Husband, father, grandfather, pet- lover and traveler are just a few of the words that describe the colorful life of author Joseph Means. Born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1956, Joe had always been an avid reader and loved how each book took him on a new and exciting adventure. Now Joe lives with his wife and their four pets in Dubai and works as maintenance planning supervisor for Global Aerospace Logistics in Abu Dhabi. In his spare time Joe writes children’s books, which follow the adventures of his two main characters, a little girl called Millie and her dog Honey.
What inspires you to write?
Everything is inspiration. If you look at the world as the incredible place it is, then each moment is a feast. I was sitting at a stop light one day with my youngest daughter and we noticed a leaf being blown across the intersection. So I began a dialogue, as if I was the leaf, dodging the cars and asking the wind to move me out of the way of oncoming traffic. It lasted the whole time of the red light and the leaf had just made it safely across the street as the light changed. But for those few short magical moments, I was the leaf maneuvering my way through traffic to cross the street. The fear, the anguish, the hope and the relief of braving the great unknown were exhilarating.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am one of those ‘List People.’ I continually make lists of things that I need to remember. When I get an idea, I either store it away in that part of my mind that writes or jot it down on a scrappy piece of paper and put it in my wallet till I clean it out on the weekend or search for it to write a story.
Sometimes, I will write a small snippet on MS Word and save it.
After I have mulled the story for a while, I just sit down and write it. It is usually down late at night after Rose (my wife ) and our dogs are in bed. The house is quiet. I read the little bits of what I have written and then I open a new MS Word document and begin writing.
Once the story is complete, I go back and read it aloud and sort out all the mistakes I have made.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Since my characters are my animals, I voice their unspoken words. I know their personalities and anticipate what they would do in a given situation. Like Rags, our adorable, yet feisty Yorkshire Terrier. He talks like a pirate and bares his teeth. He is hilarious when he does this and he never bites, but it is one of his character traits we love.
“Argh, Matey, keep it up and someone’s going to walk the plank!” Rags growled from the side of his mouth, as he bared his teeth.
What advice would you give other writers?
WRITE! Write about anything and everything. Learn your basic language skills and go from there. Let your voice speak out through the words that you put on paper. That is what makes us each individuals. I don’t write as much as I’d like to as I work a full time job, but I try to write something at least once a week.
I find that each time I write something, It gets easier and my thoughts are clearer on how I lay out the story.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wrote my first book as a story for my wife. We were waiting for Honey and Thomas to be shipped from the states to Dubai and we were missing them. She loved it so much that she asked me to publish it as a book.
Since then, we were given a Yorkie and he is such a character, that I wrote a book about him.
The third book was written because a friend of mine found an abandoned dog, Archie. At that time, one of our granddaughters wanted to be in a book, so I added her.
I never tried to get the books published through a publisher. I thought that it would be easier and faster to self-publish. Not that it was. The first book did NOT turn out the way I wanted it and the self-publisher was very slow and not very responsive to my wishes.
The second book was done up very nicely by DogEar Publishing and I loved the quality they gave me and they were half the price.
Since then, I have begun to learn some of the industry and have self-published the third book through Kindle (for FREE). The printing of the book is going to be a little more difficult, but I am working with a printer and a distributor.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe that the printed book will always be there, as there is nothing like the feel and smell of holding a book. The eBook is rapidly becoming a favorite as there are no printing costs, no shipping fees and people can receive it instantly. The cost is less than the printed version and access is unlimited.
Just looking at the growth of the eBook over the past few years, there has been an explosion of sales and new books.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Science Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy, Children’s Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print