Name Joe DeRouen
Where are you from I’m originally from Carthage, Illinois (where my first two novels take place!) but currently live in Rogers, Arkansas
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: I’m happily married with a son and three cats. I don’t have a degree. I was attending Mountain View College in Texas when my first wife developed cancer and I had to drop out.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Small Things will be FREE on Amazon Sept. 12 and 13. Also, I’m working on a book of short stories to hopefully be released later this year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I just wasn’t that good at it until about ten years ago.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first started writing, maybe around age 9 or 10. You don’t have to be published to be a writer!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was reading an article about people remembering important events: JFK’s assassination, man walking on the moon, things like that, and how they would never forget where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news, and I thought about that, and about how personal tragedies might mark a person just as much if not more indelibly. And then I imagined a young boy getting the news that his best friend had drowned in the lake, and it snowballed from there.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend to only create an outline when I’m done writing, so I can go back and clear up any inconsistencies. I’ve tried writing an outline first, and it just doesn’t work with me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
You’ll figure that out when you read the book!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Don’t give up, no matter what!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, I write fantasy and horror, but I like to ground my work in reality. Everything takes place in a real town, with real landmarks, and the characters have real emotions, so I’d say quite a bit of my work is realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There’s actually quite a bit of me in my characters. In Small Things, Jenny doesn’t know how to swim because an impatient instructor tossed her into the middle of the pool when she was little. That happened to me, unfortunately, and I didn’t learn to swim until I was in my late twenties because of it!
My real-life grandmother, who had died right before I finished Small Things, also makes an appearance in the book as a sort of tribute.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Replay by Ken Grimwood is, hands down, my favorite novel, ever. It’s about a man who dies and wakes up twenty some odd years earlier and has to live his life all over again. It really makes you reflect on the decisions you make as you’re living your life.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Ken Grimwood and Rod Serling, who created The Twilight Zone.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Pretty good so far, and their vampires don’t sparkle!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Rebecca Hamilton, who is a fellow indie author. Her The Forever Girl is great. Robin Raven’s 100 Weeks of Wonder, a blogged story, is also awesome.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on several things, the first of which is a collection of short stories.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My Facebook and NaNoWriMo friends!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. I’ve been a freelance writer for the last eighteen years, having written for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Just a couple of typos!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, for as long as I can remember. I also enjoyed drawing, but realized that my talent lies much more with the written word.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on a book of short stories. The one I’m working on now is set in the world of professional wrestling, with a bit of supernatural thrown in.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finishing books! I enjoy my characters and never want to end them.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Ken Grimwood, who wrote the marvelous book Replay. Replay is about a man who dies when he’s forty and wakes up in the past as a young man. He lives his life over and over again. I can’t recommend the book highly enough.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Not yet!
Fiona: Who designed the covers? Renee Barratt, from The Cover Counts. Her work is always awesome, and I highly recommend her.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The first page.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I can write, and write well. Self-doubt is a plague.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for your support, I couldn’t do any of this without you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m not sure, but it was probably one of the Encyclopedia Brown books.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I collect Mego 8” action figures from the 1970’s (in fact, they figure heavily into the plot of Small Things!) and watch a lot of movies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Twilight Zone (the original 1959 series) will always be my absolute favorite. Right now, I’m enjoying The Leftovers and The Strain. Clearly, TV shows must have the word “The” in them for me to like them.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pizza, light blue, and folk music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’m also a substitute teacher, and if I were not a writer I might’ve liked to go into teaching full time. Though, really, I’d prefer to be independently wealthy.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? http://www.joederouen.com
Amazon page, http://www.amazon.com/Joe-DeRouen/e/B00ALH45ZS