Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome science fiction writer, Joseph Madden. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Joseph.
I was born and raised in Queens, New York, but now I live in East Central Wisconsin with my wife, daughter and a plethora of fur-covered critters. When I was seven years old, my parents took me to see the original Star Wars for the first time. It changed my life. I became obsessed (in a good way) with it. I devoured anything science fiction that I could read or watch, and it remains a passion to this day.
When did you first start writing?
I actually wrote my first story when I was about six years old. It was about the old Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Muttley. Six or seven pages written AND illustrated. It has yet to see publication.
When I was twelve, I had a teacher who put a bunch of words up on the board (dragon, castle, wizard, etc.) and told us we had to use them in a story. Rather than it being a boring assignment, I took it as a challenge and turned in four hand-written, front and back pages. I had so much fun with it that I started writing stories just for fun. Been doing it ever since.
Who are your favorite authors?
I grew up loving Mark Twain. Arthur C Clark, Timothy Zahn, and Dean Koontz are all favorites and strong influences on me. Probably the earliest things I remember reading were Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comics. I think I was reading him even in kindergarten.
What are you reading now?
I am reading The Pioneers by David McCullough. I have a deep-seated love of American history and McCullough is, in my eyes, the undisputed master of historical non-fiction.
What inspires you to write?
So many things inspire me. Movies, books, historic events. Music is a huge fount of inspiration for me. I love film scores. John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and others write such epic pieces and I will draw from those sources and sometimes I find myself writing scenes to match what I listen to. In addition, a good trip to Disney World is always a good way to get my creative juices flowing.
Tell us a little bit about your most recent release.
The Starhawk Chronicles: Rest and Wreck-reation is the sequel to my first novel (Also titled The Starhawk Chronicles). It was originally inspired by, of all things, a trip I took to Las Vegas back in the mid-nineties. I had put my characters through so much in the first book that I decided to give them a break in the second book and send them on vacation. Of course, chaos ensues as the become wrapped up in a planetary revolution while just trying to take some time off. It was the most fun I’ve had to date writing.
What was your favorite subject at school?
I always liked to read, even from a very early age, so English was probably my favorite (except for book reports). As I got into high school, I really developed my love of history, especially for the Revolutionary War and World War II. And, of course, I excelled at lunch.
Who is your favorite character you’ve written?
Kayla Karson, one of the characters in the first Starhawk Chronicles. She’s a maverick. A loose cannon, and you never know what she might say or do next. That includes myself, there are literally times when I go to write her doing one thing, and she just disobeys and runs off to do her own thing. She is also a perfect foil for my main character. She drives him absolutely crazy, and that interplay makes things really fun to write. Currently, I am in the middle of writing her own spin-off novel.
What attracts you to fantasy?
In Middle School, we had to read The Hobbit. I thought it was going to be the most horrible read. The first chapter moved so slow and I thought I would never be able to finish it. Once I got into the meat of the story, I flew through it and was the first in class to finish reading it. After that, I started reading TSR’s Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. I was hooked on fantasy after that.
What are you currently working on?
In addition to the Kayla Karson novel I mentioned, I am working on the third book in The Starhawk Chronicles, another series about a band of fighter pilots engaged in a galactic war that predates The Starhawk Chronicles without being a direct prequel to it, a story about Earth’s first, successful off-world colony, AND an epic fantasy duology. Think Lord of the Rings but with much, much more humor.
Any big news you’d like to share with us?
Things are pretty quiet for now, until the release of my next novel, whichever that may be. I’ll have to let you know.
How can readers connect with you?
My Facebook page is probably my biggest go-to. (www.facebook.com/authorjjmadden) I try to respond within a few hours of any messages. I am also prevalent on Twitter and Instagram (both use authorjjmadden as my handles) and I have a blog, Getting My Geek On, (jjmadden.blogspot.com) where I rant about anything from writing, to science fiction, to writing science fiction, and whatever else blows across my mind at the time.
A big thank you to Joseph for joining us today. Check out his newest book on Amazon.