Monday, September 12, 2016

Inside the Mind of Joe Kilgore

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Joe, we really loved reading A Farmhouse in the Rain, and couldn’t wait to pick the brain behind the story! First we’d really like to know what inspired you to start writing novels?
Joe:  After a long career of writing advertising for newspapers and magazines, television, radio, and more, I felt I had the discipline to take on projects such as short stories and novels. Many of the novels I enjoyed reading, simply weren’t being written as much these days. So I decided to try to write what I wanted to read. A Farmhouse In The Rain was one such novel.
Lily: That's awesome! Was there a particular inspiration for A Farmhouse in the Rain?
Joe:  Not directly. Though I very much admired Norman Mailer’s The Naked And The Dead, and Irwin Shaw’s The Young Lions. Hopefully my book is of that lineage.  
Lily: I think A Farmhouse in the Rain fits in perfectly. Are any of the characters inspired by people you know in real life?
Joe:  Most characters in fiction are at least somewhat inspired by people we know, or people we are. There’s a little bit of autobiography in each piece of fiction, I believe. Much of the experiences of Riley in the story, were similar to experiences I had in paratrooper training. 
Lily: I think it also gives it that extra touch of realism. Sometimes it's hard to remember you're reading a work of fiction! If you could bring one of your characters to life, and spend a day with them, who would you choose?

Joe: I think it would be Felix Pressman, the Hollywood agent. I’d quite like to enjoy a two or three Martini lunch with him at The Brown Derby of his day, or Musso and Frank’s.
Lily: I absolutely loved him, and I think a day with him would be totally unforgettable. Ok, you’ve just found yourself inhabiting the pre-war body and life of one of the main characters. Which character’s life would you hope to find yourself living?
Joe:  My own young life was probably closest to Riley’s. So I’d pick Paul’s, just to see how the other half lived. Growing up in the manicured gardens of Pacific Palisades with stunning views daily of the ocean’s vastness is something I believe I’d quite enjoy.  
Lily: I have to admit I don't think I would turn down a daily view of the ocean! When writing do you prefer to plot out your books or go by the seat of your pants?
Joe:  My initial ideas generally come via seat-of-the-pants. I think of something I’d enjoy taking the time to do. Then I work out a rough outline that gives me a sense of how I’ll make the river flow. But along the way, I’m always open to tributaries here and there to enhance things. But I’m constantly concerned about pacing. I don’t want to slow a story for some side trip that doesn’t add anything meaningful. It’s a start and stop process. With additions and subtractions along the way. 
Lily: Sounds like an involved but fun process. I love the river imagery. What are the other books you’ve written?
Joe:  The first was a character study of an advertising man who self-immolates his career and finds himself on a long journey to redemption. It was called The Blunder.  The second was a modern adventure tale that takes place mostly off the coast of Spain. It was titled The Golden Dancer. Next was Sin And Sombreros, a private eye yarn about a San Diego gumshoe who gets caught up with all sorts of troubles in Mexico. 
Lily: Sounds like some really interesting books. I'll have to add them to my reading wish list. What’s the most rewarding part of being a published author?
Joe:  Knowing that your writing is out there giving, to at least some of the people who read it, a measure of joy, some pleasurable moments that take them out of their everyday life…that hopefully gives them something they enjoy remembering. 
Lily: I think you definitely manage to do that. Now it's time for the fun questions. If you had a superpower, what would it be, and would you want to be a superhero or supervillain with it?
Joe: I’d definitely be a hero. There are far too many villains in the world today. And I think I’d go with incredible speed. A bit like The Flash. Not only could I right wrongs quickly, but also I’d save immeasurable time traveling, so I’d have longer to enjoy the destinations.
Lily: That would be a great perk to being so fast, one I don't think a lot of people think about. You’ve just woken up, but your body feels funny and you aren’t where you fell asleep. Then it dawns on you – you’re in the zoo and you’re an animal! But which animal are you?
Joe:  I’m a black panther. The cat, not the political party. And I’m on the prowl.  
Lily: Beautiful animal. I think it would be fun to slink along and see things from a panther's point of view for a day. It’s a rainy Saturday, what’s your ideal way to spend the day?
Joe:  I suppose it’s a horrible cliché to say with a good book. So I’ll say with a good book, a favorite old movie, and an excellent bottle of Claret. 
Lily: Sounds very close to my way to spend most Saturdays. Million-dollar question: paper, tablet, or both for reading?
Joe:  Paper, definitely. I do read some things on tablet. But much prefer the feel of a good book.
Lily: I agree. I use my Kindle when I'm traveling or working but for fun nothing replaces the feel and smell of an old-fashioned paper book. What’s your favorite genre to read?
Joe:  Mysteries and adventures. I love not knowing how something is going to turn out. Especially if it’s in some really exotic place. 
Lily:  I think that's one of the best things about books. You get to live the adventure through the characters. If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
Joe:  Raymond Chandler. Loved his detective novels, his descriptions of Los Angeles. His style.
Lily: I think he'd have some great stories to tell given the time he lived in. If you could tell yourself anything when you first started writing, what would it be?
Joe:  Learn to persevere. There will be far more rejection than acceptance. But doing something you love is worthwhile no matter how rocky the path. 
Lily: Very true no matter what you are pursuing. Are you working on anything new?
Joe:  Currently talking with publishers about a collection of my short stories. It’s called The Insomniac’s Guide To Late Night TV. The stories are broken up into the kinds of things you might find on television late at night. The Mystery Channel, The Crime Channel, The Western Channel, that sort of thing.
Lily: Sounds like it'll be a hit. I can't wait to read it. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Joe:  Only that I’m extremely pleased and honored that you enjoyed my novel, and found it worthy of discussion. 
Lily: I love getting inside the minds of authors who write amazing things. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Joe:  The two quickest ways would be to visit my website, or visit the Joe Kilgore author page on Amazon. They can also find me on Twitter, Goodreads, and Linkedin.

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