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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 2: Interview with Joseph Robert Lewis

Ugh. The day after Canada Day. Lots of fun, not enough sleep. *Yawn*. Oh, well...this is a 4 day celebration. It doesn't happen often.

To celebrate Day 2, I have interviewed the author of Daphne and the Silver Ash, Joseph Robert Lewis (aka Joss Llewelyn)

Welcome to Love, Laugh and Read and thank you so much for agreeing to interview with me today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Vanessa, thanks for having me! Well, I began my professional career writing about military operations and technologies, and then I moved on to write about software design, medicine, health care, law, finance, history, and everything else under the sun. I was very fortunate to get so many years of experience working in every part of the publishing process from writing and editing to design, illustration, and print/electronic publication, and getting to work with so many great professionals from so many different fields.
On a more personal note, I have a lovely wife and and a young daughter who constantly demands that I tell her stories. I love classical fantasy and mythology as much as mind-bending science fiction, I'm fighting an endless war against delicious foods that are not good for me, and I practice archery in my spare time. Like most people.
What was your inspiration behind Daphne and the Silver Ash?
It's funny, I have a long list of books I want to write and Daphne was not ever on that list. I had just published a new steampunk novel and suddenly Daphne's entire story just fell into my head fully formed. I was partly inspired to create something old fashioned and lyrical like The Last Unicorn, and I partly wanted to write something specifically for my daughter.

So I put everything else on hold and wrote Daphne and the Silver Ash. Everything about it was new and different for me. This is my first novella, and it is the first story I've written in this old fashioned "storyteller" voice and style.

If you could sum up Daphne and the Silver Ash in 5 words....how would you describe it?
Classical, lyrical, mythological, timeless, & exciting. The ampersand doesn't count as a word, right? :-)

I noticed on your website that all your other books are written under your name "Joseph Robert Lewis" while this particular book is written under the name "Joss Llewelyn. Can you enlighten us?
That's a good catch! I've been publishing science fiction and historical fantasy novels under my real name, Joseph Robert Lewis, for a little while now. And those books are all aimed solidly at the general adult reader, meaning they have a bit of action (violence) and romance (sex). Grownups like that stuff.

So when I wrote Daphne, I wanted to set it apart from my other work because Daphne is definitely meant for readers of all ages. In fact, I've been thrilled to hear back from parents who have already been reading Daphne to their kids, or who plan to read it to them now that they have read it themselves. So I made up a pen name to help separate my stories for younger readers. Joss Llewelyn is actually Joseph Robert Lewis. Shh! Don't tell anyone!

When did you start writing? Did you always know this was something you wanted to do, or did you just stumble upon it and think "I should write some books"?
I think I first started writing fiction in high school. Back then I was in love with the American writers of the early twentieth century like Jack London and RE Howard. I wanted to write tense, raw adventures about ancient worlds and man-versus-nature. Unfortunately, I didn't really learn how to finish a story properly for a long time, but eventually I started writing whole novels. I have three trunk novels (half-baked books that will never see the light of day). But now that I'm publishing, I have a huge backlog of planned books, sequels, and series that I just can't wait to write. I plan to be busy for a very long time!
I'm probably one of those writers who would "still write even if I knew for a fact that no one will ever read my stories" so it certainly wasn't a casual decision to start writing.

Can you give our readers some useful tips and tricks that you use when it comes to writing a novel?
I don't have any clever, witty, or new advice. I'm just one more person to say, "Write, write, write, and then write some more." And read too, if you have time. Education helps a little, but writing a book is like any other job. It takes time and effort, there are no shortcuts, and most people's advice won't apply to you because we're all different people and writing is pretty subjective.

But once you're ready to publish, you need to focus on being professional, listening more than you speak, and learning how to digest feedback in a healthy and constructive way. Because the business side of being a writer can range from "Hooray for Amazing Golden Unicorns and Rainbows!!!" all the way down to "Everyone hates me and I can't stop eating Oreos!" You have been warned.

Several writers need a quiet space or a bowl of only green M&M's in order to write their novel. It somewhat centers them to have these things readily available when writing. Do you have any strange habits or routines that get you in the creative mood?
Hmm, my creative mood? No, unfortunately, I'm not one of those fascinating writers with a strange mystique or aura of inspiration (not even a cloak of invisibility!). I'm just an old fashioned workhorse. After 9-ish hours at work and 4-ish hours with my family, I plop down and just start typing away where I left off the night before. No matter my mood!
I will say that I need it to be pretty quiet, and I have to be on my computer. I just cannot function with paper and pen at all anymore. My fingers are baffled by penmanship.

Do you currently have any more terrific stories on the go? If so...can we get a sneak peek?
I have mountains of stuff on the way. In June I released the second installment of The Tale of Asha about two women solving paranormal medical mysteries in India. Right now I'm writing the third installment of my Halcyon steampunk trilogy. And by the end of the year I'll have the last Asha book out, too. After that, I have plans for two sequels to Daphne and the Silver Ash, as well as sequels to my sci-fi adventure Heirs of Mars, and then a superhero murder mystery. And a viking trilogy. And a horror trilogy.

Yep, I have a lot of plans for the next two years.
Thank you so much for answering some questions and donating an e-copy of your novella Daphne and the Silver Ash to our giveaway this week.
Thanks for having me! I certainly hope your readers enjoy Daphne. I'd love to hear from them what they think about it. And if they want to find out more about me and my other books, they can visit my site, which will lead them to my blog, tons of reviews, free downloads, and other stuff.

I want to thank Joseph for allowing me to pick at his brain. I love doing it so much. For more information about Joseph and his other works, click the link about to visit his website.

Still looking for extra entries for the giveaway?? Oh, I know you are! Simply leave a comment below this post. That's it! Another 2 entries for you to win one of three prize packs, one of which will include an EBook copy of Joseph's novella, Daphne and the Silver Ash.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I love the way Joseph described her book in 5 words. The cover is amazing!!!