Monday, December 07, 2020

Indie Author Interview: Joseph Lewis

 Indie Author Interview with Joseph Lewis - Author of the Psychological Thriller / Mystery Novel Betrayed.

After having been in education for forty-four years as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator, Joseph Lewis  has retired. He uses his psychology and counseling background in crafting psychological thriller/mysteries. 

Interview with Joseph Lewis

Author Joseph Lewis
Author Joseph Lewis
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News):
 
What is your (writing) background?
Joseph Lewis: I have taken Creative Writing Courses while in college. I've taken screen writing courses at both USC and UCLA. I have seven books published thus far. The last three won awards. Caught in a Web is a PenCraft Literary Award Winner, and was named One of the Best Crime Thrillers of 2018 by BestThrillers.com. Spiral Into Darkness was selected as an Author's Shout Recommended Read. Betrayed, my latest, earned the Literary Titan Silver Book Award.
 
Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
I generally read in the psychological thriller/mystery, crime genres, so my favorite authors are James Patterson, John Sandford, David Baldacci, and C.J. Box. I also read Stephen King and he has influenced my writing a great deal, especially when it comes to creating quirky characters.
In terms of favorite books, there are three that stand out to me. Lord of the Flies because the main characters were adolescent boys (my main characters are also adolescent boys) who had to survive, though friendships, rules, norms were all tested. Ghost Story is a long-time favorite of mine. Peter Straub did a fantastic job of creating setting, atmosphere, and the story is unsettling. Stephen King wrote a book, Different Seasons, and in it were four novellas. By far, my favorite was The Body, which later became a movie, Stand By Me. Like Lord of the Flies, the story is about kids having to navigate life, their situation and circumstance, which were not pleasant and were challenging to say the least.
 
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
In sixth grade. My teacher, Sr. Josephe' Marie Flinn had what she called 'story starters.' They consisted of four paragraphs on a notecard. The idea was for a student, when done with a test or other assigned work, to take a card and complete the story. I lived for them and ate them up. We didn't receive extra credit or a grade for them, but for me, they were fun. 
 
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story that was published was in about 1987 or so, titled Dusty and Me. I wrote the first draft in about two hours after watching Stand By Me for the first time. It was about two brothers living/existing in a dysfunctional family. The older boy dreamed of getting away from the family farm and the small town. However, his dreams changed when his mother left left them in the care of their abusive alcoholic father. The older boy was stuck taking care of and protecting his younger brother.

"I read it, edit it, add to it, change it."
 
Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
I try, and for the most part do, write every day. I begin with the previous night's work. I read it, edit it, add to it, change it. I find that it does two things for me. First, it helps with the overall editing that takes place at the end of the book. Second, it puts my in the frame of mind to write what needs to be written next. I follow this each time I write.
 
Please, describe your desk/workplace.
Honestly, nothing fancy. I realize I break the norm or the stereotype of what most people picture writers to be. I sit at the kitchen table. The TV is on. The dogs are messing around. My wife, Kim, talks to me. I need noise. I cannot write in isolation, in quiet. That changes when I am faced with a particularly tricky passage or chapter. Then, I wander off to the downstairs family room to work by myself. 

"The ending is challenging because I have to satisfy myself, the first reader."
 
What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
The beginning and the ending are the easiest for me. I don't necessarily have an ending in mind when I begin writing. It comes to me as the story unfolds. The ending is challenging because I have to satisfy myself, the first reader. The hardest part for me is the middle. I have to make sure each chapter moves the story forward. I have to drop bread crumbs for the reader, leading them to the ending. 
 
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When a reader tells me they loved one or more of my characters. My readers tend to love George, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy adopted into a family in the Midwest due to tragedy on the Navajo Nation Reservation. And readers tend to love Brian, a sixteen-year-old boy who seems to have it all together on the outside, but is confused and struggling on the inside. He has the appearance of self-confidence, and in some situations, he is. In others, not at all.
 
Joseph, please tell us a little about your Psychological Crime Thriller Betrayed.
Betrayed tells the story of three adopted brothers, George, Brian, and Brett who travel to the Navajo Nation Reservation where George was born and raised. There was a late-night phone call alerting George that one of his oldest friends is missing. He wants to go back to help locate him. Brian and Brett tag along, mostly to hunt. With them are two members of law enforcement who are long-time friends of the adopted boys. They find a murdered family, and no one is willing to talk to them. The boys unknowingly end up embroiled in a situation that threatens their lives, causes them to question their loyalty and love for one another, and tests them beyond their strength and courage. At the heart of it, a promise is made and kept, though it might mean the death of one of the boys. Nothing is as it seems, and the boys don't know whom to trust.

Betrayed (Joseph Lewis)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
I wanted, needed, to further explore the dynamics of this patchwork adopted family, their love for and relationship to each other. The boys struggle with themselves and with each other, and I wanted to capture that in a tightly woven thriller/mystery.

"Practically, anyone who enjoys thriller/mystery with a twist of human life drama."

Who do you see as your target audience?
All ages. It has been read, and is being read, by adolescents all the way up to senior citizens. Practically, anyone who enjoys thriller/mystery with a twist of human life drama.
 
What makes your book special?
It is a thriller/mystery featuring adolescent boys as the main characters. Don't think of Hardy Boys, though. We're way beyond that, both in the type of mystery and the depth of the characters.
 
How would you describe the success of your books so far?
I happily found a home with Black Rose Writing for the last three books. They have been terrific to work with.

"[...] don't get discouraged, keep writing."
 
Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
 I have two pieces of advice. The first is don't get discouraged, keep writing. I could wallpaper a room in my house with all the rejections I've received over the years. F. Scott Fitzgerald was rejected over 40 times before he was published. J.K. Rowling was rejected by every publishing house before Scholastic signed her. Rejection happens. It is a given. Keep writing anyway. Secondly, as Stephen King tells us, you have to read or you won't have the tools to write. I put it this way: reading is to writing as weightlifting is to athletics. You cannot do one well without the other. 
 
Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am currently 50K into the next adventure featuring some of the same characters from my previous books. Like almost all of my stories, this takes place in Wisconsin, in the north during deer hunting. Unfortunately, one of the cops inadvertently and unknowingly brings a case he had been working on with him on the trip. The case puts his life, and the lives of the others, in jeopardy.

"I prefer a book in my hand [...]"
 
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use Kindle, but I prefer a book in my hand. I'm old-school that way.
 
Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
After 44 years in education as a teacher, coach, counselor, and administrator, I now work part-time as an online learning facilitator during the day. I write by night. I enjoy reading, movies and music, but mostly, I enjoy being with my family.
  
How can readers connect with you?
Social Media Contact:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Thank you very much for the Interview, Joseph.



About the Book Betrayed 

Betrayed (Joseph Lewis)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. 

Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. 

Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. 

They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.




Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Betrayed on Amazon

Link to the eBook Betrayed on Amazon




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