Monday, July 20, 2015

Please welcome Joshua Jacobs author of The Withering

I caught up with Joshua after he got back from vacation. I was insanely jealous because... he went on vacation.
Let's see what Joshua had to say about zombies, reading, and writing. 

1. It’s the zombie apocalypse and writers have got to stick together to survive. Pick 3 authors to be on your zombie apocalypse killing team and tell us why you’d choose them.
Joshua says: Stephen King, Neal Shusterman, and George R.R. Martin. I would pick the first two because of the extensive list of diverse books they’ve penned. Their imagination is boundless, and their creativity is sure to help us get out of bad situations. I would pick George R.R. Martin simply because he’s a man who clearly knows how to do the dirty work, which in a zombie apocalypse is going to be essential. Stephen, Neal, and I would have to be wary, though, or George might kill us off when we least expect it…
Meredith says: I feel like George knows how to make people die when you least expect it. That could come in handy.
Joshua says: Or come back to bite me in the ass!
Meredith says: Literally. Like, by a zombie...

2. If Stephen King and J. K. Rowling were drowning in a river, who would you save first? And now you have to tell us why.
Joshua says: Stephen King. And this is no hate toward J.K. Rowling. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, but I still read and enjoy the books Stephen King continues to write. I wish I could say the same about J.K. Rowling’s work. Now if she wanted to write a prequel to the series…
Meredith says: I haven't read any of her other stuff. But a prequel would be kinda cool. I was a Stephen King fan before I was a Rowling fan. The first book I bought for myself was 'Bag of Bones' and it continues to be one of my favorite books. I think I've read it about 20 times.
Joshua says: I’ll have to read ‘Bag of Bones.’ I’ve seen the movie, and as everyone knows, Stephen King movies leave a lot to be desired.
Meredith says: You're supposed to read the book first, Joshua. Always read the book first. (I'm joking! I've watched the movie first on more than a few good reads) I feel like the ‘Bag of Bones’ movie barely hinted at the great parts of the book, as usual.

3. We authors are voracious readers. My TBR list is approximately 8 miles long. What are you currently reading?
Joshua says: I’m currently reading The Martian by Andy Weir. If anyone else has read this, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
Meredith says: see below

4. What is the one book that you could read a million times and never get bored with?
Joshua says: Night by Eli Wiesel. If you’ve read it, you know why.
Meredith says: Gosh, I haven't read that since high school. Makes me want to read it again.
Joshua says: Everyone should read it at least twice.

5. Last year my favorite read was The Martian by Andy Weir. What was your best read of 2014?
Joshua says: Well look at that! We MUST have a discussion about this book. My favorite book from last year was probably Looking for Alaska by John Green. Green’s writing is so simple yet incredibly powerful, and his ability to write unique, consistent characters is a skill I wish I had.
Meredith says: Ooooh! I've been waiting to read Looking for Alaska.
Okay, on to The Martian! How far into the book are you? I found that during the first quarter of the book I got real tired of potato calories being counted, the only thing that kept me going was Mark Watney's sense of humor and phenomenal use of swear words.
Joshua says: Yes! Thank you! I’m about 100 pages in. I was reading it while on vacation, and I felt like I needed to take a vacation just from that book. I felt like I was reading a science report from high school all over again. Please tell me it’s worth it.
Meredith says: It's worth it! So so worth it. The science report stuff will be over soon. At least with the potatoes. I think he goes into some electronics and physics but it doesn't drag as bad as the potato part.

6. This year my favorite read has been The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2015?
Joshua says: This year’s leader is the YA novel, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I breezed through it so quickly, I forgot it was almost 500 pages.
Meredith says: Nice. Adding it to my TBR list.

7. You’re a writer by day and a superhero by night. (Take off those geeky glasses Superman) What’s your superpower?
Joshua says: I want to fly!! Which is a little ironic since I’m mildly afraid of heights…
Meredith says: That is kinda funny. But if you can fly you can't fall!
Joshua says: True, but super heroes always seem to have their weaknesses come back to hurt them in the end.

8. I have writing spots all over my house: my desk, my couch, the patio, and my bed. Where’s your favorite spot to write?
Joshua says: I used to write everything at the desk in my loft, but I recently moved and no longer have that writing space. As of yet, I haven’t found a new favorite writing spot. Wish me luck!
Meredith says: Good luck!! I got rid of my dining room table and replaced it with a desk, if you're looking for suggestions...
Joshua says: Ha! Who needs a dining room table these days anyway, right?
Meredith says: I don't even miss it.

9. We’re supposed to love all of our children equally, but there are some scenes I’ve written that really stick out in my mind. Tell us your favorite scene from your book The Withering.
Joshua says: My favorite scene comes relatively early in the book as Alice returns to the city in which she grew up. She’s waylaid by two men looking to rape her. For me this scene is pivotal because it shows two things 1) just how dark a place the world has become and 2) just how brave Alice really is despite her weaknesses.
Meredith says: There is so much emotion in scenes with violence or near-violence, and I feel like if you can portray the emotions effectively, it makes for a powerful scene that no one forgets. Kudos, I can't wait to read it.
Joshua says: I look forward to what you have to say!
10. Sometimes a little too much of myself slips into my characters. Which one of your characters most resembles you?
Joshua says: This may come as a surprise because he’s na├»ve and even downright ignorant at times, but there are pieces of me in Ethan’s character. Though our circumstances are wildly different, his character growth throughout the novel in many ways resembles my own growth throughout my mid-twenties.
Meredith says: I always come across this quote on writing that says "write what you know." I feel like sometimes we have no choice but to put ourselves in our books, it makes the characters authentic and real.

11. I’ve always got tunes rocking while I’m writing. Tell us five songs that are on your playlist.
Joshua says: I’m so jealous! I wish I could listen to music and write at the same time, but I am too easily distracted. However, my top five songs would be, in no particular order, I’m Ready by Jack’s Mannequin, Santeria by Sublime, Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon, Trap Queen by Fetty Wap, and Shotgun Rider by Tim McGraw. Yes, eclectic, I know.
Meredith says: Okay, that is one of the most eclectic playlists I've come across. I mean, Tim McGraw and Fetty Wap...
Joshua says: I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a little something for any situation.

12. If you could tell an aspiring author one tiny tidbit of information, what would you say?
Joshua says: Practice your skill! Read other authors and analyze what they’re doing that works, write often, take writing classes, read books on writing. I’ve met too many writers over the past ten years who simply stop growing at an early point because they believe their work is ready to be published. I’ve never met a writer who can objectively look back at the first book they wrote and praise it. Most are like the first book I wrote back when I was twenty: total crap!
Meredith says: So important! I remember looking back at my first book and thinking it was crap. And then I rewrote it all. So important to read read read and analyze. I feel like there are a lot of new authors who don't do this and it's a detriment to their work.
Joshua says: That’s impressive that you went back and rewrote it. These days I’m afraid to even open the document that contains my first novel.
Meredith says: Open that sucker up and roll in the gloriousness of your improvements.

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Connect with Joshua Jacobs:

(Meet Joshua. I want to call him Josh)


  1. William Kendall said, "Good answers, Joshua!"

    *I hit delete instead of publish... sorry :(

  2. Enjoyed the interview and insights. Wishing you many sales and fine reviews!