Interview with Jesse Wilson author of “Faces On My Wall”

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If you didn’t read my review the other day go back to the archives and check it out. I enjoyed reading his work! Here’s a little bit about Jesse and Faces On My Wall.

JESSE WILSON- headshot

About Jesse Wilson

Jesse Wilson is a motivational performer, professional speaker, author, teacher, and visual artist. A life-long involvement with theatre and film as both performer and writer began early, growing up in Hollywood, CA. A theatre graduate of The Juilliard School in New York City, Jesse developed material for his one-man shows that have been performed across the country. His solo production, Face the City, written for high school and college audiences, combines visual and animation projections in a multimedia presentation of a young artist’s journey to find his voice in the “real world.” His children’s book The Night the Moon Ate My Room! written and performed for young audiences to experience self-discovery, is created with the support of The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration and Pikes Peak Library District. Integrating the arts and especially the powerful tool of improvisation, a program that Jesse has developed entitled “Making Perfect Mistakes!” helps people (like educators, business owners, at-risk teenagers, and every one else a part of the human race!) overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism that so often hinder the creative mind. Please visit his website at www.jessewilsonproductions.com for more information on what Jesse Wilson is doing in the “community at large”.

Author Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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FACES ON MY WALL

A coming-of-age story and a comedic tour-de-force, meet Jamey Fuller, a cocky California kid who achieves his wildest ambition: admission to The Juilliard School in New York City, the country’s most prestigious acting school. Once there, he is sure, he will find fame and glory. He will dance on tables, as in “Fame.” He will take his place among the Great Actors of his time, freed from the fear of becoming just like his father, a director of Hollywood TV spots. But the reality proves hilariously brutal, as Jamey grapples with Shakespeare, lust, disillusionment, cut-throat classmates and imperious teachers. FACES ON MY WALL is a privileged glimpse into the bizarre hidden world of an actor’s training, a poignant father-and-son story, and the chronicle of a young man’s painful gropings toward maturity.

Faces On My Wall: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

And now onto the interview…..

Faces On My Wall is a very personal novel, written about your experiences at Juilliard. Now your main character is named Jamey Fuller, why not write the novel as an autobiography and actually use your own name? Is all of the novel true or did you use a bit of artistic license to dramatize situations?

I took a lot of liberties in the narrative, characters, and chronology of the novel. The feeling, however, I mean the overall tone, the general experience of Juilliard in the book was very similar to the world that I experienced during those four years in intense training. The reason I ultimately chose to make the book a novel instead of a memoir or autobiography was simply out of pure interest and fascination, (and maybe a few legalities I didn’t want to face, either!). Creating Jamey Fuller allowed me to see this “character” from all dimensions, and also put so many other “voices” into him from other people that I knew who struggled with ambition into this one guy. I like how Jamey Fuller really is a “symbol person” for me. Concerning my own personal challenges during my time at Juilliard, Jamey Fuller allowed me to “objectivity” a lot of those emotions that were difficult to articulate just as a memoir. But certainly, it was not a clear cut decision to leap into the novel vs. the memoir. 

Have you stayed in contact with any of your friends from Juilliard?

A few. The door has opened pretty wide since the publication of Faces On My Wall, so I’m happy to say that I’ve reunited with a lot of people I lost contact with over the years. And Facebook also helps enormously!

If you could tell a young person who wants to be an actor and study at Juilliard three things, what would you say?

The first thing I’d tell that young person is to begin to create an awareness of what it means  to be an artist in the first place. At least to begin thinking about it. I think most young people approach acting with the idea of becoming famous and having the shiny golden man in your hand. That’s a nice image to aim for, of course, but there’s so much more than that.

The second thing I’d say is read Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet. And the third, and here comes’s the shameless self-promotion, read Faces On My Wall. It’s all about humility while maintaining the integrity of your voice in the world. To me, that’s a very important teaching tool, humility, maybe almost as much as a great acting class. Again, having that awareness before training, I think, would be essential to an actor’s training, whether they’re interested in Juilliard or not.

“It was Friday. Fridays we were kings.” Can you elaborate on the importance of this in your youth? Do you still feel the same way now?

I wish I did. Fridays, now, I’m king of the couch! But back then… Yes, I felt this way. Friday night was pure magic, and it was about owning the night with my three teenage friends. They’re named differently in the novel, but in the solo stage play (the adaptation of the novel) they’re named The Painter, The Journalist, The Composer, and the Jamey Fuller character is, of course, The Performer. Though one of them is dead, I know I’m speaking for those guys when I say, we knew what we had was magic and it wouldn’t last long. It was Dead Poet’s Society times ten!  Those Friday nights collectively we molded our identities, or what we wanted to be our identities, we discovered our voices, and they were all about counter-culture and defiance and pure artistic expression. It was beautiful, it was chaos, it was all the stuff Jim Morrison was singing about.

It was also our way of dealing with the agony that that we didn’t have any girlfriends yet!

What motivated you to come up with the idea to make your experiences into a traveling presentation for school audiences? How are the shows being received?

Never performing on stage has never been an option for me as much as I love sitting down in a very quiet place and writing. So knowing that I didn’t want to escape the stage, a number of years ago, I had to ask myself, what are the stories that still run deeply through me and won’t let themselves die? What am I still struggling with in this life? What do I need to learn? And it all came winding back to this novel. I’m so grateful to say that my stage work is being well received, especially in “Face the City.” The feedback I’ve received from students (and teachers, who mostly were teenagers when I was) is that the show speaks directly to the heart of adolescence– kids, who are just beginning to question their place in this world.

In the novel you wrote about a “magic window” from which you watched the snow fall when you were six years old. Do you have any sort of “magic windows” now? What are they or where are they located and what do they mean to you?

This is such a great question. Thank you so much for asking it. I still feel that way about the snow… maybe it’s being from LA, but I still feel that it’s kind of like a miracle every time I see snow fall. I always feel lucky. I never want it to stop, but it always does. And whatever window I’m looking out of, whether it’s my office, hotel room, car, plane… that window becomes a magic window. It’s about safety, comfort, feeling quiet, hidden. Feeling like a kid witnessing Narnia for the first time.

Are you working on another novel?

I am more than halfway into my second novel, which is the continuation of Jamey Fuller’s journey into marriage (take cover!) and adulthood. I’m hoping to have the book complete by the end of this summer. 

Do you still want to be an actor?

Haha, I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am an actor, whether I like it or not. I’ve run away from the stage so many times because I never felt I was good enough, or that somehow that world had let me down and I couldn’t face it, but I’m so glad I don’t feel that way now. I love performing, in whatever capacity I’m performing in. Being an actor has taken on a much larger “role” than I ever intended, certainly when I was at Juilliard. No other word quite describes it as grateful. Like seeing an old friend come back. Or… like looking out of a magic window.

GIVEAWAY

***Any contestant that uses dummy or contest only accounts to enter will be disqualified.***

Grand prize:

Signed copy of FACES ON MY WALL with $30 Amazon giftcard (US/CA only)

Second prize (5):

ebook copy of FACES ON MY WALL (international)

Enter at the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you want to follow Jesse’s book tour, here is the schedule.

TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, March 3rd – A Book and a Latte

Wednesday, March 5th – Jennifer Tressen

Friday, March 7th – Book Blogger Mom

Monday, March 10th – Once Upon a Twilight

Tuesday, March 11th – Daily Actor
 Wednesday, March 12th – Plain Talk Book Marketing

Friday, March 14th – The Real Bookshelves of Room 918

Monday, March 17th –  Heather Reid
Wednesday, March 19th –  Lost in Ever After
Friday, March 21st – My Life in Books

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  1. […] A Book and a Latte Tuesday, March 4th – Eat Sleep Write Podcast Wednesday, March 5th – Jennifer Tressen Friday, March 7th – Book Blogger […]

  2. […] 3rd – A Book and a Latte Tuesday, March 4th – Eat Sleep Write Podcast Wednesday, March 5th – Jennifer Tressen Friday, March 7th – Book Blogger […]

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