Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Joseph Lewis, age 64
Fiona: Where are you from?
I grew up in Wisconsin, which is also the main setting for my books, but I now reside in Virginia with my wife, Kim and my two daughters, Hannah and Emily.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I have been in education for forty-one years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and now as an administrator. I use me psychology and counseling background and my knowledge and fondness for kids in crafting my characters and dialogue. I have taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC.
I have published four books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: Taking Lives (August 2014) the prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives (November 2014) Book One of the Lives Trilogy; Shattered Lives (March 2015) Book Two of the Trilogy; and Splintered Lives (November 2015) Book Three of the Trilogy. My fifth novel, Caught in a Web drops April 2018 from Black Rose Writing.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, I have been happily married for twenty-five years to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah and Emily and they now reside in Virginia.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have a new book, Caught in a Web, coming out April 26 from Black Rose Writing. It is a thriller/suspense work of fiction and I’m really excited about it. I use some of the same characters as my previous books, but the story line is completely different. It has several big twists and will keep the reader turning pages.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing since the sixth grade. My teacher would give us story starters which consisted of a paragraph on a notecard. The idea was for us to complete the story using that one (sometimes two) paragraph. I caught the bug. However, it wasn’t until four years ago that my first novel, Taking Lives, was published. At this point, I can’t stop, nor do I want to.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
There was a Stephen King novella, The Body, that was turned into a movie titled, Stand By Me. I had read and reread the novella several times and when the movie came out, I think I went to it every day for a week. One day, I sat down and wrote a short story, Dusty and Me, that was published in St. Anthony Messenger. I think when it was published, that’s when it hit me that I was a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I worked as an outreach educator for the Jacob Wetterling Foundation for Stranger Abducted and Sexually Exploited Children (the name at the time back in the early 1990’s). Since then I have been outspoken on behalf of children, their rights, and other humanitarian causes. But I always wanted to give back to the kids who had been taken and either been found alive, been found dead, or are still missing. Taking Lives and the Lives Trilogy consisting of Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives and Splintered Livestells their story. It was difficult to write, is difficult to read, but satisfying because I tell it like it is based upon my counseling background and my work with the Wetterling Foundation.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I came up with Caught in a Web, the title of my new novel because kids (and adults) can get caught up in any number of unfortunate events and incidents in life and can’t seem to get out. Caught in a Web deals with drugs and substances and gangs, but more than that, it is a story of family, of hope, and survival because of sacrifice and love.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
One reviewer stated, “If you like James Patterson, you’ll love Joseph Lewis!” I’m honoured to be thought of that way. My style, though, is similar to his in that I tend to write short chapters that end on a cliff-hanger. It keeps the pages turning and the reader satisfied.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I tend towards realism when I right. My characters are familiar because my readers see themselves or others in them. Readers tell me that they fall in love with my characters and they seem to have favorites. The story line in each of my books has a realistic feel to it because I base them on thorough research and everyday life.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I do not, though in my settings, I’ve actually wandered the streets. If I tell you a building stands on this corner or a house on that street, you can bet a pretty fair amount that they do.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I had input in them, but a graphic designer from the publishing company did.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If you read my books, there is a common theme of family, of struggle and overcoming odds. There is sacrifice and always, always hope and love.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I have some favorites: James Patterson, David Baldacci, John Sandford to name a few. A new author to keep your eye on is Joan Livingston. Her debut is coming out in May, I believe. I was fortunate to have a look at an advance copy. Folks are going to like it.
I gravitate to thriller and suspense with a touch of mystery. I want to read a book that keeps you guessing and when you think you know what’s going to happen, you get a surprise. I try to do that in my own writing.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My sixth grade teacher, Sr. Josephe’ Marie Flynn. I still keep in touch with her. In many respects, she is a hero to me, a mentor.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I am about four years away from retiring from education. At that point, writing will be my second career. Until then, I write each night and will produce a book or two a year.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think any writer looks upon a “finished” work and thinks, “Maybe I should have . . .” But in the end, I am satisfied with what I wrote and how it turned out. My youngest daughter yelled at me one night. I told her I was thinking about killing off one of the characters who is a fan favorite. She said, “If you do that, I’ll never read another book you write.” I told her that sometimes, life doesn’t have a Disney ending. She said, “Well, it ought to!” And to some extent, she’s right. So, my endings are satisfying- not necessarily happy, but they are satisfying.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Always! I think with each book, I’ve improved. My writing has a definite rhythm. In terms of content of the story, I was surprised at the spiral of addiction and the extent kids go to in order to hide, to conceal their addiction in order to keep using.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
A writer’s dream, right?I like the twins, Cole and Dylan Sprouse for the kids. The adults, I’ve always pictured a Brian Dennehy or Stacy Keach.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep writing! Don’t take no for an answer. I could wallpaper a room in my house with all the rejections I’ve received, but in the end, it only takes one acceptance and that turns into five, the number of books I’ve published.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Give me a try. You might not know me yet, but start out with one of my books and give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. They’re honest and sincere and crafted with care and love.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Escape Clause by John Sandford and On Writing by Stephen King.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Absolutely! Robinson Crusoe and I followed that with Seminole and Sherlock Holmes.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Cry: seeing someone struggle unnecessarily, someone hurt needlessly. Laugh:kids and myself. I do stupid stuff all the time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Edgar Alan Poe and Nathanial Hawthorne. Would love to meet them and have a conversation about writing, their ideas. I’d love to go to dinner with Tom Hanks.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Music has always been a huge influence in my life. Travel.Movies.Sports, especially American Football and soccer.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Voice because I root for the underdog. I think I’ve watch Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls a hundred times or more. I currently like the TV show, This Is Us.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Anything Mexican or Italian. The colorblue, and classic rock and roll and country.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Sing! And act. I’ve been on stage since the fourth grade and in a rock and roll band in middle school. I was a solo artist through high school.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Lewis cared, he loved, he tried and he survived!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Watch for Caught in a Web launching April 26 and Use the promo code: PREORDER2018 to receive a 10% discount http://bit.ly/2GtdsXL
The Lives Trilogy and Prequel by Joseph Lewis
“These are some of the most amazing books I have ever read. I couldn’t put them down. If you like James Patterson, you’ll love Joseph Lewis. I highly recommend these books!” http://tinyurl.com/hmyn7al
Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4?qid=1521147435&sr=1-4