Interview with Joshua Jacobs   1 comment

josh0Today’s interview is with Joshua Jacobs, author of The Withering, a fantastic YA dystopian. Joshua was one of my favorite authors on the Authonomy writers website, so I’ve been watching for him to publish for some time. Welcome to the blog, Josh. Tell us something about yourself. 

By day, I teach History and English to a bunch of crazy, loveable 8th graders who probably do more to educate me than I do them. By night, I enjoy nothing more than a relaxing night with my fiancée drinking a beer, watching a movie, or having a shopping cart race. I spend my days with a deliberate but sometimes spontaneous balance between work and play.

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always had an overactive imagination, so as soon as I could string a few words together I was writing stories. I still remember elementary school when I wrote a story about my best friends going trick-or-treating on Halloween. I think half of us died in the end, which might explain why some of my stories nowadays are so dark.

What’s Halloween without a few scares? Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Anywhere I can! I’ve found that the older I get, the harder it is to develop a good idea for a story. As for tone, theme, and writing style, I would say whichever author I’m reading at the moment is the author who inspires me the most. I tend to write similarly to whatever it is I’m reading. As a result, I try to stick to one author while I’m in the process of writing a novel.

What are you passionate about?

My job, my family, and every Arizona sports team. And hot wings. My week isn’t complete until I’ve had my first dozen.

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

I like to read many different genres, but mostly, I limit myself to whatever genre I’m writing in at the moment. I spend a lot of time reading young adult, fantasy, horror, and science fiction with a sprinkling of realistic fiction to keep me grounded.

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I love writing in first person. It comes much more naturally for me, and I find it easier to tap into a character’s mind/personality. The Withering, however, is in third person, which is one of the main reasons it took me so long to write!

I really liked The Withering in its beta version on Authonomy. What sort of research do you do for your novels?

As little as possible. I love learning, especially about history, but not when I have to learn and not when it means I have to stop the writing process to conduct research. One of my friends once suggested I write historical fiction, since I teach History. I considered it for about thirty seconds before quickly reminding him that he was out of his mind.

When you are not writing, what do you do?

I spend a lot of my time working out/running. I coach Cross Country and Track and Field at my school. I also enjoy reading, watching movies, playing games, going to new places, and trying new things. I’m never one to be bored.

TWoA2What is something you cannot live without?

Exercise! It’s my therapist, my life coach, my diet. It keeps me healthy and sane. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer? Why?

I’ve done both, but in recent years, I’ve become an outliner. I’ve found the finished work is always more coherent and better developed. I’ve also learned that the story really develops and takes shape apart from the outline as I progress, which gives me structure but also allows me some freedom with the plot and characters.  I remember my first novel was written without an outline and it ended up being close to 400 pages and had so many subplots that didn’t link together that by the end I’m pretty sure I left about half of them unresolved. It might work for some people, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

The Broken OnesI’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Sounds like a perfect opportunity to write a novel. Probably a horror novel, given the setting. I’d bring plenty of Stephen King books for inspiration. Oh, and I’d do lots and lots of exploring!

Talk about your books individually.

The Withering, my only published novel, follows Alice Issaacs who lives in a world destroyed by a plague called the Withering. The disease begins with a horrible black mark that quickly spreads, consuming the body within days. Alice has had the mark for two years now and it hasn’t spread. Now she’s on the run from a group that believes she is responsible for starting the disease. It’s available for purchase as an ebook through Amazon’s publishing imprint, Kindle Press.

My other two novels I hope to one day publish are The Words of Adriel and The Broken Ones. The Words of Adriel is about Blake Matthews, trouble-maker extraordinaire, who discovers a book that grants wishes. Through a series of unfortunate events, he learns that the book is possessed by a demon, and that this isn’t the first time someone in his family has used the book for personal gain. He works to uncover the mystery behind the book, but with every wish, the demon grows stronger.

Finally, The Broken Ones takes place in the future. People have evolved beyond emotions. Society is controlled by Rationals, people without emotions who only do things for logical reasons, and the world works like a well-oiled machine. If one is born an Emotional, he/she is quickly eliminated by the System to guarantee society continues to function in its most efficient way. Penny and her family are Emotionals who have eluded the System for years and live amongst the Rationals, until one day her secret gets out.

Joshua JacobsWas it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Not really. My only real goal when I begin a story is to entertain the reader. If I can get you to keep turning pages, that’s all that really matters to me. However, I do find that every novel I’ve ever written ends up having multiple messages/themes that pertain to everyday life. This probably happens because I try to make my characters and their experiences realistic, and real life is packed full of lessons just waiting to be learned.

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

You just hit the key to writing a successful novel with that question. It doesn’t matter what readers think or feel throughout a novel. What matters is that they think or feel anything at all. I teach my students that writing is about manipulating the reader. It sounds horrible, I know, but it’s true. If you can get your reader to feel any sort of emotion (anger, sadness, joy, etc), then you’ve done your job. What do I want my readers to think and feel after reading one of my books? Anything! Anything at all! If they aren’t thinking or feeling, I haven’t done my job.

Where can we find your books and other writings?

Links

http://www.amazon.com/Withering-Joshua-Jacobs-ebook/dp/B00UVXZC1S/ref=la_B00YDOZQLC_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435727728&sr=1-1

Website: http://jmjacobs.com/

Authonomy: https://www.authonomy.com/user/45e8ba6c-6e65-40b6-87e7-4b34b1009211/

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One response to “Interview with Joshua Jacobs

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  1. Reblogged this on Daermad Cycle.

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