Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview with Joseph Robert Lewis

Tell me a little about yourself, where you are from, do you feel where you live influences how or what you write?

I am an incredibly exciting and mysterious person! Between my day job, my family, and writing my books, I also find time to watch TV and clean the house.
I was born and raised in Maryland, and I'm still here. It's actually a pretty dynamic and diverse little state, with tons of immigrant communities and lots of big government offices and contractors all around. So we have awesome ethnic restaurants and highly dangerous military test facilities.
This has actually had a pretty strong impact on me as a writer. I care a lot about social issues, from racism and sexism to education and health care. But I also have a boyish fascination with machines that go fast or go boom. So living in Maryland, I've had a lot of unique experiences meeting and working with different types of people and learning about both political and technological subjects first hand.

What sort of expectations did you have when being published was on the horizon?

I had no expectations at all, and if I did, I was quick to stamp them out. I take my publishing career pretty seriously and I'm careful not to let myself get too distracted or biased by "what might happen." Every day I try my best to write great stories and to promote them in fun ways. Some days I don't seem to make any progress, but some days I'm hugely successful. So I don't let the bad days get to me, and I'm very grateful for the good days.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Unprofessionalism. I can't stand it when grown adults act like helpless, lazy children. It's not that hard to show up on time, to do your best, to be honest, and to be a nice person. Marketing guru Seth Godin has a lot of messages for working professionals, but I think the most important one is to focus on being a great person and doing great work. Anything less is a waste and a pity.
And I may not always be the best professional I can be, but I sure as heck make the effort. My readers deserve it!

Have you always been interested in history?

Absolutely! History is amazing. I think people who don't like history must have had some really awful history teachers. History is one giant story about war, politics, exploration, technology, science, art, music, sports, animals, clothes, and the people who made it all possible. The personal stories buried in our history textbooks are just mind-boggling.
About fourteen years ago I was tutoring a student who was reading The Iliad in school. He liked the story and said it would be neat if things like that really happened. When I explained that the Trojan war really did happen, his head nearly exploded. (I'm glad it didn't, that would have been hard to explain to his parents.) That's how amazing history is.

Where/how did you come up with the idea for The Other Earth series?

When I was just starting out as an author, I wanted to write every kind of story. Fantasy, horror, paranormal, steampunk, historical, etc. But I didn't want to have to create a whole new world every time I switched genres. So I invented a single world in which I could tell any type of genre story using the same characters and overlapping plots.
So in The Other Earth series, we have steampunky technologies in the 16th century, ghosts and legendary beasts, mythological and historical characters, and anything else you could want, all seamlessly fitting together in one world.

Why did you decide to use the name Joss Llewelyn for Daphne and The Silver Ash, but not for your other books?

Most of my books are for a general adult audience, and have a certain amount of violence and sexual content. But Daphne and the Silver Ash is intended for readers of all ages, and I didn't want one of my younger readers to accidentally try to read one of my more adult books just because they were by the same author. Thus the pen name. I've made no secret that Joss and Joe are the same writer. It's just a tool to help separate my adult books from stories for younger readers. (And yes, there will be more from Joss eventually!)
Is there a genre you prefer to write? What about to read?

I prefer to write fantasy, which includes historical fantasy and magical fantasy. I like letting my imagination run wild, and to tell stories that focus on basic human experiences and emotions.
I like to read fantasy as well, but I especially like hard science fiction that challenges me as a reader and as a technophile. Hard SF also explores ideas about the present and the future in really thoughtful ways that we as a society need to be thinking about.

Care to give us a peek at what your latest writing project is?

I'm in the middle of the first fantasy/horror story in The Other Earth series called Freya the Huntress. It's about vikings fighting werewolves, and I'm having a blast working on it.

Thanksgiving just passed, So in keeping with the holiday, what were you most thankful for this year?

Uhm...everything? My daughter, my wife, my health, the Internet,, Berger cookies, Five Guys, Netflix, Hawaiian shirts, the color orange, and last but certainly not least: my readers!

You can also find Joseph here:
JRL-The Official Site of Joseph Robert Lewis (his website)
Joe's Blog

*****Currently Joseph's books The Lost Airship, The Burning Sky and Daphne and The Silver Ash are all only .99 cents!!!
 Heirs of Mars: Preludes is FREE!!!!
 Great prices for the upcoming holiday season! Be sure to check them out before the new year, prices will stay that way until then!******

*****Want a free book?*****

If you email Joseph to subscribe to his mailing list and promise to post a review to Amazon he will send you a copy of one of his books! Your choice which one!  

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