James, or Jay, as he likes to be called, was first presented on my Book Reviews page where my 5-Star Review for his first exciting book is presented. He has quite an interesting background. Among a busy personal life, he is a prolific writer and author. His books are being translated into several languages. He widely and generously promotes other authors, including myself. I wish to give something back to this incredibly unselfish person.
Introduce yourself. Tell us about your personal life, family, education.
Hello! My name is James J. Cudney, but most of my friends and family call me Jay. Although my family has lived in the New York region for over a hundred and fifty years, my parents took a brief journey to Florida where I was born. Two years later, they returned to Long Island, New York, which is where I attended grammar, middle and high school. I’m an only child and spent a lot of time reading, writing, and keeping myself occupied while growing up. I tend to be an introvert, but under the proper conditions, my passions and boisterous personality can surface.
I attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, where I obtained a liberal arts degree and discovered I had no clue what to do with the rest of my life. I fell into a twenty-year career in technology and business operations, working in the sports, telecommunications, retail, media, and entertainment industries. I took a few years off work to write a novel, as I’d always wanted to achieve this feat. In 2017, it became a reality with my debut, Watching Glass Shatter. Three years later, I’ve published a total of eight novels and have two more planned for 2020.
Other than Long Island, I’ve spent time in California and Pennsylvania. I currently live in New York City with my significant other. We have a two-year-old shiba inu dog who runs our lives, and a terrace garden that keeps us busy during the summer season. We like traveling around the world, but we are also homebodies… except when friends are around or there are cool events happening around the city. If you follow my blog @ https://thisismytruthnow.com, you’ll see a lot about what’s happening in my personal life too.
Other Than Writing….
What do you like doing in your spare time? Gardening. Reading. Genealogy. Blogging. Playing with Baxter (the dog). Visiting friends and family. Watching a few television shows. Cooking. Theater. Working out. That’s pretty much the extent of my normal day… but we try to squeeze in a few long weekends and a couple of big trips around the country or world each year too.
If you are active in career fields other than writing, what do you hope for the future of that business? Describe your work or business activities in which you are presently active. I work at A+E Networks, an entertainment company that operates a handful of television stations and creates unique programming. I manage an enterprise program management organization, but previously I’ve run technology departments and business operations. I prefer to focus on project management, technology strategy / planning, and process re-engineering: basically, fixing and improving things! In the past, I worked at Madison Square Garden Properties, Cablevision, and Sephora, where I managed similar areas as I do now. In my teens and college years, I was a newspaper delivery boy, waiter, daycare workers, grocery store cashier, and bowling instructor.
Do you have hobbies? How did you get started in them? When my great-great aunt passed away, I was about ten years old. Various out-of-town family visited for the funeral, and one distant cousin spent a lot of time telling me about the history of our family. I found myself utterly thrilled with the exploration of the past… Thirty years later, I’ve created my family tree, which contains over 2,000 known relatives. I’m now focusing on the connections I can discover through DNA, so my days are filled with research.
My mom and grandparents were avid gardeners, and they taught me a lot over the years. I have tons of plants around the house and several gardens on my terrace here in New York City. It’s a huge outdoor space, so I have room for a vegetable garden, trees, pots, flowerboxes, and about 100 different species of plants from around the country. It keeps me fairly busy from spring thru fall.
If you are a writer, are you an avid reader? I am! I read about 150 books per year. I tend to stay in the suspense, mystery, and historical fiction genres. I love reading book series, and I tend to stick with the same writers or themes. I split my time between indie authors and established traditionally published authors. I have a blog with tons of author spotlights and book alerts, and it’s helped connect me to a lot of people around the world.
What is your ultimate writing goal as you see it today? I’d like to be the most famous writer in the world and make so much money I don’t know what to do with myself. Just kidding!!! That would actually drive me bonkers. As an introvert, I don’t like the marketing side of this career, and I live behind the Internet’s wall when it comes to getting to know people. Although I’ve ventured out to meet five bloggers in real life, I mostly enjoy chatting behind the scenes. So… I truly just want to write good books that entertain people and provide a sufficient income in my older years.
What inspired you to write your first book? It is a family drama, contemporary fiction story about five siblings and a secret. I love family connections, as you can probably tell already. All of my books will always contain some sort of genealogical or historical family connections that need to be discovered… whether it’s the secretly adopted son in Watching Glass Shatter, the missing parent in Father Figure, or the antics of the crazy Braxton Campus Mysteries crew, relationships between siblings, parents, and other relatives will be at the center of it all.
How do you decide on the title of a book? For the Braxton Campus Mysteries, it’s a combination of three words, where two of the words mean one thing and two of the words mean something else. It’s a clue to the mystery! Otherwise, I try to find something that’s mysterious and gives away a piece of the puzzle. In The Glass Family series, the books are about the Glass family, so the verb or action in the title tells you what’s happening to them.
Is there an author, past or present, you would love to meet? Why? Fredrik Backman is amazing. While there are a couple of his books that weren’t entirely amazing, most have been life-changers. The man understands the human psyche and knows what lurks beneath the surface in a regular person’s mind. I can only imagine what it would be like to have a conversation with him. If you’ve never read his books, you must try Beartown or A Man Called Ove. Though they are translated, it’s as if they were written in English from the beginning.
When you see new authors struggling, what single piece of advice could you give them on a moment’s notice? If you choose to be an author, you must choose to struggle. Any career in sales is difficult because you have to push something on someone else who undoubtedly has differing opinions than you. My advice would be to know your goal before you try to write a book. You have to have objectives and a focus, or you will spin your wheels and have a difficult time determining if you are happy with your choice.
How do you want others to see you or remember you? Is it important to you? It is important to me. I am an only child and I do not have children. The family line ends with me. I have cousins, but that is different than a sibling where I could’ve (but will not) been an uncle. My personality shines in every book I write… in the voices if the core characters, in the tenuous moments of indecision and worry of all the tales. Life is a struggle, but it can be a fun one. I want people to remember that I am kind, generous, motivated, and open-minded. I strive to be the kind of person we should all be – without bias, hate, anger, or spite. We all make mistakes. We all fall down. But in the end, think about your words and actions before you just put it all out there. We have a responsibility to be the best we can be but also to help others and be fair in all situations.
Blogger & Thinker
I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.
Websites & Blog
Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney