Knowing 0830 at the M3 Coffee Shoppe has sun rays stabbing the entire floor, Red was curious as to the dark spot in the center of the café. When she rounded the end of the bar and saw Joel Andre making a not-so-small group of patrons laugh. With a knowing grin, she let the crowd thin before she corner Joel about dreams, rumors and risks.
M3: Let the M3 Readers know the professional, book jacket version of who you are.
JA: Joel M. Andre is the author of more than 2o titles including his latest, Tea with Death. Currently, he resides in Chandler, Arizona.
M3: Before I grill for details and secrets, do you have someone you would like to thank?
JA: If I were to thank a single person, I think it would be Terrence Pratt. The man is a literary genius, and he really pushed me hard to improve my skills. I will forever be grateful to him. If it wasn’t for him, I most likely wouldn’t even be focused on writing. Instead, I would probably still be working for the State.
M3: Civil service, eh? Most creative types consider that a fate worse than death. Since you are not working for the State, any reason the M3 Readers should be concerned with your day job?
JA: I don’t think a day job really matters in this case. Everyone has a job that they do to earn an honest living. Would I mind writing fiction for a living? Probably not, but I am also very realistic. Thousands of people publish new content daily.
M3: That is true. Does that mean the economic conditions have changed the way you perform?
JA: I don’t think it has had a bearing on me at all. I write for the enjoyment of writing. If I sell a dozen copies of a title, I am fine with that. I know quite a few authors who stress about meeting a quota, but I look at the income from my stories as being mad money.
M3: There are plenty of authors and writers who desperately depend on the income to sustain them. You are no new player to this game. Where did you get your start in the publishing industry?
JA: I started writing back in 1999. Originally, I wanted to be a poet and possibly a songwriter. It was around the time that I wrote A Death at the North Pole that I decided that fiction would be an area that I would like to explore. Today, I write everything from poetry to short stories and novellas.
M3: Which means you fit in around here rather well. What is your best advice you would give the would-be author in the M3 Readers?
JA: Take your time and always triple check your work. I did make quite a few mistakes when I first came out… such as the rough draft for A Death at the North Pole getting out on the market. And once it’s out there; there isn’t anything you can do to take it back.
M3: Ouch. Mistakes are not readily forgiven, especially by the traditional publishing industry. Have a bone to pick with them?
JA: I don’t think I have a bone to pick at all. I love the industry, and everything that comes with it. It’s taught me to grow thicker skin and to continue to push the boundaries and to keep improving.
M3: Growing thicker skin is another great piece of advice. Do you think the industry looks down on self-published material?
JA: I think the attitude is changing, but I know quite a few people who won’t buy self-published content.
M3: An attitude I have no ability to understand. You have met quite a few colleagues. Anything to say about them?
JA: I have had the chance to get to know quite a few of my fellow colleagues in the literary world. Most of them are wonderful people that I absolutely enjoy. In fact, there are some who are so generous and gracious that I am truly impressed with them. Those are the people who I love to socialize with.
M3: That is precisely why I love the M3 Coffee Shoppe. There are a great number of people who make this a great place to work. Speaking of work, what is on your plate at the moment?
JA: Right now, I am working on a few different titles. Black Hill Manor is a title I have been working on for a little over a year. I am hoping to have that out this fall. In addition to that, I have a paranormal romance I am goofing around with. Otherwise, I have quite a few short stories I might put out later this year as well.
M3: Good grief! How do you find time?
JA: A couple of years ago, I decided I was going to write full time. Not only do I write my own person content, but I write content for clients on the internet. This has given me the chance to explore new topics and has really opened my mind to new things.
M3: So do you ever go on hiatus?
JA: I never go on hiatus. If you stop exercising your muscles, they weaken over time. I think it is important for you to continue to write and to expand on your skills. It doesn’t mean you need to release everything you create, but there should always be something in the works.
M3: I know there are things I have done which will never see the light of day. Have a secret you wish would never see the light of day?
JA: There really isn’t anything out there that I am secretive about. I would rather have people get their information straight from the source, rather than to pick up pieces and create their own image of who I am. I am a relatively nice guy and don’t mind answering questions at all.
M3: That is a very healthy approach. Assumption is such an ugly thing. Tell the M3 Readers how Tea with Death is different from the others in the genre.
JA: My work isn’t the run of the mill stuff out there. Too many stories try to be serious, dark horror. My work is blended with dark humor, and I throw some philosophical elements in it.
M3: Humor tempers the best of everything, in my not so humble opinion. To me, that is a victory over the genre. Have you had any victories over the traditional publishing industry?
JA: I don’t look at anything as being a triumph or a failure. Everything is an experience and you take elements away from it. If you take a risk and put your neck out on the line, then you’ve already won. Some people live their life wishing they could be successful and that they could follow their dreams. Anyone can do it, but most of us justify the reason why we can’t do something, instead of all the reason why we can.
M3: You should have that put on T-shirts. What is it about this work which is close to your heart?
JA: Writing is a chance to give the images in my mind a chance to take life. While I wouldn’t die if I couldn’t write again, I am sure I would be pretty bummed out. I think we all have something we are passionate about and some of us chase our dreams, while others give in to the walls that stop us from chasing them.
M3: A lot of work goes into chasing your dreams. Is your own marketing part of your work?
JA: Non-professional marketing is important to a degree. I think it helps to get your name out there and to help people to discover you. The only thing I try to avoid is unwarranted self-promotion. I know there are people out there who always flaunt the fact that they are an author and will endless recommend their book. It always rubbed me the wrong way, and I have vowed not to do that.
M3: The writing industry is the only one who uses the term self-promotion. I merely call it promotion. Let’s engage in some. Tell the M3 Readers in 15 words or less why they should buy your book.
JA: Because you love dark humor mixed with horror.
M3: Even if they do not know it yet!
Dearest M3 Readers,
Thank you for your continual support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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