Guest Interview: Joseph Garraty, author of VOICE

Joseph Garraty is an author of dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He has worked as a construction worker, rocket test engineer, environmental consultant, technical writer, and deadbeat musician. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

His latest book is the horror novel, Voice.

You can visit his website at www.josephgarraty.com.

Connect with Joseph at Twitter at www.twitter.com/JosephGarraty.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Joseph. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Voice?

Thanks for inviting me!

I’ve been writing in some form or other most of my life, ranging from short stories to song lyrics, but I only really started to tackle the novel form about six years ago. At the time, I didn’t really intend to write a novel, but the story I had in mind simply wouldn’t fit well in anything smaller, and before I knew it I had 70,000 words, and I was hooked on the form. So much potential for telling good stories!

I started writing science fiction novels, but I wasn’t happy with how those came out, probably because I tried to jam every idea under the sun into each one, when really I wanted to be focusing on characters. Meanwhile, I’d been mulling over writing a book about a rock band, since I’ve played guitar in various rock bands for years and I’ve developed a fascination with the extreme personalities you find in serious musicians. The idea for the story came together just as I finished up the previous novel I’d been writing, and I jumped right on it.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

I believe the best titles have a couple of meanings. In the case of Voice, there’s the obvious one—Johnny’s voice, and the strange changes it undergoes—but there are others. It also refers to the idea of creative voice as well as the concept of voice as will or impetus. Having a voice in something means having some control over it, and that’s an important theme in the book.

For once, this was a title I didn’t have to struggle with—it was right there when I reached out for it.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Mark Twain once said something like, “I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself.” I don’t know if I’d go quite that far, but I do know that when I write a book, it’s because it’s kind of books I’d want to read and I haven’t found one that quite scratches a particular itch. Voice satisfied me in that department, and I think it might do the same for others.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

I went with a very small indie press, so I do most of the publicity. The publisher foots the bill for some paid advertising, but I do the legwork for contacting reviewers and guest bloggers and that kind of thing. Overall, that’s been a really great experience, and I’ve met some fantastic people!

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

I think in the “rock band horror” category, a similar book might be George R. R. Martin’s book, The Armageddon Rag. Both tell the stories of rock bands caught up in something way larger than themselves, but Martin’s book is focused on the mindset of the sixties and how that was reflected in popular culture. Voice is more focused on the idea of sacrifice and what it takes for an artist to succeed at his or her art. How much sacrifice is worth it?

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Case, Johnny, and the band are having a confrontation with their manager, who is extremely upset about how unnerving things have gotten around the band. Johnny’s making excuses, but Case gets it—things have gotten weird, and she’s not terribly comfortable herself.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I have several books in the works, but none that is specifically a follow-up to Voice. It stands very well on its own, and it’s not the sort of thing that lends itself well to a sequel in the usual sense.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Joseph. Do you have any final words?

Thanks for the interview!

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