JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
William G. Jones, author of Driving to BelAir: A Novella
(J.R. & Co. Publishing)
“Driving to BelAir” is about three quarrelsome brothers crammed into a cankerous old car with a pee-happy poodle and forced to drive cross-country to scatter their father’s ashes in the BelAir resort in Florida.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Driving to BelAir”?
William G. Jones: My father restored a 1956 Chevrolet BelAir, much like the one in “Driving to BelAir”, back in 2003. That car had so many quirks and was so different than modern cars, I always thought a forced road-trip in an old car like that would make a great story.
The brothers represented friends of mine, since I’m an only child. And the dog belonged to my girlfriend at the time—after we broke up, she gave him to me (this all happened AFTER I wrote “Driving to BelAir”).
I wrote the basic story in ’08 as a screenplay. When told that I needed lower back surgery, I decided to write the novella in early 2011.
JP: What sets “Driving to BelAir” apart from other books in the same genre?
WGJ: I’d like to say my writing voice, but I think it’s probably more a combination of the situation—old car, quirky dog, human drama—and the fluidity of a road trip as part of the storyline. Honestly, I think many of the situations in “Driving to BelAir” could only happen on the road, in that quasi-anonymous state of being a traveler with no real consequences for anything that happens.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Driving to BelAir” getting out to the public?
WGJ: The biggest key has been passionate readers. Lia Fairchild, author of “In Search of Lucy”, for instance, has tirelessly promoted “Driving to BelAir” for more than a year now, even though she has several books of her own out. Other indie authors like Nicole Storey, author of the Grimsley Hollow series, is another author who has helped promote my book. My biggest breakthrough in sales came from an ad on eReader News Daily, back in August.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Driving to BelAir: A Novella?
WGJ: Usually when I start a story, I have a basic idea how I want to begin, end, and a couple of major checkpoints along the way. I tend to write without outlining, and it often gets messy and long-winded.
For “Driving to BelAir”, however, I had already written a screenplay in ’08. The novella came together rather quickly.
It took about six months, but I had back surgery about two months after I started and was out of commission for a while during that time.
JP: What’s next for William G. Jones?
WGJ: Honestly, I don’t know. I’m no longer writing, and I’m not sure if this is a temporary break or something long-term. I am exploring a call to ministry and searching for the best place for me in terms of job and city and career.
I have an idea ticking away for another novel. If I ever get around to outlining it, I may just write it. It’s more of an action / adventure novel set in a dystopian future—a dramatic departure from “Driving to BelAir”.