Name J.F. Silver
Where are you from
I live just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I graduated from high school in a small town forty years ago then left for job opportunities here in Milwaukee. Shortly after, I met my future wife. We were married thirty-eight years ago, raised two beautiful daughters and now have three grandchildren. Along the way, we lived in Michigan and spent twelve years near our nation’s capital in Maryland before settling back here where we first met. It’s as if we’ve come full circle.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve been busy this year promoting my book series, Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe. Last fall, I was fortunate and grateful to receive some help from a volunteer PA who helped by making me some banners and teasers and encouraging me to take part in social media events. As most new authors will tell you, promo and getting your work in front of a larger audience are the hardest things. I try to get my books posted in as many places as possible. I’m very grateful for this opportunity today, Fiona. I’m hoping someone will read this and think my books will be worth a look. I still manage to find time to write, too. I’m currently working on the fourth book of the series, “Life’s Too Short.”
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I had always wanted to write and was good at it in school, writing for the newspaper, etc. But, work, children and life occurred and I wasn’t sure it would ever happen. These next few questions will all have answers related to how this actually came about. My writing career began eight years ago, when, at the age of fifty, I wrote a short, erotic fantasy tale for my wife as a birthday gift. I truly believed it would be a one-time thing, just a little story for her and me to enjoy. She did enjoy it, so much in fact, that she encouraged me to write another, even offering a plotline. For several years, we created these stories together, she coming up with ideas and me putting them into words. They were never intended to be anything more than sexy stories for the two of us to share. But, along the way, things happen….
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After about five years of writing our erotic stories, we decided to try to publish them. It took a few months to put together a narrative and we decided a series of shorter books would work best. A challenge was that our stories didn’t really fit into the established genres of erotica. But, we knew they were good and I was determined to sell them to a publisher. It took a lot of research and work but in November, 2013, I signed my first contract. Just having that happen was a lifelong dream come true for me. Then, seeing my own Amazon page with some really nice reviews of my books, well, that makes me feel like a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
This all goes back to the questions above. My wife inspired that first series of stories. Actually putting them into a book was the result of many things falling into place. One day in the fall of 2012, while sitting in a waiting room, I picked up a Time magazine. In it was an article about the newly released, “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy and the exploding popularity of erotica, especially e-books. I was curious so we bought and read the books then realized we had a good product to sell ourselves. I got to work finding suitable publishers, fitting the book to their individual guidelines and began submitting. After a few quick rejections, I found the website of a small publisher named Stiff Rain Press. They only had a dozen or so books released at the time but I knew right away it was the place for me.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, I write in the first person. From the beginning, I told the stories as “Joe,” and from his point of view. When I submitted my first book, I was so lucky to be able work with an editor named, Kris Jacen. While Joe tells the story, the POV would jump all over the place. Once I got that corrected with Kris’s help, things just fell into place.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Actually, my wife and muse deserves credit for that. When I wrote that first story, I used our real names. Not really comfortable with that, she suggested our middle names, Joe and Elaine, instead. And so they have been ever since. They are also a pretty average couple so she suggested using “Average Joe” in the title. We toyed with ideas like, “Tales of an Average Joe,” but the “Mrs.” is the character that drives the story. So, we submitted it as “Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe,” which also became the series name. Book 2, which wass released last May, is called, “Nothing Gray About Fifty.” I will take full responsibility for that one and yes, it is supposed to be a clever take on that other series. But, this one is about turning fifty and describes some fun ways of celebrating that milestone. My muse came up with the idea and title for the third book, “Along For the Ride,” which came out in October.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Definitely! These are very erotic, sexy books that have characters in their fifties, our own ages. They’re filled with sexy fantasies but are realistic and age appropriate so things like ED drugs and sex toys, even hot flashes are mentioned. The characters communicate and share their hottest fantasies, exactly the way my wife and I did when we wrote them. Some of my favorite comments in reviews point to that fact that the characters are “My own age, someone I can relate to, etc.” Oh, and it can get better with age!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
This is a trick question! Okay, I’ve discussed this many times. The title characters, Joe and Elaine, are completely based on real people. Where they live, what they do, hobbies, etc. It makes it easy to write if we can picture ourselves in that place. But, and this is a BIG BUT, that’s where it ends. In the story, Joe and Elaine begin a relationship with another couple, living out a long time fantasy. While extremely fun and exciting, that part is totally fiction. Researching for a story is something I enjoy so I try hard to keep things as realistic as possible.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Many real life experiences and events have found their way into my books. For example, in “Nothing Gray,” Joe and Elaine mention getting hit on by another couple at a friend’s wedding. That incident was 100% true!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
This is a hard question. I loved reading early on and had some excellent teachers along the way. One introduced me to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. back in the 1970’s. I got into those heavily and enjoyed the abstract nature of his work. I also liked some sci-fi and futuristic things like Ray Bradbury. More recently, we’ve enjoyed reading spiritual authors like Neale Donald Walsch and Eckhart Tolle. Of course, we really enjoy erotica, too.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Pure guilty pleasure: my wife and I like to read erotica to each other. We’ve been taking turns recently with an erotic series called, “Meet the Baumgartners” by Selena Kitt. Very hot stuff. We love it.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’ll admit recently I’ve gravitated toward the erotic like my own. I’ve gotten to know many authors via social media and have discovered several I like. Our “Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe” books find themselves in the category of “Swingers,” though I like to think they offer a little more. In a similar vein, J.W. Snootz writes a very fun series called, “Swingers in Paradise.” I’ve also discovered a great new author from Canada named Mia Moore, who writes tantalizing erotic fiction a bit like ours. And the aforementioned, Selena Kitt.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on the fourth title in the “Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe” series. This one’s called, “Life’s Too Short,” and even more than the others, talks about opening your mind and enjoying life! I plan on finishing it soon. Meanwhile, my wife and muse, Beth, has just submitted a young children’s book she wrote many years ago. I guess she thought if I could publish smut for seniors, she would start at the other end of the spectrum! It’s a good story and this may actually happen.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
First, my publisher, Stiff Rain Press for taking a chance on a fifty-something first-time author. Due to the genre I write, much of my family is indifferent to my literary endeavors. Some may even be a little embarrassed. What I love more than anything, though, are the comments left in reviews. I also never gave much thought to the fact that my books would be read all around the world. I have readers in Australia and the UK telling me how much they enjoyed reading them and that means so much to me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love that more than anything. But, any author will tell you it’s a tough way to make a living. I’m fortunate enough to have publishing contracts but still have to work a day job to pay the bills. I may have started late but the passion burns strong and I plan to keep writing as long as I can.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m really happy with my latest book and the direction it took us. At the end of, “Along For the Ride,” the two main female characters announce they want to write a book together. This is the challenge I’m dealing with now, a book within a book. Fun.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I would have to go way back to high school English many years ago and a teacher that really encouraged me. I wish I’d kept it up but there’s a reason for everything, I guess. Today, I can’t imagine not writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current project offers a few twists I’m not ready to divulge yet (I’ve said too much already!) but will share a favorite bit from “Along For the Ride.” In this story, each friend picks an event and the others must come along. Best friend Mika takes them to a popular LGBT Festival:
I couldn’t remember exactly when the annual Pride Fest started but it was now the one that kicked off the festival season in early June. Elaine and I had never considered going to this one, for no other reason than we didn’t go to the others. Growing up here, there was no way we could have imagined something like this, reminding us how far we’d come as a city and society in general. Now, it was all about our beautiful Japanese friend being able to celebrate her bisexuality. Mika’s enthusiasm was contagious and Elaine was excited about going too. She didn’t seem to be concerned about what people would think and was proud to be going with Mika. Elaine also realized this would be a night they could openly enjoy their special relationship.
It was nice and warm on Saturday, the biggest night of the festival. One of Mika’s favorites, an iconic dance pop diva was headlining and a big crowd was expected. There was a small group of protesters outside the festival gates holding signs with typically hateful words about going against God, etc. We were able to shrug them off as two couples going in but John had to remind Mika that it wasn’t worth taking them on. She had very strong feelings about intolerance.
Once inside, she took Elaine by the hand while John and I followed behind as we would much of the night. Mika wanted to see everything and there wasn’t a single table or kiosk we didn’t check out. This was really fun, and along the way we met some very interesting people. The always friendly and outspoken Mika loved introducing Elaine as her girlfriend, even after people had just met her husband.
“So, is she your other significant other?” someone asked with a sly grin. “And, if so, which one’s more significant?” This left her momentarily speechless, no small feat for Mika. She looked back at John then smiled and turned to Elaine. She’d obviously decided to have fun with this.
“Hmm, you mean tonight?” she replied teasingly. “Well, I think I’ll start with this one but these other two just might make significant contributions.” Then she pulled Elaine into a tight embrace. “I’m ready to dance, how about it?”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping the story from getting boring and stale is the hardest thing for me. How many ways can you write about people having sex? A lot, it turns out!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I would have to go back to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. for reasons that mostly elude words. Every few years I pull out “Cat’s Cradle” or “Slaughterhouse Five” and discover it all over again.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Unfortunately, no. My books are generally set in the familiar turf of our hometown, Milwaukee. I’ve written stories that take us to San Francisco and tropical islands but all research has been just that up until now.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The covers for my books were done by a great artist/photographer named Les Byerley, who does all the covers for Stiff Rain Press. For the first, I mentioned we had a beautiful Asian woman with a red kimono and he gave us that gorgeous cover. We were able to continue the overall “red” coloring for the next two, each fitting that story perfectly yet leaving a little mystery.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Since I was working with existing stories, forming them into an interesting narrative was initially the hardest part. They weren’t really connected. There was a summer story, birthdays, holidays, Halloween, etc. So, once we connected the scenarios, the next thing was deciding when to cut them off. Instead of one long novel, ours is a series of several shorter ones. I like to keep each under 100 pages and hopefully they can be bundled together at some point.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’m still learning things, even at my age! Tips about writing, advice about promoting. I’ve learned that getting a book published is just the beginning.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, and this was the most important thing to me when I looked for publishers: if you think it’s good, someone else will, too. That’s important. And, never give up! I was lucky enough to sell my stories to a publisher but there are so many options today. I have author friends that just don’t welcome working with an editor and that’s fine. Self-publishing has become easier than ever. Never give up.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, thank you! We had some questions about keeping the series going but they seem to want more and that’s our plan. I’m so grateful! I’d also like to remind all readers that the nicest thing you can do for any author is write a review.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember an old copy of Tom Sawyer that belonged to my father, dated 1944, I believe.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love good comedy and live stand up shows. The thought of my grandchildren growing up so fast makes me cry. Life really is too short.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
This is tough, too. After some thought, I would love to have a chat with John Lennon. There’s that whole genius music thing, of course, but I liked his ideas on spirituality and peace.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Honestly, I have nothing for this. Our plan is to be cremated and scattered under a tree. If I had to it would say something like, “Great guy, father and papa, loved music.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m a big music lover. We always have music playing and I have a huge collection of records and CD’s. I also play the drums.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We don’t watch a lot of TV but never miss The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before going to bed. It’s good to end the day with a laugh. We love movies and have a fondness for the James Bond series. At least once a year, we watch all 24 movies in order.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love Italian food. A good pizza, raviolis, etc. Favorite color: red. Music: This is just too hard. So many types, each invoking a different time, place or mood. I love rock, soul, blues, R&B, folk, jazz, reggae, and various combinations of all of them.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
That’s easy. I’d be playing the drums somewhere, somehow.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, here’s a list where I can be found online:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jf.silver.98 &
J.F. Silver Buy Links
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/j.f.-silver
Stiff Rain Press: http://www.stiffrainpress.com/92.html
All Romance: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html