Welcome! Thank you for stopping by today! How did you start your writing career?
Some might struggle with balancing writing and life, I don’t. I believe it is because of how it all came to be. I was vacationing in the Caribbean with my wife. Since I am a runner, I was just coming back from a long run. Sweating like a pig, under the hot sun, I heard a voice say “John, you are a writer.” I realized that there was no one around me and there was no one in my vicinity who knew me. My wife was in our room on the 2nd floor. So, after a few minutes passed, I went to the front desk and asked for paper. I went back to our room, showered, told my wife what I had heard, and started writing that day. Someone might read this and say, “Spooky”. But to me, it gave me the freedom to simply start. It took me six month to finish the first draft. I didn’t write every day. I didn’t even have specific times when I would write. But when I did, the words just poured out of me. I could sit down and write pages and pages at a time.
Tell us about your current release.
If you’ve ever experienced betrayal in the workplace, in a love
relationship, or in a family, this book is for you.
Betrayal. It’s an ugly word, and virtually everyone has experienced it in one form or another. The question is, what do you do about it? Seek revenge? Recover and go on? Or allow rage and despair to destroy everything you’ve ever worked for? In his riveting debut novel, author and longtime businessman John Wendell Adams details the story of a man caught in an ugly web. Jack Alexander has landed a great job as a divisional director of sales in a nation-wide IT company. Hired to turn around a regional disaster, he is rewarded with additional responsibilities. The problem: his vitriolic new boss, a co-worker's unwanted advances, and their secret conspiracy.
Fired from his job, forced to confront both his present and his past, Jack goes through an emotional tailspin before he is able to reconcile what has happened to him. Eventually, he’s hired as a vice president with a much larger firm. When his new company decides to acquire his old one, Jack comes face to face with the two people responsible for his earlier demise. Meanwhile, he uncovers some illegal activities that could put the acquisition at risk. Is this the time for revenge, to right the wrongs that have been done to him? What should he do? Is it possible to act effectively and also with integrity when confronted with those who compromised his marriage, his career, and his sense of self-worth?
I am currently working on the sequel to “Betrayal”. The working title is “Retaliate”. When someone has been betrayed, ambushed, or bushwhacked, one response is to retaliate. This book deals with the story of how one person strikes back rather than to try and rise above what happened to them. It picks up where Betrayal ends.
Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
Yes, it was my mother. She is an accomplished writer and a writing instructor. From an early age I realized that my mother wrote and published impressive works. Often I would take things that I had written to her for her evaluation. What I got back was my document totally changed, and better. She is an amazing woman.
What was your first sale as an author?
The very first novel I sold to one of my best friends. I didn’t tell him to buy it. He simply sent in the money and waited months until the book was complete.
Where do you research for your books?
There are a few approaches that I have used associated with my writing. I’m not certain it will work for anyone else but it seems to work for me.
1) If I writing about people from a different era or place, I try to amass as much information about that time or place as possible. If it’s a place that I know well or not, my approach is still the same. I will get as much information as possible, how it began, who the founding father were, what it is famous for, key land marks, troubles that the place might have had, famous people, etc. Once all of the data has been collected, then I try and locate someone who can tell me some important or special facts that might not be common knowledge. When I am writing about that particular place, it’s as if I have been there. I can write in a manner that allows me to combine both fact and fiction.
2) If my story has some legal aspect to it, I will research what the legal descriptions are, what the legal ramifications are of a criminal act, and the view of an action through the eyes of an officer of the law. I have contacted the FBI associated with research having to do with crimes against the government. I was pleasantly surprised by how willing the agency was to give me information that helped me better understand the legal implications of a criminal act.
3) If I am writing about a person in a particular setting, business, marriage, love relationship, a gang, or a resident of a foreign country, I will try and interview people who can give me their opinions on life in that environment. My questions are a combination of predetermined ones and ones that I make up on the spot. Generally, I ask open ended questions, interrogatives because they require respondents to provide real feedback instead of yes or no answers. As a result, when I am involved in character development, I have a better grasp on the character’s thoughts and actions.
Does your significant other read your stuff?
Yes, my wife read all of the major drafts of my current novel, “Betrayal”, and I’m thankful she did. She provided so many critical elements that helped the project. Here are some examples: 1) in my early drafts, I had created very one-dimensional characters. She helped me to see that each one was more than just evil, nice, cheery, or smart. There was a back story with everyone and I needed to show the various aspects of their personality, 2) my characters originally spoke in a very stilted manner. She helped me to see that the language they used should be more common, everyday language. This helped me to realize that the dialogue needed to be unrestrained, that each character had a voice and I needed to allow them to carry the conversation where they wanted it to go. I know it sounds spooky but it really works, and 3) she helped me with excellent works to better describe each character. I could have written a book but she helped me to make it so much better. I owe her a lot. Also, as we got close to the final printing, she helped me with the agonizing task of editing. We went through endless hours of reviewing/changing syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. She is a great lady.
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
Writing non-fiction has a number of challenges, you have to make sure your information sources are accurate, if you make stuff up, you won’t be credible, often the material could become boring, suffering from too many fact, figures, and data points, the characters already exist so you can only use your imagination so much.
When writing fiction you get the opportunity to “make stuff up”. I like the fact that my imagination can run wild. I have the freedom to allow the plot, the dialog, and the characters to run off in the direction they desire. My job is to try and “hold the reigns”.
Character creation is a fun part for me. Once I decide on the main protagonist and antagonist, I start to think about all of the others that will lift up or tear down the story line as the plot evolves. I strive to make the characters believable. I ask myself, “Why will anyone like or hate them”? “What will they be remembered for?” “How will they advance the plot?” “Why should I care about them?” In addition, I work to make sure they aren’t one-dimensional characters. Here are a few additional questions I ask, “Ok, why are they in the book?” “What about them will make the story more interesting?” “If they are introduced, will they have an important impact on the plot? “Will they be memorable?” If I don’t feel strongly about their contribution, then I likely won’t use them.
One last thing is dialog. This was a difficult thing for me. I couldn’t determine how to control the character. I wasn’t sure how to give them the proper voice and still create tension and advance the plot. Someone gave me some great advice, “If you let them, the characters will take the dialog where it needs to go.” My takeaway was to give each character a voice and then let them express what they believe needs to be said. It seems a bit surreal, and I guess it is. But once I allowed this to take place, character dialog and development became easier. Character development is still a work-in-process but I’m getting better at it.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Who’s a writer? What does it take? When should you start? From my perspective, there are so many intangibles for a writer. You have to first determine if writing, and the rigor associated with it, is something that intrigues you, calls you, and you love. Then, find a subject that is a strong interest, be committed to the process, find your unique writing style, and work to make it the best it can be. Also, pay close attention to details. My wife reminds me all the time…God is in the details. Sometimes your writing style is predicated on the writers you like best to read. There are a few writers that I enjoy and I read everything they write. A few of my favorite authors are John Grisham, Jim Collins, David Baldacci, Malcolm Gladwell, Randy Singer, D.L.Buffa, John Maxwell Joseph Finder, and Rick Warren. Since I am writing fiction these days, not all of these authors are on my current radar, but I still appreciate their writing styles.
Another key ingredient for me is the writing process. Some authors write every day. Others only write when they get “inspired”. So, each person is different. My days are all different. My day is a combination of writing, reading, planning, investigating, and holding business meetings. I believe that I am the king of multi-tasking. Some days I will allocate several hours to writing, especially when I encounters a story angle that I hadn’t previously considered. Other days I may only devote a short time to the writing process. But my motto is “Make sure you write something every day, however long or short.” I have a habit of completing a draft, giving it to a community of people to read, and not looking at my work for an extended period of time.
In the end, writing is like your DNA. Each of us has one that is unique. Some elements will be the same as others. Some will be quite different. It is important to recognize your own and allow it to guide you and your writing direction.
by John Wendell Adams
Betrayal. It’s an ugly word, and virtually everyone has experienced it in one form or another. The question is, what do you do about it? Seek revenge? Recover and go on? Or allow rage and despair to destroy everything you’ve ever worked for?
In his riveting debut novel, author and longtime businessman John Wendell Adams details the story of a man caught in an ugly web. Jack Alexander has landed a great job as a divisional director of sales in a Chicago-based IT company. Hired to turn around a regional disaster, he is rewarded with additional responsibilities. The problem: his vitriolic new boss, a co-worker's unwanted advances, and their secret conspiracy.
Fired from his job, forced to confront both his present and his past, Jack goes through an emotional tailspin before he is able to reconcile what has happened to him. Eventually, he’s hired as a vice president with a much larger firm. When his new company decides to acquire his old one, Jack comes face to face with the two people responsible for his earlier demise. Meanwhile, he uncovers some illegal activities that could put the acquisition at risk.
Is this the time for revenge, to right the wrongs that have been done to him? What should he do? Is it possible to act effectively and also with integrity when confronted with those who compromised his marriage, his career, and his sense of self-worth?
Adams comments, “I have worked in the corporate world all my adult life and have witnessed or personally experienced the highlights and moral failings that come with it. To put it simply, if you’ve ever experienced betrayal in the workplace, in love, or in a family, this book is for you.”
“Betrayal is simply a stunning, must-read work that will transform hearts that are open to receive the life lesson within its pages.” ~ Reader Review
Jack couldn’t wait until church was over on Sunday. It was a train and a bus ride for Jack and his sisters. His mother was comfortable with letting the four of them go alone since his oldest sister was very responsible. They talked as they went but Jack was consumed with his thoughts about spending the day with his dad. Janice, his big sister told them,
“Mama said that we have to stay together. So hold hands and make sure we don’t get separated.” As they walked the two blocks from the bus to the address Jack’s dad gave them, he almost couldn’t contain himself.
“Are we almost there?” He asked his sister.
“We’ll be there in a few minutes. Just stay together,” she reminded them.
When they got to the address his father gave them it turned out to be a parking lot. Janice looked at the addresses on both sides of the parking lot to determine if maybe he’d written down the wrong number. They then walked to a corner store; found a pay phone, and Janice called the phone number they had. She tried it three times. Each time the recording was the same…
“I’m sorry, the number you’ve dialed has been disconnected. Please check the number and try your call again.” She then called their mother, explained the situation, and asked her what to do. Their mother’s answer was clear,
“Just get back on the bus and the train and come home.”
When Janice told her siblings that they were going back home Jack started talking and crying at the same time.
“Wait, why are we leaving? We haven’t seen Daddy yet. Maybe he’s out looking for us. If we leave, he won’t find us. We can’t leave.” But Janice was direct.
“Mama said we need to go back home. So, let’s get going.” Jack couldn’t stop crying. He couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t see his dad. It was as if all hope was gone. Jack was sad all the way back home. He never saw his dad again until he was grown, married, and had two children.
It was clear that Jack’s dad didn’t really care about his son or helping Jack through life. Jack developed a hard inner shell, trusting no one, not wanting to be hurt like that ever again. And while he didn’t trust Art completely, he did appreciate Art’s care and concern for him from a business perspective.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author: John Wendell Adams has more than twenty-five years of experience in management, marketing, and sales. With degrees in business and management development, Mr. Adams has led highly effective sales teams, managed an executive briefing center for senior leaders, and won numerous awards as a leader and individual contributor. His senior leadership positions and assignments stretch across domestic and international markets and include Aragon Consulting Group and IBM. These experiences served as a catalyst for Betrayal, his newly published work of fiction. The author of A Man's Story, a collection of motivational short stories for men, John has conducted seminars and speaking engagements around the country and is involved in various charitable organizations. He and his wife Grace have five children and currently live in Skokie, Illinois. www.johnwendelladams.com
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