And this week we have our first male author. Is it just us or are we becoming rare? Female authors left, right and centre. Oh and most agents! Talk about female power. They truly are leading the world these days.
Anyways back to our esteemed guest – J. Joseph Wright. Smart and floral print wearing. Brighton is jealous. Well, so is Utsav – he’s just too shy to admit it.
His latest book Tribe of the Teddy Bear has just come out. Who knew Teddy Bears have tribes? And supernatural abilities to boot! We wish we had those when we were young. Aimed at the MG audience, we are sure no age group is safe from the enchantment of the teddies.
Now on to the questions! As usual Pineapple is Brighton and Lightning is Utsav and JJtheRockstar is well... JJtheRockstar.
Lightning: Twenty years of videography. How similar or different does it feel than writing? And does your experience influence your writing?
JJtheRockstar: Yep. Twenty years. Videography is much the same as writing. In fact there's a lot of writing involved--scripts and storyboards. They're both highly right-brained activities and a lot of the time, they can be very solitary activities. Video lets you work with more people--casts and crews and other production types--but can get lonely during long editing sessions. They both involve hours and hours staring at a screen.
Lightning: Writing is the best profession. We can vouch for that, although I want to be an astronaut and Brighton wants to be a benevolent Hitler. Since when have you been writing?
JJtheRockstar: At first I wanted to be a rock and roll star. It was the mid-seventies and rock had just vanquished disco. I was in first grade. Old Mrs. Putnam asked us to write a story and draw a picture, explaining what we wanted to be when we grew up. While the other kids drew policemen and nurses, I drew myself standing on stage in front of a packed house, crooning like no tomorrow. I guess that might tell you a little something about my oversized ego?
Pineapple: Tribe of the Teddy Bear isn’t your first book. We saw a novelette named Fugue. From horror to fantasy- what are the differences you faced writing them?
JJtheRockstar: Writing Tribe of the Teddy Bear wasn't a huge departure from horror, really. It has some of the same pacing as I use in horror in places, and the bad guy, Davos Mann, is very scary. He gives Medusa a run for her money.
Pineapple: Tell us something in the Tribe of the Teddy Bear where you have inserted a mad bit of yourself. We know you have!
JJtheRockstar: The whole book is a mad part of myself! But if I had to pick the maddest, it would be Pud. He's one of the teddy bear creatures I call Tanakee. He's the scruffiest and strangest-looking of the bunch. Pud just loves to be happy, a total hedonist, has no inhibitions, and eats anything he can get his hands on.
Lightning: Your wife Krystle is the illustrator of the Tribe of the Teddy Bear. How awesome is that! Does she help with the writing as well? Or do you guys intend to swap roles when she writes?
JJtheRockstar: It's amazing to work with my wife. Many married couples cannot stand being together so much, but we love it. Office romance is definitely smiled upon! She does help with writing in so far as she offers suggestions and proofreads, but she's not a writer.
Pineapple: How did you decide on what publishing route to take? It’s the eternal question of the spotless mind, we mean, an author’s mind.
JJtheRockstar: I think I got back into writing at the best time, now that we have a means as writers to connect directly with readers. I've read about so many horror stories where writers have been mistreated by the industry in the past. For me it was a no-brainer to be Indie. I control my titles, my brand. It's a great time to be a writer!
Lightning: How goes the propagation of the Tribe of the Teddy Bear? Are you getting special teddies ordered in the gift shops? I am sure people would want them.
JJtheRockstar: You guys are reading our minds with this one!! That's the ultimate plan. In our grand, delusional scheme (refer to my answer to the second question) we envision the Tribe of the Teddy Bear series will become movies, and from there every kid, and kid at heart, in the world will want one (or all) of the Tanakee dolls. Is that too much to ask?
Pineapple: Our weekly permanent question. Who would you cast as your lead characters and why? Given your MC’s are kids, maybe cast their parents?
JJtheRockstar: It's funny, because we all do this, don't we? Who would play our characters in the movie? Interesting you mention casting the parents, because both Jack's (MC) mom and dad play pretty big roles. Anyway, we like the idea of casting unknown actors, with only a few actors having actual Hollywood resumes. That seems to be the formula for success with this type of story made into movie.
Lightning: Any pearls of wisdom for us budding writers? Some inside secrets would be better though!
JJtheRockstar: Really, since my success can be carried in a thimble right now, I can't be too pretentious about doling out advice. All I can tell people is the same thing I cling onto, and that's to never give up. I've gotten a lot of comfort from learning writers like Stephen King and even JK Rowling had to put up with a ton of rejection before they actually tasted success. And non-writers. Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy seven times before his car company became profitable. You gotta be dogged. You gotta be stubborn. You gotta write--everyday.
Do buy The Tribe of Teddy Bear at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008EETVYK. There is a free sample available which we are sure is enough to hook the millions.
So, that concludes the interview. We wish JJ all the luck with this and all other books and may the Tanakees take over the gift shops!
Pineapple and Lightning.