Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Interview with Joseph McGee

This is an interview with Joseph McGee. Joseph is a hardworking young author who is brimming with ideas and always has time to talk to his fans and readers. Check out his website at www.josephmcgee.net. Thanks Joe!

1. I devoured books when I was little, especially ones with a bit of comedy and a bit of fantasy. Now I mainly write in those genres. How did horror writing come to you?

Telling tales of terror is not always about the practice of dark literature. It's entertainment. I don't do it to try and scare people. If I did, I might want to check myself into a hospital for some tests, right?

Writing stories that have a bit of suspense and supernatural elements, dazzled with horrific scenes are what I do. I tell a story to the best of my ability, and I'm very lucky that readers have found me worth enough to top some bestseller lists here and there, win awards when I can - or at least get a nomination or recommendation.

Writing with such things in your mind is a job. That's how you have to see it. I love it. I want to keep doing it. I want to cement myself here. And I will, whether this year or in fifty years - I will.

2. When did you realize you were a writer and how did your family and friends react?

I guess I was a freshman in high school, so about 14 or 15.Writing is a business, and if you're good at it, its a very lucrative business. People are always supportive on the new kid on the block when it comes to writing professionally. A lot of people never start out writing full-time. They lead normal loves and work normal jobs with normal families. Normalcy is almost built into their genes somehow.

I started out working full-time as a writer, living mostly off of my savings that I've had from working a job that paid nearly $1200/week, and for a seventeen-eighteen year old kid, that's not a half-bad job, right?

My family has always been supportive. Truth is, I've done more stuff as a writer than I would've done nearly anywhere else.

I would, however, never self-publish myself. I feel that if publisher will not sign me, then I need to work at it until I get it right.

3. Do you have family members who introduce you as a writer? Have people in your family and social circles come to label you primarily as a writer/author?

No. To everyone else I'm just Joe - the average Joe, so to speak. I don't introduce myself as an author, either. I never go up to someone, shake there hand and say "How ya doin'? I'm Author-Joe."

4. Have you written outside the horror genre, and if so, what kind of story was it?

I guess I have. Doesn't everyone here and there? I've written stories that would be hard to classify. I guess it'd be under the categories of: Romantic-Suspense, Crime, etc. I'm even dipping into a bit of fantasy.

5. How many books a week do you usually read? What was the last book you read?

I can usually carry about 25-30 books/ a year. I can't read while I write or it'd throw me all off.I will be starting to read 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

6. I feel like reading should do double-duty. It entertains and teaches- it's hard to turn off my writer's brain. I note things I like and dislike about books. Do you do that? What was the last book you wish you could have changed somehow?

Each book is unique and each book is the author's imagination and therefore cannot be wrong.

7. If there was one famous book that you wish you'd written first, what would it be?

I was always a big fan of Dreamcatcher by Stephen King, and of course, The Shining. Masterful tales. And let's not forget about Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series.

8. Some authors, like Stephen King, write many novels and stories, while some of our greatest authors only wrote one or two novels in a lifetime. Which would you lean more towards, ideally?

I would write as much as I possible could until my fingers drew blood or fell off - and just because these one or two-time published authors have limited work published does not mean that's all they wrote.

9. What was your best experience with one of your readers?

I have great experience with all my readers, but my first was in January 2007. My first book signing at Barnes and Noble. This very nice couple sat down and stayed a while, talked to me about the book and how it was so great that someone so young was being published professionally.

It was a good feeling that two people really enjoyed the book so much that they bought it, read it and wanted me to sign it and meet me.

10. What type of writing would you like to try that you haven't yet?

How many types of writing are there? I'd like to continue what I'm doing in the genre and all. It's not about writing scary stories but about writing stories. Period.

11. Would you rather have one of your stories expanded into a miniseries or boiled down into a song?

Mini-series. You really can't boil these stories into a three minute song, can you? As a matter of fact, I might have something in the works.

12. Which of your characters do you feel closest to (but not necessarily the most similar to)?

I would say Kyle (from Snow Hill). He's still trying to figure out who he is, and now he's alone in the world with his beautiful girlfriend, but he's also trying to solve the mystery himself. He's stubborn with a sense of heroics and a good heart.

13. What music encourages you to write? Is there a song, album or artist that you regularly reach for when you need inspiration?

No. Sometimes I can have music on, most times I can't.

14. What was your first booksigning like? Do you enjoy booksignings?

January 2007; Barnes & Noble.

I love book signings. They're awesome! You get to meet your constant readers and maybe make some new believers in some people. It's a great way to relax, talk about your craft and meet some pretty cool readers at the same time.

15. Have you ever drawn ideas for books from your dreams? Do you tend to dream in story-terms or about more day-to-day matters?

Asking a question like this is like asking do you prefer to write at night or in the day. It really comes down to you and how you want to start writing. Dreams can always factor in - always. I've written stories I've just seen glimpses off in my head.

Take Phil's Place for example. I wrote that story in three days (of course I went over it a few more times afterwards). All I did was picture some kind of wicked snow storm and BAM! - I drew out this whole horrific mystery that someone must solve. Just from a tiny glimpse of a snow storm, mind you it was November and during a snow storm, but the image stuck in; I started it Saturday, finished it Monday.

And now it's in an award race.

16. A starry-eyed young author comes up to you and asks what your best advice for a new author would be. What would you say?

Just do it!You're gonna fail the first time at bat. We all did at one time or another. But you get back up to the plate and swing for the fences again. You never give up, and you write your heart out.You must have a certain kind of love for writing, for reading, for creating new worlds and envisioning people. Without that, you may not have much of shot. But never, ever give up.

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