Podcast

Researching Your Novel: 5 Questions for James Wade

When it comes to researching (whether it’s historical fiction, literary fiction, even memoir) a lot of writers think there are iron-clad rules that, if broken, will doom their chances at publication. […] [I]n the end, the writers are the ones who get to decide the best path forward.” James Wade

James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of RiverSing Out, and Beasts of the Earth (winner of the 2023 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel) as well as the critically-acclaimed debut novel All Things Left Wild(winner of the MPIBA Reading the West Award for Debut Fiction, and the Spur Award for Best Historical Novel). James’s work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and his novels have been featured by publications such as PopSugarBookBubDeep South Magazine, and the New York Journal of Books. James is currently working on his fourth novel, Hollow Out the Dark, coming 2024 from Blackstone Publishing.

On Wednesday, November 8th, James Wade is teaching a class for the WLT called “Researching Your Novel: How to Do It and When to Stop.” By the end of the class, you’ll learn how to to bring your story to life by learning how to implement quality research into your work.

Here’s what James had to share with us:

Scribe: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you write? How did you come to writing?

James Wade: Howdy, folks! I’m James. I live in the Texas Hill Country with my family. I write literary and historical fiction, usually with a southern gothic or western setting. And I came to writing through a love for reading and an appreciation for the power of language. 

Scribe: In your own work, how do you approach overcoming the challenges that come with writing, be it writer’s block or craft or business-related challenges?

JW: I don’t. Not really. I tried to overcome things in the past– particularly on the business side but it just left me frustrated and drained. I’ve found the challenges of being a writer are permanent little bastards, and the best approach is to just ignore them. If a scene or even an entire story is causing writer’s block, then write something else. Go read for a while. If it’s a business/publishing thing, are you even in a position to change it? Most of the time the only thing I can control is the actual writing. So for me, it’s about finding the strength to write everyday despite not overcoming many of these obstacles. 

Scribe: Has there been a moment of epiphany in terms of your work, when you thought, “This is it! Now I know what I’m doing?” How long id that feeling last?

JW: No. Never. I got close once with a pretty nice sentence in 2018. 

Scribe: What piece of advice do you find yourself giving to writers again and again?

JW: Read as much as you can. Remember why/how you fell in love with writing and try to repeat it every time you sit down to work.

Scribe: What is one thing that people will take away from this class?

JW: The one thing folks will take away is that they are in control. When it comes to researching (whether it’s historical fiction, literary fiction, even memoir) a lot of writers think there are iron-clad rules that, if broken, will doom their chances at publication. This class will show them that there are a variety of ways to research and to incorporate that research into their books. And in the end, the writers are the ones who get to decide the best path forward. 

Thanks, James!

Click here to learn more about James Wade’s upcoming class.

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