Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Joseph, author of the novels THE TRIALS OF VIRTUE and A NOVEL OBSESSION, and welcome him to my blog.
Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?
A: My first book The Trials of Virtue was loosely based upon a true story, one that happened to someone who is very important in my life. Her story only serves as the nucleus. The romantic angle, the reason I write above all others is purely fictional but each of the characters reminds me of someone who played a part in my life. The second book was strictly a product of my imagination. Nevertheless, I write from my heart and my heart has been molded by many life experiences, good and bad. So I would have to say that yes, my life experiences have inspired my books.
Q: For how long have you been writing?
A: I have been writing for about 15 or 16 years. It started merely as a hobby after years of encouragement from others who told me I write well. My first book was an attempt to see if I could actually write a book from start to finish. It took years because I work full time and have a family. There has never been much time to dedicate to it and to this day it still serves as a hobby more than anything else. Over the years I have spent far more time not writing due to my busy life. I look forward to that changing in the not too distant future.
Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?
A: Sadly no. I write whenever I can find time and there has been little of that for many years. It usually turns out to be late evenings or weekends. Sometime I will sit down and write for a half hour. When I am afforded a block of time I have been known to write for hours in a day. Even when I have that luxury, I am lucky to complete a chapter or a chapter and a half. Fortunately the writing comes very easily but I am very painstaking in the detail because not only do I want the story to be entertaining, I want it to be consistent throughout. Therefore while writing I frequently have to refer back to passages written earlier. Due to the fact that I write so infrequently it takes time to locate the passages written earlier which slows the whole process down.
Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?
A: When I want to read I always look for a good love story. My favorite books are classics such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Cyrano de Bergerac left me sobbing! Among my favorite modern day authors are Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, and Sandra Brown. I also enjoy mystery and suspense novels, and if there is a love interest thrown in, all the better. I have read every novel by David Baldacci. Political suspense intrigues me and although there is no romance, or very little, I can’t put his books down.
Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?
A: I decided to start writing after reading A Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend by Robert James Waller. It was a moving love story that I must have read in two sittings. Not only did I love the story, I thought the writing was the easiest I had ever read. When I finished the book I remember the first thought I had was that I could write like this. It was eloquent but written in plain language without the slightest pretense or ambiguity. It was as if the story was being told to me by a close friend, it was that comfortable. I decided there and then that I wanted to give writing a try and within days I was scribbling on a legal pad with my favorite pen.
Q: From my reading experience of THE TRIALS OF VIRTUE, I found it to be an absorbing, page-turning work, which explored the heart and soul of its characters with great panache. I especially liked the character of Michael, and how he was thrust into difficult situations, but always kept his dignity intact. What inspired you to write this book, and will there be a sequel to the story at some stage?
A: Thank you so much for your kind words about Trials. That book is a great source of pride for me primarily because it answered the question whether I could actually write a book from start to finish or not. During my school days I struggled writing a paper that was three pages in length! But then, no one ever asked me to write fiction as a homework assignment.
Through a very close friend I was able to have an editor at Random House read Trials and although they opted not to publish it, the words of encouragement I received from that editor inspired me to start my second book and I believe that is why I am answering your questions today.
The Trials of Virtue was inspired by events that occurred in my wife’s life and although the story was changed significantly to protect the innocent, that is how the plot was developed. Michael was not part of the real life story but rather a product of my romantic imagination. I will admit that Michael is more the real me than anything, but I won’t go into detail about that. For my first attempt at writing a novel, it was relatively easy to draw upon real people and events rather than have to create everything from scratch, and it worked for me.
Will I write a sequel to The Trials of Virtue? I never thought about it before but you might have an idea there!
Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or still on the air?
A: I do. I have been a TV fanatic most of my life. My favorite show of all time is The West Wing. A close second is the original TV series Dallas. Actually I followed all of the nighttime soap operas closely including Dynasty and Knots Landing, the Dallas spin-off. Right now there is a show I watch that is gradually overtaking all of the others as my favorite. It’s Castle. It is a clever and witty cop show (ordinarily I don’t watch cop shows) with a romantic plot that has everything I look for in romance. The main characters are thrust together under unusual circumstances and are attracted to each other from the very first episode. The murders they investigate together are interesting by themselves, but the underlying theme of the show is their season after season struggle to admit to themselves and to the people they care about that they have fallen in love. My favorite love story is one wrought with struggle before it is consummated. Castle does this with mastery and the humor all along the way is unsurpassed.
Q: Are there any hobbies you like to participate in when you have spare time?
A: I don’t know if you can say that watching sporting events is a hobby, but if you can then that is my only active hobby, other than writing. I have many on the back burner though that I am eager to dive into such as flying, boating, camping and hiking, photography, and model railroading. I’ve dabbled in them all. If I had the time and the means I would fly. Many years ago I came close to attaining my private pilots license. I also love to cook!
Q: Have you written any short stories?
A: I haven’t but have thought about it. I believe I will give that a try one day soon.
Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention?
A: I am currently working on completing my third novel, the sequel to A Novel Obsession. A Novel Obsession has gotten many wonderful reviews for which I am gratified beyond measure and thankful to my readers. Most of the reviewers are anxious to read the next installment and I am working on it every chance I get. I am hopeful to have it ready for release in the spring. It has been a joy to write and I hope it will be received with the same appreciation as my first two novels have.
I am certain you will join me in thanking Jeff today for his time, and that we look forward to reading more of his works in the future. If you wish to contact Jeff, he is available on:
– Jeff’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below: