Born and raised in New Port Richey, FL, James W.A. is a 22 year old author/poet who has recently James W.A.: In the Librarypublished his first book called In the Library, an epic narrative written almost entirely in verse.

Although poetry is his main artistry, which he has been doing for nine years, he has also dabbled in other forms of writing such as short fiction and essay. His interest in writing poetry began as a teenager. “I had a lot of feelings and thoughts in my head that I just really didn’t know what to do with or how to deal with. When I was thirteen, I found a book of poetry in the library at school (no relation to my book title) that provided some beginner’s tips to writing poetry. My early work was really pretty awful (understandably), but I was hooked after that.” Near the end of middle school and throughout high school, James continued to develop his skills as a writer through the help of his English teachers.

James’ work starts with a spark of inspiration. “That sounds really cliché, and it is, but there is truth to it. I’ll see something, feel something, experience something, and I’ll say to myself, ‘you know, this would make a great poem.’ Then I usually try to think of a good one or two lines of how that concept or experience might translate into verse.” Starting as jotted down lines, he revises and edits those ideas into a final product. “I’ll usually write a poem on paper first, and then type it out, making corrections or re-workings as I go.” His creative process was a bit different for In the Library. Starting off as a single poem, James brainstormed ideas to build a story around it.

His inspiration to write comes from several sources, including his better half, Kristiann, who has become a muse for love poetry. But, alternatively, the painful things he has seen or experienced also greatly influence his work, as he finds writing about them to be a helpful way in dealing with misery. “That’s sort of the basis for In the Library; it’s a quintessential collection of the pains and sorrows I and those close to me have felt, bound and worked through. In all cases though, it’s strong emotion that inspires me to write, be that positive or negative.”

The human psychology is a favored subject topic in James’ writing. “One of the central themes in my book is psychopathology and how our mindsets and learned behaviors influence our lives. I love exploring how different experiences effect people’s psyches and how distortions (like, in an example in my book, cognitive dissonance) shape our world-views. The mind is powerful, but it’s also more malleable than we often are brave enough to admit and the manipulation of it fascinates me as a writers and helps shape my work.”

In the Library is a single plot line story created through a collection of 14 poems. “The story is that of a young man named Neil who experiences a tragic and traumatic event in the first poem of the book. After this, he is led into a mystical place called the Library by Gilver, a sentient crow who claims he can help Neil cope with his pain by showing him how others have before him. When Neil is in the Library (hence the title), he reads the stories of 11 of its books and each character in them reveals to him a respective story with a lesson. At the end, Neil realizes much about the human condition and… well, I can’t give it all away.” James was able to uniquely tell the story of not only the main character, Neil, but of the characters in the 11 stories as well, making it “both a story and a collection of stories.” Readers can expect dark themes throughout the book. In the Library gives readers the chance to learn something about themselves while exploring the “different pains and coping mechanisms of humanity.” He also includes an introduction and an analysis of his writing to help better explain the themes and words used throughout the book. “I provided this because, while I want my readers to find their own meanings, I also want to provide insights into what I as an author meant, as this is impossible for most great poetry.”

James is in the works of producing ideas and outlining for his sequel to In the Library. But, In the meantime, he is building a collection of quality poetry to help him stay sharp.

And to aspiring artists, James W.A. says that everyone has a story to tell. “My advice to aspiring artists is that your craft does matter and it is important. Everyone, including you, has a story to tell and whether it’s in poetry, prose, or anything else, no one should be able to take that away from you or demean it. Even when things seem dark and impossible, create your story and build your empire on the ruins of your past. Don’t be afraid to delve deeper into the things that you feel, think, or experience and always take the opportunity to, as my tag line says, join the madness.”

You can purchase In the Library on Amazon in both paperback and in e-book format for the Kindle. Check out more information on James W.A. at thejameswa.com.