He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. 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
Today I am very happy to share an interview with the author with you. Enjoy!
1. When and where do you prefer to write?
As crazy as it sounds, I sit in the family room with my laptop and write while the TV is on and the kids do their homework. I like to be around my family and will often times read them a passage or float an idea past them. Normally, I write after supper on weeknights and aim for one to two hours. On weekends, it varies, but typically, I’m a morning writer.
2. Do you have a certain ritual?
Each night, I begin by reading and editing the chapter I did the night before. That serves two purposes: a. it helps me do some quick edit checks and fixes; b. it gets me in the mood and mindset for the next chapter. I’ve always worked this way. Even if what I write is crap, and that happens to all of us, I can fix and retool it to make it work. In Spiral Into Darkness, there was a chapter I had written and after reading it over and tweaking it here and there, I decided it didn’t work where I had it. However, I didn’t throw it away. I saved it on the off chance that it might come in handy, and it did. In fact, it proved to be a pivot point in the story.
3. Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
I can be found with a cookie and Diet Coke during spring, summer and fall, and a cookie and hot chocolate or Diet Coke in winter. Yes, I know I’m a bit strange, but Diet Coke is one of my staples. You will find two of my characters share it with me.
4. What is your favorite book?
I can’t narrow it down to just one. Lord of the Flies is one of my favorites because it captures kids on their own, making “adult-like” decisions, and surviving. In Stephen King’s novella, Different Seasons is a wonderful story, The Body from which the movie, Stand By Me came from. Again, it depicts, realistically, kids with flawed character traits coping and living and surviving and depending upon each other. In my work, particularly in Spiral Into Darkness, my major characters are adolescents. I think that’s what sets my crime thrillers apart from others. I depend upon my counseling background, my work with a foundation that helped families of missing and sexually exploited kids, and my more than 42 years in education.
5. Do you consider writing in a different genre in the future?
My favorite genre is thriller with mystery and suspense thrown in. It’s what I read in my spare time. I like the challenge of “figuring it out” and as I read, to see if I am correct. Right now, I don’t see myself changing genres, but you never know.
6. Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Absolutely. I get asked quite often if I appear in my own work. The answer I
give is generally that I’m a combination of characters or there are some of my traits in each of my characters. Other times, I find someone I know and
form a character that fits in my work. James “Skip” Dahlke is a former
student and is now a forensic scientist. He has given me technical pointers
to keep my work accurate. Same with Jamie Graff, a friend and current
Assistant Police Chief. I’ve given him, perhaps, a more glamorous title of
7. Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
If something “pops up”, I will use the memo app on my cell phone to capture that idea. I can tell you that I spend a great deal of “pre-writing” in my head. By that I mean that I am constantly thinking of this character or that bit of action. It is a truism that writers are constantly thinking about writing. I might spend a day thinking about what I will write that evening. Sometimes, I’m thinking about a scene or dialog that might take place several chapters down the road. I listen to kids talk, and watch their actions and behavior to keep my writing realistic. I also use conversations and situations that have occurred in my counseling office, though I never directly use names or locations or specifics because of privacy. Instead, I might combine or alter those conversations and situations to fit what I’m writing at the time. Mostly, my characters are composites of people I know or completely out of my imagination. I’ll let you guess who are who.
8. Which genre do you not like at all?
There are two that I generally don’t like: Romance and Comedy. That isn’t to say that there aren’t elements of either in my writing. Some of my characters say and do some funny stuff, and there is some romance in my writing. But I think it would be a real stretch for me to write in either genre exclusively.
9. If you had a chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
Stephen King and Peter Straub co-wrote a book years ago and because I read their work often, I could tell who wrote what. Or at least, I had an idea who had the major influence in each of the chapters. Maybe my imagination. If I had an opportunity to write with someone, I would like to work with James Patterson or David Baldacci. I admire both men and their work. A reviewer actually said, “If you like James Patterson, you’ll love Joseph Lewis.” I am so proud of that review and at the same time, I am humbled by it. He’s been at it for so long and is such a success. Maybe someday . . .
10. If you were to travel to a foreign country to do research, which country would you choose and why?
This is a tough one. Off the top of my head, I’d say the United Kingdom. My ancestors came from there and I’d love to trace my roots back to where my family comes from. I’d love to see the places where Harry Potter was filmed, where Sherlock Holmes roamed. Again, maybe someday . . .
Thank you, Joseph Lewis and RachelsRandomResourves.
About the author
Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.
Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.