Author Spotlight: Jay S. Willis

It’s a December Author Spotlight Flood! Clearing out my backlog and getting these authors into the spotlight.

  • a Fantasy author from Ohio.

Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!

Jay’s goal as an author is to create an engaging and fun body of work to sustain a generation through their life as readers of Fantasy: from intelligent chapter books to sprawling epics.

From an early age, Jay was fascinated by story-telling and wrote his first books in grade school by hand using typing paper packets stapled together by his mother. An avid Dungeons & Dragons role-player, growing up in the 80’s obsessed with Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jay’s reading and writing interests have always skewed toward the fantasy and science-fiction genres.

Jay S. Willis is a graduate of Capital University, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science there. He also graduated from Capital University Law School, where he earned his Juris Doctor. Jay S. Willis is a former judge of a family court in southern Ohio, has been a licensed attorney for 20 years, and currently serves as an assistant prosecuting attorney with a focus on juvenile court and appellate work.

When not writing, Jay loves playing tabletop board games and watching movies with his family.

Jay, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

I would have an enchanted flying skull Familiar.

You clearly have this thought out!

What do you write? And how did you get started?

I write Fantasy for all ages, from Children’s Books and Middle Grade, to Adult Epic Fantasy.

I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. I wrote my first books in grade school by drawing pictures and writing in the story (badly) like a comic book. Near the end of high school, I began wanting to write in earnest, sat down, and pounded out the opening of a Fantasy story on a brand new typewriter my mom got me for Christmas then discovered writing was hard and put it away for way too long.

So glad you’ve found your way back to it!

What do you like to read?

I prefer to read Fantasy.

So do I!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you

Write what you know.

I despise hearing ‘write what you know’. I’m an attorney and I do NOT want to write about the practice of law or the legal system. I write in order to get away from the horrors I witness and have to contend with daily.

So true! The day-to-day monotony isn’t my favorite, either.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice they can pry out of your cold, dead hands

Use simple dialogue tags.

Attempting to limit dialog tags to ‘said’ and ‘asked’ makes me crazy. I enjoy writing dialog and I have honed my skills forcing myself to not go overboard with overly descriptive dialog tags. But I want my dialog to accomplish more than just mere conversation so I strive to accomplish as much action, character-building, and world-building as I can even within dialog.

I think the advice doesn’t apply to action tags swapped in place of dialogue tags — or at least it should!

A few unusual facts about myself

Fact 1: I wrote the original draft of my Children’s book Blacktooth’s Treasure Chest about a wooden toy treasure chest that I built for my daughter. The chest even has a secret compartment built into it which hid three treasures referenced in the book. I gave my daughter the key to the secret compartment on her 5th birthday when she was old enough to not eat it or the treasures hidden inside.

Fact 2: Not many people know that I have The Holy Grail:

King Arthur gave me the Grail to protect during a touring production of Monty Python’s Spamalot because I happened to be sitting in the right seat and they drug me on stage. I still have it in my office.

Well, now the entirety of the internet knows! You better beef up your security system.


Shameless Self-Promotion time!

The Sphere Saga

Dream of the Sphere (#1)

(Amazon)

Three thousand years of tradition torn asunder. When the truth comes out, will a hero emerge to pick up the pieces?

Dashira Eisenheart takes ultimate comfort in her community. So she’s thrilled when her brother ascends to the coveted order chosen to protect the world from safely sealed-away, millennia-old, dangerous magic. But her faith in her beloved parents’ loyalty cracks after she spies her mother sneaking about town to meet with the enemy.

Striving to stay focused on her own academic studies, Dashira becomes caught in family tensions that soon reach a boiling point. And as her father’s Brotherhood and her mother’s rebel group head toward a cataclysmic clash, the young seeker finds herself trapped by conflicting choices.

Will she face her fears and accept her role in a grand destiny?

Blood Is Thicker Than Magic (#1)

An ancient family feud. Strange magic. Can one uncertain boy heal an eldritch rift?

Thirteen-year-old Daniel Waldera is struggling with life’s changes. Realizing he has feelings for his best friend is hard enough, and the idea of confessing them to her is even more terrifying. But when he’s attacked by an evil spirit and turns a flashlight into a lightsaber to vanquish it, the young teen faces a whole new level of confusion.

Discovering he’s heir to powers from both his grandfather and his dad, Daniel finds himself caught in the middle of a long-running family rivalry. And with his best friend afraid of his growing abilities, fulfilling a prophecy is the last thing he wants.

Can Daniel defeat his own fears in time to become the master of magic he was born to be?

The Adventures of Blacktooth The Pirate

Sunk by his nemesis, marooned alone on a desert island, can Blacktooth escape and avoid certain death?

In Blacktooth’s Treasure Chest, his nemesis Dog Breath Dirk is mad because he lost The Great Pirate Challenge, so he sinks Blacktooth’s ship and maroons him alone on a desert island.

Can you guess how Blacktooth earned his Pirate Name? What valuables does he keep locked away in his treasure chest? Will Blacktooth escape when Dog Breath Dirk returns to finish him off and steal his treasure?

Blacktooth’s high-seas adventures are fun for kids of all ages and reading doesn’t have to be like walking the plank.

Join the crew and sail along today!

Check out Jay S. Willis across the web!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

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