Monday, January 13, 2014

Interview with author Joseph J. Christiano - January 13, 2013

Please welcome Joseph J. Christiano to The Qwillery. Joseph's most recent novel is Dark Annie, which was published in October 2013.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Joseph:  Well, I started writing at 11 years-old. Short stories, nothing particularly good. I started writing seriously about 6 years ago.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Joseph:  A little from column A and a little from column B. I usually have the beginning and the end worked out before I start writing, but a lot of the middle is usually unknown to me until I get there. Sometimes that necessitates reworking the beginning or the ending to suit what’s been added, but the overall story, or theme, is always left intact.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Joseph:  I’d say it’s getting the story to go where I want it to go. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

TQ:  Why did you choose to write Horror? Are there any other genres or sub-genres in which you'd like to write?

Joseph:  I’m a horror junkie and always have been. It’s what I read, what I watch, what interests me. As far as other genres go, I’d be willing to mash them up with horror and see what happens. Historical horror, western horror, war horror, etc.

TQ:  Tell us something about your most recent novel, Dark Annie, that is not in the book description.

Joseph:  I based the fictional town of Deacon’s Landing, CT on the city where I grew up (Waterbury) and the town where I now reside (Watertown). Anyone from the area might recognize some of the landmarks in the novel.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Dark Annie?

Joseph:  I was watching a documentary about Jack the Ripper. I’m not a ripperologist but I do find the subject somewhat fascinating. One of the Ripper’s victims was a prostitute named Ann Chapman, who was referred to as Dark Annie by her friends, on account of her jet-black hair. As soon as I heard that name I had 90% of the story in my head.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Dark Annie?

Joseph:  I did some online research and a lot of interviews with people who have training in the fields which play an important part in the novel. I spoke with a nurse and a police detective, etc. They were very helpful.

TQ:  In Dark Annie, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Joseph:  The easiest was probably the main antagonist, Kenny Atkins. He was so over-the-top-insane it was a real pleasure to write about his exploits. Not someone I’d like to spend time with in real life, though. The guy’s quite mad.

The toughest character to write was Cassandra, the female lead’s young daughter. As I have no children I had to struggle with her dialogue and actions. I hope I got them right.

TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from Dark Annie.

Joseph:  It’s probably not fit for a family blog. Sorry.

TQ:  Who is your favorite good guy, bad guy or ethically ambiguous character from any of your novels?

Joseph:  I can’t choose among my children in public.

TQ:  What's next?

Joseph:  I’m under contract for the next novel, which has already been sent to the publisher. It’s a collection of 6 short stories and novellas. I don’t have a release date yet but I’m hoping for October 2014.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Joseph:  Thanks for having me.

The Novels

Dark Annie
Tell-Tale Publishing, October 6, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 502 pages

It was a day unlike any other in the town of Deacon’s Landing, Connecticut. It was the day Kenny Atkins cornered Matty Anderson in the locker room on what turned out to be the final day of classes at Deacon’s Landing Middle School. When the school is destroyed by fire, the teachers speak in hushed tones of “Dark Annie” Carlson, one of their own who vanished mysteriously shortly before the start of the school year.

For nearly three decades the school remains dark and empty. Now the school is rebuilt and ready to accept students once again. A series of seemingly random events arouses the suspicions of police officer Matthew Anderson. Cryptic warnings from unrelated accident and assault victims and the return of Anderson’s childhood nemesis bring the legend of Dark Annie back to the forefront. Anderson confides in two old friends, Brian Murphy and Holly Wayne, and together they must face
the secret horror buried beneath the idyllic façade of Deacon’s Landing.

In order to save the town’s children they will be forced to confront the truth, the legend and the terror of Dark Annie.

Moon Dust
Crescent Moon Press, November 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Taria Reed

When luxury starliner Sovereign of the Stars makes an unscheduled landing at Armstrong Base, mankind's first permanent facility on the moon, Colonel Michael Hansen boards the vessel and finds the mummified remains of the passengers and crew. A team arrives from Earth to begin an investigation.

But things begin to go wrong soon after their arrival. Several of Armstrong Base's personnel and members of the investigative team are found dead, their corpses mummified. Hansen orders an evacuation of the facility only to discover the base has been locked down from Earth.

Facing a terror of unknown origin and a mutinous executive officer, Hansen must find a way to keep his people alive long enough for them to discover how to defeat their enemy...

An enemy that reduces its victims to moon dust.

The Last Battleship
Wild Child Publishing, March 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 228 pages

In 1944, the battleship USS Louisiana is torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine. There is a single survivor. Four decades later, an expedition embarks to locate and document the wreck. The Louisiana's sole survivor, Ensign Robert Sayles (retired), along with his daughter, Jill, are honored guests of the expedition.

But things begin to go wrong aboard the research vessel Hailey Rose. Several crewmen are found murdered, and the ship's radio and engines are sabotaged. The pain from wounds Robert Sayles received in his escape from the sinking battleship return to haunt him.

With a fierce South Pacific storm bearing down on them, the Hailey Rose's survivors must find a way to repair their vessel and contend with a murderer in their midst. A murderer with direct ties to the night the last battleship was sunk.

About Joseph

Joe grew up in Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley. A voracious reader since he was old enough to hold a book in his hands, he surprised his second grade teacher by using the word "invulnerable" (learned from a Superman comic book) in a sentence. He wrote his first story at the ripe old age of 11. His published works include the novels The Last Battleship, Moon Dust and Dark Annie. His favorite authors and influences include Richard Matheson, Rod Serling, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman.

When he's not writing, which is not often these days, Joe enjoys reading, baseball games (Go Yankees!), an MMO or two and driving his classic 1968 GTO.

He remains somewhere in the Naugatuck Valley to this day, and on cold nights when the moon is full, he is sometimes spotted wandering the moors in search of his next story idea.



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