Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jeff Joseph author of A Novel Obsession and The Trials of Virtue. In spite of being a husband and father, Jeff has always been a daydreamer. True love and the inherent difficulty in finding it are what he daydream about the most, and to him writing a book is merely daydreaming and capturing our thoughts in print. “It makes them more real and provides the opportunity for others to share in them as well.” – Jeff Joseph
Hi Jeff, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
- Tell me a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school? Were you good at English? What are your ambitions for your writing career? Which writers inspire you? Is there something that you feel you need to share?
I was very fortunate to have grown up in an idyllic middle class neighborhood with lots of kids on my street. We didn’t have any electronics to entertain us so we used something very outdated…our imagination! It therefore was a natural progression that I would eventually write fiction.
I was popular in school but never quite enough to have the Homecoming Queen as my girlfriend. I was the guy next door. I was the boy every girl wanted to be “friends” with but nothing more. I didn’t really care for school other than for the girls and sports. I spent my classroom time daydreaming and rarely did any homework because I was always playing sports and watching TV instead.
Studying English seemed very clinical to me and very much like learning any language. I hated it. I remember diagramming sentences as among the most painful of things that I have ever done in my life! There was one day in tenth grade however that I actually enjoyed English. My teacher played a Simon and Garfunkel album and we talked about what the songs meant. My only other fond memory of English was in twelfth grade. Our teacher was reading Cyrano de Bergerac to the class and was crying her eyes out. The other boys in the class were unkindly teasing her when she wasn’t looking. Despite being friends with them, I did not engage in the teasing. I did however find myself nearly crying (I would have died before letting them see me cry) while she was reading. It’s funny how I remember two days in 13 years of learning.
My ambitions for writing are simple. I want people to read what I write and feel better for a while as a result. I want to touch my readers. That’s what my favorite books do for me. I have no grandiose plans of being rich and famous. In fact, I’m not very good with a lot of attention. But reading good reviews is incredibly rewarding to me because it tells me that I have done what I intended to do.
As for my favorite writers, I would say Nicholas Sparks, Daniel Silva, and my most favorite of all David Baldacci. The Camel Club…it doesn’t get any better! I’m also a big fan of Dan Brown, loved Angels and Demons, and have read numerous novels by Sandra Brown and even Nora Roberts. I love mysteries and political thrillers but I insist on there being a love story woven in somewhere. To me though a well written love story from start to finish is what I crave the most.
- What was your life like before becoming an author?
Pretty much as it is now and I am happy with that. I’m blessed with a loving, supportive wife, a wonderful family, great friends, and am able to provide for my family, albeit on a modest level. I live in a beautiful part of the country where we enjoy four seasons of weather and have the perfect excuse to have fires in the fireplace every weekend during one of those seasons. I have always been in relative good health experiencing only the occasional discomfort resulting from a very active athletic life as a boy and young man. Now I am competitive vicariously through my favorite sports teams that provide for a full range of emotions throughout the year and a great deal of fun. I have my favorite movies that I watch over and over…I’ve seen Sleepless in Seattle 165 times (I actually started counting after the twelfth time), and several others 50 or more times. I never grow tired of the romantic movies and they in part fuel my writing.
Being an author has added a deep sense of pride to my life although I have generally been very proud of the life I have led.
- When did you decide to become a writer?
I decided to try writing after reading A Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend by Robert James Waller, probably 15 years ago. I loved it and thought that I could have written it! All of my life people have told me that I write well. So I decided to see if I could actually write a book from start to finish. It had to be romance because that is who I am. But, I also was aware that I couldn’t write well enough to tell a love story and nothing else, at least at the time. So, I decided to spice it up with some mystery and suspense, which any overactive imagination can conjure up. I actually did write a book over a period of several years but didn’t think it was very good. Still, I felt very satisfied for having finished it and had an absolute blast writing it from start to finish! An editor at Random house said I wasn’t ready to be published but encouraged me to continue to write and I was only too happy to do that. It had become a hobby of mine, a release that never fails to make my troubles seem to dissolve. I was told that my writing would only get better and to this day I have found that to be the case.
Which comes first, the character’s story or the idea for the novel?
The idea for the novel has come first so far. I don’t spend a lot of time in development. I just get an idea for a story and start writing. Once I get started and feel I have enough storyline to write a novel, I do take time to organize my thoughts and come up with a chapter outline. I work on the outline while I’m writing the book because things constantly change as the story develops and it gets very exciting at times. But, for the most part I prefer to write and not plan. Writing is a joy. Planning is work.
- Why do you write? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
To me writing is nothing more than daydreaming and putting your thoughts on print. When writing fiction anything is possible and it is so much fun to create the impossible. I write because more than any form of relaxation I practice, it soothes and comforts me. When I write something that I think is good, it fuels me and I become energetic and more upbeat. Of course now reading positive reviews drive me even more. I am so gratified that people read what I’ve written and really enjoy it. It makes it more than just a selfish and private pursuit. I’ve never been in a position to help people, at least other than in small numbers. If people read my books and they make them feel better, even for a short time, I feel like I’m helping my fellow man somehow. That sounds a little corny, but it’s true. And what is wrong with corny anyway!
My advice to aspiring writers would be to just start writing. You will probably be surprised at what you have inside of you. Getting started is what holds nearly everyone back. As with anything you have to do where you might be hanging your ego out there, taking that first step is always the most difficult part of the journey. Just push through the fear and it will disappear.
- So, what have you written? Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.
The second one is much better and has received numerous good reviews.
I am currently finishing my third book, which is a sequel to the second. Most of the reviewers state that they are looking forward to it and I don’t want to disappoint them.
- Where people can buy or see them? /* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included/?
My books can be viewed and purchased at:
1. Amazon (US) – http://amzn.to/VrxHL9
2. Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/ZXJyDk
3. Barnes&Noble – http://bit.ly/11yVB7P
4. Smashwords – http://bit.ly/SKfuUC
5. Youtube Trailer – http://bit.ly/UhtJhe
- Give me an insight into your main character from your last novel /first novel/. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main character in my last novel is of all things a novelist, a romance novelist. He is very accomplished and internationally renowned but unfortunately he lacks the love in his personal life of which he so eloquently writes. His smothering fame along with the lack of real love in his life is proving to be a lethal combination and he finds himself in a life altering, downward spiral. Then along comes a very special woman who may save his life. They meet in a most unexpected way.
- What sparked the idea for your book/s?
The first book was inspired by a real life story of someone with whom I am very close. There was no particular inspiration for the most recent book. It was just my active imagination. I will say though that when I start out to write a story about love, whether augmented with suspense and mystery or not, the lovers have to experience a struggle before they can eventually be together. That struggle makes the build up to the ending much more exciting and the ending itself more fulfilling and memorable.
- Are there any character traits in your book that are based on someone you know? /*Even if the whole character isn’t based on them?/
The main character in my most recent book is more like me than not. He is probably more like the man I wish I was and am not, but I did draw from my personal experiences and feelings to write about him.
He is sensitive, funny, caring, and most of all a hopeless romantic.
He is also immensely talented and very rich and of course that is the part I wish for myself!
- Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I did not read much early in life other than all of the Hardy Boys books. I have done much more reading as an adult and with my work and all of the traveling I do. I listen to books on CD frequently. As I stated earlier my favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks, Daniel Silva, and David Baldacci. They are all genius when it comes to storytelling.
- Where is your favorite place to read and write?
I do most of my writing in my office at home in my spare time of which I presently have little. I have a full time job managing 250 people and that takes up most of my waking hours. But, one of the things I love the most about writing is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. I travel with my laptop and I never fail to write no matter where I am. I have written at car dealerships while my car was being worked on, and I have even written in my car while stuck in traffic. It is amazing how much aggravation that has saved me while my fellow drivers stood outside their cars yelling and screaming.
- How do you market your book/s?
I market my work on line and via the social media. Even after all of this time I am amazed at just how powerful the internet is if used correctly.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
I would start with Amazon.com but by all means get an editor first. You can easily find one on the internet. Do some research online as to the other sites where you can publish books and get on them. You will learn a great deal every time you become involved with a new site.
- What do you do to get book reviews?
I really don’t do anything to promote reviews other than to publish the book and see what people have to say about it. It’s a little risky from an ego standpoint, but no risk, no gain! I do have several people I trust to read and personally review the book before I attempt to publish it as a means of vetting it for content, and a good editor will also make comments about content as well. I try to minimize the risk as much as possible, but to me asking for a good review will diminish the benefit that an honest review can provide.
- What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I would tell prospective authors, and have told them, don’t let your feelings of doubt limit you. You have more talent than you think. Most people dream of writing a book and never start one. Just sit down in front of a Word document and start typing away. You may very well be shocked and delighted by what comes out of you. It may totally change your life!
- Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
No. This had been a very thorough interview and fun to do. Thank you for the opportunity to let readers know a little more about me.
- How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I would suggest following my:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006WAFHVO
It was a great privilege for me to get to interview Jeff Josepf, who has inspired me in many different ways. Thank you Jeff!!! Good Luck with everything!