Hi Marilyn. Since we last talked, my novel, HEALER, has done quite well. In fact, it won an award at the 2015 Public Safety Writers Association Conference in Las Vegas. For those who have yet to read HEALER, here’s a short blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Billy Anderson’s short life has been full of daunting challenges. A birth defect, and later, the death of his parents, has forced him to live with his Aunt Staci who serves as his guardian. That situation becomes untenable for Billy and he chooses to live on the street, rather than suffer the humility and neglect from his own relative. One day things change dramatically for Billy when he receives the “Gift of Healing.” Not only does Billy’s own life take a dramatic turn, but also his new gift affects those around him. Is this gift a blessing or a curse?
I’ve had many favorable reviews. CatholicFiction.com said, “The hardest thing for Christians to comprehend is the mind of God. The most common question asked of Him is “Why?” At the heart of this uplifting novel, Healer, author John M. Wills explores these themes in a heart-warming and heart-breaking story.”
The Catholic Writers Guild review just blew me away. “Healer reminds me of a Norman Rockwell print. Rockwell could transform the most ordinary, everyday events into the most extraordinary images. He filled his portraits with warm, happy, generous, uplifting people. . . Wills finds the extraordinary, the superhero — the healer.”
One thing I didn’t realize when I wrote this book was its broad appeal. I have had many people tell me it’s appropriate for the entire family, particularly young adult readers who seem to favor the story. I shouldn’t be surprised since I had my 17-year-old grandson, Colin, read each chapter to ensure I was accurate with the teen lingo and mannerisms. By the way, Colin appears on the cover of HEALER.
Not only did I win an award for my novel, but I also won awards for poetry, flash fiction, and non-fiction. I think one of the ways of becoming a good/successful writer is to challenge yourself by writing in different genres and experimenting in areas that are not quite as familiar. My biggest fear in writing was poetry. I’ve never taken any writing classes, nor have I ever studied poetry. Yet I find the challenge of conveying feelings and emotion through poetry to be one that helps me grow in other areas of my writing. I’d recommend this approach to all authors, particularly, those who may feel their writing has become stagnant or who may have writer’s block.
Another key component to becoming a better writer is to become a better reader. Not only should you read books within your own genre, but also include those that aren’t. Seeing how others write, how they develop plots and characters, is almost akin to taking a writing course. On the flip side of that is being able to see flaws in the works of other writers. The ability to discern writing mistakes can only improve one’s own skills. I’ve also been a book reviewer the past seven years for the New York Journal of Books. I credit that endeavor with improving my own writing.
As always you can follow me on Facebook (John M. Wills), Twitter (@johnmwills), my website: http://www.johnmwills.com/, and my blog: http://jwillsbooks.com/blog-posts/.
Thanks, Marilyn, for allowing me to share with your readers!