone in their imperfections. I’m very transparent, because pretenses only perpetuate the myth that perfection is necessary to live in abundance. What a lie!

Claire: Again, amen. Once we drop the veil of self-secrecy, we can live out ‘carrying one another’s burdens.’  

Katrina: Beyond Being Good is my gift to anyone who is in a place where she is tired of her past year, past week, past cuss word, past abortion, past lie, past drink, past mistakes holding her back from truly experiencing the fullness of God’s perfect love over her.

Claire: Well said. And you’re quite open and real in Beyond Being Good.

Katrina: That’s exactly why Beyond Being Good is my message to women of all backgrounds, that our goodness is not required for God’s love. I think church culture, subconsciously, teaches this error and many of us have been deeply wounded with confusion regarding God’s grace. But the Bible is filled with imperfect people who have been used by God in very dynamic ways!

Claire: –Oh, amen, amen. Who are some of your favorite authors, non-fiction and fiction?

Katrina: I’m not much of a fiction reader—there are movies to curb that crave. But my favorite nonfiction authors are John Piper, Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Gary Thomas, Gary Chapman and, believe it or not, Malala Yousafzai (the youngest woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize).

Claire: Great authors, all. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Katrina: Jess Connolly, writer of Dance, Stand, Run, and Wild and Free. She has such a heart for women that I find captivating. She’s about my age, writes to women in our Millennial generation, but is still very relevant to older women, as well. Also, Stasi Eldridge. Stasi’s book, Becoming Myself, is a staple in my personal library! Each time I read it, I re-discover new aspects of myself as a woman and Christian. I hope to write books that produce similar reactions in others.

Claire: Something we can look for, reality in our lives, not shame. I love Dance, Stand and Run! Jess Connolly helps us ‘get’ that grace isn’t cheap indeed. And Stasi Eldridge is a terrific author with a difficult past. I read Captivating and believe it to be one of the most spiritually-awakening books I’ve read. Know you are on this edge is really exciting. What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Katrina: Recently, I’ve completed Fierce Hearted by Holly Gerth, And We Are Changed by Priscilla Shrier and Still Waiting by Ann Swindell.

Claire: Nice! Priscillar Shrier’s book is so raw, real, it is tear-provoking. And Holly Gerth reminds me of a 21st century Brother Lawrence, in Practicing the Presence of God. Great choices! So now, what do you do in your downtime?

Katrina: Ha, downtime! When I can steal a moment from mommy life, I love getting dinner with my friends! I love getting dressed up, going into the city and having a great meal with extra giggles! For family time, Jarrett, my husband and I, enjoy doing quiet things, like walks in the park or visiting a museum before dinner. Any time spent with him is great!

Claire: You definitely deserve rest! What sort of research did you do to write this book?

Katrina: I studied the scriptures, particularly Romans and James. I wanted to be sure that the words I spoke aligned with God’s Word. I believe, just as the human heart is flawed, so are human opinions. If my writing doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then I don’t want to risk being at fault in giving untruthful information.

Claire: Agreed. Too many opinions not backed by Scripture, and so many people fall for it, not testing the scriptures What are you working on now? Any chance of a follow up?

Katrina: Right now, I am working on carrying my baby girl, full term! She’s due in July Also, I am focused on sharing my book, loving my family and being available to my readers who reach out to me.

Claire: Oh, groan and excitement! I bet you are counting the minutes. Congratulations coming in July– and congratulations on your very well-received book.

I have so many more questions for Katrina, that we are going to follow up with more interviews on living for God’s glory, fully in His grace. Thank you, Katrina

*If you want to purchase Katrina McCain’s book, it’s available through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Being-Good-Perfection-Imperfect/dp/1595557598/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524007800&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+being+good

*Katrina lives in North Carolina and blogs every Sunday on relationships, faith and her personal life lessons. To connect with Katrina and learn more about her, please visit http://www.KatrinaMcCain.com

 

A great loss and unending grief – just before Christmas

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My dear friend, Roger D Peterson, author and disabled vet ,a frequent hospital ‘visitor’, lost his wife of 35 years on Monday just before Christmas. Unable to pay her funeral expenses, his daughter set up a go fund me account. Please keep him in prayers through his immense grief.