Hello Jim Devitt, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I’d like to get to know the authors I feature a bit before we put their work in the spotlight, so I’ll start with a few personal questions, if that’s okay?
My pleasure and thanks for inviting me in for a chat!
Great! I know you are a baseball fan, but the readers might not. What do you and baseball have to do with each other?
It was actually my first break in writing. When I was in high school, I entered an essay contest on why I wanted to be a bat boy for the Major League Baseball team in Seattle, the Seattle Mariners. The bat boy is the kid who works on the field picking up bats between plays, runs balls to the umpire and anything else that might occur during a game. I entered the contest to win four box seats to a game (the prize just for entering.)
Well, the rest is history. I won the essay contest, received a $500 savings bond and earned the job to be a bat boy for the season. As it turned out, I didn’t write anything again for about a couple of decades, but I did stay with the Seattle Mariners for eight years, working in the visiting clubhouse.
Wow! That’s a great story. You must feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity.
When enjoying the great outdoors, what is your favourite activity?
That’s a tough one. Favorite is a tricky word. I love snow skiing. I’ve skied all over the North America and a few places in Europe. However, I love the water, too. I scuba dive, snorkel, boogie board and just about anything to do with the water. I guess that makes sense when you consider snow is water in a different form.
Given the choice, where would you rather live, ocean front, or mountains?
Agghhh. Don’t do this to me. This is the ongoing problem in my family. We love both. Right now, we’re living near water. We take walks and see dolphin and manatee all the time. We’re ten minutes from the surfing capital of the United States. You can even find the surfing forecast on my blog. But, every day we talk about moving back north or northwest. We love the mountains and the snow. It’s especially tough this time of the year, during the holidays.
Do you only write fiction, or do you produce non-fiction too?
I write both, not that you could tell. My passion is writing and publishing novels. However, I write content for many different clients. I spend most of my day creating blog posts, content for social media, press releases and even compiling research for my clients. I’ve thought about how much I write each day and nobody knows it’s me!
I do have a dozens of scientific publications to my name in peer-reviewed journals but these days, I do most of my work in the name of my clients. But, hey, it’s a living.
There, that wasn’t too bad, was it? But it’s not why you are here. You want to tell the world about your books, right?
What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?
You bet! The name of my first Christmas novel just released is So This is Christmas.
I’m kind of a Christmas junkie. I love the season. I wrote it last year, but didn’t have time for editing and revisions to get it published before the holiday season. I picked it back up this August to ready it for this season. If you are looking for Christmas spirit, you’ll find it in the pages of this book. Here’s the blurb that’s published online:
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
Surprisingly, yes. It took a while to find the right combination. Christmas can be so cookie-cutter and cliché and I wanted to stay away from that. The story itself is different from anything you’ve ever read. A lot of brainstorming and a little wine did the trick.
If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform your work to suit the market?
I’m not looking to fit a niche or conform to a particular market. As it is, the book is seasonal and only has a shelf life for a few months out of the year. My debut novel, The Card, is a young adult action/mystery novel. So This is Christmas is 180 degrees from that one, and I loved writing it.
Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?
I pretty much save the celebration for the end. While I recognize the small victories, the finished product is what counts. There’s always a bottle (or two) of champagne waiting for that moment.
Is there anything you don’t like about being an author?
Wow. I don’t think so. I really wish that I had more time. Soon, I should be able to write full-time and I can’t wait for that day. If I had to find one thing, it would be the sitting. I’m fairly active and when you’re cruising with the writing, it can make for long days of sitting. I try to get up every hour and a half or so and get outside to reenergize.
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
Good question. If I had the perfect answer, I would be rich. I rely a lot on the community around me. I think that is essential in self-publishing. I tinkered with a few ads, but none have proven to be “The One”. I have used KDP select quite a bit and have had some success with the free days. I’ve had over 11,000 copies downloaded in a day; I just need to figure out how to get that on the paid side.
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Since both of my books have been geared to the younger crowd, I haven’t made food or drink a focal point. The Card is set in Seattle, so I do bring some delicious local flavor into the book. The main character, Van Stone heads across the country in the sequel (due out in February) and does experience a bit of the Cuban scene when it comes to food and beverage. Now in my life? That’s a different story. I love to cook. In fact, I do 90% of the cooking in our family. I could eat fish every day of my life.
What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?
Since it’s the Christmas season, I’ll give you my favorite treat that I make every year. I’ve code named it “Greaseballs” so that people are turned off by them and that means more for me! It’s a really simple no bake recipe:
Melt 2 pounds of Almond Bark Chocolate (you can find it in the candy section) (I just used regular dark chocolate, very nice too. 🙂 )
2 cups of crunchy peanut butter
4 cups of rice krispies
1 cup of miniature marshmallows
Mix it all together while warm.
Drop by teaspoon on to wax paper. I usually throw them in the freezer to allow them to set faster. They are AWESOME.
Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!
Actually, that’s easy. My family. I love spending time with my wife, my five-year-old son and my one-and-a-half year-old daughter. They are the reason I do what I do.
Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
That’s kind of an open forum? I’m not sure where to start. I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life. I’ve worked in professional baseball with million dollar athletes, played trombone on two jazz albums (back when making an album involved pressing an album,) played in the All-American Marching Band and played for the president of the United States, I’ve skied at 13,000 feet above sea level and dove to 130 feet below the surface of the ocean.
Here’s a funny one you might like. During the late eighties, when Miami Vice was all the rage, I was completing my Master’s of Science degree at University of Miami. Friends of mine from Seattle came down to visit and … let’s say they were a little naïve. We were out partying in Coconut Grove and stopped at an outdoor stand to buy beer. Yes, that does exist in Miami. While making the purchase, one of the guys grabbed some powder sugar doughnuts off the rack and tossed them into the car. Of course, we paid for everything but about a half mile down the road, cops came out of nowhere with lights flashing and guns drawn. After slamming me face down on the street at gunpoint, the cops illegally searched the car for—you guessed it—cocaine. All they found were powdered sugar doughnuts. Apparently, someone saw the exchange back at the store and called it in as a drug deal. Needless to say, my friends had quite a story to tell when they returned home.
As for me, I was able to do some first-hand research for later in life in my writing. Thank you, Lucy, for letting me share my stories with you and your readers. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.
Thank you fro being here Jim and giving us this great recipe! I do hope to see you again with a guest post, another recipe, or just because you have news from the book front.
The only thing left for me is to tell the readers they can find you online at: