Thank you for the chance to be part of the Sparkling Book Reviews community. I’m Scudder James Jr, author of new book, Power Players, in the Dreamspinner Press States of Love series. Washington D.C. is a city of extremes – wealth and homelessness, power and frustration, love and hate… In Power Players Jeffrey and Derek battle the extremes and surprise themselves that love just might win.
Where do you write? I’m café-guy. Have been since college. In the last few years since going to a part-time job in order to write (uh, less money, more hours writing), I try to keep café-writing to one day a week, usually a scheduled three or four hours as a treat to look forward to. My favorite café has a view of the Boston waterfront with the masts of historic ships.
How often do you write? At least three-hours on the four days of my part-time day-job. A minimum of six hours (writing or writing business) on the two days away from the job), and one complete day off. Sounds strict, but I feel free when I have plans I’ll stick to.
What would your ten-year-old self say if they could see you now? Really? You can do that? Live in a city? With a man? And you guys are married? And you still have friends and family? And you don’t have to be a lawyer?
If your life were a sit-com, what would the theme music be? Could Moby do a version of Pharrell Williams’ Happy?
What literary character would you like to meet? I’d like to talk with Jack the day he drove away from Ennis in Brokeback Mountain after a surprise visit. Listen, Jack, Ennis wasn’t expecting you. He had his kid for the weekend. Get a room, wait it out, connect with him later. Don’t get pissed, think everything is over and go to Ciudad Juarez for a hookup. Talk it out with Ennis.
In Power Players, do you identify more with Jeffrey or Derek? Neither, really. I grew up closer to Derek, but my work life has been more similar to Jeffrey’s. I do wish I had the powerful focus and determination of both characters.
Other than Derek or Jeffrey, is there a character in Power Players you’d like to spend more time with? Eddie seems like a good guy. He has stuck by Jeffrey, his best friend, for years. Jeffrey says Eddie saved his life. I’d like to see what happens with Eddie, Cassandra and their baby. They’d probably make Jeffrey the godfather. Maybe Jeffrey and Derek? In what cool ways would these families evolve?
Power Players blurb
Jeffrey knows the underbelly of Washington, DC, well. Once homeless, he’s now the director of a massive coalition of shelters. The last person he’s interested in meeting is wealth consultant Derk. T. Hinsdale III, another slick-talking, privileged jerk. Jeffrey has had enough of those.
But Derek’s latest project could impact Jeffrey’s organization – with a multimillion-dollar gift awarded at a special dinner and ceremony. Jeffrey and Derek seem so different, but in their convictions, they find common ground, and the heat they call up in each other can’t be ignored. Can they salvage a disastrous evening and a painful reminder of Jeffrey’s past?
Power Boys Excerpt:
Where I grew up wasn’t the toughest of DC’s tough, but twenty years ago, violence had been my fear, not gentrification. When Mom died it sucked, until I left at age fifteen, never wanting to see my father or Columbia Heights again. Eddie changed all that. He taught me love. No, he wasn’t my first boyfriend. Not exactly, well, no, not at all because his heart and all that always belonged to the ladies, but eventually he introduced me to other guys who liked guys the same way I did. In truth, he introduced me to myself. And to the future. When I was a homeless fifteen-year-old, he introduced me to his family, and I shared a room with him for the rest of high school. He also introduced me to people who helped get me to college, and he taught me how to give back. Seriously, he saved me. I could say Eddie knew what was best for me. So why, decades later, was he trying to introduce me to exactly the sort of guy he knew I hated to be around
Derek T. Hinsdale III? Just the name, and Eddie should have known better. Slick DC wealth consultant? What the hell was a wealth consultant anyway? Clearly a job for a clueless guy who thought being surrounded by money was normal. Who cared if he bankrolled some of the best political and philanthropic causes? Who cared if the work he supported impacted not just DC but the whole country? Yes, I’d seen his name on donor lists, and yes, he supported good work and could be a good guy, but I wasn’t interested in someone from the stratosphere. There were enough guys around. Couldn’t Eddie have suggested someone who breathed my kind of air? How could he not understand that Derek Hinsdale was not someone I wanted to be set up with?
Scudder James Jr bio
I believe happily-ever-after begins today. Junior high was terrible, boarding school better, and college the place where I met the guy I married. I started working in finance because I thought I was supposed to, but quickly left for an ideal job helping refugees. I have since become a counselor, teacher and fundraiser. After Chicago, Japan, London, and Seattle, I’m back in Boston where it all started. My favorite place to write has a harbor view of two colonial ships.
I’m also thrilled that my short LGBTQ films have shown around the world in places as unexpected as Alabama and East Africa. Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with a neurological disease that doctors are bewildered has mostly disappeared. I’m an avid meditator and passionate about appreciating every moment.
One of my favorite mornings has been waking up on a boat in Patagonia with my perfectly imperfect partner and hiking an island of 120,000 penguins.