Hello there everyone!
Today I bring you YA Christian Fiction author Fon James. Fon James is a life-coach, speaker and author. Her first book, Back and Forth, discusses some heavy issues that many college students face relationships, sex, consequences and abstinence. Through the use of Faith Walker and her friends, James helps the reader explore the joys of a caring relationship, the reality of the consequences of unprotected sex, dealing with those consequences and the sting of betrayal. Back and Forth has a realistic view of the world and doesn't sugar coat the real problems that exist in universities that college students face everyday as they spread their wings and grow into adulthood. While this book is marked as YA Fiction, it is definitely geared for the older section of the age group. Her latest release, Forward March, continues Faith's story, picking up after she's had some time to settle in to her new surroundings and career.
Let's get to the interview!
Q. You’re a life coach, a speaker and an author. Do you find that you switch hats for different situations, or do you find that you wear a tri-cornered hat? Are there ever times where it’s difficult to see things wearing just one hat?
A. Being all of those things is simply who I am. When you’re a life coach that skill set alone affects everything in your life. So when I am speaking or when I write, you’re definitely going to be getting the coaching side of me as well. My first book won’t have that side of me because I had not entered into coaching at the time, but the Fon James you encounter now is all of that…life coach, speaker, author. It’s all about encouragement to me, but through different formats.
Q. Which came first, author, speaker, or life coach?
The author came first, but I truly believe that I have been a life coach most of my life, I just hadn’t identified it as such.
Q. Tell us what brought you down the path of a life coach? How did that come about?
A. As I mentioned, I believe that I have been a life coach all of my life. I’ve always enjoyed encouraging others and helping others reach their highest potential. The more I prayed about this gift, the more it was revealed to me that life coaching was the name for what I was doing. That led me to researching the industry and returning to school to get my certification as a life coach.
Q. As a speaker, what topics do you generally speak about?
A. There are three topics in particular that I speak about and they were derived from my fiction novels.
"How to get from where you are to where you really want to be."
Back and Forth:
"Don't straddle if you want him to fight your battle."
Lord, What Am I Supposed to Be Doing Because This Sho'Nuff Ain't It:
"Living On Purpose and Loving It."
Readers can get a more in depth description of these topics on my website. http://www.fonjames.com/8.html
Q. How often do you find time for you? What do you do when you need a break from everything? What recharges you?
A. I find time for me by making time for me. In order for me to operate at my highest potential, it’s essential for me to take a Fon break and a lot of times I do that by just enjoying a relaxing time with my husband and one year old daughter. When we’re just hanging out, that relaxes me and it also recharges me. An occasional massage also gives me my necessary R&R.
Let’s go on to the author side of your life and your books:
A. When I was in college, there was a lot of temptation and as an avid reader I tended to feed my thoughts with things that went against what I believed and the life I truly want to live…a life of purity. It’s hard to read books that don’t inspire you to live the life you desire. It’s actually contrary and that can affect your thoughts and your thoughts affect your feelings and your feelings affect your actions (there’s that coaching coming out of me). LOL.
Q. Will you continue to write YA Fiction or will you branch out into other inspirational fiction genres? Will you stay within inspirational or will you venture away from that genre?
A. Part of the reason I started writing YA Christian Fiction is because I felt there was a void. Now more and more people are writing in this industry, and that’s awesome. I plan to continue to focus on the college market (YA College) would be more in line with my niche market. I am currently working on a non-fiction idea that will target my niche. Stay tuned to my website for more details as that project comes to fruition.
Q. How difficult is it to find time to write with all of the other things going on in your life?
A. You have to make time to write. There are a lot of things going on, but we tend to find energy for those things we really want to do…right? Writing is something I really want to do, so I find the energy to do it.
Q. What inspired you to write Back and Forth? Is there a particular life experience that helped give you certain points of view?
A. I wrote Back and Forth because it’s a real situation that many face…the inability to make a decision. And yes I too faced times where I would make a decision but then go back and forth on my actions. In my writing Back and Forth, I wanted to show readers that you can’t keep going “back and forth,” you have to choose…you either are going backward or you are going forward. Only one choice.
Q. What character can you most relate to and why?
A. I can relate to all the characters because I birth them. Each character represents a part of me for that reason. I probably most relate to…all of them!!! LOL…I can’t pick one “baby” over the other.
Q. With all of the other themes that tend to plague our teens, why did you specifically choose pregnancy, abortion, and cheating as the main themes of your story?
A. Actually the main theme of my story is more about Faith’s struggle with celibacy. Out of that struggle comes the pregnancy and abortion. And to be honest the cheating came out of that struggle too because her inability to stand firm sent out mixed signals to her boyfriend Gavin.
Q. Why did you choose to use Jackson State University, a Historically Black College and University, for your college setting? Was there more to it than the fact that you are JSU alumni?
A. I love my alma mater and that’s why I choose it, but readers from all walks of life have said this very story could have taken place on their campus anywhere in the world.
Q. According to your website, you wrote Forward March, which has recently hit the market. This is the sequel to Back and Forth and continues the story, with Faith Walker as the main character. I know that at the end of Back and Forth, Faith gets a job in San Francisco, so it must be the setting for Forward March, but why choose there over New York, L.A. or even Miami as the setting for the next book?
A. Aha, great question! I chose it because I once lived in San Francisco and I loved it, so I wanted to take the story there. But please note, I am not Faith (LOL). I was familiar with San Fran and I thought it would be a great place for Faith to Forward March to. LOL.
Q. For those of us who haven’t read it or knew that it was available, are there plans for another part of the story or do you feel that Forward March offers readers enough closure on all the characters?
A. Forward March is the finale of this series. But these characters will always be very much alive within me.
Q. Are you currently working on any other manuscripts? If so, what can you tell us about them?
A. I am currently working on a non-fiction project. This is my first, so I am looking forward to the challenge that it will bring as a first-timer. Please stay tuned to my website for updates. Would love to keep you updated through my e-newsletter, which you can also sign up for on the homepage of my website: www.fonjames.com