Monday 11 May 2015

Guest Author Interview - J W Nelson

In this week's Guest Author Interview J W Nelson tells us about his release 'Joey's Place':

Click on image to buy from Amazon
Please introduce yourself - who are you and what do you do?
I currently divide my time between writing and promoting a clean energy solution for sailboats and power boats. I also occasionally teach small boat sailing classes at UCLA's facility in Marina del Rey, California. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in history and worked for several years in the software services industry. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Las Vegas when it was still a relatively small town and that experience has inspired my ongoing series of novels about a Las Vegas that very few people know.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I've always enjoyed telling stories and reading them. I've had experience and some success writing screenplays and was a partner in an independent production company for half a dozen years. Starting with short stories, including my collection entitled L.A. Limo Tales, I decided to challenge myself with the longer form of prose writing. The result was Joey's Place.

And where did the idea for Joey's Place come from?
The history of Las Vegas is a story of booms and busts (economic, that is). It's also the story of a parade of dreamers, from pioneers who hoped to use the valley's (then) plentiful water supply to create agricultural and ranching businesses to the men (and women) who sought to create a gambling resort town that would be more than just a stop-over for people traveling between L.A. and Salt Lake City. 

Among the dreamers were those who tried, and failed, to create an exclusive operation that would attract and cater to the elite. These dreamers included Billy Wilkerson, the Flamingo's original developer, and "Bugsy" Siegel, who "took over" the project and failed so spectacularly. Much of my writing gets started with the question, "What if?" In the case of Joey's Place, I wondered what if someone succeeded in opening an ultra-exclusive operation, an invited guests only club that became a landmark along the Strip. And what if that man was a well-connected gambler whose highly respectable partner (the mismatched buddies paradigm) is murdered and the investigation of that killing is mysteriously assigned to an outcast Sheriff's Department detective who was raised as a Mormon?

Which book has had the greatest impact on you?
I imagine all your respondents say that is a very tough question. There are so many! As a youngster, I would say In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck. As a college student, On the Road. In crime/mystery, I'd say almost anything by Hammett or Chandler.

What makes your stories stand out?
Joey's Place attempts to capture a Las Vegas that no longer exists; a fairly small city spread across a wide desert valley that depends upon tourism and the federal government for its very existence. It's also a story about a unique working "relationship" between the men (many of them from illegal gambling and bootlegging backgrounds) who ran the casinos and the law enforcement agencies charged with maintaining order in a wide open town. Add to this mix the impact of allowing corporations to own the resorts and casinos (starting with Howard Hughes in 1966) and you have a world that's changing radically, with all the challenges that come with it.

Do you have a favourite place to write?
I'm lucky enough to have a nice corner in our guest room where I can spread out if need be (and a wonderful wife who lets me do so!).

Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to dive straight into writing?
Once I get the concept and premise, I definitely outline in index card fashion. I'm fortunate to have learned a lot from John Truby and I apply his ideas to all my work, long or short. Now that I've discovered Scrivener software, it all flows together nicely. Oh, and "know thy ending" is my mantra.

What are you working on at the moment?
Landmark Kill is the prequel to Joey's Place. It's set in September 1963, in the week leading up to a visit to Las Vegas by President Kennedy. The apparently random murder of a young woman at the Dunes entraps a world-weary gambler (and math whiz) in a desperate effort to solve the killing and understand the dynamics behind the death and its connection to the president's visit.

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
Joey's Place is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and e-book formats. I post regularly at my site,, and I also participate in social media like Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Joey's Place is a great read - I really enjoyed it!