Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick


It gives me much pleasure welcoming Joel here today for the interview. He gave me (and a lot of other people) a wonderful gift that he’ll be explaining :-)

Welcome, Joel ! Where are you from and how old are you?

I’ll be 52 on my next birthday. I’ve just forgotten when that is. Oklahoma is my birthplace, I’m a farm kid, but I’ve called many places home.

When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

The writing disease nearly struck over twenty years ago. A story materialized, and I wrote about thirty pages of it. It’s utterly gone, nothing of it remains. My younger brother wanted to co-write a science fiction back in the early ‘90s, so I started all the research for the project. That fell apart too, but the tiniest spark remained with me for all those years. When I began in earnest, to write an actual book, it was the science fiction which drew me back. I have to admit, I gave myself to it completely, loving every second I could spend writing or doing research.

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

After that first chapter of Harmony’s Passing. The project had a life of its own, and that told me it could be something very real.

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

I just want to hear that people like what I’ve created. I don’t have any illusions this will bring fame, or pay the rent.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

Only the high school brand. There was that year and a half that I studied Journalism, but that was mostly newsprint page design, and exercises in writing snappy headlines. This was years before the computer revolution, and it couldn’t hold my interest. I never bought into the self-aggrandizement that comes with being a Journalist to “make a difference”.

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

Completing my first book, and plunging directly into the second. I’d completed my second novel before realizing the books could be sold, and that it would involve actual work to do it. The activity comes so naturally, fluidly to me, that I could easily make up for that empty twenty years I should have been writing. Handing out those self-printed manuscripts, and hearing back from the first dozen readers–that told me there was a reason to continue.

I would think so :-)

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

I love classics. I love silly and serious. Anywhere from Edward Lear to Bulwer Lytton. But Gary Jennings impressed me as one of the most talented storytellers I’d read, and there have been a few others like him. Mind-numbing detail thrills me, and stories that take weeks and weeks to read; those are my favorites.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

All my ideas are the product of daydreaming, or being half-awake very late at night in a quiet house. We have a half-hour drive to get into town, and I’m alone about half the time driving it. I create a lot of fiction while driving.

What is your normal revision or editing routine?

I just write. I never edit. Oh, I’ll try a little to catch typos, or untwist my prose. The only experience I’ve had with editing was to follow some horrid advice from a very lazy agent. I reduced my third novel for her, to the point that I hated being in the file. That agent will never come near my books again. Neither will any others, for that matter; the words in my books are mine alone. No one can say which ones should be removed or changed.

Yay, Joel :-)

Are you published?

I’m self-published. I’ve produced four novels. My fifth novel is tickling my brain, but it will have to wait. The idea is sound, it can wait for me this time. Life has other plans, and that fifth novel is not a priority.

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

My experiments into marketing morphed into a discovery of talented Indie authors. While planning and playing with my own books to make them visible, I began to read some other works. Before long those stories begged me to help expose them. The blog, The Tale’s The Thing, just popped into being because those new authors became friends and I wanted to talk about what they had written. My intent is to only showcase what I’ve read, because those conversations can be more personal. The blog is a bit more work than I’d planned, and like I’d said – life is interfering at the moment. I’m just about out of good reads to showcase, and may put the blog on hiatus soon. One thing is certain–I can be delayed or sidetracked–but, only for a while. I’m having too much fun.

O.K., Joel, it’s time to tell us about your connection with BestsellerBound and the gift you gave to a bunch of the writers over there :-)

I found BestsellerBound while trying to rid myself of memberships in forums that really did nothing for authors. Somehow I found BsB and it only took me a few minutes to decide and join. I read the welcomes from the three founders; Darcia, Maria, Stacy, and recognized them as genuine people. Lots of connections can be made in book forums, but few real friendships. Those three ladies seemed to be seeking just that from their members. And the fun exploded. I’ve tried to be uberGoofy over there, and they’ve not locked me out–yet.

The real attraction of the forum is the openness; their encouragement of Indie authors to come aboard and share. They encourage involvement. So authors trade ideas there, swap books, review one another, and they commiserate about this industry. That alone is a very fine thing. However, that forum has some of the most talented authors I’ve read in years. I’ve not needed to visit a bookstore for a long while, and my TBR shelf is packed with Indie books just screaming at me to hurry and open them. It’s as close to perfect as you could imagine.

To give back to that wonderful group of people, I offered to organize and assemble some first chapter samples for them. When word got out about the project–just before Christmas–sixty authors jumped at the chance. It turned into a three volume set of great beginnings, nearly every genre you could imagine. The BestsellerBound Sample Anthology project has been seen by more than four thousand readers now, on a bevvy of websites. Given out as free files, people have been gathering them up, or reading online. To be honest, I’ve not seen anything like them, anywhere, and it won’t be the last time BsB puts out a project of that sort. Darcia is already organizing a short story collection, and BsB has become a brand. Indie authors deserve such attention, and few places can match what BestsellerBound offers. It has been one of my greatest joys as an author, to be involved there.

Joel, it’s been a rare pleasure having you here today :-) Two more favors:

Tell us your important links:
My lowest prices
My website
My blog

And, here come some questions for you in the comments :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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24 responses to “Author Interview ~ Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick

  1. Joel Kirkpatrick March 7, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Ok, the post’s been live for five minutes, and there aren’t any comments yet.
    Should I have showered?

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 7, 2011 at 2:55 am

      Ya know, Joel, I didn’t want to say anything during the interview, but you might want to scamper off for a bit and maybe take a quick little dip………

      Like

  2. Lainey Bancroft March 7, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Well, Joel, if you’re that set against showering I’d suggest you at least turn your face to the camera and show us a pretty smile. =)

    jkidding.

    You have been an awesome driving force behind Bestseller Bound and the eclectic group that gathers there, as well as a great promoter of great talent. Your talents are not going unnoticed. Time will show.

    Like

    • Joel Kirkpatrick March 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you for the kind words, Lainey. I’m always the annoying chap behind the camera, and getting a picture of me is more difficult than Bigfoot. I have a few on Facebook, cause Mom insists. :)

      Like

  3. Karla Telega March 7, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I’m just completing a very involved editing of my first novel. I’m sure that after my beta readers have looked at it, there will be more adjustments. I certainly don’t have the confidence to just type The End and put it out there. I agree that there is plenty of horrid advice, but I’ve found some gems in there as well.

    I love to create stories as I’m driving. I’ve missed a few exits that way, but once you’ve got a story flowing, details like navigation are secondary.

    Like

    • Joel Kirkpatrick March 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Karla, that agent who kept urging more cuts also put me in touch with several editors, one of whom said he would never cut a thing for an agent. :D And they had worked together on at least three authors. Go figure!

      Someday I will learn that I’ve done it all wrong, but I’m so stubborn…. I may still not care. :)

      Like

  4. Darcia Helle March 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t do a lot of driving but I sometimes get lost in the shower when an idea strikes. :)

    Joel, I love the silliness and the occasional serious twist you bring to BsB. (And, by extension, my life!) You’ve become a treasured friend who also happens to keep me entertained with all your words. I’m about 100 pages into Breathing Into Stone and loving every word. Anoria is as captivating as Caraliza. If my eyes didn’t start burning like they’d been rubbed with sandpaper, I’d keep reading all night.

    By the way, the BsB anthology page on my website had 419 hits during the month of February! You’ve done an awesome thing for all of us with that project.

    Like

    • Joel Kirkpatrick March 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      Darcia, AJ and the boys say they HATE when I’m writing. I have to be shoved to make me aware they are talking to me.

      I’m very pleased with the reader responses for the Anthology. Even after slowing down to a normal traffic level, about one hundred people open or dowload those files every day. They must be generating sales, it seems impossible they couldn’t – the authors are so talented!

      Like

      • Jaleta Clegg March 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm

        Hi, Joel! Nice interview. Your sense of humor is shining through. ;)

        It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who gets so lost in my writing that the house could burn down around me and I wouldn’t notice until I was done with the scene.

        Like

        • Joel Kirkpatrick March 8, 2011 at 2:04 am

          Hi Jaleta. :) Writers have no shame either, do we. The disease makes us consider coffee IVs and Depends…just so we don’t have to get up. And we buy our candy in 10lb bags. :D

          Like

          • Jaleta Clegg March 8, 2011 at 3:57 am

            I buy my chocolate in bulk in the after-holiday clearance sales and squirrel it away where my kids won’t find it. And I buy the Costco bags of swedish fish and hot tamales.

            I tried to get one of my kids to go to the bathroom for me when I was writing. He made it halfway down the hall before he realized what I’d asked him to do. I got a good laugh out of it.

            Like

  5. Simone Benedict March 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    It’s nice to learn about your projects, Joel. Thank you for sharing these great sites, especially Bestseller Bound Anthology. It looked wonderful when I took a quick view.

    Like

    • Joel Kirkpatrick March 8, 2011 at 2:06 am

      Thank you for looking at the Anthology, Simone. I bet you find almost a dozen authors that you can’t wait to read. I found 61. :D

      Like

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  7. Maria Savva March 9, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Wonderful interview, Joel and Alexander.
    Joel, you’ve helped to make BsB into what it is today. Your crazy sense of humour and generous nature make you an invaluable addition to our team.

    I’ve learnt something new about you from this interview: you don’t edit??!! I’m amazed and in awe.
    I have to edit a manuscript at least three or four times before I’m happy with it.

    I try not to write while I’m driving; it’s a bit tricky balancing the paper on the steering wheel and trying to hold a pen and steer at the same time (come to think of it, maybe that’s why I’m always getting lost even with a sat nav!) ;)

    Like

  8. Joel Kirkpatrick March 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Maria said: “I try not to write while I’m driving; it’s a bit tricky balancing the paper on the steering wheel and trying to hold a pen and steer at the same time (come to think of it, maybe that’s why I’m always getting lost even with a sat nav!) ;) ”

    Maria, you are too funny. :D
    I state that my writing is not edited. True.
    Corrected? Oh, Yes! I always read the previous day’s work and correct. But do I make changes? No. All my fresh typing has been worked out in my head before touching the keyboard. When it hits the page, it stays. How I remember PAGES of imaginings?…I cannot explain. But when my fingers touch the keys, they know exactly what to create.
    My wife has explained it more accurately than I ever will. She says I write the way I dress myself – clueless to what I’ve done wrong.

    Like

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  14. Shawna Caramella May 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Thx for information.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai May 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      You’re Very Welcome, Shawna :-)

      Like

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