About James Hershey Jr:
My name is James Hershey Jr. and I live in Virginia with my wife and daughter. Ever since I was a little kid I have had nightmares. My nightmares come to me every night and that is where the skeletons for my novels come from. I get a different scene every night in my dreams until I have the whole story. I know when I have the whole story because the dreams start repeating themselves. Once I write the dreams down they stop coming and a new set of nightmares start with a new story to tell. My novels are quite literally the stuff of nightmares.
What inspires you to write?
I write my nightmares down because that is the only way to make them stop coming. That is not what inspires me to write them as novels though. My daughter is what inspires me to write my novels. When I look into that child’s eyes I can see the man that I want to be. I want to be able to provide a great life for her and I want her to be able to have every opportunity to be happy. I guess her future is what really inspires me to write the best novels I am capable of writing.
Tell us about your writing process.
As I mentioned earlier I get the basic skeleton from my nightmares. This is how the process works for me. Once the dreams start repeating I know I have the whole story in the spiral notebook. I keep a separate spiral notebook for every set of dreams so I don’t get them mixed up. Once a new set of dreams starts I start another notebook. My next step is to try and put all the different scenes in the notebook into the order that they belong in the story. When the scenes come to me in my dreams they come all out of order. Once I have them in the order they feel right in I read through them all to get a sense of what the story is.
Now it’s time to add the meat to the bones of my dream skeletons so I grab my laptop. You may think that I have the skeleton as an outline of sorts to follow but that is not the case. After I have read through it to become familiar with how the story goes I put it away and never look at it again. Instead I rely on whatever force it is that causes my dreams to guide me in the writing stage as well. I surrender myself to the story and begin writing. I do not try and think of what to write or plan anything out. I let the story flow and write itself. I get carried away into the story and I will write until I literally can’t stay awake any more and fall asleep with my laptop. After the first draft is finished I do an edit to correct spelling and polish the novel and I am done.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It is a little of both actually. I let my characters and the story itself dictate the direction that my novel takes. It is cliché to say that it writes itself but in my case my novels really do write themselves. I act as more of a scribe that records the nightmares that I have had and then can channel this living breathing story that is demanding to be told onto the page where you can all enjoy it. The only thing in this whole world that a story wants is to be told and that is my job to be that storyteller.
What advice would you give other writers?
The very best piece of advice I can give to any aspiring or working authors is to remember what you are. What I mean by that is too many authors get all caught up in their own self importance. They try to get all fancy and think that they must use huge vocabulary words that a real character would never use in the situation. The author uses it because they want to make themselves look smart and please the critics. When you really break this job down we are storytellers. Notice I didn’t say just storytellers. People don’t realize what a huge role storytellers play in our world. Every thing that entertains us have one thing in common. They were all written by storytellers. We have the power to invoke strong emotional responses in people. We also have a much better power. We have the power to help the reader escape reality. I can take you to a place where the rent is not due, the kids don’t need braces, and the boss is not riding your backside every day. Reading a good book is like taking a mini vacation but it is better than a regular vacation because on a regular vacation you take your problems with you. On a mini vacation you escape your problems and go to the world of the novel you are reading and you are, for a little while at least, free.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to self publish because I wanted the control over my books creatively. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone who didn’t understand the vision I was trying to convey marking my work all up with red pen and telling me I have to change it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I see ebooks overtaking print books as the way most people read in the future. There will always be print books that people will want to own for their favorite books or autographed copies but I think the majority of people will read the majority of their books as ebooks.
What genres do you write?: Horror
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.