Interview: Regina M. Joseph

The Bookie Monster Interviews Regina M. Joseph, Author of the Alterran Legacy Series

Oh, had me up until you said you didn't eat cookies or cake. I thought we may have an issue until you totally answered my shameless plug correctly! And, of course, voted Brad Pitt onto your zombie killing team. Who doesn't like a little Brad in their life =) But broccoli??? Eat a cookie..I demand it! No peer pressure or anything...but seriously, cookie!

Give us a quick bio. A little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

I’m a double Buckeye, meaning I have an undergraduate and professional degree from The Ohio State University. I have practiced business law for, let’s just say, a long time. I got into writing because I read so much, including science and ancient history (among many other things) that a story came into my head that insisted on being born. It was like an alien implantation, it just popped out.

What five words best describe you?   

Very humbly:  brilliant, persistent, widely-read, multi-faceted, and open-minded.    Also, willing to cheat on word counts.

Do you have a most embarrassing moment? 

No, I let things roll off.

Are there any critiques in particular that you just can’t seem to shake? 

I haven’t yet had a bad critique. But I don’t have a great many. I’m sure they are coming.

If you were to create a writing soundtrack, what artists would be on it?

Ayn Rand, Victor Hugo, Philip K. Dick, and Kim Stanley Robinson

How do you come up with the character names in your books?

They are the names of Sumerian gods, to which I added names from the Book of Enoch. Others, I made up.

How many people have you killed off over your career as a writer? Ever offed someone off then kicked yourself for it?

I killed two main characters at the end of Book 2, but there are brought back to life in Book 3. That’s the advantage of writing in fantasy!

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books?

No.  I use historical characters.  OK, some people think that I’m Alana, the heroine.

Do you laugh at your own jokes as you write them?  

Of course.

Do you write full time or do you keep a day job?

I have a demanding day job, which is why my release process is slow. I’m hoping that, by the time I’m ready to retire, I will have a bookshelf of books to sustain me. However, even if the writing income is never much, I enjoy the writing process and the fantastic author network, and that’s sufficient to call this endeavor a success.

What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview? 

This is only my second interview, so I guess this question is.

When did you decide to make a career of writing?

In 2009, I looked at the myriad of books in my home and thought that I can’t leave a legacy with what’s in my head. I need to write it down. And so, I did.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

My early readers were neighbors, and it was fun discussing the book with them. They have been extremely complimentary, and they love my characters. They also penned outstanding reviews.

What was your favorite moment when writing your book?

The Alterrans’ rejuvenation chamber, which can bring people back from the dead or make old people young again. After I wrote about it, I saw an episode on a Science Channel program that we should have that technology in at least 50 years. I have a number of cutting edge things in my books, and its fun seeing technology advance to embrace it.  In 2009, for example, my draft had devices that are essentially iPads – and then the iPad came out.  But I was too slow.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I wrote the entire story line for books 1 and 2 of The Alterran Legacy Series in about 6 weeks in 2009.  However, I then spent until October 2012 rewriting it. It became so long that I split it into two books.  However, the end product was astronomically superior to the initial draft. 

What do you do when you are not writing?

In addition to practicing law, I read extensively, exercise regularly (e.g., Tai Chi), and have fun with family and friends. Occasionally I find time to play the piano.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

My book is based on historical facts and mythology, and then I tried to fill in the cracks of what else was going on to create these situations – like a CSI investigator.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Keep editing

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find an authors’ group that is friendly and open, and then become an active member. One of the most fortuitous things that happened is that I joined a newly formed group devoted to exchanging book reviews – Book Review Depot. But it grew into a group that exchanges all sorts of author and personal information.  It’s been delightful and one of the finest parts of this journey.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?

How accurate are the historical events in your book?  I have an abundance of footnotes that I could offer to show how grounded in fact and mythology my book is, down to the location of the comet strikes and the nature of the granite that was used in the Alterrans’ colony, but everyone seems to assume it’s all fictional. On my FB author page, I have numerous postings to back up facts in my book. 

Who are you reading right now?

For my neighborhood book club, I am reading MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood. For my authors group, I am reading Hero for Hire and its sequel, The Stone Gods, by CB Pratt.  I have become good friends with Cynthia Pratt, and her books are wonderful.

OK, so, what’s next, do you already have a new project in the works?

I have book 3 of The Alterran Legacy Series (Resurrection) going through the publication process, and I am trying to complete Book 4, Redemption.  After that, I want to turn a short story I wrote, called Rejuvenal, into a longer work.  It’s about familial changes when grandma receives gene therapy and actually becomes young again.  It will happen soon!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I reread what I’ve previously written. Once I get immersed again, the writing flows.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

George R.R. Martin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Frank Herbert

You are hosting a dinner party and must invite 3 famous people. Who would you choose and why?

I presume that this does not need to be 3 living people. So, I would invite Marcus Aurelius, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, for a discussion of the state of human civilization and whether it is still moving forward.

What kinds of challenges did you face when you were writing the series? What kind of research did you do when you were working on your novel?  

The research came first.  I have subscribed to numerous science magazines for years, and then I delved into ancient history.  It seemed obvious that the ancients had the technologies that we are just developing – early humans just didn’t describe it well, because they didn’t understand what they were seeing.

In ten words or less
  • Are you a morning person or a night owl?  
    • Morning
  • Biggest fear?    
    • That I will have fear
  • Favorite TV Show?   
    • Game of Thrones
  • First item on your bucket list?  
    • No bucket list – if I want to do something, I do it
  • Happiest moment in your life to date?  
    • Giving birth to Thomas Jeffrey Joseph
  • If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?  
    • I’d want access to that rejuvenation chamber!!!!
  • If you were a Star Trek® character, which one would it be? Why?   
    • Captain Picard. Because he has all the fun.
  • If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?  
    • Most definitely Wonder Woman. She can do everything.
  • If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?    
    • Greek pizza from Calvino’s
  • If you could meet anybody in history, past or present, who would it be?   
    • En.Lil of Sumeria
  • If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  
    • Broccoli
  • If you realized that you got a free item by accident after leaving a store, would you go back and pay for it?   
    • Yes
  • How would your friends describe you in 3 words?  
    • According to my niece, I am kind, honest, and funny. Who knew?
  • Last thing you dressed up as for Halloween?
    • I dressed as Alana, the heroine in my novel.  Although I had to compromise for an Indian medicine woman outfit, because that’s all I could find. (I could wear this skimpy costume thanks to my exercise regime).
  • Mac or PC?   
    • PC
  • Oreo’s…Bite into the entire cookie or deconstruct it?   
    • Don’t eat
  • Pie or cake?  
    • Don’t eat
  • Quirk that annoys your spouse/friend:  
    • Good eating habits
  • The zombie apocalypse has begun. What zombie fighting badass would you want on your team?
    • Brad Pitt
  • What is one thing that you can’t live without?   
    • Wine
  • What is the craziest thing you have ever done?   
    • Participated in the Van Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition. 
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?   
    • Amazon forcing free or nearly free books.
  • Who is the most famous person you have met?   
    • George Bush
  • Who’s your favorite blogger? (cough)  
    • You
  • Worst job ever?  
    • Burger King
  • Would you rather be homeless for a year or be in jail for a year?   
    • Homeless in Fiji

 Where can readers stalk you?   Please, I return Likes, Twitters, PMs, anything!
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