JOSEPH J. MADDEN author of The Starhawk Chronicles, Rest and “Wreck’-reation, and many more.
The Burning Willow Press authors wish to help you celebrate the best month of the year, October. How you may ask? By giving you a different author from the ranks each day with in-depth answers to questions that our staff has decided to ask them. Many will be generic, others not so much. Let’s get to know the authors of BWP! Oh, and did we forget to mention… the staff there are all authors too so they have decided to chime in with some answers of their own.
So first, when did you realize that the voices in your head were telling you to write stories or go mad with all that stuck in your head?
I wrote and illustrated my first book at age six (Seriously) about the cartoon character Muttley that apparently, I was obsessed with as a child. It wasn’t until about the age of twelve that I started writing stories more seriously. Been doing it ever since.
I know many writers who jump in all different genres, so what is your favorite to write?
I primarily write science fiction (space opera, military sci-fi), but I do dabble in epic fantasy, some horror/comedy as well.
Currently, there are over a million books that I want to read… and some I have in the past I wish I had written myself, do you have any that you read that you thought about and said, I wish I had written that book?
Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn. I was actually developing a Star Wars story of my own until I read that book. Zahn set the bar so high for SW authors that I couldn’t even see it. Some of the concepts for my story are being reworked for other books instead.
What is your favorite book not written by you? See that question is not the same as the other one above… to follow up, what was your favorite book that you wrote?
Though it’s not a work of fiction, Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas is my favorite. Walt is my idol. Whenever I feel low creatively, I read this book for inspiration.
The Starhawk Chronicles: Rest and Wreck-reation is my favorite book that I have written to date. I just had so much fun writing it.
When the muse is off doing their own thing instead of pushing you to write, albeit by gunpoint at times, what is your favorite time-waster?
Movies. I love movies. Doesn’t matter what era or genre. If the story strikes me, I watch it. I can jump from Saving Private Ryan to Singin’ in the Rain to an old Douglas Fairbanks silent film. Though, of course, science fiction is usually my go-to.
Is editing your story just part of the job or does it literally kill a part of you to “kill your children” as it has been said? What about making revisions?
Editing is part of the job for me. Sometimes I’ll find a more satisfying way of saying something than I originally wrote.
What would you like to be chiseled into your headstone?
Well, that didn’t go as planned…
What was your favorite candy to get at Halloween as a kid?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Still are.
What is your favorite Halloween ritual? And if you do not do that… what is your favorite Halloween movie?
Every year, on Halloween, I watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. No exceptions. If my kids are home, I make them watch it with me. Favorite movies are Sleepy Hollow, the Johnny Depp version, Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and the original Halloween.
I know my “To Be Read” list is never ending and grows daily… how is yours? And do you prefer paperbacks or e-books? Notice I did not ask about audio?
I will be dead long before my To-Read list is complete. I prefer paperbacks. Do not even own an e-reader.
If you could not be an author then what would you be?
Astronaut, or a monorail driver at Disney World
Cats, dogs, both, other?
Both, though the longer I have dogs, the more I appreciate my cat.
Advice in one sentence to a new author who is not published yet?
Don’t. Ever. Give. Up.
Do your siblings or other family members support your choice to write horror? Fantasy? Erotica… if you do? SCI-FI? Other genres?
Ironic that this question was posed. I just had a conversation with my mother who said I write beautifully, but she wishes I would write something other than Science Fiction.
Do you ever use writing as an excuse to get out of doing things with the family… especially the in-laws?
As an excuse, yes. Does it work? Usually not.
Beta Readers, Proofers, Editors… all are important to produce a better work of literature. So, who would you say is the most important in your team? Or do you not have those in place and are working on that?
Working on it.
In your day of writing… do you push through it all day or do you take mental breaks?
Depends on how my day is going and what I’m writing. If I’m enjoying a scene I’m writing, I push through. Otherwise, I tend to wander the house, make coffee, play with the dogs…
Do you ever get to travel as an author? Do conventions? What have you learned in those endeavors? Book signings? Necessary evil even for the introvert?
I’ve been going to cons since I was 16, long before I ever seriously considered being a writer. It’s a good way to bond with other like-minded people and maybe make some connections
Only had one [signing] so far. Whenever someone would approach, I was like “So who talks first? Do I talk first? Do you talk first?”
What is your go-to alcoholic beverage of choice?
Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss beer
Ideas come from all over. I get mine everywhere… so my question is what was the inspiration for the last (or upcoming) book you released?
There used to be a place in Vegas called Virtual World, where you got to play video games with or against others, (Like today’s multiplayer online games but in a simulated cockpit.) There was one game called Caverns of Mars (?) where you competed in different races against others flying through these different underground Martian mine tunnels. The idea hit me to use this concept for an escape from an underground prison, and I held on to that idea until Rest and Wreck-reation began to form in my mind.
Are there any horror or thriller novelist that you admired when you were younger?
Read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot when I was in High School. Scared the bejeezus out of me
While writing, has any of your own stories given you nightmares?
Just the actual writing process itself.
Have you ever had any supernatural experiences? If so, have you ever used it as source material?
The first house my wife and I owned was an old country farmhouse. We both recall hearing a woman’s voice in the house when no one else was around, and it was usually heard in my infant daughter’s bedroom. Never got any creepy feelings from it. I think whoever it was was just checking in on our daughter.
Have you ever seen a movie that was better than the book? If so, what was it and why?
Forrest Gump. After reading it, I wondered how anyone would ever want to buy the rights to it.
Jaws, also. The ending was much better in the movie.
When writing a novel, do you have an intended audience (i.e. adult or young adult)?
I write for adults, but keep it PG-13, in case I do attract younger readers
Do you ever base characters on people that you know? If so, do you ever kill said characters and feel bad?
I have based characters on people I know, but I have not killed any yet.
As a reader, what are some ways that I can discover new independent authors and novels?
Facebook or Google+ has dozens, if not hundreds of groups and pages dedicated to authors and their works.
I cannot live without Chapstick. What is one comfort item that you must have?
Chips- Ahoy cookies
Do you ever feel that your characters have a mind of their own and change the course of the planned storyline?
I have one character in particular that constantly surprises me with what she does, or says.
What was your favorite Halloween costume?
One of those cheap, highly flammable Ben Cooper Darth Vader costumes where you would sweat of twenty pounds by the time you were done with tricks or treats because they didn’t breathe.
Where can we stalk you at? Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, website?
Facebook: Author Joseph J. Madden
Twitter and Instagram: @authorjjmadden