Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and thirty-seventh, is of multi-genre author and interviewee Jim Sellers. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Jim Sellers is the author of the newly released YA book “Jacky the Brave”. Although he had written works in most genres, he was surprised and happy to see his first publishing success was in YA. His writing in that genre is based mostly on events in his own life with some inspiration from friends and other family members. “Jacky the Brave” is just such a collection of his experiences.
Born in Edmonton in north-west Canada, Jim spent a lot of time reading and imagining exciting adventures as a kid. That was the favourite pastime of boys who didn’t play hockey and lived before the age of video games. Like most writers, he has been creating stories since his teen years and found the pen and paper to be a regular companion on long trips and quiet days. He also doubted that any of his work would be published – it seemed unlikely after watching other writers he knew trying so hard. So he set his sights on film and TV. During his 20 years in that business he learned the process of writing screenplays for drama and documentaries as well as advertising and corporate communications before retiring from that industry. For the last 10 years he has been working in communications management for non-profits groups and universities.
He continued to write screenplays as show pilots or spec film scripts, most ending up in the rejection files. It was after he decided to get his Bachelor’s degree (at 50) that he learned to appreciate the sheer joy and freedom of writing fiction. It was this appreciation for fictional writing that caused him to re-evaluate all the abandoned stories he had filed away and all the adventures he had logged in his notes. In 2004, he made a project of writing a series of YA stories based on his previous writing. Each of these stories (4 in all) received different levels of interest from publishers and agents, with results ranging from boilerplate rejections to requests for full manuscripts (followed eventually by rejections). During this time he established a variety of websites about writing, posted his short stories and wrote a serial novel.
After repeated rewrites and editing, his first Young Adult novel was accepted for publication in 2013. He is working on a sequel for the book, a short story collection and a novel.
And now from the author himself:
The journey, as many of my writing friends have called it, has been a crazy one with bad maps and no good sense of direction. I’ve always wanted to be a published writer but – and maybe this is the result of growing up in the Canadian prairies where people tend to put their faith in things that they’ve seen happen and not into dreams or ambitions – I never believed that I would be a successful one. That’s not too hard to understand when you look at the statistics. I mean the likelihood of having a book, even a good one, published is very slim if you are an unknown writer, but that didn’t stop me from writing or constantly coming up with new story ideas. I wish that I had known about more of the opportunities that actually existed back then, I may have been able to be more successful sooner. I would have killed to have the Internet when I was a kid. They are so lucky these days.
My luck came on the phone. Interesting jobs in far away parts of the country would come to me on the phone. Once I got a call to come to Halifax for six months, which is thousands of miles away and a whole different part of the world for me. While I was there I got another call from a production company who wanted to buy my script for their series. I call that a two-for. That was the first time I signed an actual writing contract and it changed my life. I have written several other scripts for dramas and documentaries since then. The biggest thrill was to hear my words coming from a character on the screen. You never forget that feeling.
Once I realized that I had finally succeeded in beating my own demons and could legitimately call myself a writer, I started to challenge myself to achieve better things. I had worked in an industry that had no real post secondary requirements when I started (you began at the bottom and worked your way up) but 20 years later having a degree was necessary. I forced myself to complete my degree in Communications. I started writing and posting stories on the Internet and inviting critiques. All that was left was being published.
Okay, so now that is accomplished I need to get published again. The challenge continues and that little gnome in my head that continues to crank out story ideas is doing fine. So basically I’m saying, both to myself and to everyone reading this, even if you doubt yourself, doubt the industry and the world, don’t give up. Allow that silly little dreamer inside you have his due sometimes. You never know.
Thanks to Morgen for providing me with this opportunity. She’s an angel of mercy, so buy her books.
Ah, bless you, Jim. I (like most writers) write to be read so I’m happy when people download my books for free (which they do occasionally and I have some free eShorts on
You can find more about Jim and his writing via…
- Website: http://jimsellers.net
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jim.sellers.73
- Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112803135860370915597/posts/p/pub?partnerid=gplp0
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/playandscribe
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18397945-jacky-the-brave
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As I post a spotlight or interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.