John J. Zelenski is the award-winning author of supernatural thriller, Walker’s Vale. Following a series of strange events that occurred after his family moved to their new home in the late 1970’s, John developed a keen interest in the paranormal at an early age. These inexplicable events would spawn the inspiration for Walker’s Vale, and prepare him for a journey on the supernatural road which he still travels. John has appeared on numerous television and radio shows and Walker’s Vale has been featured and highlighted in various local and national publications. His motto resides in the words of a central character in his stories…“Not everything in this world can be explained.”
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I’ve always loved stories, even as a child. I think I realized that writing was my passion during my English Writing class in high school when I felt myself and the words I was writing becoming one. I think I love most that people can share in my visions, experiences, and thoughts and make them their own.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? What projects are you currently working on?
I have two books available now, Walker’s Vale and The Journal of Ezekiel Walker (2nd edition available in March of this year) and both are faith-based supernatural thrillers. All of my information and purchase links are available on my website at www.johnjzelenski.com.
3) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
I think my most significant achievement has been hearing positive things from my readers. In particular, one reader told me that she was considering giving up on her faith before reading Walker’s Vale and after reading the story, she actually recommitted to her faith in God. No better compliment than that for me. Rejection always stings, but when you are in this business over a period time, your skin becomes thicker and the sting hurts a bit less.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I try to write in the early morning hours when my mind is still clear of the clutter. Sometimes, there is an outline and other times I just let the story flow and cannot wait to see what happens next! Time wise to complete, that can vary with many different circumstances playing a part. My last two books were finished within 12-15 months each.
5) Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Hopefully and prayerfully, I love to see both of my books developed into films as the screenplays have already been written. I’d love to see myself as a full-time writer and business owner as well.
6) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I don’t think it’s ever too late at all. After all, the older one gets, the more life experience they have under their belt, so to speak. The legendary Bram Stoker did not have his first book published until age 43 – not that that is old of course!
7) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What’s the first book you read that made you know that you could do this for a career? What book are you currently reading?
The first book that really got to me was Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. Just the depressing feeling of being on the moors with such utterly trapped souls longing for things that are unreachable to them. To me, the book sucks you in and you can literally feel the despair of the characters. I think many books have had an effect on me personally, pushing me to be a writer. I really love the classics, like Poe and Dickens. I am currently reading The Bird Box, by Josh Malerman.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
Never. It’s like staring at yourself in the mirror too long. Just can’t do it.
9) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing? Are you more of an e-book person or a traditional book person?
Definitely a physical book person. E-books have their place, but to me, there is nothing like holding and smelling a freshly printed book in my hands. Plus, I love to collect books on a shelf too.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Since I am a Christian, my faith will always shine through in my writing. I try to write honest, real-life characters that are relatable, who share in struggles, triumphs, defeats and victories like we all experience. Honesty to me begins by being honest with one’s self first, before putting a single word to a page.