So give a warm welcome to: Joey Mills!
1. Can you tel lus a little bit about yourself?
I am a 33 year old father of three. I am a native of the Missouri Ozarks, where my family and I currently reside. I’m busy promoting Crowe right now and getting ready to begin writing the first draft of my next novel in the coming days.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think the first time that I took real pride in something I had written was during my sophomore year of high school. I didn’t think it was a viable career choice (where do you go to get a job as a writer outside of the local newspaper?), so I shelved it as a career path and focused my attention elsewhere.
However, the story ideas kept on coming. I think that’s why I never found real happiness in a job until I started writing... I wasn’t doing what I felt like I was supposed to be doing. Those jobs were part of the plan, though, and once my wife finished school and began her career, I was able to stay home to get the kids where they needed to be and to pursue my passion for writing. In the end, it all worked out.
3. What comes first? The story, the charater(s) or the idea for the novel?
For me, the idea comes first, but it isn’t a complete picture of the novel. It usually starts as a scene... something visually striking that makes me think, “wouldn’t it be cool if...”. From there the story just sort of forms around that scene, coming faster and more brilliantly. I’ll throw a few characters at the scene and see what feels good, and start writing. As those characters evolve and take on a life of their own, they sometimes take the story in expected places.
4. What would be your favorite past time activity, when you are not writing?
I love to read, which I think is a must if you’re going to be a writer. When you’re wholly immersed in reading and writing, there’s not much time for anything else, especially when you have three kids to care for as well.
5. Are there any writers ou there that have inspired you?
I’m a huge Stephen King fan, not only of his fiction but of his book On Writing as well. Regardless of what you think of the man’s fiction, On Writing is a must for anyone considering writing as a career.
6. Can you tell a little more about your book: Crowe?
Crowe is about a young man named Johnny Crowe who, because of the circumstances of his upbringing, is almost invisible to the people of the small town where he lives. When the Civil War breaks out, Johnny sees his opportunity to make something of himself, so he joins the Confederate army in order to defend his home state of Virginia. His hope is that the fighting will end quickly and he will be able to return home, having earned the respect of the townsfolk, and marry his sweetheart.
But, things don’t go so well for Johnny. He is wounded the first time he sees action. He continues to run into obstacles along the way, but a mysterious stranger --- Mr. Scratch --- always seems to have exactly what Johnny need to get himself out of whatever predicament he finds himself in, for a price.
These things take a toll on Johnny to the point that all he wants to do is return home. However, the man the returns is much different than the boy who left, and Johnny must come to terms with who he is, what he believes, and what his role is in the small-town universe that he calls home. He must also confront the truths about his past and the forces that shaped his destiny.
7. What inspired you to write this story?
I was watching the “Night on Bald Mountain” scene from the old Fantasia film from like 1940 and started wondering about the town where the story takes place. Who would live in a town like that, under the shadow of Bald Mountain? The story just sort of came from there.
8. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most and why?
All of the characters had their charms and their difficulties. Johnny is by far the character that hits closest to home for me. Mr. Scratch was a lot of fun, particualrly the little number when he first meets Johnny. Saul Samuels was all kinds of fun to write, in the most sinister way.
9. If you could have dinner with one of your characters who would you choose and why?
It would have to be the version of Johnny that appears at the end of the story. I think the first thing I would do is apologize to him for putting him through all of that, then listen to his tales about what happened after the story ended.
10. Do you get a lot of responses from your readers?
Unfortunately, no. I’d love some feedback --- good, bad, or indifferent. I know what I think of the book, but I’d love to know what others thought. The only thing I’ve heard is from my mom, who told me that she thought it would end differently.
11. What are you currently working on?
I am working on a ten-book series, which I had originally pitched to the publishing house. Book one is starting to come together well and I’m very excited about it. To me, Crowe felt a little timid, in that I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the process. With my next book, Pentecost, I’m not holding anything back! I just me with my photographer about the cover today and this book is going to rock, from the front cover to the last word.
12. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you for your support of me and Crowe. It turned out to be a really personal story and I hope that others can relate to the story and the struggles that Johnny goes through. You can check out more about Crowe, me, and my next project at joeymills.com. I’d love to hear what you think!
Thank you so much Joey for taking the time to visit my blog.