Q & A with J. Ronald M. York
Q. Did you always want to be an author?
A. Actually, no. I never considered it other than to joke that one day I should write about my experiences in working with the public. I even came up with a title – Holy Hell, My Life in Retail. But then I realized if I did write that book that I should be
prepared to not only get out of retail, but maybe move out of state, as well!
Q. What was the impetus to write your first book?
A. A box of letters and newspaper clippings regarding a crime from the 1950s was left for me by my parents. Being two at the time, I never knew that my father had been accused of a crime or that it was the reason we left Florida to start over in
Tennessee. Naturally I wanted to know more and eventually decided that I needed to share what I had found.
Q. And, your second book?
A. My father was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in his Scout troop. In starting over in Tennessee, my parents found refuge in the downtown Baptist Church where just a few years later, I would be abused by three men within the
Church. After I revealed that in my first book, I chose to go ahead and tell my story.
Q. What has been the response?
A. It has been overwhelmingly positive. So many people have reached out to me with similar stories of abuse within their lives and have said by my coming forward it has helped them to do the same. It has been an amazing journey.
Q. What opportunities have you had with your writing?
A. I have been blessed to have not one, but two standing-room-only book launches and several chances to speak up and take a stand for the abused. I’ve been able to meet with book clubs once they have read my book for a round-table discussion.
There have been numerous interviews and podcasts that have allowed me to share my story with a broader audience.
Q. Do you have any speaking engagements coming up?
A. Yes, I will be returning to the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 12- 14 – speaking Friday, October 12 at noon in the Nashville Public Library. I’m excited to talk about my latest book, Songs from an Imperfect Life, and plan to share stories which are not in my book. In fact, since a great deal of my story takes place in downtown Nashville during the 1960s, I want to give people a verbal tour of downtown and what my life was like then. Included will be the church, movie houses and department stores of my youth – a side of Nashville that most have never known.
Q. Do you have plans for another book?
A. Yes. I am excited to say that I have written a third book which is with my editor now. After writing two memoirs, one my parent’s story and the other, mine, this book is fiction. I would describe it as a “beach” read – fun, breezy and hopefully
humorous. My plan is for a spring release and maybe even be asked to return to the book festival next year.
York will be speaking on his memoir, Songs from an Imperfect Life, during the 30th Annual Southern Festival of Books Friday, October 12 at noon in the downtown Nashville Public Library – 3rd Floor Commons Room.
J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.
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