I’d like to introduce you to Austin James. Austin is a new friend and author. Recently met on Facebook. Austin is kind and warm. We have chatted a few times, and I am truly looking forward to connecting with Austin more and reading his books. I have recently finished his book of dark poetry titled SHRAPNEL. Shrapnel is moving and emotional. Philip LoPresti said in the introduction page of Shrapnel, “Austin’s words have wounds, and blood, and depth, and emotion beyond any poetry”. I totally agree with this! The very first poem, 22,409 is completely heartbreaking. The first line “Ten things I don’t want to talk about …. “. The list is about what someone would not want to talk about as they process the loss of a loved one, a wife, maybe. The pain just comes off the page. Another moving poem is BULLETPROOF. A guy contemplating suicide and in the end saves his own life. Beautiful and moving. The whole book is dark, moving, heartbreaking and beautiful. I do hope you give it a read!!
Shrapnel is available in paperback $6.99 Kindle Unlimited & Kindle $1.99
Austin has a complete list of his books on his author page at Amazon.com. Be sure to check him out.
Austin took time out of his busy schedule to answer a couple questions for me.
- At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer? First grade, so six? My teacher said, “when you write, anything can happen”…that’s all it took.
- What was the first thing you wrote and how old were you? I think it was a poem in first grade. It won (something?) so I had to read it from a stage in front of a crowd one evening at the local high school, along with other winners of various ages. I remember my classmate read a poem as well. Hers felt more complex than mine, and she was surely more confident in what I’d think to be her first poetry reading. While we awaited our turns, I glimpsed her poem and saw a little unicorn drawn next to the actual word so she wouldn’t stumble while reading. I, on the other hand, had no problem with the spelling of “unicorn”—a realization that gave me just enough courage to speak into the microphone when the time came.
- Who are some of your influences? It’s been an evolution, and probably always will be. First it was Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time series) in my teens. Bukowsky in my early twenties. Then it was Palahnuik for a while. Now it’s Stephen Graham Jones—a god among men, as far as I can tell.
- Did you read a lot growing up? Not really, actually. I played with action figures too much.
- Do you have a favorite childhood book? The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman, a novella I had to read for school when I was ten or so. It was the first book I ever read in a single day.
- Do you have a favorite time of day to write? A favorite spot to write? Writing Shrapnel was torture. I was trying to survive some dark days, the darkest I’ve ever known. These poems are a bloodletting, something that kept me alive, even if barely. So writing was very sporadic—pouring myself onto the page at any given time, whether in the evening after work, at 2:30 AM when sweating myself awake, entire poems jotted into my phone at a stoplight…
- Is there anything you love and/or hate about writing? All of it is a love/hate thing for me.
- How many books do you have available? Three. Shrapnel, my newest, is the only pure poetry collection—the most vulnerable I’ve ever let myself be. Before this came Indistinct Conversations, a collection of fiction (and a few poems). My first book was a short novella with a few stories tacked on back called The Drip Drop Profit and Other Stories.
- What would be the title of your Autobiography? “Mass Psychogenic Illness”. It’s a term I stumbled upon recently but seems very relevant to this question.
- If you could meet any author (living or dead) who would it be? Stephen Graham Jones.
- What advice would you give to young upcoming authors? If you don’t believe your current WIP is going to be the best piece you’ve ever written, you’re probably working on the wrong project.
There you have it Readers, Author Austin James! Give him a read!!!!! I am really looking forward to his other books. Thank you Austin for letting me Spotlight you and your books. YOU ROCK !!!!
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