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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Why I like Short Blogs

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Gotta say I have the attention span of waiting in line for a Big Mac. No. I do not eat at McDonald’s, ever. You get the drift.

But the thing is, count me guilty for long posts in the past, but perhaps only interviews with authors get more WP space. My inner thoughts are just not that lofty.

If I wax poetic on spiritual matters that too may garner more space especially when I post Scripture.

We all have a life, work, other social media, and heaven forbid I eat into your time.

Very few sites suck me into a long post as well. Guilty of passing by others, and many apologies when I do, but three, four, and five pages I may skip or skim.

Forgive me. But this is all ya get. Today. Gotta run. Got stuff I must do, and spending too much time posting &/or reading is not scheduled.  😉

terminator I ll be back

“Vanished”

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I am slow to getting around to the books I have on my Kindle, and since my husband started wondering who was stealing from the bank account, ahem, I had to stop my downloads for a bit.

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But never fear. I have plenty of books to review. Spell that slowly, because I… have… plenty.

You all know I read both Christian and non-Christian books and review them. I have more favorite authors these days than I did a long time ago when my nose was constantly stuck in textbooks.

So, I finished Irene Hannon’s “Vanished” (written 2013, this is how far I am behind) late last night. Well-developed characters, even the bad guy. A fantastic suspense with a sweet romance. Irene Hannon writes Christian fiction and this book is readable by all since it is not preachy.

Very well done.

I really didn’t disappear…

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Been in edit mode, with time constraints and a ‘date-to-be-finished’ expectation, it is though I disappeared into thin air.

Forgive my cliche.

But I forge onward, thought I would stop in, say ‘hi’ and get on with my work.

I am also now a contributing writer to Faith Filled Family online https://www.faithfilledfamily.com/ under Faith and Family. Thanks to Michelle who gave me the invitation!

Here is my first article: https://www.faithfilledfamily.com/f3-faith-family-fundamentals/ and I just fired off another article.

I am looking into that edit-torture-thingamabob monster.

I am your EDITOR

 

I shall return…

terminator I ll be back

I, me and my shadow by Deepa

Quote

via I, me and my shadow 

This is an amazing piece of prose, so sensory in sight, sound, touch.. you can hear the squeal of a child so excited for that chocolate and taste as the Cadbury melts on the tongue. An example of exemplary writing! And so true.

Why I Have Been Absent

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No, I’m not dead (writing from the grave…) or deathly ill. I am close to my final rewrite and self-edit before procuring an editor. Saving cash.

author I had to delete a paragraph

Does anyone feel a bit of PTSD after slashing? Well, I don’t. Because I save those scenes in the event I use them in a different book.

OK, so this individual is going to read some more today, write a review of a completed novel, and get back to my rewrite.

WISH ME LUCK. Or better yet, prayers.

The Yemeni Package

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I spent the better part of a week reading one book. One. Normally, I whip through several in a week, review, take a break, write, rewrite, edit, etcetera, ad infinitum. 

I know when I am going to read one of Dale Amidei’s novels, I had better slow the heck down. There will be a lot of players, intricate subplots within plots, and complex political and military strategism. 

I finished ‘The Yemeni Package’ about fifteen minutes ago, and again, Dale’s ability to spin a yarn so complex, so fantastic, it simply bears reading again. Which I will. Since this was the twelfth and final in his multiple series (as I await more). I love the main characters in all of his novels, and I recommend the books highly. You can read them out of sequence as a stand-alone or ‘as they happen’ chronologically through the Main Game. 

There were twists I did not see coming. The main character, Sean Ritter, is dealing with previous emotional crises. He is thrown into another field operation but the U.S. president doesn’t want any bad press (thus another bad situation), the advisor has his own agenda, as well as foreign assisting characters. 

Ritter and his team take this job in the worst of situations among very hostile players without any backup, without the firepower they normally would need to extract someone, and of course, everything goes south with a CIA operative who also has his own agenda. No one is who they say they are. Then I guess you could say, this ‘should be smooth going’ operation goes further south. And just when you thought hell was hot, everything hits the fan. 

Dale Amidei beats the livin’ crap out of his main character, Sean Ritter. Authors do this to twist our emotions. And so were mine. Biting my knuckle. Laughing at ‘duty-bound’ detail, and crying in more than one chapter. Gear up, folks. It’s another ride dodging bullets and deception. Just an FYI, I have not read any political military intrigue thriller that comes close to Dale’s writing. Outstanding, once again.   

Once again, a five star + novel.    

‘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.

 

What’s Next and How Should I Publish?

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Well, of course, how you eventually publish is up to you. As a writer, you have not just persistence to run the race, but you are in control.

assassins have failed

Or are you?

Okay, so today I am not speaking about the writing process, the rewriting, the editing, your brand, and platform. We have other things to chit-chat about!

You’ve completed that novel, written a synopsis, query, proposal, cover letter, you’ve received your rejections and recovered. You’ve rewritten and edited–in short, you’re are so sick of your novel, you’re about ready to burn it.

Don’t do it! Stop, drop and roll! Who remembers that phrase?

marshallow

Marshmallows are a better choice than burning the house (manuscript) down. Use these sweet puffs of sugar over a campfire. Otherwise that’s sort of like being so sweaty after working outside that you go into the bathroom and cut all your hair off. I swear, I didn’t do anything like that. <cough>

Let’s talk about pros/cons, the positive/negative of different types of publishing, and avoiding falling into a trap. They all have them. Yet, there is no right or wrong. There is, however, good and bad.

Ghostwriting. This is where you tell someone what you want written. They will understand you, they get you… right? They write it for a minimum of $15,000. If you have enough for a house, perhaps you can afford upwards of $40,000. With the more spendy outfit, you will get what you pay for, and a better novel. And that’s the upside! The downside? You may have given the right to another to use their voice to speak the words you want. The cost tends to be prohibitive. They may want their name on it, so it’s obvious it’s ghosted. Unless you are a politician or celebrity. That cost is for their work of writing an entire novel off an idea. Now you have to recoup that investment. Yikes!

ghost

Vanity Presses. You have written a first draft. Perhaps through a contest. I don’t eschew contests for word count such as NanoWrimo, because by the time you’ve finished you have a draft. Not rewritten, not edited. The upside: you’re part is done but you will be charged upfront for a package to get your draft into shape. There is often a bait and switch involved and that’s still the upside. They call it vanity for a reason (this is how they refer to you, by the way).

primping vanity.gif

The downside: the majority of vanity presses fix your formatting and put a cover on it, fix a few spelling errors and that’s it. Oh, you have your words and thoughts down, all right, but they haven’t been filtered, rewritten, edited. And the cost can be in the thousands. Even traditional publishing houses will send you to an ‘arm’ of their company. Do research and don’t shell out a dime, because you have to recoup that investment–again! And some want royalties on top of that. My two cents…

Self-publishing. This is the fastest growing sector, especially for people who are frustrated with the book industry.

Pros: your book is done, you can have it on the shelves within a few days. There are a lot of successful self-publishers, and I know a few. Their writing is stellar. They have done everything that needs to be done for their manuscript to create a fantastic read. One name that comes to the surface immediately is Dale Amidei. I don’t care what genre you read. Read one (or more, you’ll get sucked in) and you will see exactly what I mean. However…

Cons: Many self-published writers decline to do the work, take critiques, advice, work the craft. They throw a horrid draft out there and call themselves internationally renowned.

prideful

 

Let’s say you are good. Just like any book, you have to market it. You design it, format it, choose the font, the size of print, purchase an ISBN number, the copyright, pay a graphic artist, you write the blurb, tagline and log line. You pay thousands for editing/proofing ($3000-4000 for a good edit, or more). Once again, you must recoup your investment, and on sites like Amazon/Kindle that can be 99 cents to 10 bucks. If it sucks, your name is now associated with bad writing. But wait! The self-publishing outfit gets royalties, too. Fifteen percent or more. You now have to recoup your investment in your royalties to pay off the graphic artist, editing (and by the way, editors cost by the hour, $30-40 is the going rate). Last, if you want to go traditional, most agents and publishers do not count self-publishing as published.

Before you go away crying… there are some really good SPers out there, not to mention hybrid.

Indie. This does not stand for sending your manuscript to India. I would never, ever believe that. Ever. <laughs maniacally>

laugh maniacal

Indie is perhaps the best method, these days. Check your genre and Google big Indie publishers accepting submissions. Usually, Indies are a consortium of individual artists, writers, formatters, editors, again, not from India, normally.

East_Indian_Group

You may or may not pay a nominal fee for membership and/or editing, proofing, artistic covers. Big Indie publishers pay out more royalties. Downside: Their guidelines are strict. They want a good reputation (as do you), so they are sticklers for good writing. You still have to pay royalties and membership fees. Ask to see a proof before it launches. Why do I say big Indie publishing? They have a bigger track record.

Traditional. Traditional publishing used to be the way to go, and it was hard to break into. Pros: Things have changed and they are looking for fresh writers (that they can bilk). Not all traditional publishers are cheap, however. Most give little or no advance (that’s hoping you make three times that or more, but don’t spend it. You may have to buy your unsold books back). But they have a lot of risk putting your book on the shelf. They take a nice chunk of royalties off the back of your sales. Many want you to go through an agent, and that is a terrific idea. It slows the process down, but your book is edited (recognize when I say ‘edited,’ I mean they send you the manuscript and tell you what’s wrong, and it is up to you to fix it). Agents work their behinds off, and if you get a contract, great. Hope that your book sells well (as the agents do) because they get about 15% off the back of your book as well. You may be looking at your take at 15% or less.

Small presses. This includes all venues of the above. Small presses have less revenue (generally) and won’t pay you an advance (most likely not), and won’t do much for your book because they are in the business of churning out books to get their name out. Royalties, well. Their communication maybe great, it may be nil.

This is not the totality of publishing. But it is a nice chunk to think about. Until next time, I bid you adieu. Pfft. ‘I’ll be back.’

terminator I ll be back

 

 

 

Dale Amidei’s – ‘A Garden in Russia’

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a garden in russia

I swear, Dale Amidei is/was an assassin. Perhaps, married to one. Ahem. His knowledge and research are frighteningly real, vast, and varied. Dale, does the CIA know about you? Are you like, a consultant to the intelligence community?

Okay, besides that… I just read ‘A Garden in Russia,’ his fifth in the Boone File series. Dale is adept at writing strong female characters, tough guys, nurturing men and women, and villains in the end, who have far more to do with what is the lethality of politics and intrigue than a shadowy character with a knife and evil intent.

I’ve read all of the Boone Files, and this does not disappoint. After #4, while I awaited #5, I started at the beginning, ‘The Anvil of the Craftsman,’ which I pressed here previously. A writer, reader of well, any genre can see the ability of Dale Amidei’s writing as complex, intriguing and well-crafted. I honestly hold my breath often, wondering who is going to be shot? What will happen here?

The powers and money behind what happens in the U.S. affects what happens in Russia as well. Like I said, more real than not. Read the paper, watch the news, then you tell me, how did he nail those details so well? Dale’s writing? Never a disappointment.

Something I could imagine seeing in Boone’s bathroom

bathroom pic

Okay, so that’s my bathroom. Romantic comedy, right?