I am delighted to be hosting Joseph Lewis today, as part of the blog blitz for his book, Caught in a Web. This is one for all you writers out there as Joseph kindly stopped by to tell me all about his own writing method.
I think every interview I’ve ever done, the question comes up, “How do you write? What is your method?” Sometimes there is a variation, “When do you find the time to write?” I’m going to tackle this topic as best I can.
First of all, for me it isn’t a matter of finding time to write. Writing is my stress release. My wife runs each morning (probably something I should do as well) and goes to Cross Fit each afternoon. Yes, she is a warrior. Me, not so much. But a long time ago, she stated to me that running is her morning cup of coffee. She said that if she didn’t run, she would be tired and sluggish all day.
I feel the same way about writing. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, even in my day job. I do quite a bit of “prewriting” in my head: what is this character going to say or do, how would he/she react if I place him or her in this situation.
Then each evening after supper, I take out my trusty laptop and sit either at the kitchen table or on the sofa in the family room. The TV is on. My wife and daughter are talking, reading or watching TV. You see, I cannot write in isolation or in quiet. I need to have noise swirling around me. I can actually concentrate better. Besides, if I come to a passage that I’m not sure how I want it, I can bounce it off Kim or Hannah and see what they might say. Usually, my youngest, Emily, (senior year in college, an avid reader and a great writer in her own right) is my first set of eyes.
I always begin with what I had written the night before. It serves two purposes: 1. I can self-edit, clean up, change, add or delete what I don’t like; 2. It puts me in character and setting for what I’m about to write that night. Mostly each night, same routine. I write for at least an hour, sometimes two, and I have to say that the time flies by.
Like Kim with her running, my writing is important to me. So much so, I feel cheated when I can’t pull out the laptop to give it a go. Even now as I write this post, I’m thinking of a scene.
Stylistically, I write what I call Patterson Chapters. James Patterson uses short chapters and seldom does he end them cleanly at an “end.” Each individual chapter seems to lead directly into the next and pulls the reader along. Truly, page-turners. My writing is similar.
Two examples come to mind. I had several readers tell me that they cannot read me at night. Not so much because I scare them, though there are elements of suspense, especially in Caught in a Web (drugs, death and gangs) and the more recent, Spiral Into Darkness (serial killer with a list, but no one understands the “why” behind the list). It is because of the Patterson Chapters that keep the reader going and unable to close the book. One reviewer wrote, “If you like James Patterson, you’ll love Joseph Lewis.” That is not only flattering, but humbling at the same time.
It takes me anywhere from start to finish approximately nine months to a year to finish a book, have it edited and shopped to a publisher. Spiral Into Darkness came out this past January, but I am already three-fourths complete with the first draft of a follow-up titled, Betrayed. And, I’m using the same methods as I outlined above. It might not work for everyone, but it seems to work just fine for me.
Keep reading for the all important details about Caught in a Web.
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.
Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.
Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in this mini blog blitz.