For this weeks Feature Friday post, please welcome author Jeff Joseph. Author of A Novel Obsession,Pursued, and The Trials of Virtue. Thank you Jeff for taking the time to answer our interview questions!
Why did you decide to become a writer?
Most of my adult life, people have told me that I write well…letters, business correspondence, email, etc. Early on I was a little surprised to hear that because I hated any writing assignments I had to complete in school, and English class was sheer torture for me. It never occurred to me to try writing fiction, however I loved reading it and in particular romantic fiction. I am a sucker for a good love story…tears and all!
Many years ago after reading Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend by Robert Waller, one of my favorite books (he also wrote The Bridges of Madison County…another favorite and much more well known), I remember thinking to myself, ” I could have written that”. It wasn’t that I thought I was as talented as Waller, quite the contrary, I admire him endlessly and could never aspire to such genius. It was that the book was written in language that people speak everyday. It was a beautiful and moving story while at the same time being the easiest read of my life.
This may be the highest compliment I can pay to any author…it made me want to try to write. At the same time I remembered those well intending people commenting that they thought I had a gift for writing…so I decided to give it a try. That is how it all started.
Who/what are your writing inspirations?
Based on your first question the obvious answer is Robert Waller. Next comes Nicholas Sparks. I have read most of his books and loved them all. Talk about tugging at the heartstrings. No one can do it like him.
The story for my first book was inspired by my wife. Without our love and my concern for some of the struggles of her earlier life, I would have had nothing to write about in the beginning.
My inspiration now comes from those who appreciate anything I’ve written. I am so grateful for the on line reviews I have received. I read them all. They motivate me to do even better, including those less flattering commentaries.
What are your favorite genres to read?
Romance, first and foremost. Actually, I will read any genre if there is romance included in there somewhere. I also enjoy suspense and mystery novels, especially if they’re based on American politics or American history. Many of those have a romantic plot as well. Check out David Baldacci…my favorite author in that genre. I’m a big fan of foreign agents as well. No one does that better than Daniel Silva.
Favorite writing food / snack?
Snack? Can a glass of Cabernet be considered a snack? If so, that would be it!
What do you hope readers take away most from your writing?
Love the question and the answer is absolutely nothing. It’s not the “after” I’m concerned about. To me the “during” is everything. If the reader forgets about life and enjoys themselves while reading one of my books, for however long that takes, I am thrilled that I made life a little more bearable for them. Good fiction is all about the temporary escape from reality. It is that way for me when I write it, and I hope that way for the reader as well.
Who’s the favorite character of yours that you’ve written and why?
The answer is easily Collin Laws in my latest novel Pursued. Why? Because there is absolutely nothing he wouldn’t do to be with his true love. He was tested with his very life and never hesitated for a moment to save her.
What is your writing style? Outliner/Planner or Seat of the Pantser?
Another great question and in my case I am a combination of the above. By nature I am a “seat of the panster”…I love that phrase. Once I have an idea for a story, I love to sit down and start chapter one. But I believe every good author gets to the point where they realize they have to do some planning, whether they want to or not. The problem is, planning seems like work. The reality is, it is work but a work of joy. If you have a story in mind and take the time to plan and develop it, the process is just as rewarding as writing the story itself. And once you have a plan, in my case an outline, the writing becomes so easy it is very liberating.
If someone wanted to become a writer, what tips would you give to them?
This is very obvious, but it is also what I believe keeps nearly all prospective writers from realizing their dream. Writing a book is a very long journey. It is wrought with roadblocks along the way. Most, if not all of those roadblocks are self imposed. That’s right, the author him/herself is the object preventing the creation and completion of the work. “Getting started”. That is more difficult than writing the book itself, one hundred times more difficult! Don’t worry about whether or not you can do it. Don’t worry about whether or not it is any good. Don’t worry about whether or not you will finish it. Just start it! Enjoy every minute you dedicate to it. If you forget about everything else other than pleasing yourself as you write, you will not only write a book… yes, write a book, you will write a good one!
Have you ever purchased something from a late-night infomercial? If so, what?
No, but I don’t blame anyone who did. I have been tempted many times. Fortunately I never had the money to spend on such things. If I did, I could open a novelty store and recoup my losses.
If you could collaborate with any other author(living, dead, or undead) who would that be and why?
Hemingway. If I was in the same room with him and breathed the same air, perhaps a tiny fraction of his genius would become a part of me.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?
I would probably explode without an avenue to express myself. I’m not much for expressing myself in public. Writing provides the means to do that and do it in a way that helps me stay within my comfort zone. We are all creatures of comfort…whatever comfort we seek.
Coke, Pepsi, or?
What’s one thing people should know and/or don’t know about you?
I can write about love from personal experience. I have experienced highs from love and the lowest of lows. I have been badly hurt and most regrettably have hurt others in my careless quest for the perfect love. It took a long time for me to learn this, but there is no such thing as the perfect love. One has to start with friendship and develop as perfect a love as possible from that. The important thing to remember is that love comes in degrees. Don’t be concerned about achieving higher than 98.6 (fever). 70 degrees is far better than freezing.
Is there a character that has the most “You” in them? Or the opposite of you?
All of the male characters in my novels have the “me” in them that I’m not and want to be.
They are all based on me in part, some more than others.. The more courage they have, the less like me they are.
If we lived in a Fahrenheit 451 culture, which book would you want to memorize?
The Bible. I’m not a religious person but I believe there is more earthly wisdom there than in all of the other books that have ever been written combined.
Has anyone written a fan fiction based on your work?
Dear God…I thankfully don’t believe anyone has wasted their time on that!
Author: Jeff Joseph What could be more peaceful than a small town nestled in the plush and picturesque Appalachian foothills along the Ohio River? Seemingly nothing unless you actually live in such a place and experience the incestuous nature of the meddling, gossip, and desire that can fester there. Abby Lane has cornered the market on virtue in her small town, yet there are forces that want to take that innocence away from her. Unfortunately, the depths of deception, often undetected by the pure of heart can be harmful to the unsuspecting soul. As an English teacher, dreamer and hopeless idealist Abby immerses herself in romantic fiction to fill the void in her reality. There is one author in particular who speaks directly to her heart and she foolishly makes him the model lover by whom all suitors are to be judged. When others try to bridge that gap, idyllic small town America becomes a mysterious place to be.
Title: A Novel Obsession
Published On: December 1, 2012
Series: The Novel Series
What could be more peaceful than a small town nestled in the plush and picturesque Appalachian foothills along the Ohio River? Seemingly nothing unless you actually live in such a place and experience the incestuous nature of the meddling, gossip, and desire that can fester there.
Abby Lane has cornered the market on virtue in her small town, yet there are forces that want to take that innocence away from her. Unfortunately, the depths of deception, often undetected by the pure of heart can be harmful to the unsuspecting soul.
As an English teacher, dreamer and hopeless idealist Abby immerses herself in romantic fiction to fill the void in her reality. There is one author in particular who speaks directly to her heart and she foolishly makes him the model lover by whom all suitors are to be judged. When others try to bridge that gap, idyllic small town America becomes a mysterious place to be.
Jen is currently reading A Novel Obsession! Check back soon for the review!
Published: May 23 1014
Imagine finding love when it is least expected, and being so caught up in it that it entirely changes the direction of your life. Then just as you know for the first time ever where your life is headed and why, that perfect love disappears, like a wisp of smoke from an errant spark.
Now imagine that after months of feeling sorry for yourself you suddenly find a reason to live again, love again, and decide to pursue your lost love no matter where it may take you or how much danger it might bring upon you. In that pursuit you uncover secrets, old and dark secrets, that are intent on making certain you not only fail, but that you perish from the face of the earth. You will be tested. Will you pass the test?