Interview with J.A. Wright, Author of Eat & Get Gas (part 2)

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

JW. They just pop into my head. Some I ignore, though, because they’re too weird or too mean.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

JW. Desperation.
When I first got sober, an older sober woman took me to lunch and told me I could write my way into a new way of thinking. I thought she was crazy, but I did it anyway because I didn’t have a better idea. It turned out that she was right.


Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

JW. The voice.

Q. Would you please elaborate?

JW. I walk/hike almost daily, occasionally hearing my inner self say something useful, such as the opening line of Eat and Get Gas, ‘I was six and Adam was thirteen when our brother Teddy was born.’ Yesterday, I clearly heard…’ he was never very good at reading the room.’ I messaged the line to myself (as I often do) and might use it in a short story.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JW. I can’t count the number of times my husband arrived home from work to find me in the same spot I was when he left that morning.

Q. What compelled you to choose and settle on the genre you now write in?

JW. I knew very little about genres when I finished my first novel and was surprised when my editor said it was literary fiction.

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

JW. I’ve made a lot of notes lately, and maybe they’re the makings of a novel. I’m not sure yet.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

JW. When I turned forty (over twenty years ago).

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

JW. Perhaps. I was a paperback reader until covid. This past year, I’ve purchased more audio and e-books than paperbacks. I know others who’ve done the same.

Q. What makes a writer great?

JAW with Frank McCourt

JW. I asked Frank McCourt his exact question when he came to NZ to promote Angela’s Ashes. In the greenroom, when he finished his story about never having to wear Florsheim shoes again, he said, ‘Great writers write what they know, be it awful or grand.’ I don’t know if it’s the truth for everyone, but he inspired me to write what I know or think I know.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

Lucy, the hen

JW. Huge exhale!

Q. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?

JW. It’s all connected to my past or present.

Q. What’s your downtime look like?

My walking trail

JW. I walk (hike) several times weekly while listening to audiobooks or music (jazz, classical and sometimes the Allman Brothers).

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre?

JW. Probably not …unless ‘faction’ becomes a legitimate genre 

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

JW. I can be a good example or a great reminder.
Did you miss the start of this wonderful interview? Or my review of Eat and Get Gas?

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