Spencer doesn’t have a choice.He can’t choose to be different than what he is–the son of the town’s worst enemy, the weakling who can’t stand up for himself, the loser without friends.He can’t change the way things are.Or maybe he can.Immediate confidence.Rapid change.Instant hope.These are the things Spencer believes he needs to fix his life, and that is what the steroids promise–a quick fix.But promises can be broken and shortcuts are often treacherous, and Spencer must decide if those risks are worth the perceived rewards–if “artificial” hope is strong enough for him to be fixed, by force
tell us a bit about yourself and back ground?
JW: Well I grew up in chilly Michigan
where I guess you could say I spent a good deal of the long winters inside, as
I was never too fond of the cold or snow! But it was during those times when
I'd work on many artistic outlets which I enjoyed, drawing and writing being
the activities of choice.
inspired you to write this book?
JW: I started writing Fix by Force as a
lesson plan of sorts while I was a teacher for an alternative school. My aim
was to engage my students in some reading and discussion that was more
pertinent to their lives than most of our other literature, so I'd write a
chapter or two each week and would read together with the class, then discuss,
keeping the story's author a secret to insure honest feedback and
what the book/story is about?
JW: Fix by Force is mainly about
choices, their consequences, and our responsibility in them. On the surface it
clearly focuses on many aspects of growing up, including self-image issues,
bullying, and drug abuse, but my hope for the story is that it's readers can
focus on the deeper themes of our choices and, at the very least, reflect upon
the the weight of those in our own lives.
there a message in this novel you want your readers to grasp?
JW: As with most books and most writers,
I very much enjoy that readers can draw so many different messages out of the
story and I hope that the book's themes can have a positive impact. I do think
the aspect of choices, responsibility, and consequences are important themes to
be gleaned, especially for younger readers.
was the time frame for writing this book?
JW: Well, since I never quite “planned”
on Fix by Force becoming a novel, but intended as a teaching tool, there was
never much of a time frame for finishing. But all together, I'd say the book
about 3 or 4 years from start to finish!
did you came up with the title?
JW: I went through many titles during my
agent and publisher queries, and finally settled on, Fix by Force, after
reading one of my chapters aloud, when he injects the steroids for the first
time, with hopes of fixing himself by use of drugs, of cheating, of force.
created your cover?
JW: Well, believe or not, I did that! My
publisher did create a draft cover that was quite good but not fully capturing
the emotion of the moment I was trying to capture, so I had my younger brother,
Mitchell pose as “Spencer” in my kitchen then edited in Photoshop.
part for writing this novel?
JW: Probably the emotional connection I
have to Spencer, as I struggled with steroid use and abuse during my
adolescence as well, thus, his emotions are very familiar and affecting, which
both slowed and fueled my writing at times.
did you find your publisher/agent - if self published, why did you choose to
JW: I chose the “self” version of a
Thomas Nelson imprint, Westbow Press, due it's good name, reputation, and very
solid marketing and exposure methods.
was your biggest learning experience/surprise throughout your publishing
JW: Probably the difficulty in even
finding willing readers in the industry. I suppose I knew about the log-jam of
submissions prior to attempting to publish, but the swift, impersonal
rejections that often came mere seconds after the submission was difficult to
handle at times.
you have any other novels out there? If not, what's next?
JW: Sure do! Working on a Young Adult
“super hero” speculative fiction novel at the moment called, “Remarkable”. I've
been posting chapters to Wattpad for some time now.
did writing become a passion?
JW: Probably when I realized what I
could do with it, which was actually quite recently. Until then, writing was a
hobby and something I hoped could eventually lead into a career (which I still
hope for), but once I understood the positive impact my words could have on
readers, THAT made it something worth being even more passionate about.
advice for other writers?
JW: I think that one of my story's
characters can offer some of the best advice for writers—it was certainly
something I believe I needed to remember. From Fix
by Force page 170:
...writing a good story isn’t about trying to overextend your vocabulary or
insuring that it’s grammatically or linguistically perfect. Too many writers
waste time backspacing through mistakes and over-analyzing the appearance of
the words they’ve written. A good story though, is just that, a GOOD STORY.
It’s often written hastily and driven by emotion. It compels the reader to
continue, and makes him feel like part of the experience. A good story, even
complete fiction, delivers a truth of some kind . . . even if it’s one that the
reader isn’t comfortable with. That’s why this is such a good story, because
it’s written for the reader; it’s written so he keeps reading...
you would like to say to your readers?
JW: Obviously, THANK YOU! And also, I'd
like my readers to know that I really do wholly write for them. And I will
continue to do so. I'll continue to strive for writing that's emotionally
driven and purposed. That's as honest as I can be.
JW: My favorite as far as the
“emotional, honest” writing that I strive for myself, is probably Edgar Allen
Poe. While some of his themes are sometimes uncomfortable for many readers,
including myself, he seems to have held very little back, and that kind of
writing reads as honest and unguarded, which allows me for fuller story
JW: 1984 and The Giver. I read both in
early teen years and have been my favorites since. I'm a big fan of Fitzgerald
and The Great Gatsby, as well.
JW: It's available through pretty much
all online retailers, and can be found in just about any ebook format! Amazon
probably has the most choices for purchase.
personal about yourself people may be surpriced to know?
JW: Hmm, not sure what about myself
would surprise anyone! Suppose some may be somewhat surprised to know that I've
acted a little, though that's the kind of surprise I generally keep secret,
since my acting prowess is, well, “undeveloped” to say the least!