Interview with Author Joseph Lewis – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Joseph Lewis

Author Joseph Lewis recently retired after 44 years in education as a teacher, coach, counselor, and administrator. He is currently teaching part-time at a high school. In his writing, he uses his psychology and counseling background and his knowledge of kids in crafting his characters and dialogue. He has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC. He is married for 27 years and counting to his wife, Kim, and together, they have three wonderful kids: Wil (deceased 2014), Hannah, and Emily. Kim and Joseph were both born and raised in Wisconsin, but they currently reside in Virginia.

Tell me more about your latest book

Betrayed begins with a late-night phone, a missing boy, a murdered family, and no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, even if it results in the death of a sixteen-year-old boy. It is an exploration of family, love, and of course, betrayal on many levels.

Did you ever have a rough patch in writing?

Not really. I believe that I can write myself out of it. I do quite a bit of “prewriting” in my head. I think about how the characters might act or react to various situations I place them in, and then I sit down to write. When in doubt, read. A writer needs to read in order to gain the tools to write.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

After I write and then edit the manuscript several times, I draft a cover letter, write the synopsis, and send out queries. Fortunately, I have a wonderful publisher who believes in and enjoys my writing, so I believe I have a home.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Yes, I believe so. It is cathartic, a nice stress release. I explore questions and pose possible answers. I am a spiritual, religious person, so there is an element in my writing that speaks to that. The characters in the adopted family have various outlooks towards religion and spirituality. Two are full-blooded Navajo boys who have a far different belief system than the rest of the family. Two other adopted brothers are religious and spiritual in a more traditional sense, while two others are ambivalent and the one remaining brother is at the least agnostic, if not atheist because of what he went through.

How many books have you written so far?

I have published seven books, all available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble 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 are based upon my work in counseling and my work with the Wetterling Foundation for Stranger Abducted and Sexually Exploited Children. It was my effort to give back to the families and kids by telling their story, though in fiction.

Caught in a Web (April 2018) won a PenCraft Literary Award for Thriller Fiction, and was named one of the best crime thrillers by Best Thriller. Spiral Into Darkness (January 2019) was nominated for a TopShelf Book Award and was named as a Ready Reader’s Recommended Read. My newest, Betrayed, features some of the same characters from my previous work and will be released world-wide 11-12-20.

What’s the best way to market your books?

I use a traditional method of Facebook groups, Twitter, and Instagram. Betrayed will be part of a ten-day blog tour. I am also active at book sales and signing events. Fortunately, I have a small but steady, if not rabid, fan base for my writing.

You don’t have to be a writer in order to be an author – how true is that?

I had to think about this question. I don’t subscribe to this belief. An author has to be a writer, and a writer has to be an author. I believe they are one in the same.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

I have three pieces of advice for any aspiring writer: 1. Read. I believe in what Stephen King wrote in his book, On Writing, that if one does not read, he or she will not possess the tools necessary to write. Further, I believe that reading is to writing, as weightlifting is to athletics. One is necessary for the other. 2. Keep writing. I have enough rejections to wallpaper a small room in my house. Look up the number of rejections for JK Rowling, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald. All of us get rejected and you will too. Write anyway. 3. Develop thick skin. Not everyone will like what you write. Some might even be quite derogatory towards you and your writing. It will happen. But, for everyone who hates or loathes your writing, there will be others who love it. No matter, write for you. Write what is in your heart and soul.

Visit Author Joseph Lewis book links:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

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One comment

  1. Joseph Lewis says:

    Thank you for this opportunity, Ramona. I appreciate it.

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