The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author J. James on the Denial, Deceit, Discovery blog tour. J has answered a couple of my questions about the book, and is also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win one of five e-copies of Denial, Deceit, Discovery. To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
TNA: Hi, J, I’m so glad to be hosting you on your Denial, Deceit, Discovery blog tour.
I’d love to have you discuss with us what it was like for you to write this book. Are there any (or all) parts of it that are autobiographical? Was the writing of it at all cathartic for you personally? If so, in what ways?
JJ: Thank you so much for hosting me – really grateful to you for that.
The book is totally autobiographical – it is based on true events in my life. The reason why I did not call it a ‘true story’ was because sometimes the chronology has been altered to make it easier to read or the characters have been changed to protect the feelings of others. But the struggles, torture and heart break that Jack faced were my own challenges. The reason why I created the character of Jack to tell the story through was to enable me to detach myself a little and encourage myself to see things in different ways – it is hard to explain but it was too painful to sometimes write it as if myself so I tried to tell myself I was writing about someone else. Despite that it was incredibly cathartic and healing for me to write this book and that is why the success of the book in terms of sales is an added bonus. Writing the book forced me into thinking carefully about past events, experiences and feelings. It encouraged me to face up to my own mistakes but also empowered me to accept me for who I really was. Even though the book was finished two years after coming out I feel like in some ways I was still not accepting my homosexuality because I had not really faced up to it. Yes I had told people I was gay but that was all to do with other people. I had not actually given myself any ‘me’ time to heal and reflect and look forward. Having to relive many of the more difficult times in my life enabled me to forgive myself for the mistakes I had made – mostly unknowingly and also to forgive others for their mistakes in not recognising my struggles during the most difficult times. But I also recognised through writing the book that our memory is a flawed at times and memories are very inaccurate and often changed to suit our current needs so I also accepted that the most important outcome would be to use the experience to look to the future and not focus on the past. The completion of the book led to total acceptance of myself, which is a wonderful result.
TNA: Finally, what is some of the most memorable feedback you’ve received from readers who’ve reached out to you after reading the book?
JJ: Every time I find the publishing industry a little frustrating I have a read through the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and it reminds me why it was so important that I shared my story. So many men talk about how the story resonates so strongly with their own lives and that gives them such piece of mind – knowing you are not the only one to have experienced such feelings or have gone through such challenges provides support and acceptance. Reading reviews that from across the world – Russia, India, America, Australia, Indonesia etc. is so incredibly rewarding. To know that something you have written is impacting on the lives of others.
The most memorable feedback was from a teenager in America, whom I am still in contact with now. He was one of the first to read the book and provide feedback. He was struggling with his own homosexuality and at the time had a girlfriend. He told me that as he read the book he saw his own life in front of him, He knew that if he did not say something now he would end up following a similar path to myself, and knowing the pain that had led to, he did not want this. On finishing the book he went straight downstairs and told his parents he was gay, and told his girlfriend. He was surprised by how supportive they were and two years on, he is now living with his boyfriend and extremely happy. To know that I prevented just one guy from some of the agony I faced, and that I brought to others, makes the whole experience worthwhile.
Blurb: Denial, Deceit, Discovery is the heart-rending story based on true events in the life of Jack Ellis; a young Catholic man deep in denial of his own homosexuality. It tells the story of how his own denial and the denial of his loved ones forced him to conform to the straight world, resulting in his marriage to his high school sweetheart. After years of cruising gay porn sites, chatting online with endless guys and intimate encounters with close friends, Jack was pulled into a life of deceit with a string of sexual partners.
The story explains the pain and suffering of those around him as his secrets unfold and honesty rises up. The torture endured as Jack struggles to piece together the complex story of his own sexuality is truly moving. Escaping the shame, Jack flees to Bangkok with his gay lover where a much greater world of deceit and discovery awaits them both.
Denial, Deceit, Discovery will make you laugh, cry, cringe and blush as Jack’s story unfolds from a life of shame to one of hope and acceptance for homosexual men.
About the Author: Denial, Deceit, Discovery is a new work of fiction by J. James. Written in the style of a personal memoir, James tells the complex, engaging and moving coming out story of the book’s main character, Jack Ellis. Jack is a young Catholic man living in the UK who struggles mightily on the road to self-awareness. Jack’s life is inspired by many events experienced by the author, but the universal themes of honesty, personal growth and acceptance transcend one person’s story. Denial, Deceit, Discovery will make you laugh, cry, cringe and blush as Jack’s life evolves from shame and embarrassment, to hope and acceptance. It’s a wholly relatable tale that will speak to anyone who has struggled to understand an aspect of his or her identity.
After over a decade of teaching, educational management and administration, James needed to find an outlet to share his personal story. As a lifelong lover of literature and writing, James has dedicated his career to educating students, helping them develop the tools they’ll need to share their stories in the future.
His first manuscript was inspired by the response James received from the Catholic priest who officiated his marriage annulment. As part of the process, James was asked to submit a small document outlining his feelings about the events that culminated in the failure of his marriage. The priest commented that the piece was the most moving and impactful account he had ever read. He called it an “inspiration” to other men and women struggling with similar situations. After exploring many options, James realized that his story could help people to understand the complex issues facing gay men in denial – hopefully, helping to spare others from the heartache he and his loved ones experienced.
James currently lives and works in Southeast Asia. He enjoys the tropical climate, and the relaxed pace, which has provided him with the opportunity to continue developing ideas for his second novel.