Name Josh Rivedal
Where are you from: I am originally from Trenton, New Jersey in the United States. But for the past eleven years, I have been living in New York City.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m originally from New Jersey and have been a proud New Yorker (City) for my entire adult life (eleven years), and I’m getting ready to make a big move to Los Angeles. I have studied acting, and singing and I have done loads of professional musical theatre in New York City and on tour in the U.S. I have also studied Human Capital Management with an emphasis in coaching at New York University. So, in addition to writing and acting and singing, I also am a coach and consultant for artists and small business owners in business development, marketing, and leadership.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have a book coming out January 13, 2016… woohoo! This book is an offshoot of my first book and The i’Mpossible Project, which is (in a nutshell) a non-profit foundation which encourages other people to tell their stories. I’ve been curating this book for more than two years—fiddling with the right combination of stories, authors, and concepts. These stories are all about overcoming obstacles, reengaging with life, and creating new possibilities—a son’s homicide, a transgender man finding love, coming back from the brink of suicide, finding your funny in the face of overwhelming odds, and more…
And I’m so stoked to be able to share this book with the world.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since 2004. I started my career as a playwright because I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of acting work I was getting in New York City. I then moved onto writing musicals (script/book plus some music and lyrics), and finally I moved onto writing books because I’ve had such a love affair with books since childhood. I started in non-fiction, and wrote a memoir back in 2013, and have a fantasy novel series out in 2017.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Back in 2009 when my first play It’s Good to be Home received its first public staged reading in New York City.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book is The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah and it’s my memoir. I lost my father to suicide
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
When writing non-fiction, my style is conversational with a tinge of humor. And I love making pop culture references.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You. The i’Mpossible Project is the name of the non-profit foundation that the book is derived from. I want people to know that no matter what, anything is possible in life and it can always get better. “Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You,” refers to the content of the book: in each of the fifty short, true stories we see how each author has gone through a difficult time, how they reengaging with life in the aftermath, and how they’ve recreated themselves.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want people to know that no matter the circumstance: homicide, cancer, a learning disability or anything else—it’s possible to overcome any obstacle, find hope, and use your difficult experience to help others.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
One of the fifty stories in this book is my own story, but the rest are all other people’s experiences written by them and lightly edited by me.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
As a kid, my mom read us The Chronicles of Narnia books. I also read classics by Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and Louisa May Alcott. Being a voracious reader at an early age led to a reading appetite as an adult that includes lots of both fiction and non-fiction.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I need a new one! But I just finished a biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
On an ongoing basis I’m working on The i’Mpossible Project book series. Under the umbrella of The i’Mpossible Project, I’m doing roughly forty-five speaking engagements and seminars a year on suicide prevention, mental health, diversity and storytelling. I’m working on a new diversity program for The i’Mpossible Project called “I’m Just a Straight White Guy Singing About Diversity,” which integrates storytelling, live music, comedy, and a keynote/seminar on (both college and corporate) diversity. Lastly, I’m working on a fantasy novel series whose magic spells are all in Spanish. The first book in the series is entitled Juan Carlos and The Magical Golden Pendant and I’m aiming for it to be available in 2017.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My friends and the people who I have gotten a chance to know all across the world as a result of my speaking work.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely: also good to know business
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It actually started with playwriting first. At the age of twenty-one, I wasn’t entirely happy with the kind of acting work I was getting. I decided to start writing to create work for myself… and thankfully it has worked out. My first play was not a huge success but it was an important leap of faith. My second play received several readings in New York City. My third play, originally entitled The Gospel According to Josh, now entitled Kicking My Blue Genes in the Butt is still touring and since 2011 it has played to more than twenty thousand people in more than one hundred locations in three countries. I also have been commissioned to write musicals (one has played in New York City, the other in Miami). And book writing has been an incredible outlet and a successful venture in my life. I’m truly grateful for the written word!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I hate to say this, but writing comes pretty naturally to me. There are days when my writing sucks and those days are frustrating. But I have full confidence that if I believe in a writing project that I will see it through to the end and will make it work or find someone to work with to make it work.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Yes. I do a great deal of speaking engagements with The i’Mpossible Project.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Benlin Alexander did the back and Simplelight did the front.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the right mix of stories.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Don’t give up. Learn to be a good business person as well. As a writer you are a freelancer and an entrepreneur and you need to develop those skills to have a long term career as a writer.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I was four and my sister was five and I think she brought home a little book from school and I was able to read it.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Onions make me cry and stupid puns make me laugh.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Live, love, and laugh hard and never give up.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I’m a big fan of traveling. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, I’ve been to forty-one U.S. states, three Canadian provinces, England, Australia, Italy, and France.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love British quiz shows like “Would I Lie to You,” and “QI.” And I love any kind of historical fiction.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’m doing it all and I love it! Speaking, acting, music, and a little filmmaking (and they’re all working… wow!) in addition to writing. I need to keep my foot on the gas, of course, but I’m pretty fortunate and I work very hard.
For the first The i’Mpossible Project book The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You:www.iampossibleproject.com/one
For Josh’s memoir The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah: www.iampossibleproject.com/the-gospel-according-to-josh