When an author releases their debut work, there is never anyway to know how it will be received, or if it will even be noticed. For John H Ames, however, the buzz around his debut novel, Surviving Elite High, has been getting louder and louder since it’s release mid-June.
Here he is to introduce himself, and talk about where he’s been and where he’s going.
My Main Goal in Life
It’s really strange when life changes in a matter of seconds. It is even stranger when you become aware of what your goal in life is. What is my goal in life? Well, before we get into that, let me tell a little about myself.
I was born on March 25, 1988 in El Salvador, Central America. I was a premature birth and weighed only two and a half pounds. My father, who I have never met, walked away from us a few days later. He didn’t want to take up responsibility since he already had a few more children to maintain and I was too much baggage for him. My mom took full responsibility and provided for us. We never had the best things in life, but we had each other. In attempt to make things better for us, she moved to Belize Central America in 1996 where she found someone new. A year later, she sent for me and I joined her in a new country and a new life. It was a drastic turn, but it made the person who I am today. I basically grew up in Belize and this is the place that I call home.
When I was little, I hated reading. You have no idea how much I dreaded it. It was after I read the first Harry Potter novel that I fell in love with reading. That novel placed me on the right path in life. It was in 2008 when I was exposed to my first GLBT novel. It was Mark A. Roeder, A Better Place. That novel has a jock/nerd love story and it made me fall in love with that theme. I immediately searched for another story with the same theme and came across Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno. That novel changed my life completely. I connected so much with Jeff Irwin that I just had to write something similar to Mr. Erno’s novel. But, where to start?
I have never been to the United States or worst; attended a high school in that country. However, I knew someone that did. My ex-boyfriend, Nick, attended high school in Buffalo, New York and he is the inspiration for Nick Wild Hawk, one of the main characters in Surviving Elite High. I remember spending hours listening to him as he told me his entire high school life. There were huge differences, yet there were several shocking similarities between our high schools.
I was bullied, teased, harassed and sexual molested in high school. This may come as a shock to my close family and friends because I never let those situations get to me. To me, showing weakness was feeding the attacker the energy needed to continue tormenting me. I needed to be strong for myself and held everything inside. When I wrote my first novel, Raven and Crow: A Chain of Memories, it felt like therapy to me. I released so much that it drained me out. This novel will be release soon so be on the look-out.
My first published novel is Surviving Elite High, which is my second work of fiction. The fictional John and I went through a lot in four years of high school; however, Surviving Elite High is not an autobiography. It is loosely based on my life experiences, and Nick’s.
Now, that you know a lot about my life, I come to the main point of this article. What is my purpose in life? Reading, writing, entertaining, and inspiring. I write for anyone who likes my novels and for those who feel neglected, rejected, hated, and silenced.
Those are my purposes in life. Many don’t like what I write and that is perfectly fine with me. I have been told everything from A to Z, but I’m still here swinging punches left and right. You should never give up since great things take time. Always fight and keep on fighting to make your dreams come true. There will be times where you would want to give up, but remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You will get there, don’t worry. Just keep a positive mind and attitude and you will reach the stars.
Hugz and Kissez
John Henry Ames is a sixteen-year-old boy from a small New Jersey town. John is humble, shy and studious. He lives as an outcast in the shadows of an elite high school where he is tormented by two psychopathic bullies. On the verge of dropping out of school due to overdue payments, a teacher enrolls him in a tutoring program where he meets the school’s star quarterback and hero, Nick Anthony Hawking. Since he was doing poorly in several subjects, Nick needs John’s help to pass and graduate high school.
As John becomes closer to the jock, he develops a strong affection towards him even though Nick has a strong reputation of sleeping around with a lot of women. Nick becomes his friend and protector in school. Their sincere friendship helps to bring out the best in each of them. Several tragedies, like a school shooting, threaten to change their young lives forever. Will they follow their own voice or return to the safety of their own shadows? Surviving Elite High is a breathtaking saga that illustrates a flourishing same-sex love, family, and friendship.
Fellow bookclubber, Amy, had this to say:
I heard about this book the first time from Jeff Erno. I am friends with him on Facebook and had the pleasure of meeting him last year at GRL. I value his opinion, and when I saw the glowing review he gave to this author I had never heard of, I said…I have to read this. About a month ago I friended John H. Ames and spoke with him briefly, then went off and bought and read the book. For those who know me, I am not one for reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I am plenty opinionated when it comes to books, but I rarely put it down on paper, or shall I say computer screen. When Mantastic said she was doing a spotlight on John I jumped in and said I will write a review, as I already read this.
This book takes place in a high school called Elite High. John is loveable, adorkable and sympathetic. As main characters go, you couldn’t ask for a more endearing guy. Intro Nick “Wild” Hawk, the misunderstood Jock. This story is dealing with a very touchy subject right now due to the bullying that is happening with the youth in our nation and I think John did an amazing job portraying this with dignity and respect, and the love story is adorable.
Now that is all I am going to say about the premise of the story as I hate those reviews that go over every detail of the book. I want you to read the story, not know everything that happens from this review.
What I will say is that these stories get me every time. Although I am sure many of you have read books with a similar premise, this was a surprisingly refreshing and unique story with very good writing and a fantastic supporting cast. One of my biggest pet peeves is when the characters in a story live in a bubble. This story did not do that. The supporting cast was just as important as the two main characters in this story. You could tell John took the time to build this world that I lost myself in. The trials and tribulations that these two characters and the people around them go through was truly a rollercoaster of emotions. I laughed a lot, I cried a lot, and cheered for these two characters, that is proof that this author is meant for great things. He should be very proud of this first published work.
There was one thing that I did notice. I am not sure, but I believe that John H Ames is out of country, and you can tell through the writing. Did this bother me? Not at all. But the English was very proper throughout the book, and for high-schoolers, that formality didn’t fit.
I would 100% recommend this book and can’t wait to get lost in this world again. I am looking forward to the next installment.