We've got a great surprise for everyone today. It is with pleasure that we introduce our most esteemed and popular author Jack Weyland, writer of over twenty YA novels for the LDS market. Welcome Jack.
1. ..Teri .Was it the hot issue concerning illegal aliens that was the impetus in writing this The Samaritan Bueno?
Jack- My wife Sherry and I served a mission on Long Island from 2006 to 2007. For most of that time we attended a bi-lingual branch. We also taught institute at another bi-lingual branch. We grew to love these members of the church from Central and South America. It was from that love that The Samaritan Bueno was written.
2. ..Teri-.What is the catalyst for bringing humor into a story?
Jack- It's just a part of me. I remember as a boy attending family reunions and observing my uncles and aunts keeping everyone laughing. I wanted to be like them. In our own family, we celebrated humor more than we did anything else. We even had a "Joke of the Day" award for a son or daughter who made us laugh the most. (I must admit we never gave out an actual trophy, but we did tell the winners that they'd won for that day.)
3. Teri- Where do you get your ideas for each book?
Jack- Good question. Here are the sources of most of my novels:
A. Short Stories.
I started by writing stories for The New Era magazine. For instance, my novel Charly began as a short story. I liked the characters so much that it seemed natural to use them as a springboard for a novel. My other just-released novel, Brianna, My Brother, and the Blog, began as a short story. The Samaritan Bueno also began as a short story.
Of course the next question is where did the ideas for the short stories come from? Often the editor would ask me to write about a certain topic.
B. Letters from readers
Some of my novels came about after a girl who had gone through a difficult experience writing me and asking me to write about what had happened to her. Here is a partial list of these books along with the experience:
Sara, Whenever I Hear Your Name (sexual abuse)
Ashley and Jen (eating disorder)
Emily (A young woman receives third degree burns)
Brittany (date rape)
Megan (a young woman becomes pregnant outside of marriage)
C. Dialogue Surfing
When I'm out of ideas, I sit down and write dialogue between two people. Sometimes these two people interest me enough to want to write more about them. The secret to this is write fast and don't plan it out. My books which began this way are: Jake and A New Dawn
4. Teri- Do you get your ideas from dreams?
Jack- No. My dreams always involve me being in charge of something that is going very badly. I'm always glad to wake up.
5. Teri- What was your first thought in knowing you wanted to write?
Jack- My parents gave me a typewriter. I remember typing away and thinking, "This is fun."
After my mission I took a creative writing course at BYU. Since I was a physics major, my instructor asked me why I was taking his course. I told him I wanted to write fiction for LDS youth.
6. Teri- What was your first writing assignment?
I've never received any assignments in regard to my fiction writing.
I remember taking a correspondence course in creative writing. After a week or two, I wrote the teacher and told him I didn't want to do any of his assignments. I just wanted him to critique my work.
Because of expenses for the course and also because I had to rent a typewriter, I decided to send a story to The New Era to see if I could help pay for the course. I was happy and surprised when they accepted the story. Brian Kelly, the editor of that magazine, encouraged me to write more stories. And so I did for the next ten or so years. Brian Kelly was a great mentor to me.
7. Teri- You have a way of reaching into the reader's heart and soul with the issues you write about. Is this because you feel so deeply about this issue? You get people to really ponder an issue.
Jack- It's not issues that drive me. Most of the novels which have motivated me to explore difficult topics came because of someone contacting me and asking to tell their story. My conviction has always been that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help us get through the worst of times.
8. .Teri- .Do you still teach and if not, what did you teach?
Jack- I have a Ph D in physics from BYU. I taught engineering students calculus based physics. I found that if I used creativity I could teach difficult concepts in such a way that my students could understand them. For instance, I had a song
for every chapter. I got them standing up and we'd sing the song. The lyrics were often humorous but did teach important concepts at the same time. I retired in December, 2005
At the present time my wife and I are teaching a script writing course for the Theatre Department at BYU-Idaho. We will be teaching this course for the next two semesters. I will also be teaching a physics course winter semester.
9. When I wrote Charly, ...
I was overwhelmed by the response to this book. My goal at first was only to write a book that was published.
Where did that goal come from? As a bishop I often interviewed girls about their goals. One time a girl asked, "Bishop, do you have any goals?" I had to confess I didn't. So a short time later, I took a 3 x 5 card and wrote, "I will write a novel." I put that goal where I'd see it every day. Soon after that I began to write.
10. Teri- The Understudy is a big favorite of mine. Did that affect you writing about Jesus Christ?
Jack- (about The Understudy)
The interesting thing about this book is that, after many failed attempts, I
finally decided that if I wanted to write anything about the Savior, I needed to be more prayerful. After doing that, things came more easily. In fact, I wrote the entire first draft in a week. For the most part my editor had very few suggestions for improvement.
The novel has given me an increased appreciation for the Savior and his love for all of us.
11. Jack- What do I do in my spare time?
I spend about eight hours a week doing family search indexing. Right now I am indexing from the 1930 Mexican census. In addition, my wife and I serve in the Rexburg temple once a week. I also spend several hours a week finding names of relatives for which we can do temple ordinances.
I also write a science column for our local newspaper. The column is called
"Graph That!" and can be found at my website www.jackweyland.com
Recently I have begun writing a blog which can also be found at my web site www.jackweyland.com
We have five children and 16 grandchildren. The highlight of our summer was a family reunion in Las Vegas. We had everyone there, which is not an easy task.
Thanks so very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share some of Jack Weyland with our audience and fans. If you want to know more about Jack's books, just go to his website above. We are having a contest, so please leave a comment about our interview and/or The Samaritan Bueno and you'll be entered to win a copy of Jack's book.