Julie: How long have you been writing and what inspired you to begin?
Joe: I started writing when I was in 4th grade. My teacher, Mrs. Blair, gave the class a writing prompt. I wrote a story called "Super Joe" (I wasn't very creative). I then wrote a short story, a western, when I was in 10th grade. I wrote a screen play, a romantic comedy, about 20 years ago - a company just started to get interested before it went out of business. I started writing this novel in 2005. I was a freshman in college at Ohio State (a 41 year old freshman). And I got inspired by my freshman writing class, in which the textbooks were the 1st three Harry Potter books; and Classical Mythology. Those two classes combined with my love of movies like Lord of the Rings and Gladiator, and tv shows like Buffy, Angel and Highlander inspired me.
Julie:What is the title of your most recent release and how did you come up with the main characters?
Joe: The Heart of Seras: Journey to Seras it is book one of a 5 part fantasy series. It was released in November. I am working on book two, now. The main character, Julie Ayers, is a combination of Buffy Summers, Cordelia Chase, Valerie Bertinelli, things I didn't like about Harry Potter, and 20 years of coaching a high school girls' track and field team. My second main character, Marcus Campbell, is Angel, Duncan MacLeod, Giles, Aragorn, and Maximus (from Gladiator). I loved the idea of having a peaceful teacher who is hiding the fact that he is a demonic warrior from a student that he must convince to go to a different dimension with him, and begin training for battle. I also love the dynamic that Marcus's best fiend when growing up is his major enemy.
Julie: I look forward to reading this book, then! Do you do other things besides write, like editing or proof reading, those sort of services?
Joe: Thank you! After I write my rough draft, I do a major edit, then I rewrite, before doing a last edit and send it to my publisher. I have proof read for friends, but nothing professional. My "day time" job is being a 5th grade Social Studies/Language Arts teacher, and high school track and field coach.
Julie: Do your students know you write? Is so, What do they think about it?
Joe: They do! They love the idea. I have discussed some things with them, and a few have had their parents buy my book so they can read it. I told them I can't sell it to them without parent approval since there are a few bad words and medieval violence. It has helped me in a few lessons when we talk about author intent and such. The reviews have all been positive. I even wrote a short story for them with them as the main characters. I just wanted them to see the process. They got a kick out of that.
Julie: It's awesome that your students are so supportive, now I am sure you're an inspiration!
How do you manage to find the time to write and promote?
Joe:That is the trickiest part. Between making lesson plans, grading papers, doing track line ups, creating newspaper articles from meet results, and being a husband, father, and grandfather, I don't have a lot of time. I steal a few hours a night between 8-10, to do some writing on nights I don't have other things to do, normally 3-4 times a week. But I have found that I need to let life happen first, and then write. I have learned not to panic or get frustrated when I can't. It even helps my writing - like this weekend, I am on vacation in Tennessee, and I thought I would get a lot of free time to write, as it turns out, I have had 1 hour in three days, but the ideas I have flowing in my head are going to help in this story and possibly other ideas I have in mind. Promoting is even more time consuming. Trying to get my name out there is hard work.
Julie: Do you have any advice for indie authors, or something that you'd like to share?
Joe: Oh gosh, I am still learning the ropes, but I know you can't give up. I think it was Victor Kiam who said, "Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward." Even if you write a sentence, a paragraph, or just do some research, you are writing and you have to keep going. Another thing I have learned that helps me is to write the whole story first, then edit. I wasted so much time on my first book writing and rewriting each chapter. My second book is going so much better by just writing, and now I can edit the whole thing as it is written.
Those are certainly encouraging words, Joe and I wish you the best of luck! Thanks for chatting!