Here is a recent interview I did with Joshua Grant who is the author of such books as The Fifth Ascendant and the horror thriller, Pandora. It was great to chat to Joshua about his writing, the books he’s published and his website Diabolic Shrimp. Take a look!
INTERVIEW WITH JOSHUA GRANT
Hi Joshua, thanks for joining me today. I thought we’d kick off the interview by going back to the time in your life when you decided when you wanted to write? What inspired you to finish that first book?
Oo, time travelling! That’s always fun! Well, I was definitely inspired to write by my 8th grade English teacher Mrs. Munos. She had us write short stories and I decided to do a horror story (something about a space defense force checking out a facility on another planet). It was pretty dorky but Mrs. Munos left me some simple note like ‘that’s spooky,’ and that’s all it took. I’ve been hooked ever since on trying to hit people in the heart strings with a deep moral core to each of my novels.
You do a lot of promotional work for other writers through your website Diabolic Shrimp. How many hours week/month/year are you able to dedicate to your own work?
For about half a year, Diabolic Shrimp only had six members, so it was pretty relaxing. The past year saw massive growth to over a thousand people. That definitely shocked me and I wasn’t ready for it at first. There was a month where I dedicated about half my time to the site. I had to build a lot of the foundation (pages, coding, how the system would work). It was pretty exhausting but once everything was in place and I caught up, I only have to spend about an hour each day on everything. Some of that is outreach to authors and readers, but most of that time is just reading people’s books that I’ve bought so I really enjoy it!
Tell us a little about the books you’ve written:
I’ve only published two novels so far, with several more on the way this year. The first novel I published is a sci-fi horror thriller called Pandora. This is the first in a planned horror series of four books (I’ve finished the rough draft of the second book, Jericho, due later this year). In Pandora, the cruise ship Emerald Rose disappears for a week, emerging a week later prompting the question ‘what happened to it?’ To answer this, private business tycoon Patrick Carver sends his own special forces team out to investigate. He also sends civilian doctor Aubrey Pittenger for reasons she can’t grasp. All around, fans of films like Aliens or books by Dean Koontz would likely enjoy it.
My most recent release is a young adult fantasy novel called The Fifth Ascendant. This is a zany fun romp through the mystical world of Drina filled with outrageous heists, imaginative monsters, deep feels, and witty characters. It was inspired by the Final Fantasy series and Avatar the Last Airbender, so fans of games and anime would be right at home here.
What are your favourite genres to read and why?
I’m a sci-fi, fantasy, horror, young adult fan all the way! I just need some mystical element and powerful emotions in what I like to read. Yet, through my quest to read all types of books on Diabolic Shrimp, I’m actually finding I like a bit of everything. I’ve always been a bit of a romantic myself as a human being, so relationships and romance in literature are always a big plus for me 🙂
If you had to pick one, just one, what book would you take with you if you had to stay on a book-barren desert island for three months?
Aside from a survival manual? 🙂 Okay, sorry, I had to. I’d probably bring The Giver. The emotions in that book and descriptions just get me in the heart every time.
Do you prefer music or silence when you write?
I weirdly need silence when I compose. You know those little fake flowers that dance when the sun hits their solar panels? My nieces put like thirty in my window which I have to remove every time I write because they make this faint clicking noise. (urg, flowers) 🙂
Who is the favourite of your characters that you’ve created so far?
Oh my goodness, tough question! It’s like choosing between children or something. My newest book, The Fifth Ascendant, is filled with a cast of characters that I love. I spent a lot of time on that one making sure every character, main or side, had a cool background or fun quirk. Kal, the actual Fifth Ascendant, is definitely my favorite with his emotional journey and his humor. Twine, a crazy ex spy, is a close second.
What lessons have you learned as a writer?
As far as writing goes, I’ve learned to play the long game and to only write something that you yourself love. Everything we do as writers only pays off half a year to four years later, so you have to dig in your heels and stick with it. Being a genuine true person in your writing and marketing is also the key to success. Never compromise in either field.
And personally, writing has given me a deeper wisdom about things. Taking the time to examine moral and emotional issues from a host of different perspectives grants you as a human being a deeper understanding of our existence. It’s addictive and I love it!
What method of writing do you use to create your books? E.g. typewriter, pen and paper, computer etc.
I’m fairly old school. I write everything on paper in cursive. Then I go through and type it all up on the computer. It’s my first round of revision while I type, and as an added bonus, it’s really the only time I get to listen to music so I enjoy it. I then read through and revise about four more times before I’m ready to push it for publishing.
What do you think of book trailers for up and coming books?
Book trailers are a weird animal. On one hand, they’re a great way to catch the attention of the passing audience since they’re more flashy than a description. On the other hand, trailers are designed to show off something that moves like films and video games. Since books don’t do this, there’s not a lot of content to put into a trailer. I think it’s better to place a cover photo and description and really focus on engaging with your target audience.
I see that you donate 10% of your books’ profits to noteworthy causes that work closely with ocean exploration, disease research, and renewable energy? I take it these causes are very close to your heart?
Science was my first passion (I originally was working towards going to space before I became an actor and then a teacher). I definitely support a scientific understanding of our planet and the responsible stuardship of it, but I’m ultimately a humanitarian. I support all causes that have the potential of improving life on earth for all people. Our books aren’t eternal as authors, but if each of us gives a little piece of that to something that will improve future generations’ lives, then we will have move the baton just a little further forward and made our mark on history. I also like shrimp and exploring the ocean is fun.
Do you have any advice for other writers out there? Or for anyone thinking about taking the plunge and writing a book?
Great writers write. Just write what you love. You are important and have something important and meaningful to share with the world. Believe in yourself, be genuine, and everything will pan out from there.
What is your favourite motivational phase?
Beginnings and endings. Something will spark me to get creative and I’ll start writing (the beginning). Then you finish a chapter or a story or book and you get this incredible feeling of accomplishment and pride (even if it’s unrevised and total junk at that moment). I love both and it just pushes me to write more.
I hear you’ve got a new book coming out soon. Are you able to tell me more about it?
I have several books coming this year. I just published The Fifth Ascendant, the first in a fantasy trilogy (The Sixth Ascendant is slated for early next year). I’m cranking away at Silly Tales from Albanon, a humorous set of short fantasy stories that take place in the world of Albanon. Each story focuses on a different quirky character and their tale, but they all build towards a surprise ending.
I’m also planning on releasing Jericho, the second in my horror series The Organization, in the fall. A father takes his son to stay with his mother for the summer in the small town of Shadow Pines. At the same time, a police officer heads for the hamlet in search of her missing brother. In their own way, both are looking for something, but what they find in Shadow Pines is hardly what they expected, and hardly set on the good will of men.
Where can a potential reader go to view more about your books?
All my books are in both physical and ebook formats on Amazon. They are also free on Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe to that service. You can also check out my work and hundreds of other authors on Diabolic Shrimp.
Thanks Joshua. This has been a great interview. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
There’s a type of shrimp that can punch holes in fish tanks! Oh, and I just recently learned that your eyes breathe (yes they breathe) by drinking tears. Think about that while you’re reading this!
Check out more about Joshua and his books at www.diabolicshrimp.com