Name – Joel Eisenberg
Age – 51
Where are you from – Brooklyn, New York but Los Angeles, CA for past 20+ years
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Great family upbringing, very close-knit, graduated Brooklyn College in 1985 with a degree in Special Education. Loved horror and science fiction as a kid, as I do now. Collected every monster magazine in existence and “Star Wars” became a life-long obsession.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Steve Hillard and I recently sold our book series, “The Chronicles of Ara” to Ovation TV for an 8-hour miniseries. Further, Gil Adler and I are writing a new film based on the extraordinary life of former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. The film will be directed by actor-director Bill Duke.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In a sense, I’ve been writing all my life. I never liked sports as a kid, so I watched a lot of TV. My favorite shows were “Star Trek” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.” Before “Star Wars” was released my favorite film was “Planet of the Apes.” And so – what else? – my first short story was about the crew of the Starship Enterprise teaming with the Six Million Dollar Man to save the world from the Planet of the Apes.
The teacher gave me an “A” and said I had quite the active imagination. I’ve been writing ever since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Since I was about 13, honestly. When I saw “Star Wars” for the first time, I knew I wanted – needed – to channel my passion into a professional career.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I met Steve Hillard when my wife, Lorie, and I were taking film pitches at a film event. We had a company at Paramount Studios at the time and we were invited to hear aspiring writers pitch their material.
Steve Hillard pitched us a film based on his novel, “Mirkwood,” which was a fictional work about J.R.R. Tolkien. The novel was inspired by his daughter, who asked Steve why there were not any more heroines in Tolkien’s works.
We teamed up and created “The Chronicles of Ara” from there, a progression of Steve’s first book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Maybe. Good question. I tend to get very deep and into the minds and motives of our characters and situations. Maybe deeper than some.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Ara” is a muse – in our world – who inspired all of art and invention. She is corrupted. This is her story. Hence “The Chronicles of Ara.”
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Several, primarily that the very creation of art is the clearest illustration there is of a human soul. When art inspires, so does the creator. When art resonates, worlds change. Some artists peer into their dark sides more than others, which we focus on here.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
A good deal. We use true-life authors in our works, and try to maintain their real stories as much as possible.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some. There is a 16 year old character in the books, named “X,” who takes after me at times. “Ara” is based on the question asked by Steve’s daughter. Steve may be Thomas McFee, a biographer.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor? First question: Frankenstein and Dune, no doubt. Second, I guess you can say I’ve had many mentors through the years. I once wrote a book called “How to Survive a Day Job” which contained interviews with celebrities and other public figures about how they attained their dream creative careers. I’ve stayed in touch with most and continue to ask for advice if/when I have questions.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Just finished re-reading the great “Servant of the Bones” by Anne Rice, one of my favorite writers, and am going back again and re-reading “The Chosen.”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Hmm … no one in particular.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Giving credit where due? The film director John Landis gave me the time of day when few would. I’ve never forgotten that. He’s a good friend.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. It’s what I do full-time.
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?
I loved watching and reading horror and science fiction, and I was inspired.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
What I’ve mentioned before, plus the first book of a new “Ara” series is about to be released, under the umbrella “The Lost Chronicles of Ara.” It’s called “The Mirkwood Codex” and it comes out in January.
Also, I love speaking, and I’ve met so many fans and friends throughout the U.S. this past year who enjoy our efforts. Very, very flattering.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The usual. Motivation. Sometimes I just want to troll Facebook but … if I don’t write, I don’t get paid.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have a few. Contemporary I guess Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Salman Rushdie. Older – Mary Shelley, Dostoyevsky, Frank Herbert. I find them all enlightening and somewhat mind-expanding. Who needs drugs when you have a good book by your side?
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Sort of but I love it. I say sort of as no one is twisting my arm to travel, but I rarely say “no” if asked to speak. I love inspiring other writers.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Celine Bee is an amazingly talented writer from France who is the best cover artist I know. And we’ve never even met! We’ve skyped a few times and she’s so gifted she “gets” our concepts right away.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
It really wasn’t; it was therapy of sorts. But as I mentioned before, the discipline is something that at times needs to be channeled.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that a psychologist would probably have me committed. I learned that I have a bunch on my mind that needs to continually get out …
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
You all are awesome. Seriously. Artists tend to be deep-thinkers and somewhat vulnerable. Not a stereotype as this is not true for all. But for those who are and express themselves on paper … NEVER give up and NEVER stop networking. It’s not about what you know but who knows you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Something about “Curious George.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The same. You ever watch daytime talk shows when someone is reunited with a lost family member or a pet? I totally lose it.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Joseph Campbell. His work on mythology still amazes me. I would quiz him for weeks.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Wow. Great question. How’s this: HE STRIVED TO INSPIRE.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I used to be an avid weightlifter and runner, and then the back crashed. Ugh. So I read, go to movies as often as possible … and eating my wife’s cooking, which is always good.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Currently, hardly anything because I’m so busy. But I enjoyed Breaking Bad a great deal and am presently binge-watching “Game of Thrones.”
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My wife’s vegan stuffed peppers are INSANE! I eat a plant-based diet and most of this may seem foreign to some, but when prepared correctly this food can be incredibly delicious. Colors? I don’t know, maybe blue. Music I’m all over the map there. Eminem to The Doors to cheesy 1970s pop tunes and all things between.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A psychologist or college professor.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?
If so what is it? No blog, but for website you can visit http://eisenbergandhillard.com/ And thank you so much Fiona for this opportunity. That was fun.