I have been conducting Ink Drop Interviews for about a year and today, I am thrilled to have my first ‘returning guest’. Joseph Rinaldo appeared here almost a year ago to promote his book, ‘A Spy At Home’ and is here today to talk about his latest release, ‘Hazardous Choices’ and maybe a word or two about his upcoming release, ‘Mountain Meadows Aftermath’.
And now… Joseph Rinaldo…
IDI – What is your passion within your writing?
JR – I am most passionate about drawing the reader into the story on an emotional level. That is why in my novel A SPY AT HOME, I didn’t just tell a story about a spy, but rather a spy with flaws, a man who was vulnerable and imperfect, a man who had a family he didn’t know how to relate to. In my novel HAZARDOUS CHOICES, I don’t just tell a story about a young man who is a gang member, but rather a young man who has made bad choices that have affected not only him but his family as well, and a young man who is trying hard to change his life and escape from his past to create a better future.
IDI – I’m sure I asked you this question when I first interviewed you, but for the readers who didn’t read that interview, I’ll ask again. When did you have your ‘Ah-ha’ moment? When did you know that you were born to be a writer?
JR – I’m not sure there was a Eureka moment. I started writing during a period of unemployment when I was doing a lot of reading. I came across a news blurb about Nicholas Sparks and how he had received a million-dollar advance for one of his books. I got that book and read it, and I thought, “I can do that!” Thus began my writing career. The first book I wrote was truly terrible, and I have never tried to publish it, but as time went on, I realized I enjoyed telling stories about people and the things in their lives that matter to them. I guess my Eureka moment grew on me slowly over time. I have written a total of nine books, and as time and money for professional editing permit, I am self-publishing them.
IDI – Can we get a sneak peek at your current work in progress?
JR – Right now I am editing my soon-to-be third release, Mountain Meadows Aftermath, a novel based on a historical event that occurred in 1857 when Mormon zealots massacred innocent Americans in the Utah Territory. Until the 1995 Oklahoma City attack, this was the most deadly act of terrorism against US citizens.
IDI – I believe that in a sense, while writing we become the people we write. We have to feel what they feel, think what they think and know what they know. Agree or disagree, and how do you handle stepping into another mind?
JR – Most of the time, I feel like a stenographer because I write what the voices in my head dictate. It’s a peculiar feeling to have someone telling you a story and insisting that you write it down – someone only you can hear. I’m not sure we “become” the people we write so much as the people we write are created from some part of us – sometimes a part we don’t want to admit is there.
IDI – If you could live anywhere on earth, where would it be and why?
JR – A private island, accessible only by air, with my family around me and plenty of time to do the things I enjoy: boat, swim, fish and generally bask in the sun.
IDI – Sounds nice! We all have our dreams… (besides the private island) what’s yours? Fame, riches, Pulitzer, movie…?
JR – Yes, please. No, seriously, my dream is to have one (or all) of my movies made into a blockbuster movie. When I’m writing, I can actually see the movie playing in my head. It’s so cool! And, of course, to get extremely rich so that I can give my family all the things they deserve.
IDI – Are you one to outline before you begin a new novel?
JR – When I first began writing, I outlined everything and did lots of research, but after a while, that just seemed like redundancy. Now, I try to focus on the main idea and let the story and the characters take me where they will.
IDI – What advice would you give to new/unpublished writers?
JR – I won’t repeat what most best-selling authors tell you, which is “read, read, read”. I’d say, “edit, edit, edit”, then hire a professional editor, then edit some more until you have the most perfect product you can before you publish it. The editing is the hardest part of creating a novel, I think. And it’s the least interesting or fun.
IDI – Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
JR – My wife. She is my first reader – even before that, she is the one I bounce ideas for new books off of. She is also my first editor; she has a keen eye for grammar and spelling problems, and she is quick to point out missing commas or other punctuation errors. That may seem like a small thing, but a misplaced comma can change the whole meaning of a sentence. She supports me in other ways, too. She is my cheerleader, my encourager, my “publicist”, my sounding board, and of course, my best friend.
IDI – I hope she has the opportunity to read the sweet things you’ve said about her! Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?
JR – I would have to say my daughter. She has Down syndrome, and she is the very definition of the word “success”. I say this because she really LIVES her life. She is involved, active, motivated, cheerful, and self-confident. That is one reason I have written a character with Down syndrome into several of my books.
IDI – What a wonderful husband and father. And there is no better reason for anything we do than family.
What do you want to be when you ‘grow up’?
JR – I have no plans to do so; therefore, the question is irrelevant! Seriously, though, I think when we cease playing, we cease growing. Writing novels is all about playing – pretending, like we did when we were children. We should never lose that ability – imagination is critical. I think as a country we are moving toward a time when we let other people “imagine” for us, and that is tragic.
IDI – One final question. Joseph, why do you write?
JR – Because I can’t “not-write”. Really…the voices in my head are very insistent!
IDI – Thank you very much for your return visit and I want to wish you the very best of luck with your writing career. Keep writing and I’ll look forward to the third time we ‘meet’!
If you would like to contact Joseph, or need information on where you can purchase one of his books, follow the links below.
Books are available on Amazon, B & N, Smashwords and Goodreads (as well as his website)
Do you like book trailers? You can see the trailer for ‘A Spy At Home’ here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi9Fw74llNA
Ink Drop Interviews are open to all published authors. Send a blank email to ladybuggerly at hotmail and I will lead you there!
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow