For all you lovers of football out there I welcome Jay to my blog to speak about his exciting & informative book about Bilston Town – the other team in Wolverhampton!
Biography: My pen name is Jay Hearst and I’m from Wolverhampton. I have lived in and around the Black Country my entire life. I started to write in 1998 and this book is my first solo project ever to be published, hopefully it won’t be the last. Professionally I have a normal, ordinary day job like so many writers and prefer to be called a ‘hobbying writer’ than an actual one. It’s good to keep things in perspective.
Tell me a bit about your writing to date?
I’ve written mostly on various authoring/writers websites since 2003 and have had a few short stories published in anthologies. I’ve been blogging on and off for about 15 years and have been writing at my current blog for about 5. In 2011 one of my posts was shared by Ricky Gervais on his website which came at a time when I was close to giving it all up but that single event encouraged me to keep trying and later that same year I had a go at NaNoWriMo which I completed successfully which was no easy task.
What inspired you to write your book about Bilston Football Club?
I was interested in reading it. In 2012 I was given a copy of the history of Darlaston Town Football Club and was fascinated to see that a local, grass roots club had been around so long and achieved so much. I wondered if other local non league clubs had history books and found that very few actually did. As someone who enjoys writing and loves football it didn’t take long for the idea to take root.
So what is the book about?
The book is a season by season record of achievements, starting in 1894-95 running up until the end of the 2014-15 season. It covers all 121 years excluding the breaks for the two World Wars and details league and cup achievements, notable former players who went on to or came from bigger teams, important and interesting events andmany team photos and newspaper clippings. I’m particularly proud of the FA Cup proper section which covers the greatest achievements in the clubs history. I was also fortunate to discover all of the clubs league results from 1985 to 2015 as well as complete post war records for the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase.
How did you go about designing your book cover?
I was fortunate on one visit to Queen Street to get a nice photo of the main stand myself so I used that for the back cover. The front cover was sent to me by an American lady who’s family had emigrated from the UK decades ago. Her great grandfather had played for Bilston in 1900-01 when they won six trophies, their best ever haul in a season, and it’s a shot of the team from that year with their silverware,it’s a superb image.
Where can we find the book?
The book is currently available exclusively via the football club’s website. I wanted to give them distribution rights as part of a profit share. They make a few quid and hopefully I’ll recover the cost of the project. The club have been extremely helpful throughout working very closely with me for over 2 and half years and its nice to give something, no matter how small, back.
Do you have any other projects in your sights now you successfully have a book in print?
At the moment no. The time spent researching and writing this book has been hard work and sometimes very stressful. I’m going to relax and enjoy Christmas and the New Year with my family before taking on anything else. But no doubt I’ll continue to write in some capacity. I’ll update the History of Bilston Town FC site from time to time and no doubt drop the occasional blog post too.
Did you experience any challenges when writing your book?
Just the researching, compiling, writing, editing and publishing. Apart from that it was challenge free! I joke of course, there were no particular challenges that I remember. I had free reign to work when I could and as hard as I wanted to. I set myself a deadline of 1 year, which it turned out wasn’t even long enough to gather all of the information. I’d underestimated the quality and quantity of the material that was available but it was certainly worth taking my time and doing as good a job as I could with what I found or was given by so many people.
I was recently asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?
Anyone that answers ‘The Monkees’ deserves to be taken around the back of the barn with old yeller, so make of that what you will. I think everyone likes music it’s just the type and style that differs from person to person. I like most music to be honest although I feel it’s a shame that modern pop music is all the same and is owned by sofew companies and individuals who are only interested in jemmying the pocket money out of the pockets of teenage girls. There are so many bands that deserve the opportunity to shine through their amazing musical skills that are overlooked simply because they aren’t commercially viable. If the Beatles were formed today you canguarantee that no one would know who they are because they would be ignored by today’s music industry. But like many other aspects of modern life, music has had its heart and soul replaced with greed and capitalism. I love Metallica and REM and I often listen to The Killers and Kasabian when I write. I don’t think music particularly inspires me though, but it certainly keeps me company as I type.
Do you have a favourite quote?
I love quotes but I don’t have a particular favourite. This is a good one: If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all – Anne Tyler.What authors inspire you?Stephen King was the author who inspired me originally to write many years ago but I’d say that anyone, anywhere whose writing I read, inspires me. There is so much good stuff out there these days. I try not to overlook people like myself who aren’t professional or successful writers. We need to support each other as much as we can.I like to randomly pick someone and see where they take me. If I enjoy it I’ll read more and if not move on to someone else.
What footballers inspire you?
I love professional football but I’m not inspired by any of the professional players. They are generally overpaid, over-important, man-children. If you want to be inspired by a professional person go and shake hands and chat to a soldier. They deserve our attention and respect, but not footballers. They are entertainers at best,rarely are they role models or inspirational individuals. Grass roots players have my admiration and respect as they play for the love of the sport, not financial reward or fame.