Welcome to my blog spot- grab a cup of coffee and a good book ;-)
I met Joshua Grant through Goodreads and became a member on his amazing indie author supporting website www.diabolicshrimp.com. I found his books to sound thoroughly intriguing and entertaining -- and being a fan of all things horror-- I decided to read Pandora back in December, the first book in his heart-pounding The Organization series. (Check out my review on it here.) After reading this thrilling tale, with all the surprise elements, horror and action of The Thing and Dead Space, I wanted to “sit down” with him and ask him what inspired it.
Here’s what he had to say:
Me: Hi Joshua, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?
Joshua: Oh gosh, a dangerous thing when asking a writer to tell you his story! :) I’m a crazy guy who loves working with kiddos, playing video games, and occasionally writing. I’ve had a pretty adventurous life so far with things like sailing the ocean and surviving a flash flood, but I really just love people and laughing and experiencing life together. Not sure I ever really knew I was going to be a writer (maybe even still haha!). My middle school English teacher left some nice comments on one of my short stories that made me think ‘hey, maybe I can write something decent.’ I then just wrote for the fun of it ever since. I quit a lot along the way but always got that writer’s bug back. I just love imagining stories when I run out of stuff that entertains me and decide to write it all down.
Me: Haha, that seems to be the going answer… We don’t know we’ll be writers...until we are!
So, what inspired you to write The Organization books?
Joshua: A lot of things came together at the right time for The Organization. I always loved things like Resident Evil and The Thing growing up (even though I’m a big scaredy cat) and I wanted to capture the gritty feel, creepy but fascinating creatures, and hapless heroes of those types of things. After playing a game called Dead Space (a friend made me do it), I had this nightmare that became the basis of Pandora, although it was set in space. Right at that same time, I took a cruise for the first time and thought that’d be the perfect interesting setting for the book that’s both isolated but also within the reach of everyday people as opposed to my original space idea.
Me: Yes, I’m a huge fan of horror and love both those movies. Hubby has played Dead Space many times, and I would watch along as if I were watching a movie, so entrancing! Those things would creep me out when they jump out of the vents and such. It was definitely not a game you could play alone or at night, haha! I saw elements of it in Pandora for sure.
Now, which character in your Organization series is your favorite? Why?
Joshua: Yeesh! That’s a tough one! I love all my characters (even the horrible ones). Coby is a kid in Jericho, and I love his dynamic with Thomas, his stepbrother since it highlights a lot of the moral struggle that The Organization series is all about. All of the characters in Pandora are really near and dear to my heart, but I loved setting up everything between Aubrey and Julian. All of my characters in The Organization are survivors in more ways than one, so making Aubrey vulnerable and kickbutt at the same time was really hard but I like how it all turned out.
One of the things I really love about writing this series is making my creatures in each book a character. Even though it’s really creepy, I enjoyed getting to highlight Watcher’s dark mind and showing the runoff dangers of unchecked evil.
Me: Yes, Aubrey was awesome…and Julian too! You did a great job defining them! And I LOVED getting Watcher’s POV. It was so unique and entertaining! Did anyone in real life inspire your characters?
Joshua: In a roundabout way. I never write someone into a character directly. I’m not a good enough writer to do that well honestly. In Pandora, Julian is a mercenary who is trying to get enough money to get his younger brother Ricardo out of a life of slums and drug lords. They’re named after two kiddos I support from El Salvador. Aubrey’s last name is for a friend of mine and his family. He passed from cancer shortly after publishing that book, so I wanted to honor him through some of her character and her struggle. She’s also a bit of me though since I lost someone I really loved and slowly had to piece myself back together (that’s also sort of the central theme in Pandora as well).
In Jericho, there’s this kick butt cop named Angela who heads to this mountain town to find her brother. She’s named after my sister and some of their sibling dynamic is based on that. So I guess…yes? Haha!
Me: LOL! I think we tend to write a bit of ourselves and loved ones, subconsciously, into our characters ;-)
What are you working on now?
Joshua: I sort of put myself in a hole by publishing the start to about 7,000 series! :) I’m hard at work kicking out Silly Tales from Albanon, a quirky light hearted collection of short stories in a fantasy world that are all connected and build towards a twist ending. That’ll be published in a month, so I’m in the final production phase on that one. I’m almost (fingers crossed) finished writing the rough draft for The Sixth Ascendant, the second novel in my Ascendants trilogy. I’m also several chapters into Icarus, the third novel in The Organization, as well as Axiom, the follow up to Nexus.
Me: Wow!! You are on a roll!! And here I thought I was busy, LOL!!
Are there going to be more books in the Organization series?
Joshua: Oh yes! The Organization was always meant to be four books long: Pandora, Jericho, Icarus, and Babel. The first three are sort of standalone stories (they’re all connected, some more subtly than others). They all build towards the fourth one that pulls them all together. Each title is connected to an ancient story that is the heart of the moral struggle happening within it. It’s basically like building a house of cards that I’m going to pull down in the fourth one!
Me: That’s awesome!! I can’t wait to read them all!
Now, as a busy teacher, how do you ever get any writing done?
Joshua: Haha! I haven’t quite figured that one out yet! These days I just guest teach to still be involved with my degree, and I work with kiddos at church and at camp, so I get a decent amount of time to write. I’m kinda a night owl so I do a lot of writing while burning the midnight oil (it’s especially creepy when I’m writing one of my horror books).
Me: Oh, I’m sure and a great time to write horror tales too ;-)
Tell me a bit about your new book, Nexus, that just released in February. How many books will be in the series?
Joshua: Nexus is like the weird mash up between the meaningful tones of my fantasy series and the intense horror scenes of my horror series. I was kinda going for the emotional punch of The Giver meets the actiony chase scenes of The Terminator. I was listening to one of the world’s lead developers of robotics one day and he talked about how human beings aren’t special which I fundamentally disagreed with. I started thinking about what makes us special, which is actually more of a difficult question than I thought. I think I laid it out pretty well in Nexus. 15 year old Jonah is surviving in the horror of a post apocalyptic world controlled by killing machines, but he’s not entirely human. He might be my favorite character I ever created, but that’s always hard to say. It’s an emotional book and definitely the deepest thing I’ve ever written. Nexus is a trilogy, followed by Axiom and eventually Confluence.
Me: Sounds intriguing! I can’t wait to check it out! What drew you to the horror genre?
Joshua: I never expected to write a horror book (let alone several). Growing up with things like Resident Evil and Phantoms, I always loved the weird creatures and how close people could get while trying to escape them. It was interesting to me how dire situations highlighted the best and worst that humanity had to offer and thought that would be the perfect place to have this larger moral argument. It was all about trying to capture this feeling of true good versus the different shades of evil. I also just love creature features and eventually ran out of them so I decided to write my own.
Me: Nice! I agree! And I just love a good scare! Now, who are your favorite authors/books?
Joshua: I actually started reading late in life so that list is a little short. I’m a huge movie and video game buff so a lot of my influence comes from those. Lately though I’ve fallen in love with reading! There are three authors I will always have to come back to. Lois Lowry is the best author in existence. She doesn’t have a lot of plot, but her writing worms its way into your heart and sticks there. Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) is just incredible. And the biggest influence on my writing has to be S.D. Perry who does a fantastic job making a heart pounding thriller!
Me: Sounds like I have some authors to check out ;-) So, what do you love about writing?
Joshua: As much as I love movies and video games, books have the greatest power of any medium to make you feel something. You can take more time in a book to explore meaningful topics. Writing has changed me on a profound level and allows me to feel a deeper connection to the world. I also love putting twists in all of my stories. It’s like a surprise birthday and you can’t wait to see the reader open their presents.
Me: Haha, I love that! It’s a great way to describe it!
What are you looking forward to in 2019?
Joshua: There’s so much to look forward to these days I’m having trouble keeping up! One of the number one things I’m looking forward to seeing this year is the SpaceX Starship test flight. It’s a revolutionary rocket that can potentially take 100 people to Mars and will open up space to the masses and they’re testing its prototype at the end of this year! I’m also looking forward to seeing them finish off the pointless Star Wars trilogy so we can get back to the cooler side Star Wars stories! :)
Me: Haha yes! Star Wars and The Avengers: Endgame (premieres tonight) are two I’m looking forward to myself as well as this last season of GOT :-D!
Well, thank you so much, Joshua, for being my guest tonight! It’s been a pleasure and I wish you all the best in your writing career.
You can find all Joshua Grant’s books on Amazon. He’s a fantasy, science fiction and horror writer.
Joshua Grant is a self-proclaimed Bond villain and a thousandaire philanthropist (like a billionaire philanthropist, just with a lot less money). He has survived a flash food, encountered numerous bears, and sailed the ocean blue. Josh loves to read, write, play video games, and occasionally read up on the crazy science that’s happening in the world, but most of all he loves just getting people together to love, laugh and grow alongside each other. Currently, Josh makes a living teaching and working with kids in various environments, with the occasional novel always in the works.
Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series
Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart. She also enjoys supporting her fellow indies.