Guest Author Interview – Jim McDonald, Jr.

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Title: Twilight to Son Shine: The 1st poems (Thoughts Into Poetry) (Volume 1)

Genre: Poetry

Synopsis: This is a book of poetry, describing different times in my life. Ranging from my parents, then through an era of drinking and drugging, while raising my two sons (without their mother), into depression and subsequently, quitting the drink and drugs and surrendering to the blood of Christ Jesus.

Jim McDonald, Jr., Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Jim McDonald, Jr. He recently published his debut book of poetry. Welcome to my Blog, Jim.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

JM: In a sense, this book of poetry is my memoir and each poem describes an everyday life situation that you might be able to relate to.

CH: What inspires or motivates you to write poetry?

JM: My life has been filled with drinking, drugging and depression, while raising my two sons (Jamie and Billy) without their mother. The three of us made it through all of that with the help of my mom and God.

To answer your question more concisely though: God, mom, my sons and my grandkids inspire me.

CH: How do you begin writing a book of poetry?

JM: I started writing poems to get recurring thoughts out of my head and heart. It became very therapeutic, so I continued to write them. I maintain a running total of new poems for the next book of poems in the series entitled, Thoughts Into Poetry.

A friend read a couple of them and said, “We need to get these published.”

CH: How do you chose which poems will be included in your book?

JM: This particular set of poems are set in a chronological order: early on thoughts of family, the hole that depression pitted me in, some everyday issues, then Twilight to Son Shine ends with the spiritual up lifting, that only God can provide.

CH: Is this book of poetry considered a memoir?

JM: Yes, it is. As you might have gathered from the above questions, my first wife left Jamie, Billy and myself, when they were four and two. I raised them with help from my mom and whatever woman was in my life at the time. I drank and drugged for the next twelve years, until Jesus and Bill Wilson led me out of the fracas and into sobriety.

I lost my home, when I got sick and became a disabled carpenter. Having no desire to become a burden to my family or friends, I bought an old beat-up houseboat and started writing about my life as I floated up and down with the tide and this memoir is what became of it.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book of poems?

JM: The book actually started with doodles on napkins, backs of receipts and on scraps of paper. At some point, I gathered all these up and started putting them on my computer.

More importantly, now it’s a book that my grandkids might read, when I’m not around anymore.

CH: What do most poorly-written poems have in common?

JM: I can’t really say, because I’m new at this, but I think that poetry should make sense and not an abstract set of words—just my opinion.

CH: What do most well-written poems have in common?

JM: Again, this is my opinion, but I would think good poems have a meaningful message in them and pull the reader along with it.

CH: Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?

JM: Yes. In the past, I didn’t know how to read poetry. So, it was difficult to understand. In 2012, I attended the local college, College of Southern Maryland, to learn how to write. I have a lifetime of hard luck stories, but learning how to write them in a clear and coherent manner took some time and I’m still learning.

CH: Do you use social media—facebook and twitter—to help get the word out about your poetry?

JM: I try, but who knows how well it works. The following are my sites.

Facebook –  https://facebook.com/jimmcdonaldjr

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/hats_a_plenty

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-mcdonald-8119b256

CH: What poets do you read?

JM: Langston Hughes, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman….

CH: What genre of books do you read? What book are you currently reading?

JM: Normally, human interest stories. Right now though, I’m writing more than reading. However, I do have a book mark in Brother Against Brother (Civil War) by William C. Davis.

CH: How long did it take you to write your book of poems?

JM: Six months, after I started compiling the notes, but it took sixty-two years to live it.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

JM: I used to play a game with my sons; I would give them three unrelated words and they were supposed to tell me a story using them.

However, now on my blog,  From My Head to Yours, which I’m in the process of upgrading to become my Website, https://jfmcdonaldjr.com/your-three-words-my-little-story, I ask people to give me the words, then I write little stories using them. It’s called, ‘Your three words, my little story.’

I will probably compile that book next. Each story will be accompanied by a picture that I have personally taken. The pictures might not have anything to do with the stories though.

After that, probably another book of poetry.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

JM: Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

CH: How to Find Jim McDonald, Jr.:

CH: Any closing remarks?

JM: Cheryl, thank you so much for taking the time and interest in my life and book. Also, each poem has a corresponding photo that is meaningful to that particular poem.

CH: Thank you so much, Jim McDonald, Jr., for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Jim McDonald, Jr. and Cheryl Holloway.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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