Soniah Kamal

Writer. Editor. Speaker.

World and I with author Jason Odell Williams

If he wasn’t a writer Jason Odell Williams would be

a) wildly happy  b) wildly unhappy c)  wild   d) a musician

Jason Odell William’s Young Adult novel ‘Personal Statement’ is a wildly fun read about three high schoolers, Emily Kim, Rani Caldwell, and Robert Clinton III, trying to write personal statements that will make their already laudatory college applications just that much more special. I really enjoyed this smart and sassy satire on societal expectations and what we expect from ourselves.




How did the idea for your young adult novel Personal Statement come? 

Several things inspired me to write this book, but most notably having a daughter in Manhattan and seeing what it was like when it came time to enroll her in pre-school. It was nuts! The mothers in our Upper West Side neighborhood were talking about nothing but schools and waiting lists and “why haven’t you filled out any applications yet, your daughter will never get into a good school or go on to a good college if you don’t do what we are all doing!!” It was insanity. And that was just pre-school! Then it came time for Kindergarten and we live near a wonderful public school so my wife and I thought, “Great, one less thing to worry about.” But then we found out our school was overcrowded and there would be a lottery and it was the same insanity all over again. So this was all in the back of my mind, when two friends from college, Carey Albertine and Saira Rao (who both have kids as well) came to me soon after they launched their publishing company with an idea for a book about teenagers racing to volunteer after a hurricane to pad their college applications and I was like “Yes, yes, yes! I get this! We have to write this book!” We started talking about how there aren’t many great stories about what it’s like RIGHT NOW for kids applying to college and speaking to the insanity of it with humor and heart. So over the course of a few months we plotted out a story and all of the characters and it grew from there. But it goes back to my personal experience with the Manhattan pre-school application process. I don’t even want to think about my daughter’s college application years. She’s the high school class of 2023! I can’t imagine what it will be like then.  


What did you write your college application on?

I honestly don’t remember. I’ve tried to bring it back but can’t seem to. Maybe I blocked it out!


Your novel is told from the Point of View of four characters – which is your favorite?

That’s really difficult – it’s like Sophie’s Choice! Because I truly love them all – for different reasons. But I guess I like Emily Kim the most. I also love Duncan (who is not a narrator, and is really just a minor character), but I love to write characters who aren’t afraid to be brutally honest and controversial and say funny but sometimes harsh and true things about the world.


Can you tell us a little about your writing/revision process? 

A lot of it is pre-writing. I think about what I’m going to write long before I put pen to paper (or type words on my computer). I let ideas float around and have conversations in my head for a long time. Then finally after weeks and months I begin with early notes and ideas (I like to use colored notecards for that). Sometimes I have a full outline or treatment, other times I just have scattered notes and ideas. But the real hard writing begins for me when I get my characters “talking” – whether it’s to each other or to the reader narrating. That’s when the story and characters come alive to me: when the character’s voices take shape. Then I try to methodically work my way through a first draft. Push through – leave placeholders if I need to for beats or lines of dialogue I haven’t quite figured out yet, and just keep moving forward. Get all the way to the end and THEN I have some understanding of the whole story and can go back to begin rewrites. Which is a different process and I think that’s actually where the real “writing” takes place—that’s where this rough blob is molded and shaped into something with a real form, connections are made and it all starts to make sense. I also like to read everything out loud – narration and dialogue should read easily out loud. If it doesn’t, something is wrong and needs to be rewritten.


Any advise for a beginning writer?

Write, write, write. Get the bad stuff out of the way. Then write some more. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect out of the gate. All great writers get rejected, write bad drafts, have doubts, etc. But I think the real difference between great writers and everyone else, is that the great ones keep writing. They keep at it. There’s no book or class that can teach you how to write, I think. The only way is to just do it. Write, write, write.


A favorite memoir/short story/novel/poem? 

Short stories, hands down it’s A Perfect Day For Bananafish and Just Before the War with the Eskimos from NINE STORIES by J.D. Salinger. Perfect little gems. Novels…? There are too many to name all of my favorites but I’ll say The World According to Garp, The Art of Fielding, The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, The Great Gatsby, and Breakfast of Champions. Those are books I loved so much that I’ve read them multiple times.


Your favorite social media tool?

Used to be Facebook, and now Twitter is growing on me. But I’m still kind of old-fashioned and like to use e-mail. (Strange that I consider email to be old-fashioned!)


E-reader. Hardcover.  Paperback?

Paperback! I like to bend and fold books in my back pocket and I carry them to read on the train and wear them in so much the cover falls off. I love that tactile feeling of pages… and I think font and layout are crucial to the reading experience and I want to see what the author and publisher picked… not what my Kindle decides is the correct format and font.

Chocolate. Strawberry.  Vanilla?

Chocolate Chip!

Dog. Cat. Horse. Gorilla?

Dog. We want to get one soon (mostly for our daughter), but it’s tough in the city.

Fame. Wealth. Looks. Respect. Love?

That should be easy right… we should all say love. But Wealth, fame and respect are hard to resist. I’ll say “success” – that can mean lots of things.

Tea? Coffee? Water?

Water – all the way.

A favorite cuisine?

Whatever my wife makes.

A favorite movie?

OLD: The Graduate. SORT OF OLD: Rushmore. RECENT: Pitch Perfect.

A favorite song? 

A Day in the Life by the Beatles

Your most favorite place in the whole world?

St. Maarten.

A favorite magazine?

I’m not a magazine guy. But if I see Vanity Fair or New York Magazine lying around I’ll read them. But the only subscription I used to have was to Golf magazine.

A favorite work of art? 

I love Mondrian. And “The Kiss” by Klimt. I also love the architecture of the buildings and open spaces of Lincoln Center near where we live. They recently added this grassy area above a restaurant and added this statue in a pool of water and trees nearby. It’s a nice little city oasis. And Central Park is also a work of art in my opinion!

If you weren’t a writer you’d be….. 

Wildly unhappy.

What are working on now?

Most exciting is the screenplay adaptation of Personal Statement! It was optioned by two former Miramax executives and we just had a great meeting with them in L.A. I’m really excited to dive into that – plus I get to collaborate with my wife, Charlotte Cohn, on that script. We love working together! I’ve also got my “day job” writing and producing Season 3 of “Brain Games” on the National Geographic Channel, fine-tuning my play for its Off-Broadway debut later this year, and also adapting that same play for the big screen. That’s plenty for now.

Jason Odell Williams is an Emmy Award nominated writer and producer of the National Geographic Channel’s new hit TV series “BRAIN GAMES.”  His first novel, PERSONAL STATEMENT, published by In This Together Media in August 2013, was recently optioned for a three-picture deal. He is also an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced in New York, Canada and theatres across the country. His play SHALOM, LOVE (in addition to also being optioned for a film) has had 7 regional productions and will open Off-Broadway this fall. He and his wife, Charlotte Cohn, live in Manhattan and are the proud parents of a beautiful little girl.



JOW jpeg


  1. Pingback: nanoo

  2. Pingback: hey there

  3. Pingback: hey there

  4. Pingback: pelis online

  5. Pingback: welcome to sbobet casino

  6. Pingback:

  7. Pingback: ilman henkkareita

  8. Pingback:

  9. Pingback: low beds for elderly

  10. Pingback: paras online kasino

  11. Pingback: rahoitus

  12. Pingback: what how much do plantation shutters cost

  13. Pingback: dr. constantine trambas

  14. Pingback: Verizon FIOS promotion code

  15. Pingback: payday cash advance loan same day

  16. Pingback: world cup

  17. Pingback: read the article

  18. Pingback: ibet

  19. Pingback: web bong88

  20. Pingback: a recovery

  21. Pingback: rehab facility

  22. Pingback: alcoholism causes

  23. Pingback:

  24. Pingback: platinum to diamond

  25. Pingback:

  26. Pingback: smart bong88

  27. Pingback: a recovery

  28. Pingback: A Forever Recovery

  29. Pingback:

  30. Pingback: rehabilitation

  31. Pingback: ipod

  32. Pingback: a-forever-recover

  33. Pingback: spencer diamonds

  34. Pingback: uverse on demand coupon code

  35. Pingback: world cup

  36. Pingback: mang bong88

  37. Pingback: Reverse Phone Lookup

  38. Pingback: buy wow gold

  39. Pingback: vimax pills

  40. Pingback: game bong88

  41. Pingback: word cup 14

  42. Pingback: Reverse Phone Lookup

  43. Pingback: att uverse deals

  44. Pingback: vimax pills

  45. Pingback: yes

  46. Pingback: Reverse Phone Lookup

  47. Pingback: currency markets

  48. Pingback: wowgold

  49. Pingback: lainaa

  50. Pingback: visit the website

  51. Pingback: leather clothing

  52. Pingback: read here

  53. Pingback: app store

  54. Pingback:

  55. Pingback: tas wanita

  56. Pingback: beli baju anak

  57. Pingback: grosir barang unik

  58. Pingback: reseller tas branded

  59. Pingback: top dating network

  60. Pingback: anemia in pregnancy

  61. Pingback: baju busana wanita

  62. Pingback: computer monitoring software for Business

  63. Pingback: how to block websites in office network

  64. Pingback: sytropin trial

  65. Pingback: Meet locals

  66. Pingback: lebon coin

  67. Pingback: forex affiliates

  68. Pingback: jcpenney coupons

  69. Pingback: Recommended Reading

  70. Pingback: bon coin

  71. Pingback: Natural Sleep Aids

  72. Pingback: cara merawat wajah dengan baik

  73. Pingback: become a real estate agent

  74. Pingback: jual baju wanita grosir

  75. Pingback: android app

  76. Pingback: party bus rates

  77. Pingback: jcpenney coupon

  78. Pingback: pollen allergy

  79. Pingback: party bus rates

  80. Pingback: Free Sports Picks

  81. Pingback: toko grosir baju wanita

  82. Pingback: small cap stocks

  83. Pingback: replica handbags wholesale

  84. Pingback: Réplique sacs à main hermes

  85. Pingback: dating app

  86. Pingback: jerawat merah

  87. Pingback: adhd coach

  88. Pingback: debt consolidation

  89. Pingback: retro sweets wholesale

  90. Pingback: cork flooring

  91. Pingback: karen millen purse

  92. Pingback: beats for sale

  93. Pingback: leboncoin

  94. Pingback: Sex Here

  95. Pingback: aneka baju wanita

  96. Pingback: aki mobil yuasa

  97. Pingback: define appendicitis

  98. Pingback: stealth webinar

  99. Pingback: jailbreak iphone 4s

  100. Pingback: jailbreak iphone 5

  101. Pingback: jual fashion wanita

  102. Pingback: alzheimer s activities

  103. Pingback: flooring, hardwood flooring

  104. Pingback: program small business

  105. Pingback: mouse removal

  106. Pingback: dogs health questions

  107. Pingback: Burberry Sac Bowling 38003851 de café

  108. Pingback: ring size template

  109. Pingback: contoh tas wanita

  110. Pingback: mulberry piccadilly

  111. Pingback: colocation los angeles

  112. Pingback: green smoke review

  113. Pingback: essential health products

  114. Pingback: novoline

  115. Pingback: green world health products

  116. Pingback: how to find your ring size in inches

  117. Pingback: free driving lessons brisbane

  118. Pingback: toko kasur murah

  119. Pingback: lunette de soleil oakley pas cher

  120. Pingback: Penggerakan Sumber Daya Manusia

  121. Pingback: goodman air conditioners reviews

  122. Pingback: portafogli prada

  123. Pingback: tas deuter

  124. Pingback: credit score check

  125. Pingback: air jordan for sale

  126. Pingback: nike air max pas cher

  127. Pingback: louboutin pas cher

  128. Pingback: kim kardashian sex tape

  129. Pingback: ransel cantik

  130. Pingback: green smoke starter kit

  131. Pingback: pengertian email

  132. Pingback: window air conditioner covers

  133. Pingback: Women s Burberry brown Shirts wshirt120 10

  134. Pingback: wow gold

  135. Pingback: see

  136. Pingback: cheap jordans

  137. Pingback: occhiali da vista ray ban

  138. Pingback: houston web design

  139. Pingback: windowless air conditioner

  140. Pingback: buy instagram followers

  141. Pingback: credit score check

  142. Pingback:

  143. Pingback: Driving Schools Dublin

  144. Pingback: 5013

  145. Pingback: Driving Lessons Galway

  146. Pingback: hollister online shop

  147. Pingback: jual tas ransel murah

  148. Pingback: sac celine 2013

  149. Pingback: guarantor loans

  150. Pingback: tas wanita aigner

  151. Pingback: guarantor loans 5000

  152. Pingback: Anonymous

%d bloggers like this: