Get to know author Joseph Lewis
Joseph Lewis has been in education for forty-two years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and now as an administrator. He uses his psychology and counseling background and his knowledge and fondness for kids in crafting his characters and dialogue. He has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC.
Lewis has published four books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: Taking Lives (August 2014) the prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives (November 2014) Book One of the Lives Trilogy; Shattered Lives (March 2015) Book Two of the Trilogy; and Splintered Lives (November 2015) Book Three of the Trilogy. His fifth novel, Caught in a Web debuted April 2018 from Black Rose Writing and earned a PenCraft Literary Award.
His new book, Spiral Into Darkness launched January 17, 2019. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lewis has been happily married for twenty-six years and counting to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah, and Emily, and they now reside in Virginia.
Ramona: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Joseph Lewis: In the sixth grade, my teacher would have “story starters” on a notecard. They consisted of two or three paragraphs and we were to complete the story. She had a pile on her desk and we could take one if we wanted after completing a test or other work. While it was completely voluntary, I ate them up. It was then the bug bit me.
Ramona: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Joseph Lewis: I set aside one or two hours each night, perhaps more on weekends. I follow this as religiously as possible, given my day job has me supervising various evening events. I use my laptop and I sit in the family room with the TV going, my wife and daughter close by. I don’t like writing in isolation, though I will do that if I am at a critical juncture in the story or if I don’t care for what the rest of the family is watching.
Ramona: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Joseph Lewis: I’m averaging about one book a year, maybe nine months from beginning to end. My routine consists of reading and editing the chapter I wrote the evening before, and then I begin to write the next chapter. This serves two purposes. One, it helps with the overall editing of the manuscript, and two, it gets me in the mood of the story for the next chapter.
Ramona: How many books have you published so far?
Joseph Lewis: Six so far. The prequel and Lives Trilogy were with one publisher, and Caught in a Web and Spiral Into Darkness with Black Rose Writing. Like John Sanford with his Lucas Davenport novels and like James Patterson with his Alex Cross novels, I take my characters and move them forward into a new adventure. Web and Darkness are stand-alones, but they build upon each other and my previous work.
Ramona: Your latest book – ‘Spiral Into Darkness’ was launched January 17, 2019. Let us know more about it
Joseph Lewis: I am playing with the concept of nature vs nurture. Is a murderer, a serial killer, born or made? Is a family born (biological) or made (adoption)? Is sexual orientation and experimentation born or made? All have a point and part of the story, and it all comes to a head at the end.
The Book Blurb is as follows:
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.
Ramona: Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?
Joseph Lewis: Not for me. I tend to be rather outgoing, though in my writing, I am of a singular purpose and wrapped in my own world. Even though I write in the family room with noise around me, sometimes I fail to hear questions posed to me because I’m so intent on what I’m writing.
Ramona: What books have influenced your life the most?
Joseph Lewis: Lord of the Flies is one. I enjoyed the many themes in the book as well as the relationships in the story. Stephen King’s novella, Different Seasons and in particular, The Body (because Stand by Me in the theaters) had a huge impact on me. I tend toward troubled adolescents, partly because of my background as a counselor and teacher, but I think these two books had a major influence on me.
Ramona: In your opinion as an author, what’s the best way to market your books?
Joseph Lewis: Not sure about that, but I am thankful that my publisher, Black Rose Writing, has helped me with it. Typically, I use Twitter and Facebook for the most part, along with other outlets. Bloggers have been a big help to me in getting the word out and I’m thankful to them.
Ramona: How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Joseph Lewis: It depends upon the story. I think a writer owes it to the reader to get things correct, authentic and “right.” In that, research is important. However, one cannot deny the writer’s own experience and personality in crafting a story. What I write rings true for me, even though it might not be in a reader’s experience or background.
Ramona: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Joseph Lewis: Not everyone will love your work, so get over it and keep doing the very best you can. Poor reviews sting me, while great reviews please me. That’s human nature. The problem is that when a book is released, the writer has no control over the reaction of the reader. The writer has to live with the fact that he/she did the very best he/she could and live with that, and then move on to the next project. That is a lot easier said than done.
Caught in a Web:
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14 year old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis
Get in touch with Joseph Lewis on:-
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Blog at: https://jrlewis.blogspot.com
Link to Spiral into Darkness https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm