Q&A with Joseph Lewis

Today I’m joining the blog tour for Fan Mail. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour and to Joseph Lewis for answering my questions!

Have you always wanted to write?

No, not really. I was, however, always drawn to the arts, mostly theatre and singing. In sixth grade, I had a teacher who had “story starters” which were three or four paragraphs written on a 3 x 5 note card. The idea was, if we wanted- no credit, just feedback- if we were done with a test or quiz or our seat work, we could pick up one of the cards and complete the story. Loved them and I did all I could. In 1987, while taking screenwriting and creative writing courses, I watched the movie Stand By Me, which was taken from a Stephen King novella titled, The Body. I had read that story multiple times, but after watching the movie, I was so moved that I went home and wrote the first draft to my own short story, Dusty and Me, and it ended up getting published. It wasn’t until 2014 that my first book, Taking Lives, Prequel to the Lives Trilogy, was published. A long journey, but I think I’m the poster boy for never quitting and it never too old to chase and catch a dream.

What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?

I’ve been in education for over 47 years as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. I always knew I wanted to work with kids in some capacity, and I loved coaching, so teaching and coaching went together. My background is in psychology, so after I obtained my first master’s degree, I became a counselor. It was a short time later I became an administrator. 

I think working with kids, hearing their stories, listening to parents and other adults in my office helped me to be a writer in that my main characters are a patchwork group of adopted brothers- seven of them. Each has baggage, some light, some heavy, and their stories come right from the counseling office, besides my imagination. I write visually, in that, I picture a scene and write what I see. I think that translates well for the reader.

What was your inspiration for Fan Mail?

The storyline was briefly introduced in my previous book, Blaze In, Blaze Out. Three of my characters (two adopted brothers and a friend) started a band and have become quite popular. They had to deal with “celebrity” and all the trappings, and with it, comes both the positive and the negative. Fan Mail, while a thriller-crime-mystery story, has a strong coming-of-age element. The story of the Evans boys is told through the eyes of Brian. There is so much stress and strain within the family, it almost tears the family apart. The story is one of sacrifice, hope, integrity and honesty. The kids are challenged to live the moments allotted to them in a meaningful way, choosing what is best, not only for them, but for others.

How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?

I dealt with his question in a previous answer, but I use the fodder from my days as a teacher, counselor, coach, and administrator, and inject some of and parts of the stories shared with me in the characters I create from my imagination. Through nine books so far, I’ve come to know these characters- their likes and dislikes, how they make decisions, their interdependency in a family situation. Then the cops/detectives in my books are all real, having worked with so many through the years.

What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a pantser. I might have a vague idea about how the book will go, but as I write, things change, things get fleshed out, and an “ending” comes into view. Seldom do I know ahead of time how the book is going to end. Fan Mail was the first book that I knew how it would end, including the final scene- but it wasn’t until a third of the way through did it come into focus.

How did you research? Did you enjoy it?

Police procedure and techniques, crime scene investigation, weapons, don’t come normal or natural to me. I need to get help. I ask law enforcement and they’ve been more than willing to help. Medical techniques and terminology, again, not my background. But four of my sisters were nurses, and I’ve been blessed to have worked with knowledgeable medical professionals and likewise, they’ve been very helpful. There is also a Facebook group, Cops and Writers, that has been helpful.

Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?

James Patterson- I use short, concise chapters that lead to the bigger story and outcome; David Baldacci- I like the way he writes and creates action; John Sandford- his economy of words and word choice; Stephen King- the way he creates setting, atmosphere and his characters, and his ability to not give a damn about what others might think. 

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?

Robin Williams- he is/was a unique talent who made anyone and everyone laugh. He was so quick-witted. My dad- he’s been deceased for many years, and I have so many unanswered questions to ask. Steven Spielberg- his creativity, his ability to tell a story through action and dialogue. 

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

I’d rather not use names, but any liars, braggers, and negative people would not be welcome around me. 

Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Fan Mail

There is a young man, a little old for my characters, who is an English singer/songwriter, Thomas “Tom” Absigold, who I’ve become quite fond of. Talented beyond belief, and he strikes me as a good “Brian” in my book. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am an avid reader. I love movies and certain TV shows. Most of all, just being with my family. They are the greatest gift that I was ever blessed with.

What is next for you?

I am currently 35K into my next book, At Any Cost, which is a true thriller-crime novel. Hardly any coming-of-age aspect to it.


Book = The Stand by Stephen King and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

Film = Stand By Me, and any of the Jason Bourne movies.

Band/Singer= Tom Absigold and the Bee Gees

TV show= NCIS and FBI

Colour= Blue

Place= Navajo Country in Arizona

Biscuit= any cookie or donut


Fan Mail is available from Amazon.

You ccan follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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