Interview with Jess Money, Author of Public Enemies
Raised in a politically active family, Jess Money majored in Political Science with a minor in Economics. He sold his first magazine article at the age of 16 and has since written everything from ad copy and political mailers to a screenplay for DreamWorks, which earned him membership in the Writers Guild of America. Along the way he had a career in professional motorsports, worked with the U.S. Women's Olympic Volleyball program, managed two of the entertainment industry's most acclaimed screenwriting programs, and worked as a bar bouncer when that's what it took to keep the wolf from the door. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a single, straight guy who lives in an L.A. area beach city. When I'm not writing I'm into a variety of things from sports and local politics to carpentry.
Where did you grow up?
Manhattan Beach, California, a beach city a few miles down the coast from LAX.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Moving to Manhattan Beach from rainy Oregon at the age of 7.
When did you begin writing?
I sold my first magazine article at the age of 16.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
Depends on how the writing is going at the time. Sometimes I write in the morning, other times I like to get all the other "stuff" out of the way and then have uninterrupted writing time later in the day. If things are going well I will often come back and put in an evening session, which can go into the early morning hours.
What is this book about?
At it's core, PUBLIC ENEMIES is about three people: a domestic terrorist/patriot (take your pick), the FBI agent trying to stop him, and a young female radio talk show host caught in the middle. On the larger canvas it's about the war on the middle class, the corruption of our government, and the looming threat to the country we once had. You know, the one we learned about in school.
What inspired you to write it?
I've been active in a local citizen's group fighting over-development and I realized that politics is the same all over: our elected representatives don't represent us. It's all a sham.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My best friend, a guy named Mark Iwayskiw. I'm an honorary uncle to his two kids. Unfortunately, the other big supporter I had, a wonderful woman named Nance Mitchell, died unexpectedly before the book was finished.
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
My friends, Mark and woman named Lisa, have been a big help, but it is important to understand the value of having a good editor. I hired Hillel Black and he was fantastic. Two areas where a writer shouldn't take shortcuts are the editor and a proofreader. (Learned that second lesson the hard way.)
Who is your favorite author?
I have to pick one? Lord, that's hard. Anything by the late Elmore Leonard is always a delight. Going way back, as a boy I loved Jack London and his works have stood the test of time.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
I am fortunate to have Peter Riva as my primary agent, and a great entertainment lawyer named Rick Rosenthal.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
Since I self-published on Amazon I didn't have to endure the wait and uncertainty that goes with the traditional publishing house submission process. However, your first self-publishing effort is going to be a learning experience. Finding the right cover artist and getting the cover right, getting the bank and PayPal stuff set up so you can receive royalties, learning about marketing and promo. Not rocket science or brain surgery, but it does take some time.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
Yes. I would have roped in more friends as proofreaders and I would have started researching the promotional process as soon as I saw the finish line approaching for the writing itself.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
At this point I'm exclusive with Amazon (including its extended sales program).
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?