Welcome back once again to the author interview series. Today we have Joseph Brewer with us from California. He is another that I met through the Facebook group Books Go Social. With that, I’ll go ahead and turn this over.
Joseph, can you tell us a little about where you came from, and how you started writing?
- I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I always liked stories and storytelling, and wanted to be a part of it.
- When I was a child, I was fascinated that someone could tell a story and it wasn’t the truth. It was made up. This is about the time I learned to read, and so storytelling then shifted to writing. I’ve always been interested in a good story, truth or fiction.
- In high school. I wrote some, nothing ever published, but I knew that writing would somehow be a part of my life.
- After high school I studied music, then enlisted in the Navy, saw a lot of the world, finished my journalism degree, and I’ve been working as a journalist ever since.
Since you’ve been writing for so long, is this your career?
- Yes. I’ll never stop writing. Someday it may provide some money to live on.
Do you remember what the spark was that led to your first book?
- I believed I had a story to tell and needed to get out of my system! Really, the characters became a part of my imagination and I knew I had to do something about it.
What books or authors have influenced you the most?
- Biographies. I’m fascinated with peoples’ lives.
- Patrick O’Brian. His Aubrey-Matrun “Master and Commander” series is a master class on sustaining a narrative and providing fresh information in each volume to keep the reader coming back for more.
Have these influenced your personal writing style?
- I don’t think so. I don’t paint word pictures but I don’t think I’m a minimalist, either. I guess I’m somewhere in between.
What are you working on now?
- The Thief’s Mistake, Book 2 in my Shig Sato mystery series, will be out this Spring
- I have the mystery set in Japan. I’m planning a series about a bounty hunter facing PTSD and other personal issues who decides to return home. And the baseball book, which will take shape as a historic fiction.
Do you mind sharing a from your current project?
- In my series, retirement and death changes the protagonist, Shig Sato, from a loving husband and well-respected police officer to a widower who is now a reluctant P.I. His enemies in the police department, jealous of his success, still want to find a way to arrest him. Sato is the type of man who cannot say no to believe to whom he believes he is indebted. This leads to all sorts of trouble.
Do you have a method you use to come up with your titles?
- I thought about the major parts of the story and finally decided to focus on that.
Do you draw from real life experiences in your writing?
- Not in the mystery series.
- It’s not based on real events. I hope the reader thinks all the things could happen, though.
Were there any challenges you encountered and overcame when writing your book(s)?
- Keeping order in the narrative, telling the story in a way that benefits the reader and not just me. Switching from writing pieces from 500 to 20,000 words to novel-length work – 70,000 words or more – is a difficult process.
- Patience. Perseverance. Diligence. Fortunately, I have a job that provides a living so I can work at the stories without starving.
- Capturing some of peculiarities of Japanese life. People are the same the world over, but incorporating cultural nuances into prose is a challenge.
- The good think about writing a series is some plot points or characters can be shifted from one book to the next.
Do you leave messages in your writing for readers to find?
- My mystery is set in Japan, but I think the things I write about – love, loss, crime, revenge, longing, confusion – are universal.
With all of your writing, and I’m sure research, have you encountered any new authors that have caught your interest?
- I am looking forward to reading some authors I’ve met through social media. We’re all independent authors and I find it a helpful and supportive group.
Mind sharing what you’re reading now?
- A book about sleep disorders; baseball books on Babe Ruth and the Black Sox Scandal in the 1919 World Series for a book I’m considering; Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.
That’s an interesting mix. Are any of these written by your favorite author?
- Anne Tyler. Her novels are set in Baltimore and she writes about ordinary people coping with the visiccitudes of life, any of which that could easily slip into something sinister and criminal. That it doesn’t amazes me.
Do you design your own covers?
- I have designed the Shig Sato covers.It’s all an experiment. We’ll see if it works or not!
From your own experience, is there anything you’d like to share with other new, or experienced, authors?
- Trust yourself. If you have story to tell, tell it. Everything else can be learned, even patience and dealing with the inevitable setbacks and frustration. But nothing is going to happen if the idea isn’t given full credit for being something worth committing it to paper.
This is so true. I’ve been hearing recently (or rather seeing) the meme – you can’t edit a blank page.
Thank you so much Joe for stopping by today, and visiting with us. I look forward to seeing you back in a few days, and you are bringing one of your characters with you?
- [Yes], Shigeru Sato
I look forward to meeting him. And visiting with you further.
If you would like me to host your author interview, please stop by my offered services page, and send me a submission. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below, and don’t forget – Joe will be back on Sunday with Shigeru Sato. I look forward to seeing you there.