When LaFollette-born Native J.E. Bolton started writing at the age of twelve, I‘m sure he had no idea what he once considered a hobby would someday make him a bestselling independent author.
His debut novel, FOREVER AND A DAY, stayed in the number one position on Smashwords Distribution’s Fictional Drama Bestseller list for an unprecedented ten weeks in a row. It’s also a Barnes & Noble five-star rated book, and there’s even talks of a possible upcoming book review by Publisher’s Weekly in their Indie author section.
The Volunteer Times sat down with Mr. Bolton, as he allowed us a glimpse into FOREVER AND A DAY and its impact on his life, both professional and personal.
TVT: Tell us about FOREVER AND A DAY.
JEB: It’s a story about a young man who was abandoned by his father at the age of five years. Twenty-five years later, he reunites with his father due to unforeseen circumstances. In the process, the young man learns about redemption, forgiveness and what it truly means to love again. It’s indeed a novel about the power of second chances.
TVT: How long did it take you to write this novel?
JEB: A little over a year. The truth is I didn’t want to write this particular novel.
TVT: What do you mean you “didn’t want to write” it?
JEB: It’s was too personal for me to write, and in a lot of ways it was a very painful process.
TVT: So, you’re saying there’s parts in this novel you’ve personally experienced yourself.
JEB: Parts of it, yes. Much like the main character, I also came from a broken home and my father was dying of cancer. I had to relive a lot of memories I had of my own father in order to authenticate the main character. When this novel was finally written, I read it and wept. I finally understood why I had to write it. In the end, this book was my dad’s last gift to me.
TVT: What part in the book really speaks to you emotionally more than any other part in the book?
JEB: The end, definitely. Of course, I can’t give that part away. Let’s just say I have yet to hear a person tell me they felt the ending was very powerful. It’s also part of my beliefs and what I feel will happen one day.
TVT: Are you still close with your other family members and are they in your book as well?
JEB: Not as much as the father and son characters. Both my mom and stepmother are very much alive and I have a great relationship with them both. I also keep in contact with my sisters and step brother every now and then. We live our own lives and don’t get to see one another as much as we‘d like, but when we do visit one another we always have a wonderful time together.
TVT: What was it like to see your book published for the first time?
JEB: The feeling’s indescribable. Windy Brock Galyon, an award-winning artist and one of my best friends, did the book cover art and did a superb job. Also, when you see your book being sold in the same online bookstores as every author you’ve ever looked up to your entire life, there’s nothing like it in the world. It’s like, “Hmm…the quiet kid’s finally being taken seriously.” [laughing]
TVT: Who are your favorite authors and biggest inspiration?
JEB: Marcia Muller, J.K. Rowling, Robert Frost, Ransom Raggs, Cassandra Claire, and the list continues to grow. My greatest inspiration would have to be the love of my life. When you have someone wonderful who supports you regardless, that, and an unshakable belief in the talents God gave you, motivates you more than anything else does.
TVT: What is your greatest accomplishment with this book so far?
JEB: I had the great pleasure working with book editor and author Michael Garrett. He was also the first book editor for bestselling authors Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates. Also. watching your dreams come to life is great as well. When you see all the hard work and the late nights working finally paying off, you suddenly realize the sacrifice wasn’t in vain.
TVT: Where can people purchase or obtain more information about your book?
JEB: Anybody can go to my website, www.jebolton.com. It will let them know all the book retailers who carry my book for purchase, as well as any other information they‘d like to know about me or my current and future writing projects. Readers can also follow my author page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jeboltonthewriter).
TVT: Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
JEB: Write something everyday, even if it’s just a paragraph. Nothing writes itself. Also, never stop learning about the writing business, and understand it is a business. Read every book about writing and editing, attend workshops and learn from the best. Most of all, learn to accept constructive criticism and never give up on your dreams. If your determination is unwavering and you follow through to the end, then anything is possible.