Interview With Author J. Treacy Cole
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am the author of the series Robin Winter's Tales; creator of Chippy and the Pink Balloon (an animated short film); screenwriter of Consumed, Modern Persecution, Helen Hires a Hitman (with Elizabeth Hawes), and Ubiquitous Indignities. I am an online teacher currently living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I am also a reader of screenplays for a nascent film production company out of Los Angeles. It's exciting to be the one to point producers to a screenplay that might just make a writer see her/his/their idea on the big screen!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent book is actually a screenplay! It's called Ubiquitous Indignities and is a 2022 award winner at Assurdo Film Festival in Italy. It's an animated short about a little pink blob who wishes she was blue–and the lengths she goes to try to become blue. It's based upon growing up in a society that puts so much value on thinness. Though it's animated and a short film, it's most definitely not for children!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I am a relatively ordinary writer! I use outlines and colorful notecards. I like to know where I am going. It gives me confidence and allows me to flow without worrying I'll get lost.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The books that most influenced me are those that I read growing up. I didn't have television in the summers, so I became a voracious reader. A huge favorite was Candle in Her Room by Ruth Arthur about a terrifying, evil doll. I also read many series: Boxcar Children, Trixie Beldon, Meg Mysteries, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, etc. I was obsessed with The Harry Potter Series and the author Philippa Gregory. Also, Ursula K. LeGuin and Lois Lowry were and are favorites.
What are you working on now?
Currently I'm working on the production aspects of Ubiquitous Indignities and making Robin Winter's Tales into a limited series that I hope to sell some day!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I put quite a bit of effort into creating my website a few years ago and quite honestly I've abandoned the effort. My website is direct and to the point and you will know what I create by visiting there. I don't regularly update it or write a blog — I'd rather spend the time working on my projects, advertising/posting on Instagram, and connecting with others in the reading/writing/film communities.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I just want to encourage your to go for it! Set aside a time to write. Carve out those times for yourself. Create a space for yourself.
When you think it's time to publish or seek a literary agent, that's when you must find an editor. Don't ever work with someone who tears you apart, but put yourself in a place where you are able to listen without getting defensive. Work together to make your piece a polished one. If you are a genius of some sort perhaps you don't need an editor, but I find I must have one or more outside perspectives. I need fresh eyes to see elements in my writing that I cannot see.
Careful about writing groups. They can be helpful, but I have seen terrible writers give better writers critiques that were unhelpful to say the least. Be sure your groups are competent and encouraging.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
"Kill your darlings." (If you have never heard of it, do google it. It has been attributed to many authors, but it might first have been coined by Arthur Quiller-Couch in 1916.)
What are you reading now?
I am reading an indie author — a wonderful, cute man I met as he was doing a book signing in Barnes & Noble. Harry A Millman, PhD is the author of many books including Forensics: The Science Behind the Deaths of Famous People (which I am reading).
What’s next for you as a writer?
I would like to write the third book in the Robin Winter's Tales series, but I made a promise to myself that I would have to make a profit on the first two books before I self-publish! I have turned my focus more fully on screenwriting and film production for the time being.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I would definitely take the book written by Seth via Jane Roberts in the 1970s called The Nature of Personal Reality as I wondered why I would have then chosen at a soul level to get myself stuck on a desert island. I would also take J.K. Rowling's Deathly Hallows, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and Ruth Arthur's A Candle in Her Room. Those last three would mean I would have friends with me!
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