As part of my day for the Probability Angels Tour I apologize that Im late getting this interview out it slipped my mind honestly. Its been one of those days where when leaving the house you ask your self did you leave the coffee pot or stove or even the sink running. Wasnt untill I sat down was doing threw my email did I have that Oh yeah moment. So with out any more delay welcome Joseph to my small cornor of the blog world.
1. Tell me about your book.
Probability Angels deals with a group of otherworldly characters who live amongst us humans. They’re known as “testers” or “pushers” sometimes. Their entire existence revolves around taking the pain and fear of humans and pushing them through it so that the humans come out the other side stronger. The testers make us humans face our fears, reach beyond ourselves, grow from our pain. There’s a very involved relationship they have with humans and Matthew, the main character, is just joining their ranks, so we learn about the world of the testers along with him. And then...well I don’t want to give away too much but a bit of a civil war breaks out amongst the testers and some who have broken from their ranks.
2. How did you come up with that story line?
I wanted to write a “Deal with the Devil” sort of story where someone makes such a deal and then everything turns out all ironic in the end. That was the original idea. But I had already written a story like that so I started reworking it to see if I could come up with something more interesting. It occurred to me that it would be interesting if the “Devil” character was actually not evil, if he was just another character trying to do his thing. I mean, the devil doesn’t exactly get a lot of motivation whenever he appears in stories. What’s driving him? Why does he muck about in people’s lives? So then I had to figure out why someone would mess up your life outside of being pure evil and the notion of growing from pain and learning from loss came to me, which is more or less the core concept of the Probability Angels.
3. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
I have no idea. My biggest influences as a writer are Hemingway, Joyce, Virgil, Salinger...so it makes perfect sense that I’d write books with angels and zombies fighting, no? I really can’t say how I wound up here outside of an overactive imagination and a lot of complex thoughts that were easier to express using otherworldly aspects.
4. What kind of research did you do for this book?
For this book I constantly had a website open with a world clock on it, because my characters and scenes were all over the globe, so I had to keep my time zones straight. I read a gigantic, unbelievably boring book about Sir Isaac Newton. I read up on the Japanese legend of the forty-nine ronin. Oh, and a lot of books about physics and the theory of relativity and gravity and such. But I like reading about that stuff anyway, so that wasn’t really research. I just drew on books I had read previously.
5. When and where do you write?
At my desk, during and around my breakfast. The first rush of caffeine seems to produce a good boost of verbiage. I used to be a night owl. I loved to write during the dead of night when I knew most of the people around me were asleep. It was somehow more exciting, but I’m not a teenager anymore and I have to have a stupid annoying regular sleep schedule or I become an incoherent zombie.
6. Do you set a daily writing goal?
When I’m working on a larger work, like a novel, I have a daily writing goal. Usually it’s an honest amount of time spent working because I’ve learned to fool myself with my word count. I can sit down and not engage with my story and churn out words and pretend I’m done for the day, but that doesn’t help me much. I can be very slippery when I’m forcing myself to work. So, yes, I force myself to write daily and give an honest few hours of work. It’s always best to have a small daily goal rather than look ahead and say that you’ll write a ton at some future date.
7. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Self-doubt. It never seems to go away. To some degree I think doubting oneself is important in creating, it’s what makes me go back over my book again and again and it’s what makes me polish a tricky sentence over and over until it’s the best I can make it. But it’s still annoying and sometimes it’s overwhelming. There are ways to decrease it, and more experience helps, but it’s still awful when it pops up in an unmanageable amount.
8. What’s the best thing about being an author?
Getting a response from a reader who loves my work. When somebody connects with my characters so much that they miss them when the book is over, or when one of my settings shows up in some one's dreams. That’s an amazing connection to feel and it’s great to know that I’ve given someone a work of art that they can enjoy on that level.
9. What are you working on now?
Probability Angels is the first book of a trilogy. The second book, Persistent Illusions, is going on tour in a few weeks. The third book I am researching now and will start writing soon.
10. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
It’s normal to have writer’s block. It’s normal to start hating your first draft. It’s normal to feel like the middle third of a book is boring old desk work. Every author deals with those things; experiencing them doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, it means you’re doing it exactly right. Oh, and really practice your rewriting skills. They’re way more important than I ever realized when I first started writing.
11. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Cormac McCarthy. I’m kind of a stuffy old reader. But I also love anything with a good story. I devour Stephen King and burned through every Harry Potter book in days. I don’t know, I just like works that bring me joy. I try not to complicate it more than that.
12. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I cook a lot, I wouldn’t mind being asked about my cooking. Like what dish I’m most proud of? It’d definitely be one of my pastas. I make a great pesto, an orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, and a roasted tomato red sauce that I’m very proud of.
13. I have to know - Do you believe in an afterlife if so what would you hope to find there?
Very early on in the book, Matthew is getting slammed with a bunch of information about this afterlife he’s now a part of. I should mention that every tester has a choice. They used to be mortal and they died during a moment of self sacrifice, that’s part of how one becomes a tester, but they are given a choice. Matthew’s mentor, Epp, explains to Matthew that he can either choose to stick around and become a tester, or move on to what’s next. Matthew then asks Epp what comes next. Epp responds by paraphrasing Thoreau: “How should I know? One world at a time, thank you very much.”
That’s my general attitude towards questions like that.
14. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Joseph Devon: Rockstar Playboy Millionaire. Because my life is kind of boring so I’d probably make up a bunch of stuff to jazz it up and wind up with a complete lie but an over-the-top title like that.
Thanks for stopping in to answer some nosey questions.
To find more about the book and where to Buy as well as the awesome tour group Nurture Your books Stop by here