Meet the Author Monday: Joseph Lewis

Joseph Lewis

It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Joseph Lewis, author of Fan Mail.

About Joseph Lewis:

After having been in education for forty-six years as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator, Joseph Lewis has semi-retired and now works part-time as an online learning facilitator. He uses his psychology and counseling background to craft thriller/crime/detective mysteries, and has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC. 

Lewis has published eight books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: Taking Lives (May 2021) the prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives (May 2021) Book One of the Lives Trilogy is a BestThrillers 1st Place Award Winner for Crime Fiction, and a Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner; Shattered Lives (May 2021) Book Two of the Trilogy; and Splintered Lives (May 2021) Book Three of the Trilogy (May 2021); Caught in a Web (April 2018), which was a PenCraft Literary Award Winner for Crime Fiction and named “One of the Best Crime Fiction Thrillers of 2018!” by Best Thrillers; Spiral Into Darkness (January 2019), which was named a Recommended Read by Author’s Favorites; Betrayed November 2020 is a Top Shelf Award 1st Place Fiction-Mystery; Top Shelf Award Runner-Up Fiction-Crime; PenCraft Award 1st Place Winner, Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery-Suspense, a Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner, and a Reader’s Favorite 5 Star Rating Winner; Blaze In, Blaze Out January 2022 has already won a Literary Titan Gold Book Award, A Reader’s Favorite Recommended Read, and was an Editor’s Pick by . Lewis has another thriller-crime-mystery, Fan Mail hitting the market March 30, 2023.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lewis has been happily married to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah, and Emily. He and his wife now reside in Virginia.

About Fan Mail:

A barrage of threatening letters, a car bomb, and a heart attack rip apart what was once a close-knit family of adopted brothers.

Randy and Bobby, along with fellow band member and best friend, Danny, receive fan mail that turns menacing. They ignore it, but to their detriment. The sender turns up the heat. Violence upends their world. It rocks the relationship between the boys and ripples through their family, nearly killing their dad.

As these boys turn on each other, adopted brother Brian flashes back to that event in Arizona where he nearly lost his life saving his brothers. The scars on his face and arms healed, but not his heart. Would he once again have to put himself in harm’s way to save them? And, if faced with that choice, will he?

Author Interview with Joseph Lewis:

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  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

The Body by Stephen King. It is one of four novellas in his book, Different Seasons, and the movie Stand By Me, was made from it. It was the interplay of the characters, the setting and circumstances of the four boys and their families, and the city in which they lived that left its mark on me. In my writing, I use that story as my benchmark, my model when I craft characters and how they interact with others. From what my readers share with me, I think I’ve done that. 

  1. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

A writer has to be original and write from one’s heart and soul. If the writer doesn’t do that, it is nothing but garbage. My readers expect two things from me: 1. A good story that is in the thriller-crime-mystery genre; and 2. A second or twin storyline that is a coming-of-age story that brings the seven adopted brothers who make up the Evans family to life. I am not formulaic, but original, and I think I am the only writer, or at least one of very few, in the thriller genre that has that niche.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Absolutely not! If the writer has no heart in his or her work, the reader will not finish the book and will never reach for another from that author. I can honestly say that at various times in my work, I’ve wept and laughed and felt angry along with my characters. Readers pick up on it. They feel what the writer feels, and if there isn’t any feeling, the reader won’t feel it either. The writer has to “bleed” on the page and leave his or her heart on the page. If not, the writing becomes cold and sterile. 

  1. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Like Patterson, Baldacci, and Sandford, I use the same characters in each of my books. My readers like to know “what is going on in their lives” and I think this breeds a familiarity for the reader. With the same characters, the reader is familiar with them, how they might react, who are their friends, their loves, their enemies and all of that brings a richness to the new adventure. I might highlight different characters among the group, but the readers still know them. The first four books I wrote were all in a series- The Lives Trilogy and Prequel, based upon my work with missing and exploited children and their families. The subsequent books use those characters, but are more or less a standalone. 

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

My first book was published at age 60 in 2014. Since then, my books are published about every nine months to a year. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to begin sooner! I waited too long to try to get my book published. By beginning sooner, I would have more time to write more books. Still, nine books in nine years is pretty solid writing. 

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

A nice laptop and a software program, ProWritingAid. It is a powerful editing tool and my writing, and editing, has become so much better because of it. I urge any writer to check it out, or at least, something similar to it.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

In an interview a while back, Keith Urban described each of his songs as his babies, his children. He doesn’t love one more than the other. I tend to feel the same way about mine, but if I had a gun to my head, I would say the third book of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives, is under-appreciated. It ties the trilogy up neatly and gives the reader a sigh of relief. But each of my books are special to me. My reviews and ratings have been solid, but more importantly, the feeling I get when I go back and read what I wrote is one of satisfaction and each is heartwarming to me.

  1. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

A debt of gratitude that I will never be able to fully repay. As a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator for over 47 years (and counting), the stories kids and their parents shared with me are in and amongst my pages. The tips and techniques taught to me by law enforcement, by medical personnel, and all the others I seek advice from have been invaluable. Some of them, at least their names, have appeared in my books and in the author’s notes in each book, I give them a shout out. It seems barely enough for what they’ve given to me. 

  1. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read the reviews and it is human nature to dwell on the negative ones. Even with all the positives, the one or two negative reviews sadden me. I realize that as I write, the book is mine. Once it is published, the book becomes the reader’s book. It is their heart, their head, their soul and all the experiences they’ve had that gives them their “eyes” when they read any work. I have to keep telling me that it is only their perception- as accurate or as inaccurate as it might be- that is revealed in their review.

  1. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Each title of my book has more than one meaning. It is up to the reader to find them all, and they can be found. My newest, Fan Mail, has a simple title. It is what it is. But … there is more to that title than just the initial reaction or meaning in it. 

To learn more about Joseph Lewis, here’s where you can find him:

Author Website: 

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Published by Kelly Schuknecht

Kelly Schuknecht is a marketer with a background in the publishing industry. She is passionate about all things related to books and loves helping authors navigate the world of social media for book promotion. She recently launched the course Marketing Your Book on TikTok.

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