Hello everyone, and welcome back to Featured Author of the Week. It’s been quite some time since I posted an author interview here, but today I’ve got something special for you.
Reading this author interview earlier today, with my coffee, the phrase ‘Breath Taking’ kept coming to mind as I thought how to describe it.
Without further ado, I give you, Joseph Carrabis Featured Author of the Week.
My apologies for the lack of Alt Text in the photos.
Watch for this interview with alt text in the upcoming Writer’s Grapevine Spring and Things March April Edition.
For now, sit back and enjoy.
First, in your own words tell us a little about you.
Hmm…I usually respond with “I’m boring and dull” and Susan (wife/partner/Princess), friends, editor and publisher repeatedly tell me to stop.
Hmm…I enjoy a good single-malt Scotch and fine cigar. Usually while sitting on our backporch reading and listening to the wildlife (our backyard opens to ~60 acres of woodlands). Can’t stop reading, by the way, and usually have three books minimum going at once, often more like 7-10.
What else what else what else…I love music, both listening and playing. And languages. My dog. The Wild.
Where do you live?
Mostly in my imagination. Otherwise, New Hampshire.
Who are the special people in your life?
People…aside from Susan (wife/partner/Princess) and my sister, Sandra, I’d count my teachers and mentors and these include wildlife (probably more so than humans). Jennifer “JenBitch the Editress” Day who makes my work look presentable.
I really don’t have a lot of people in my life. Lee Iacocca said if you’ve got five real friends you’ve had a good life. The statement leads to “What’s a real friend?” I have a quote “A good friend will come and bail you out of jail…but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, ‘Damn…that was fun!'” Another is “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
I’ve learned my life has been different – is different – from the lives of most people I know. I consider myself an open book (the author said) and that I wear my heart on my sleeve (to use an outmoded cliche), yet someone I considered my closest friend once told me (after knowing me for some 6-7 years) that he always felt he was looking at the ocean and could only see the waves, that he never got below the surface. His statement surprised me. Many years later he asked me to tell him the truth about something, I did, and he never talked to me again. Work took me to a town near him and I made it a point to reach out while I was there. No, the door was closed.
I miss him, think of him often, and have made it a point not to contact him or enter into his life since.
On the other hand, I routinely befriend wildlife to the point they take food from my hand. This includes everything from raccoon to owl to fox to coyote to deer to bear and just about everything in between. You can see much of these interactions at https://josephcarrabis.com/category/wildlife
Do you have any pets?
Boo, our dog. Much of the wildlife in our backyard behave like pets now and again.
No, not correct in either case. I most often interact with animals as equals. Changes the dynamic, eases any tensions on both sides, promotes harmonies among species.
What keeps you going? I mean, like what inspires you and keeps you moving forward in your work?
Do things like bills and mortgage count? How about food?
Beyond those, life, probably. It rarely ceases to amaze me.
What is your favorite song?
That is a tough one. A single favorite? Can’t do it. I listened to music with my family from as early as I can remember and started playing different instruments when I was a young child. Didn’t matter the size or type of instrument, if I could get my hands on it I’d give it a go. Music plays an increasing role in my writing and I draw from many musical traditions.
Plus I’m a child of the ’60s. Amazing music from back then. Actually back through the 20’s and into the 90’s, me thinks. Don’t listen to much new unless someone suggests it to me.
Perhaps I’ll come up with something before I finish this interview…
What is your favorite movie?
Another single favorite…another impossibility. Something else for me to cycle back to…
What is your favorite book?
I’m going to give up on this interview if you keep asking me these types of questions. Sheesh…
What is your favorite food?
Anything hot and spicy. Doesn’t matter if it’s Mexican, Italian, Thai, Hunan, …
What is your favorite quote?
I’ve been collection quotes since I was a teenager. The file is now 967K. Each one is a favorite and each for a different reason.
What is your favorite affirmation?
I put this questionnaire aside to get some other work done and am coming back to it after a heavy late Winter snowfall.
My first response to this question is “See my answer to the quotes question. All the affirmations I relate to are in my quotes file.”
And I got to thinking…specifically about any individual who can encapsulate their entire existence into a single, favorite anything. People are multifaceted (I hope. At least I hope my main characters are. Of course, if you create a character able to encapsulate their life, it’s a good defining element) and to indicate one thing suffices for them throughout their existence – even throughout a single day – amazes me. It speaks to a shallowness of character, or perhaps a lack of experience, me thinks.
For example, ask me the best meal I ever had and my answer is quick and responsive: Salmon stuffed steak at Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye (https://threechimneys.co.uk/). A close second was the Catch of the Day at The Pictou Lodge (https://pictoulodge.com/). After that it would be a toss up between any of The Keg locations in Canada (a chain, and each one we visited was amazing. https://thekeg.com/en), Gambrinus’ in Quebec City (sadly closed but what an amazing place it was), and Gibbet Hill in Groton, Ma (https://www.gibbethillfarm.com/).
What binds these all together in memory is yes, the food, and more so the experience (which is usually with friends, although sometimes it’s just Susan and me, and then the service and staff put things at the top).
What I realize is it’s not a single thing which makes something penultimate to me, it’s the experience enfolding that single thing which makes it penultimate to me. Again using Three Chimneys as an example, I can still taste the Salmon Stuffed Steak close to thirty years since our visit. But what comes immediately with that taste are the sounds of the people, the laughter, the cast of Breaking the Waves singing at the cast party two tables away from us, the brogue of our waitress, the chef coming out to make sure everything was okay, the clear, full-mooned sky driving there, the sheep in the middle of the road that made us fifteen minutes late, the…
And such it is with Gambrinus’, any of The Kegs we visited, The Pictou Lodge, Gibbet Hill, …
Each experience is a favorite and choosing any single one is to deny my joy in the others.
So music – Bach played on a heavy organ (“heavy” meaning “grand,” four manuals plus full pedal, 64′ diapason, and unified. This from my own playing and when I traveled the northeast US repairing church pipe organs) organ. Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis” (while in the backseat of my ’64 Mercury Comet with a beautiful woman, at Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass, the full moon rising on a cold winter’s night, the windows steamed from our exertions, and epitomized in my forthcoming novel, Search (due out Dec 2023)), CSNY’s “Guenivere” playing softly in the background at Miss Ruby’s Inn (long gone, wearing a hooded monk’s robe. I was in a monastery at the time) with several friends, cuddling with Susan in a twin bunk bed listening to Bob James “Angela” (theme song from “Taxi”) from (then soft jazz station) WEEI, playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for my sister, Sandra (it was the impetus for me to study piano), and watching her light up, … mastering a polka on the clarinet to the delight of my music teacher, Mr. Marino, …
So again, no single favorite. Each swarms with other references. FWIW, Susan and others comment on my ability to remember when I’ve heard a piece of music, who I was with, what we were doing, … I think being blind (legally blind, meaning I had limited vision) most of my life helps. Mapping visual experience is an effort for me, mapping non-visual sensory experience comes naturally.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
This one’s easy because, like the concept of favoriting, it has a universal element – people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do. I would rather have someone tell me they’re not going to do something, period, than say they will do something and not do it.
Mind you, I have no problem with someone doing something and failing to achieve their goal. Such is an opportunity for learning and sharing and I cherish those.
It’s the person who says or promises they will do something and simply doesn’t do it. They are my biggest pet peeve. I encountered them at all levels of business. Sadly, I find this is to be true with lots of indie publishers. Promises are made – sometimes even contractually – and never kept. Contractually broken promises provide a recourse, but then one must decide if the reward is worth the cost.
What do you think your best strengths are, and how do they help you in your work as a writer?
Hmm…Readers constantly comment on my voice, my characters, my story lines. It seems I write in rich yet necessary detail. One thing often said is readers can’t skim my work, each item is significant and relevant to the story. I agree because I work to that end when I write.
What are your weaknesses, and how are you making them stronger?
I’m constantly working on things I notice about my writing. What I notice today is different from what I noticed yesterday and I’ll notice something else tomorrow. I spend a lot of time developing attribution via action, meaning I have the characters doing something when they say something. Example, “Joseph filled his coffee cup in the break room while Peter stood beside him and bitched about his home life. His cup full, Joseph reached into his pocket, pulled out a dime, and handed it to Peter. ‘Here’s a dime, Pete. Could you please go call someone who gives a damn?'”
In the above I’ve shown the situation, shown the emotional energy involved, defined the characters, shown their interaction, indicated who’s talking to whom and about what. Many writers would use narrative or exposition. If not that, they’d use some form of “said.”
But do the latter and you lose the opportunity to move the plot forward and keep the reader engaged. Granted, sometimes some form of “said” is fine, but most often I’ll shy away from it.
What is your dream for the future, and how does it relate to your work as a writer?
To improve my crafting, to share with more readers.
What is your preferred way of communicating, and how can someone reach you if they wish to buy from or work with you in some way?
I’m on LinkedIn (http://nlb.pub/LinkedIn), Facebook (http://nlb.pub/Facebook), Goodreads (http://nlb.pub/GoodReads, Twitter (http://nlb.pub/Twitter), Amazon (http://nlb.pub/amazon), have a blog (https://josephcarrabis.com), … finding me is easy. Any of those will get you to me.
Before you go, is there anything you’d like to add about yourself, or your work that I’ve not asked?
I’ll share this with my editor and others. They’ll make suggestions, I’m sure.
(and they did)
Publisher’s bio: Joseph Carrabis told stories to anyone who would listen starting in childhood, wrote his first stories in grade school and started getting paid for his writing in 1978. His work history includes periods as a long-haul trucker, apprentice butcher, apprentice coffee buyer/broker, lumberjack, Cold Regions researcher, mathematician, semanticist, semioticist, physicist, educator, Chief Data Scientist, Chief Research Scientist, Chief Neuroscience Officer, Neuromarketer-in-Residence, and Chief Research Officer. Prior to becoming a full-time author, Joseph sat on several advisory boards including the Center for Multicultural Science and the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research; an Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future; Director of Predictive Analytics, Center for Adaptive Solutions; and was an original member of the NYAS/UN’s Scientists Without Borders program. He held patents covering mathematics, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics based on a technology he created in his basement and from which he created an international company. He retired from corporate life and now spends his time writing fiction and non-fiction based on his experiences. His work appears regularly in anthologies and his own novels. You can often find him playing with his dog, Boo, and snuggling with his wife, Susan. Learn more about him at https://josephcarrabis.com and his work at http://nlb.pub/amazon.
This interview was originally published at: https://pattysworlds.com/fridays-fantastic-finds-joseph-carrabis-featured-author-of-the-week-author-interview-writing/