Joseph A. Schiller is a high school Social Studies teacher in Houston, TX USA, where he lives with his wife and three boys. Upon the Arrival of Dawn is his first published work. He recently chatted with me about writing and his journey to publication.
What do you love most about Writing?
- I have always felt more comfortable expressing myself, even in school, through writing. Writing allows me to communicate that fits my rhythm and pace. Writing also provides an opportunity for exploration of ideas while still giving the writer the safety and flexibility to revise, rather than be confined to anything finite or limiting.
How did you get your start writing?
- The first time I fell in love with prose was in a creative writing class in the 7th grade. I don’t remember the teacher, but I remember having the full support to write whatever inspired me with absolutely no judgment. Building confidence in my written voice was the best thing that could have happened to me, and I will be forever grateful for that experience.
What Inspired you to write your book?
- I’ve always had a fascination with the mythology of early cultures. In the case of this particular story, the myths behind the Judeo-Christian-Islamic angels of death inspired me. While I personally do not believe in such stories, at least not in the religious sense, I do find something magical about them as stories.
Do your characters dictate what or how your write in any way?
- Absolutely. I really try to place myself in the proverbial shoes of my characters and imagine what they feel, think, experience, and see. I let the characters drive the story 100%.
Are you a painstaking plotter or are you a discovery writer?
- Yes, painstaking definitely describes me. I’m probably more methodical about my approach. That comes from being a little OCD and type A about things. This might be a blessing and curse at the same time for the writing process. There are moments when I think this personality trait stifles me creatively, and others when I appreciate how regimented it keeps me.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
- Write for yourself. Don’t write for an audience, publisher, or whatever you think people want or will sell. At the end of the day, the only person that needs to love your story is you. If others appreciate it too, then bonus points. Keeping this perspective also helps when working with an editor.
Is there any conflict between what you want to write and what you think your readers will like?
- Not at all. I don’t write for others. I write for myself. There are stories in my head that just need to come out. Who cares if readers or critics agree with their values? It’s nice to the validation of others enjoying my stories, but it is not a driving force.
What is the hardest part of editing- grammar checks, reducing content, or something else?
- Finding someone with whom you have good chemistry. The quality and effectiveness of the working relationship are crucial. If you are self-editing, use a site like Upwork.com or Fiverr.com so that you have the freedom to give as many editors a shot as you need to without upfront or long-term financial commitment.
Do you have a Mantra- a Quote you try to live by?
- I’m a firm believer in karma, either positive or negative. What we say and do has consequences. The more we ponder those potential consequences before acting and breathing life into our thoughts, the better the world would be.
What’s exciting about your next project?
- Since high school, I’ve wanted to write a story based on the enigmatic historical figure, Pythagoras. This has been a project I’ve worked on off and on, but now finally sinking teeth into it. I’m really enjoying the research side of things.
A darkness grows, threatening the delicate fabric of the Universe. An ominous cloud spreads, bringing an increasing imbalance across the Cosmos. Essences bent on wickedness and ultimate destruction is violently stripping the Energy of Life from innocent terrestrial creatures, bringing Existence to the very brink of collapse. Only one Celestial essence boldly accepts the calling to seek out the source of the encroaching evil and restore Harmony once again to Existence. Azrael, humble servant of Eternity, offspring of Existence, will stop at nothing to protect the Universe, mortal and immortal alike.