Name: Joe Nobody
Where are you from: Texas
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am married, hitched to the same gal for 24 years. We have two children (18/15). I have a degrees in Systems Engineering and Accounting. I am really just a Joe Nobody, an average guy trying to pay bills, have a little fun and enjoy his family. I hike, camp, climb and participate in competition shooting.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Getting ready to release the 7th book in my series, Holding Their Own. Trying to finish writing the 2nd book in the Olympus Device series. I also have two instruction guides that are in various stages of completion.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in February of 2011. Seriously, I had never written anything longer than an email or a status report before that.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer? My first book, Holding Your Ground, reached #56 on Amazon, all books. The Top 100! That’s when I looked in the mirror and said, ‘I can do this. I have to learn a lot, but I can do it.’
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was non-fiction, and I wrote it to answer questions I received due to my expertise with firearms. Often I would be teaching a class and get the same inquiries over and over again – so I wrote a book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
For fiction, I prefer that the story speak for itself. I write from 3rd person perspective, using as much action as possible. I try to give enough detail that the reader learns about the characters and their challenges without a lot of extraneous narration.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Each (I have 12 books) has been picked after I was finished. Sometimes the editor makes me change it, but I try to summarize what the book is about.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes – always. For example, Apocalypse Drift talks about our tax system. Many of my novels describe survival situations and demonstrate lessons/skills. I am a teacher by nature – my gratification meter pegs when someone says, “You helped me.”
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I try and make all of my fiction titles believable. We do a lot of research into the facts. To complete Apocalypse Drift, for example, I dedicated weeks to studying about the Federal Reserve banking system and the history of US monetary policy. My protagonist sometimes get lucky, or have combinations of skills that rarely exist in the real world, but there’s no zombies or aliens.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Mostly my own life.
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most?
I was always big fan of Mark Twain. As a kid, I read a lot of Robert E. Howard (Conan), and Fred Saberhagen (The Berserker Wars). I was a country boy with not much in the way of local entertainment. Reading was an escape. Later, my professional career left a lot of time for reading. I have a library at home that often impresses visitors. The only regret I have about writing is that I don’t get a chance to read much these days. There’s simply not the time.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
This is going to sound weird because our styles are so very different, but I would say Nelson Demille. The guy’s pace and spread of action are flawless. He builds intrigue like no one else I’ve read. He writes in 1st person and stays inside current-day, realistic fiction – I don’t. He also showed me how to have a smart-ass, caustic protagonist that everyone still likes.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
In between right now.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Hugh Howey, Elle Casey, Russell Blake, and several other indie writers are all doing crazy-good stuff right now. I have their titles on my want-to-read pile.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I always have several titles in process. Right now, I think the number of manuscripts open in Word is seven. A mixture of fiction and non-fiction.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Outside of family, I would say my editor was the most supportive. You should see some of the junk I handed that woman. Dereck, the owner of Prepper Press, was another early believer.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is for me. I left my “day job” in October of 2011 and have never looked back.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The latest, no. The early books – yes! I didn’t invest enough in editing on the early books, and the quality was low. We are giving my first novel a full editing pass right now. Even though it sold close to 50,000 copies, I want to bring it up to our current standards.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Again, I wanted to help others, and when I discovered putting out a book allowed me to reach more people than any other medium, I was hooked.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is a segment from Holding Their Own VII, which will be published in February of 2014:
The ruckus of a distant struggle disturbed his rest, snippets of despair and rile drifting through the makeshift walls of the shelter. He didn’t react immediately, his auditory senses seeking identification of the source. How far away? Threat? No.
He rolled off the sleeping mat, cautious of standing too quickly on unsure legs. There it was again, animal sounds, irate and despondent.
Cole stepped into the brightness, shielding his eyes from the late afternoon sun. Without the interference of the walls and bridge overhead, the sounds were clearer. Squawking, angry flapping, and low hisses rose in the distance.
A scowl crossed Cole’s brow, his mood now fouled. It wasn’t so much the interruption of his nap, or any concern over lack of sleep. What pissed him off was the all too familiar sound of a vulture caught in one of their snares. Of all the birds they trapped, the carrion-eaters were the most difficult to clean and tasted like ass.
Something moved in the periphery, drawing a cautious eye – his grip automatically tightening on the rifle hanging from his shoulder. Scanning what remained of the truck stop, he made sure there weren’t any strange human forms. Still wary, he relaxed somewhat, his mind drifting away to a judgment of the temperature. He’d need a jacket after the sun went down, he determined with a grunt.
Motion again drew his attention back to the skeletal, blackened debris on the other side of the interstate. A vulture flapped its wings, hopping a couple of clumsy steps before taking flight. It was soon joined by another, the birds rising gracefully above the charred timbers and collapsed walls that had once housed a small diner and convenience store. Maybe they all escaped.
“You’re like me,” he whispered to the birds. “You scavenge the dead. What a way to make a living, huh?”
The squawking sounded again, the distress of the animal obvious. We got one of ya, he thought, straining his neck to see which snare had had captured the bird. It was the one under the Roadway trailer. Damn it.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
There are so many areas where anyone can improve. I’ve been focusing on dialog as of late. I have a lot of catching up to do as far as writing skills.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t know about all time, but the last book I read that invoked a deep reaction was DC Bourone’s Injured Reserve. I didn’t write a word for days. What was the use?
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Some. There have been a few times where I wanted to revisit an area I was writing about. I would guess I make three to four trips a year.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I normally have an idea of what I want. We hire a variety of independent cover artists.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Focus. I get distracted by new ideas and concepts. As I’ve become more popular, it seems like someone is always pulling at my time for one thing or another.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve learned something about writing from every book.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Lots! But my overriding recommendation is to join an on-line community like the Writer’s Café on Kindle Boards. You will rub digital elbows with NY Times bestsellers and some of the hottest writers in the country. The amount of advice, experience, and information on that site is priceless.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! You guys are great!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. The first I can remember was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I think I was 8 or 9 and acquired that tome off of my school’s “Bookmobile.” (Anyone remember those?)
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Shooting, rock climbing, basketball (yes, this old frame still runs the court) and hiking. I lift weights for stress reduction.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like science fiction movies. I don’t watch any TV. The last television that pulled me in was the HBO series Rome.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Crab legs, Blue, Classic Rock n’ Roll from the 70s/80s.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
No idea. I think destiny pointed me toward this new career.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have a website that is being rebuilt right now: www.holdingyourground.com I blog on several different websites, but rarely about writing.