Monday, June 17, 2024

Zoom Interview with JA Carlton by Dr. Mel


My name is Jill Carlton

Pen name JA Carlton

"A must-read. You don't want to miss this one." Dr. Mel

Your Life, Your Destiny, Your Choice

(Originally released as: At The Crossroads, The Destiny of Choice)





YouTube: @jacarltonauthor

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I'm a gen xer, grew up outside of Chicago in the 70's, was a teenager in the 80's. An early latch-key kid, if you've heard of us, you know we largely looked after ourselves with adults often obligations we had to honor to earn our bed, food and sustenance. One of the major problems about this was being caught in the epicenter of a massive historical shift that encouraged critical thinking and autonomy while still demanding subservience to a group of social ideals that were quickly becoming obsolete. In short, we got a lot of mixed messages, and they caused a lot of confusion. over the years I've been fortunate enough, (some would say stubborn.... I say tomato.. tomaaaato) to have been exposed to a few hard truths, the first of which is this: There is only 1 person who is with you from the moment you're born until the day you die, and THAT person is the one we must strive to honor. That's the person staring back at you in the mirror every day. That person deserves the best opportunity to make of their life, something to be proud of and feel satisfaction with. I've also learned a few mindset pointers for learning how to do that.

What inspired you to author this book?

There were so many self-help guru's during that era, and they all had these messages that focused so intensely on the outside of the individual, change your look, change your wardrobe, change your hair, lose weight, grow muscle (but not too much if you're a girl), be tough, be hard, be manly but look feminine... it was honestly ridiculous. They capitalized on fashion and social trends that were as ephemeral as the "color wheel" of cosmetics... by trying to tell a person that they could only gain respect or break the flass ceiling by "looking the part" .... "the clothes make the man... or woman'... I mean, do you remember those shoulder pads? yeeesh! What they never bothered with, was trying to help a person to be okay with themselves as they are. That's where real change starts, when you can accept who you at THIS moment, and be GRATEFUL for who you are, then recognizing that you can be MORE comes much more easily. And as a challenge to yourself rather than anyone else or their expectations, it becomes exciting and fun, because it's FOR YOU, but the benefits will ripple out to those around you, which perpetuates the cycle.


Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

The first version of the book, titled "At the Crossroads: The Destiny of Choice" came from both the TV show Supernatural and from Robert Johnson, so a friend drew the cover art for me. Later the second edition, the cover represented more the cultivation of the true self as something that required nurturing. So in a way the first cover represented quite literally a crossroads where one could make a deal with a devil for external acceptance and, the second one, as growth from within.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Author wise: Marguerite Henry, Madeline L'Engle, Stephen King, Marcus Aurelius, Robin Cook, John Saul, Tolkein, Stephen Hawking. Personal wise... my mother started it. My penmanship was so atrocious she made me copy pages out of books, I did so out of so many that, some of which were less than engaging... let's just say it got to a point where I'd rather write my own than to be forced to read some of those others.


What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I'm not a good sharer. I learned at an early age that no one gives a damn about what struggles you may be going through, mostly because they're too preoccupied with their own. And I also learned at an early age to never give anyone anything they can use against you. Eventually though, I learned that if you can look your own faults and shortcomings in the eye, when people try to use them to hurt you, they're the ones who will fall and fail in the eyes of those they're trying to impress with their cruelty. A great deal of the rest is in the book.

Tell your readers about your book.

It's a small compendium of strategies for creating wholeness from within. Many of the philosophies come from historical practitioners of Stoicism like Marcus Aurelius, or Seneca, but still others were born of some of the mind-sets of more Taoist principles.


Who is your target audience, and why?

Anybody and EVERYbody who recognizes that they have been subjected to manipulation, repression, and suppression by those around them, for the benefit of those around them while their own needs or identity has been ignored, dismissed, or made to suffer because to recognize or encourage, let alone ALLOW them to be who they are or want to be, would be "inconvenient" for the circle of others they're subject to. In the prologue of my book The Coming of Schades, one of the characters talks about once having asked his best friend why he didn't just take his little brother and run, (when it came to an abuser they were subject to). The character's response was simple, "I didn't know I could." This book is for people teetering on the edge of that knowledge that they CAN, that they're WORTH investing THEIR time and energy into, that's why others don't want them to change.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

Facing my fear about whether, or not my works, my opinions, my stories are worth existing let alone promoting. So.... finding people like you and asking for help is thus far, my greatest success.


What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

One unique thing? I've been writing for over 40 years and was too afraid of rejection to pursue marketing with any hope of success.