Joe lives in Saginaw, Michigan where he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing through Saginaw Valley State University. Joe has written and is currently self publishing his first novel entitled The Deity Chronicles: Origins.
His recent release, The Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro was released 12/31/12 and had already been a huge success (at least in his eyes lol).
He also dabbles in literary short fiction, and poetry.
1. What inspired Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro? How did you come up with the characters?
Inspiration came from my obsession with anything paranormal. I actually founded a paranormal group named MIParanormal, and we do a handful of cases a year around Mid-Michigan. Even as a kid, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Nessie, Mothman, all these legendary creatures captured my imagination.
As for the characters, when I released my first book four years ago, I made a promise to my sister to fictionalize her kids into a book for them. This book was intended to be written only for my family, as a Christmas present to them this year actually. It all changed after I wrote about half of the book, and I realized I was on to something bigger. Originally it was going to be a series of novella’s where the two kids would hunt down a different cyrptoid. It quickly changed into something bigger, and something much more different.
Digging deeper from the surface read, honestly and simply put, the books inspiration for me was a therapeutic pursuit of my inner child dealing with the loss of my father. The kid in me never healed from the pain of his loss. The main characters are fictionalized persona’s based heavily off my niece and nephew, with the exception of Hunter, who to be quite honest, started off with that concept, but slowly turned into a mixed character between my nephew and myself as a child.
The narrative story arc is told through a fantasy lens, mixed in with monsters and secret societies, but the layering of the piece in its entirety truly exposes how scary and lonely the world can be when those who take care of you are stolen away from your life.
It can take a life time to fully come to terms with such loss, if one is even ever able to.
Death does not just change a persona emotionally, but can easily change you physically as well. The children represent my personally emotional turmoil as to how I felt when my father died. The mansion and the crazy world the children are dumped into, represents the physical struggle I endured.
2. What does your nephew and niece think about being characters in the story?
They think it’s cool. But they are caught up in their young-adult lives, and neither has finished the book. Their too caught up in being a kid, and neither are big readers.
3. What are you working on now?
The first thing you learn when you go into self-publishing is you spend a hell of a lot of time doing self-promoting. Right now outside of my 50 hours a week retail job, I am spending 30 to 40 hours a week utilizing social tools, trying to build a larger network, and sending out emails to book bloggers, like yourself. So, I am working hard on promoting this book.
I have started the outline process of its predecessor, Secret Seekers Society and Solomon’s Ring. I will be very excited to actual begin fleshing out the manuscript. It’s my hope to release it December 2013.
4. How many books do you plan to have in the series?
I have roughly eight books outlined. Of course, this is always viable to change. In fact, depending on its success, I have been toying with the idea of creating shorter spin offs starring the secondary characters like Alistair and Olivia, to dig deeper into their goals and needs.
5. Favorite moment/scene in Beast of Bladenboro?
I really love the first scene where the children are being driven to the Mansion. You are introduced to the children who are confused, vulnerable, and are in extreme emotional turmoil. They have this fragile bond, where they depend on one another, yet also use each other as their emotional outlet, often times they can’t even comprehend why they say and do the things they do, and you witness this within the first few pages.
One of my favorite images that stand out in my head when I think of the book, is seeing the two children staring up bleakly at this daunting gothic styles mansion, with two giant ominous gargoyle monoliths peering down at them. The cold rain stinging their young cheeks, mixing their salty confused tears with the pureness of nature, it’s a powerful image.
6. Favorite Book of all time?
The graphic novel, The Watchmen hands down. This narrative is so deep, so well thought out, and plays on so many levels of humanity. One of the deepest and richest stories I have ever had the pleasure to read.
7. Favorite quote of all time?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
8. Other than Seekers Secret Society series what other ideas/books have you thought about writing?
My first book, the Deity Chronicles, follows a young boy who unravels a mystery alternate world where magic replaces technology, and he is their long long Deity.
I have also been working on a few other books over the last few years that have failed to get passed early drafts.
One called the Nihilism Project, centers a dystopian future where God is falsely proven to be fiction, and how it crumbles certain aspects of the culture.
Another is a revenge tale called The Protectors. It’s my take on a urban fantasy graphic novel inspired novel.
9. What made you want to write?
I have always written. I have been spinning tales since grade school. My first book I ever wrote starred myself and two best friends as we escaped a pyramid and a possessed mummy. That was some good literature right there.
10. Any advice for future authors?
Love to write, and write for love. Build bridges with everyone you know, do by them right, and they will do you right. Follow the golden rule. Maybe you’re wondering why this is important, who the hell cares how I treat people? The only reason I was able to fund this project of mine, is because I have been able to create and maintain relationships throughout my life based on a very few simple and basic rules.
-Always be genuine and kind.
-Be the first to help, when help is needed.
-Any other artists, share their works, promote their pages, and you will never have to ask when it comes time for yours to be promoted.
-Just be the best person you can be. Plus, it just feels good.
So how does that help me as a writer? When it came down for me to ask for donations to fund my book, those people who I have helped, who I have kept a strong bridge with, they were the first ones who came to my aid. When it came down for me to need help with promotion, it was those people who promoted my book, who reviewed it, etc.
Thanks again to J.L. Hickey for stopping by My Book Muse today and answering all our questions!