Friday, November 2, 2012

World of Writing, interview

 -- Quote of the Day -- 

We are changing the English language and going in the wrong direction because people who are misstating the language are on television and radio and they are saying words incorrectly and that is being spread all over the country. …When you speak you have to speak clearly and slowly – if you get to the point that you feel like you are speaking too slowly, you are probably speaking correctly. …It is really important how you communicate with people, that you move your mouth, your jaw and you take the time to articulate.

~ Bill Pattie

Today’s quote originates from the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio episode that aired back on August 8 '12 titled: Communication Skills ForThe 21st Century

 (*Click on the title to access the full discussion)

-- World of Writing, Interview --

It is time for another World of Writing interview and today I'm happy to introduce Joseph Spencer -  author of Grim, a paranormal crime thriller released on September 1, 2012. After a 10-year career as a newspaper journalist in Illinois, Iowa, and Colorado, Joe switched professions to become a supervisor in an emergency 9-1-1 call center in Illinois; using  both careers as an inspiration for his work today. Find Joseph @:

Q: What makes a good story?
I believe compelling characters are the key. When I write, I try to capture the essence of what I like to read. I love to lose myself in the character so that the story plays out in my mind like a movie. If I don’t connect with a character when I’m reading, it’s an uphill battle to stay interested in the story. A perfect example for me is George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice Series. It captivated me, and I read them all back to back. He uses multiple viewpoint characters, and follows around his universe of characters alternately each chapter. I despise some of the characters, and it was harder for me to read chapters from the point of view of those characters.

Q: Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?

I think one of the best habits an aspiring author can have is to read a lot. I wouldn’t even restrict reading to the specific genre that interests the author. Some of the most entertaining stories for me mash genres like Seth Grahame-Smith in Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Most readers expect a writer to follow certain conventions in a genre, but I think there also is enough wiggle room to mesh elements of stories in ways readers don’t expect. Without reading a broad range of books, an author likely won’t have the knowledge to incorporate different styles to make his or her own style. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?

I would encourage aspiring writers to force themselves to write a little each day, too. It’s a lot easier to maintain a rhythm when it’s something you work at every day. I set a goal for about 3 pages per day. I can’t always do it because life happens, but it challenges me and I like that challenge.
I think reading in your genre gives you a nice base of knowledge about how to structure and package a story. I think it’s important for a writer to infuse part of their own identity into their characters and their story. I think you write best about what you know and your own experiences. There is a little piece of me, or someone I’ve met, in each character I’ve created. I think the more writers delve into their own emotions, the more compelling a character will become.

Q: What kinds of benefits come from participating in groups and organizations?

I think it’s important to make connections. Even something like writing, which is mostly an individual effort, takes a team of individuals to put it all together. Most inexperienced writers don’t think about the roles an editor, an artist, a publicist, a marketing specialist or a reviewer play in the success of their book when they first sit down to write it. By joining a group or organization and making friends in the writing world, it can save an aspiring author a lot of time spent trying to cull together a good team of individuals to help them produce the book. A few veteran writers could likely suggest qualified professionals who could prove invaluable to a newer author.

Q: What are your thoughts on the publishing industry?

A small, independent press published me, so I can’t espouse to be an expert in all aspects of the publishing world. In my experience, an author should expect to build a thick skin. The road to getting a book published is paved with several rejections. I went into it thinking I had to have an agent to get a work published. I found that it’s harder to get an agent than to publish a book. I don’t think most agents even read query letters. The work doesn’t stop when you get published. I’ve worked just as hard or harder on marketing and promoting my book as I did writing it. The editing process also can be gut-wrenching if you have to tear apart your story, and reconstruct it.
Q: Often we hear about issues with literacy, how can writers help this issue?

I try to give back to the reading community whenever I can. I always donate books when I make a library appearance. I also contribute when I can to charities that promote reading. I’ve also donated books from my personal library to public programs that promote literacy.

Q: In what ways can an author help other writers?

One of the things I do on my website is host other authors for interviews and promotion of their work. I’m a big supporter of helping other authors build more of an audience. I’ve also helped edit work from my friends, and provided them with constructive critiques. Reading has always helped shape my life, and I’ll do anything I can to encourage reading and writing so that others can be enriched and fulfilled in their lives. I invite any authors out there to contact me at if there’s any way I can help.

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