Don’t be confused if the cover of the new novel Emilia’s Hope says that its written by Sofia T Garcia – rest assured, the book was done by local author Jim Williams.
Williams, a 62-year old Langley City resident, said he first discovered the act of writing when he searched for a hobby to keep his mind busy.
“A little over twenty years ago, after reading some recent science evaluations that keeping the brain active had some benefits in delaying the onset of dementia, I started looking for something to actively occupy my mind,” Williams explained.
“I wrote a short, funny piece on Vancouverites driving habits and showed it to a friend. He suggested I might have found the hobby I’d been looking for,” he continued, joining writing groups and penning short stories for a now defunct magazine quickly after.
The author was born in North Vancouver, lived in Cloverdale, and has resided where he does now for the past three years; before his writing career, he managed to spend 10 years in Mexico, which has since acted as a source for inspiration.
“My first project was a series of three monumental novels, which – though not publishable – gave me an immense amount of practice. From those hundreds of thousands of words came my first published short story about the struggles of an indigenous Mexican woman to educate herself,” Williams explained.
What followed was Haunting of the Wired Monk, the first of three in a series of published young adult novels called The Coventry Ghosts, where Williams uses his own name.
The Latina pen name Sofia T Garcia was used for his second book series, the romance novels Mestiza, which combines the words Mexican and Latina.
“Romance is 90 per cent of the fiction published today, and that has been the case for a couple of decades. The second reason I chose romance as one of my genres, was it lets me get into the heads of two — sometimes more people — who are learning about one another,” Williams said.
He explained the the reason for using a pen is to avoid any confusion between his adult books and young adult novels.
“Most romance publishers, only accept writers who are women or use female pen names,” Williams added.
After his book Quadratic Equations was published by erotic romance imprint eXtasy books, his newest work Emilia’s Hope was passed to their sister publisher Devine Destinies, which publishes a wide range of novels.
“Emilia’s Hope comes from my personal experience with addictive behaviour and likely my own frustration with provincial politics,” Williams said. “I used SMART Recovery to learn how to overcome my addiction, and offered the novel to the board of SMART, which approved my use of their name and tools in the novel.”
SMART stands for self-management and recovery training and is an international non-profit organization that provides assistance and tools to individuals seeking addiction treatment.
The novel tells the story of a woman trying to quit her addiction to oxycodone and alcohol. She attends a SMART Recovery meeting where she unexpectedly falls in love.
“I’m working on the third book in the Mestiza series, in which I delve even deeper into the world of addiction,” Williams said.
A cabinetmaker by trade for the past 35 years, Williams noted that his job is still his main income, though the sales of his novels are growing.
“The one I’m presently working on mostly happens in Langley City. I like using local locations as it makes it easy to describe things and places realistically,” he said.
Emilia’s Hope, along with all of Williams’/Garcia’s works, are available on Amazon.
Williams will appear at the Golden Ears Writer’s and Readers Festival on Jan. 18.
Is there more to this story?