About J James

Originally from the UK I am currently living and working in Southeast Asia. I am enjoying the tropical climate, and the relaxed pace, which has provided me with the opportunity to continue developing ideas for my second novel.

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A New Book, A New Beginning…

Welcome to my new website where I hope you will enjoy finding out more about my recently published first novel, “Denial, Deceit, Discovery”. Written in the style of a personal memoir, the story tells the complex, engaging and moving coming out story of the book’s main character, Jack Ellis. Jack is a young Catholic man living in the UK who struggles mightily on the road to self-awareness. Jack’s life is inspired by many events experienced by myself, but the universal themes of honesty, personal growth and acceptance transcend one person’s story. Denial, Deceit, Discovery will make you laugh, cry, cringe and blush as Jack’s life evolves from shame and embarrassment, to hope and acceptance. It’s a wholly relatable tale that I hope will speak to anyone who has struggled to understand an aspect of his or her identity.

After over a decade of teaching, educational management and administration, I needed to find an outlet to share my personal story. As a lifelong lover of literature and writing, I have dedicated my career to educating students, helping them develop the tools they’ll need to share their stories in the future.

My first manuscript was inspired by the response I received from the Catholic priest who officiated my marriage annulment. As part of the process, I was asked to submit a small document outlining my feelings about the events that culminated in the failure of my marriage. The priest commented that the piece was the most moving and impactful account he had ever read. He called it an “inspiration” to other men and women struggling with similar situations. After exploring many options, I realized that my story could help people to understand the complex issues facing gay men in denial – hopefully, helping to spare others from the heartache I and my loved ones experienced.

Frequently Asked Questions
Is the character of Jack based on your own life?
Jack is essentially based upon my own life and the events in my life. The struggle I had with accepting my sexuality and the people I encountered in my life are all portrayed in the book. However, I think there is a little bit of everyone in Jack and I think that is why readers can relate and connect with him – even with all his faults!
Will there be another story about Jack?
I don’t think we have seen the last of Jack but I would like to focus on writing other genres right now and developing new characters.
What are you planning on writing next?
I have just started my second novel which will be fictional. The main character will be gay again and many of the themes explored will appeal to the LGBTI community. I think this is really important because there is a lack of gay main characters in books and films.
How was the book tour in the US?
It was my first time visiting the US and also the first time I have ever done a book reading/signing. For me it was a proud moment to be able to discuss my work with people on the other side of the water. We had some really good discussions about coming out and family life etc. It was also great to be able to support the local LGBTI bookstores who are doing a fabulous job at reaching out to the community and making LGBTI themed books available to customers. Small stores like these are increasingly becoming a thing of the past which is a real shame. I hope to visit the West Coast next time!
What advice would you give to other writers just starting out or those considering putting pen to paper?

If you feel any creative urge you should just explore it. I had always said writing was something I would do when I retired – but why wait? It has become the most wonderful hobby I could have hoped to discover. With the option of self-publishing now anyone can become a published author and enjoy that amazing sense of satisfaction.

I have to be honest and say that writing the book was the easy part. The marketing and sales of the book is far more challenging but a challenge that I love. You have to really dig deep into your creative thinking to find new and innovative ways to get the word out about your work. It certainly teachers you the disposition of persistence!

Do you think coming out is still a big issue?

Things have changed massively in countries such as the UK and US and each week there seems to be a celebrity declaring their sexuality to others. The response to these people is overwhelmingly positive which is wonderful. When I was growing up there were very few role models for me to connect with. Young people now have so many to look up to.

However, I think we need to remember that in some countries, families, cultures and religions, coming out is still a very traumatic experience. I frequently hear from other men who write to me to tell me they have lost loved ones or friends when revealing their true sexuality. And with countries such as Nigeria and Brunei killing those people found to be gay I think we can definitely say that we still have a long way to go before achieving world-wide acceptance of homosexuality.

What advice would you give to an adolescent or others struggling with their sexuality?
It is difficult to give advice to others on this topic because of the need to appreciate that people come from different backgrounds as mentioned in the last point. I think the most important thing is to remember that we only have one life and that this life was given to us and not someone else. Therefore it is for us to decide how we wish to live that life. We don’t have a choice about our sexuality but we do have a choice about how we will live our lives. From my own personal experience I know that living a life which is not honest and truthful with myself leads to a lot of pain and heartache. One thing I did not appreciate at the time was that we are not alone in this struggle. So many other people face the same challenges and so there are plenty of people to connect with and talk.