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mail@authorsguildoftn.org    +1.865.254-3054 and 865.657-9560.

Billie J. “B. J.” Gillum was born in a tiny log cabin in the wooded hills of northeastern Kentucky in 1938. His family moved out of the hills to a small Fleming County dairy and tobacco farm seventy miles to the west. There he learned the value and necessity of hard work and enjoyed the freedom of rural life. 

He also developed a vivid imagination and an acute sense of humor that finds its way into his novels today. At sixteen he moved with the family to a larger farm in southern Ohio. After two years he graduated high school and was employed by the Western Electric Company in Dayton, Ohio. His thirty-five year career with the firm was interrupted by a three year tour in the US Marine Corps where he served in the US, Japan and Philippines. Four months before his discharge from the USMC in May of 1961, he married his high school sweetheart, Saundra Kay Grant. Three sons and thirty-five years later he retired and moved to a home on the shore of Watts Bar Lake in east Tennessee. After writing two journals to record boating trips on the TVA lake system, Saundra and others encouraged him to write a novel – to try his hand at a serious writing project. The result was The Erectolite Affair, a humorous tale of a small southern town and its struggle against illicit drugs with an unusual application. Since 2004, another four novels have rapidly followed the first with another two projects now under way.

Books by BJ Gillum

Interview with Author

Why did you choose to write Forget-Me-Not as a mystery instead of some other genre?

Although there is romance and humor woven throughout the story there was always the question of an unpunished murder committed by ruthless men who manipulated the innocent to serve their purposes. That wouldn’t end satisfactorily until it was solved and justice served.

How does your mystery Forget-Me-Not differ from other mysteries?

This story allows the reader to feel the inner motivations of the victims and villains equally.

How do your characters in Forget-Me-Not differ from characters in other mysteries?

I think all human characteristics and motivations are very similar and are molded by circumstances and environmental factors largely uncontrollable by themselves. My protagonist is motivated by fear and a need for justice. She is able to achieve her goals by associating with people who befriend her. Believe in her cause and eventually facilitate her success. I’m not sure this deviates from the norm. 

Describe your main character, Colette Withers.

Colette is a cub reporter beginning her first real job. She is ambitious and willing to work hard to prove she is more than capable. Her ambition burns within her and she is anxious to prove herself when through no fault of her own she feels her life threatened and must flee to survive.

Will there be a sequel to Forget-Me-Not?

There certainly could be because she is still young and just reaching her peak professionally when the book ends. Funny, I’ve never looked at it as a candidate for a sequel.

My Latest Blogs

06 February 2015
Tips & Hints

A thriller is a story about a large poisonous spider you’ve been trying to kill for weeks (nobody believes there actually is one) that suddenly drops onto your face in the middle of a dark night; you lose control of bodily functions and scream uncontrollably because you’re alone and you can’t defend yourself since you are a quadriplegic from Afghanistan war wounds. Your new Medal of Honor still hangs around your neck where President Obama placed it earlier today in a tearful ceremony before TV cameras and a sobbing audience. Tension is made higher because you are now in a sound-proofed dressing room and a noisy Mick Jagger concert is in full swing in the next room beyond the one-way mirrored wall of the White House theater. With your remaining one good eye, you notice there are young spiders clinging all over the back of the large one that is now devouring your face. That is a thriller.

A mystery is a story about discovering how it got into the room by using clever techniques as employed by detectives or forensic pathologists, or as in the case of the spider attack, exterminators. A grinding, painstaking process that progresses like molasses in December until finally the obvious is observed. A badge of honor for the passionately detail-oriented late-night reader. NEVER read the last two pages of one of these before reading the entire book from front to back!

There are many authors who write novels that are cross-genre. For example, combine the two examples above and voila – cross genre! Even Mother Goose rhymes like Little Miss Muffett. It was a short biography until the spider came along and changed it to a thriller. That is cross-genre! If it had bitten her that would have become a Horror genre. If it had tried to take liberties with her, it would have become an erotica genre, depending on how the writer explained the details of the attack. -By BJ Gillum – Author of a series of humorous books

Cautionary Note: These are the opinions of this writer only and should not be taken as arachnophobic views nor are they authentic or representative of the official view of the Authors Guild of TN.

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