“I’d like readers to remember that in times when they might believe there is no beauty left in this world, that they must do one thing: persevere. They must keep moving forward, no matter how hard it might seem, for better days are ahead.”

Author J.B. Whitehouse speaks from experience, confronting his own life demons head on and injecting many of his past vices and phobias into the protagonist “Q” in his marvelously written and constructed novel Jersig. (Read our full review here.)

HEY, Q FEELS A LOT LIKE WHITEHOUSE

And that’s no coincidence. “Q is incredibly autobiographical,” says Whitehouse. “I am Q, and Q is me. When creating Q the character, I attempted to draw upon the range of emotions I had felt throughout times in my life, specifically in my addiction and, subsequently, my early recovery. In doing so, I was able to create a character who on the surface you would perceive as ‘normal,’ but underneath as the layers were peeled back, you would see that he had a great deal of complexity and life experience to him.”

“I wanted to embody the adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ in a character, and hopefully have the reader be able to relate to that character in some way.” 

Q lives a robotic life — the life sold to many as the pathway to the American Dream. A 26-year-old healthcare consultant, he passes day after day in tedium, yearning for adventure he figures long lost. Directionless and achingly comfortable in complacency, Q is on the edge when he first encounters a man unlike any other: Jersig. Jersig is slick, polished, handsome, wealthy, spewing success in every way. He says he has a knack for recognizing potential in people, and he proceeds to take Q in.

Unlike the inspiration for Q, Whitehouse says Jersig is a completely fictional character. “I suppose aspects of him were drawn from stories I’ve read or seen throughout time, although I cannot call upon any one specific example for reference. As far as being modeled or inspired by anyone I know, Jersig was most certainly not. There is only one Jersig James, and to my knowledge, he does not exist in reality.”

EVERYBODY HAS THEIR FASCINATING QUIRKS

One of the book’s fascinating characters is Jersig’s girlfriend Cadence. What to make of her?

Cadence is a muse, and so much more. Upon reading the novel you will learn quite a bit about Cadence, her history, and why she is so ostensibly cold to people upon first meeting them. It is a defense mechanism. A method she has developed over time to avoid being hurt by people.”

“The Cadence you get to know as the story goes on, and as she warms up to certain characters, is her at her truest form. But initially, to avoid encountering any harm or pain, she has developed this method to test and essentially root out anyone she doesn’t view as being worth her time.”

“It is an incredibly flawed approach to meeting people or gauging whom you might want to let into your world, but she doesn’t care. And that mentality, the way she approaches life and the particular manner in which she lives it, is just a small piece of why you come to love her, and how her ways can have you so easily fall under her spell.”

Among the author’s favorite authors? Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

ADVENTURE CONTINUES FOR Q AND FRIENDS

And next on Whitehouse’s plate? “Jersig is the beginning. This is the first story of an adventure that is far from over. I plan on continuing the story of Q, Jersig, Cadence, Lysander and everyone involved in the world of Jersig.”

Asked about Jersig’s key takeaways, Whitehouse says, “I hope readers have the ability to take away the fact that they are here on this earth for a specific reason. In turn, they have the ability to achieve tremendous feats and positively affect the lives of others on their journey toward finding or living in that reason.”

“I hope they take away, recall on, or find help in reinforcing the fact that life holds such beauty, you never know who or how someone is going to come into your life, and how quickly it might change for the better.”

Jersig is available for purchase. You can read our review of Jersig here.

Thirty-one-year-old J.B. Whitehouse has been sober from alcohol, drugs and all mind-altering substances since November 25, 2011. In sobriety he has built two small businesses, and helped develop one medium-sized business. At the age of 29, he assisted in successfully developing a dual-diagnosis treatment facility, with all levels of inpatient and outpatient care, for the treatment of substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders in his hometown of Cincinnati. He is an active speaker in the field of recovery, and leads a team dedicated to helping others attempt to reclaim and reshape their own lives. Through his recovery, he says he has developed an intrinsic sense of peace, happiness, insight, fulfillment and wonder he never thought again possible. Jersig is the first novel he has shared publicly.