It gives me much pleasure welcoming Joel here today for the interview. He gave me (and a lot of other people) a wonderful gift that he’ll be explaining :-)
Welcome, Joel ! Where are you from and how old are you?
I’ll be 52 on my next birthday. I’ve just forgotten when that is. Oklahoma is my birthplace, I’m a farm kid, but I’ve called many places home.
When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?
The writing disease nearly struck over twenty years ago. A story materialized, and I wrote about thirty pages of it. It’s utterly gone, nothing of it remains. My younger brother wanted to co-write a science fiction back in the early ‘90s, so I started all the research for the project. That fell apart too, but the tiniest spark remained with me for all those years. When I began in earnest, to write an actual book, it was the science fiction which drew me back. I have to admit, I gave myself to it completely, loving every second I could spend writing or doing research.
Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?
After that first chapter of Harmony’s Passing. The project had a life of its own, and that told me it could be something very real.
What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?
I just want to hear that people like what I’ve created. I don’t have any illusions this will bring fame, or pay the rent.
Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?
Only the high school brand. There was that year and a half that I studied Journalism, but that was mostly newsprint page design, and exercises in writing snappy headlines. This was years before the computer revolution, and it couldn’t hold my interest. I never bought into the self-aggrandizement that comes with being a Journalist to “make a difference”.
What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?
Completing my first book, and plunging directly into the second. I’d completed my second novel before realizing the books could be sold, and that it would involve actual work to do it. The activity comes so naturally, fluidly to me, that I could easily make up for that empty twenty years I should have been writing. Handing out those self-printed manuscripts, and hearing back from the first dozen readers–that told me there was a reason to continue.
I would think so :-)
Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?
I love classics. I love silly and serious. Anywhere from Edward Lear to Bulwer Lytton. But Gary Jennings impressed me as one of the most talented storytellers I’d read, and there have been a few others like him. Mind-numbing detail thrills me, and stories that take weeks and weeks to read; those are my favorites.
Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?
All my ideas are the product of daydreaming, or being half-awake very late at night in a quiet house. We have a half-hour drive to get into town, and I’m alone about half the time driving it. I create a lot of fiction while driving.
What is your normal revision or editing routine?
I just write. I never edit. Oh, I’ll try a little to catch typos, or untwist my prose. The only experience I’ve had with editing was to follow some horrid advice from a very lazy agent. I reduced my third novel for her, to the point that I hated being in the file. That agent will never come near my books again. Neither will any others, for that matter; the words in my books are mine alone. No one can say which ones should be removed or changed.
Yay, Joel :-)
Are you published?
I’m self-published. I’ve produced four novels. My fifth novel is tickling my brain, but it will have to wait. The idea is sound, it can wait for me this time. Life has other plans, and that fifth novel is not a priority.
Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?
My experiments into marketing morphed into a discovery of talented Indie authors. While planning and playing with my own books to make them visible, I began to read some other works. Before long those stories begged me to help expose them. The blog, The Tale’s The Thing, just popped into being because those new authors became friends and I wanted to talk about what they had written. My intent is to only showcase what I’ve read, because those conversations can be more personal. The blog is a bit more work than I’d planned, and like I’d said – life is interfering at the moment. I’m just about out of good reads to showcase, and may put the blog on hiatus soon. One thing is certain–I can be delayed or sidetracked–but, only for a while. I’m having too much fun.
O.K., Joel, it’s time to tell us about your connection with BestsellerBound and the gift you gave to a bunch of the writers over there :-)
I found BestsellerBound while trying to rid myself of memberships in forums that really did nothing for authors. Somehow I found BsB and it only took me a few minutes to decide and join. I read the welcomes from the three founders; Darcia, Maria, Stacy, and recognized them as genuine people. Lots of connections can be made in book forums, but few real friendships. Those three ladies seemed to be seeking just that from their members. And the fun exploded. I’ve tried to be uberGoofy over there, and they’ve not locked me out–yet.
The real attraction of the forum is the openness; their encouragement of Indie authors to come aboard and share. They encourage involvement. So authors trade ideas there, swap books, review one another, and they commiserate about this industry. That alone is a very fine thing. However, that forum has some of the most talented authors I’ve read in years. I’ve not needed to visit a bookstore for a long while, and my TBR shelf is packed with Indie books just screaming at me to hurry and open them. It’s as close to perfect as you could imagine.
To give back to that wonderful group of people, I offered to organize and assemble some first chapter samples for them. When word got out about the project–just before Christmas–sixty authors jumped at the chance. It turned into a three volume set of great beginnings, nearly every genre you could imagine. The BestsellerBound Sample Anthology project has been seen by more than four thousand readers now, on a bevvy of websites. Given out as free files, people have been gathering them up, or reading online. To be honest, I’ve not seen anything like them, anywhere, and it won’t be the last time BsB puts out a project of that sort. Darcia is already organizing a short story collection, and BsB has become a brand. Indie authors deserve such attention, and few places can match what BestsellerBound offers. It has been one of my greatest joys as an author, to be involved there.
Joel, it’s been a rare pleasure having you here today :-) One more favor: