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?
My name is Joseph J. Madden, and I’m as old as my tongue and a little bit older than my teeth.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Born and raised in Queens, New York, but now I live in East Central Wisconsin with my wife, daughters and an assortment of furry critters
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
When I was seven years old, my parents took me to see the original Star Wars for the first time. It changed my life. I became obsessed (in a good way) with it. I devoured anything science fiction that I could read or watch, and remains a passion to this day.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I actually wrote my first story when I was about six years old. It was about the old Hannah Barbera cartoon character Muttley. Six or seven pages written AND illustrated. It has yet to see publication.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was around sophomore year of high school that I realized if I didn’t write and get all of these voices out of my head I would go insane.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, you can actually thank Michael Jackson for that. When I was 16 years old, my father and I went to California over spring break and Disneyland was our first stop. The Micheal Jackson 3D film Captain EO was the first attraction we went to when we got there.
After EO, we got in line for our next ride. It was Easter Sunday, and quite busy, with about an hour wait, and as is typical of me being a creative type, I draw inspiration from a lot of sources. I loved the “space misfits make right” idea that Captain EO presented. and by the time we got on our ride, I had already formulated my own crew of misfits, a group of ragtag space pirates. I wrote the first draft that summer on break from school, about 100 pages. I continued to expand it over the years. The story evolved over the years, then I threw it out the space pirate idea, keeping the crew together and making them bounty hunters instead. The rest…well, that’s all in the book
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The story is about a bounty hunting team that crew the starship Starhawk, so the title The Starhawk Chronicles pretty much tells a reader what the basic premise is right from the start.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Writing science fiction is a challenge because you are essentially playing God, creating entire worlds, and races from scratch. I still try to keep things grounded in reality though. I don’t like to get too far out there like a lot of your more hardcore science fiction. My book are basically straight forward adventure or western stories in a science fiction setting.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My main character, Jesse Forster, is largely based on a lot of my own point of view, and my attitudes about things from when I was the same age. He’s prettier than I am though.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t have to travel, seeing as flights to outer space are prohibitively expensive, but travel does still contribute to world-building, no matter how Earth-bound it may be. I try to draw little bits and pieces of other cultures and incorporate them into races in my books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A British artist named Dan Lambert (www.danlambertart.com). Found him on a lark on the internet. I wasn’t working with a very large budget, but he said if I allowed him some creative leeway, he’d work with me, budget wise. Fortunately, what he came up with was exactly what I was hoping for in the first place.
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?
Teres by Gershom Reese Wetzel is an excellent dystopian future novel that I enjoyed a lot. Gersh is a part of what I call my “writing Rat pack”, a group of other indie authors I correspond with and bounce ideas off of. Gersh is a really talented writer and filmmaker and I value his input. He made an incredible short film Infiltrator, which is a Terminator fan film and can be viewed on YouTube.
Dean Koontz and Timothy Zahn are two of my favorite modern-day authors. Masters in their fields. But my favorite author ever has been Mark Twain. I grew up dreaming of living like Huck Finn, floating down the Mississippi on a raft without a care in the world.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My aforementioned “Rat Pack” has been a great source of support. We are all up-and-coming writers and can share ideas and make suggestions, and also cross promote our works.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d love to see it happen.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am very happy with the way my last book turned out. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. The writing part of it becomes much, much easier if you’re having fun with it and not trying to stick to strictly to the blueprint you originally had set up for the story in your mind. Once I got the characters and the conflict established, chaos ensued and it was the most fun I had writing a story. I had established a deadline for finishing the first draft, and I ended up coming in a month early.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
It’s very hard for me to picture any one actor playing the part of Jesse Forster, since there is so much of myself in him. I always see myself when I visualize him. If I absolutely had to say a name, I guess a younger version of Michael Biehn from Aliens and The Terminator.
For my female lead of Kayla Karson, I would love to see Katherine McNamara from TV’s Arrow and the Maze Runner films.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t. Ever. Give. Up. You’ll come up against a lot of people who tell you you cannot make it as a writer, that you’re just living a pipe dream. To quote Walt Disney “When you believe a thing, believe it all the way. Have confidence in your ability to do it right. And work hard to do the best possible job.”
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Pilgrims by David McCullough. I love American History, and McCullough is, in my eyes, the undisputed master on the subject
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I was reading from a very young age, possibly before Kindergarten. My earliest memories are reading Charles Schulz’ Peanuts comics, and Old Black Witch! by Wende and Harry Devlin. I still have a copy of that one.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Emotions are a non-negotiable in my line of work.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Walt Disney. He is my idol. He was never the type to let anything stop him. When someone told him that there was something he couldn’t do, he went ahead and did it anyway.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
A more accurate question would be what fims do I not enjoy watching? Obviously Science Fiction and Fantasy are huge for me, but I love Westerns, old Swashbucklers, Comedies, some musicals.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Italian and Mexican food. I’m always down for a burrito.
My musical tastes are all over. I grew up with a father who was very into the Beatles, Elvis, and Frank Sinatra. My mom got me into Country music. My love of movies grew my love of big bombastic orchestral scores. Film scores make up probably 70% of my music library.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I will move to Florida and work at Walt Disney World. Stick me in a Goofy costume and I’ll be a happy guy.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I can’t say for sure, but it would probably be filled with some epically bad decisions.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Well, that didn’t go as planned…”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I interact mostly with readers through my Facebook page. www.facebook.com/authorjjmadden .
My blog, Getting My Geek On, (jjmadden.blogspot.com) is where I write (or rant) about my writing or interests.
Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Madden/e/B00EO95A4O
The Starhawk Chronicles: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IK93IAC
Rest and Wreck-reation: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0163MIQ5Y
Other Worlds: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L0R7D1G