Welcome back to The Bookshelf. Each week I feature an author or book blogger and talk about their bookshelf with them. It’s a light-hearted, book focused, Q&A.
Our first bookshelf of 2018 features a good friend of mine and a fantastic author and blogger. James J. Cudney wears both hats and wears them well. His debut novel Watching Glass Shatter was released in October. However, many of us have known him much longer thanks to his fantastic blog This Is My Truth Now, he not only writes superb book reviews, but his daily 365 Challenge is a stunning read each day. Almost at an end now you can go back and read what he has been posting over the past year.
Welcome to The Bookshelf James J. Cudney…
What was the first book you remember having on your bookshelf?
I am embarrassed to answer this question, but I will be honest and maybe someone reading this feature can help me! When I was about 6 or 7, I joined my hometown’s Summer Reading Challenge where we committed to read a certain number of books before the next school year began. I’d go to the library a few days each week, it was only a few blocks away, checking out different books. There was a series of colorful books all about how a young girl investigated different things around her, e.g. houses, people, animals. They were larger than picture books, but not quite young adult. Maybe 25 to 40 pages in length, containing a few illustrations and consistent themes from book to book — not quite rhyming, but easy language. I adored them; this is where my absolute love of serial fiction originated. But I also am forgetful about things from when I was a young child. What were those books? LOL If that answer’s not good enough (ha!), then I do recall Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ as being on my shelf. I played the lead role in grammar school and loved throwing temper tantrums on stage (part of the book) because I am normally so quiet.
What was the most recent book you added to the bookshelf?
Last night, I added ‘Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts’ by Erin Johnson. It’s the second in the author’s cozy mystery series. I’m a big fan of cozies and the author reached out to me a few months ago. I read the first in her series and just added the next two.
Which book have you most recently read from your bookshelf?
‘Search for Maylee’ by Didi Oviatt. She’s a fantastic blogger I met online and just finished reading her book and doing an author alert all about her.
Which 5 books from last year would you not let go of from your bookshelf?
‘You’ by Caroline Kepnes, ‘The Forgotten Garden’ by Kate Morton, ‘Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follet, ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie and ‘The Book Thief’ by Markuz Zusak. You touch them, you die. Only I can dust them. No one else can read them either. Even Ryder knows enough not to sniff them.
Which books are you most looking forward to adding to your bookshelf?
‘The Lake House’ by Kate Morton because I’ll read anything that woman writes and it’s been too long since I had a chance to read something of hers… hmmm… I’m going to order it right now. Thanks.
What was the most recent addition to your writers bookshelf?
I don’t own any. Is that bad? Oh… for me, writing is not something I can learn from a book. I will read articles and blog posts from writers with great tips and tricks, but I can’t read a book about writing. I do keep a copy of a dictionary and ‘The Elements of Style’ by William Strunk Jr. on my writer’s bookshelf.
Which of your own books are you most proud of adding to the bookshelf?
I have one book published, so it might have to be ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ but I believe the book I have mapped out in my head will be the best one. It probably won’t get written until 2019, as I have 2018 planned for ‘Father Figure’ and a sequel to ‘Watching Glass Shatter.’ Let’s just say the book I want to write takes family dynamics and drama to an entirely different level, combined with multiple timelines and historical significance. How’s that grab you for some suspense?
Which book on your bookshelf do you most wish you had written?
‘The Return of the Native’ by Thomas Hardy. It’s one of my favorite books where relationships, nature and emotions are on such high alert, you never know who to root for. The words match the scenery which matches the emotions which match the setting and tone. It’s brilliant.
Is there a WIP we can look forward to adding to our bookshelves?
Yes! ‘Father Figure’ will be sent to the editor in January 2018 for final review and proofreading with an early 2018 launch. As I’ve been editing the story, I’ve begun adding in layers of suspense which hadn’t been originally included. I’ve come to realize that I excel at torturing characters, so I decided the two primary characters in the book hadn’t suffered nearly enough in the first draft. The story still contains two different timelines that will eventually weave together, but the ending is far different than what I’d originally scoped out. It should push the lines between parent / child relationships even further than ‘Watching Glass Shatter.’ Readers will start thinking I am a mean person and as long as they only think it about my writing (and not me), I can live with that!
Can you share a picture of your bookshelf / favourite bookshelf?
James J. Cudney’s Bookshelf
About James J. Cudney
I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I spent ~15 years in a technology career in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. After leaving my position in 2016, I directed all my energies towards re-invigorating a focus on reading, writing and publishing.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current genres include family drama / saga, contemporary and mystery fiction. My first novel, Watching Glass Shatter, was published in October 2017. I am currently in the process of writing my second novel, ‘Father Figure,’ which will be released in early 2018.
Reader & Reviewer
Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.
Blogger & Thinker
I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share book reviews, write a blog and publish fiction: In the blog, I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.
Genealogist & Researcher
I want to be a researcher or historian. I want to reach back into the past to figure out why someone made the choice he or she did and what the consequences were. I want to feel the pressures and culture of hundreds of years ago. I want to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I want to watch my ancestors from a secret place to know how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll learn why I do things the way I do them.
Thank you so much for taking part James! It’s been so much fun having you here today. Please feel free to stop by any time.
Want to take part?
If you are a blogger or author and would like to take part in The Bookshelf click here, and fill in the really short contact form to let me know!
I’m really looking forward to hearing from you.