Please tell us about yourself?
My name is Joe Schwartz and I write stories for men. Although mostly women seem to read me, I'm trying my damnedest to reach out to the dudes who feel this life is pointless. If my work can help some guy struggling with this life, keep him from getting a divorce or putting a gun in his mouth, I will be deeply satisfied.
Tell us your latest news?
I recently made a large sale of books to the largest and oldest public library in St. Louis. This is the stuff of dreams. It was the library where I first discovered Steinbeck, Hemingway, Elmore Leonard, and Donald Goines. Real men who could write, guys I could go to regularly and read saying to myself they get it. It is an honor to be shelved next to these giants, to be found by readers who otherwise might not be interested in my work.
When and why did you begin writing?
I never realized I could write. My presumption was that if you could speak English, you should certainly be able to write it. Six years ago when I sold a screenplay to a local film company was when I decided this was it, but it still took a little convincing to believe that I was a writer. It was after I started publishing my short stories and getting read was when it occurred to me that this is where I belonged and should be doing with my life.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
You can write a billion words and not be a writer. Early on in my career a stranger gave me this simple advice, "Unless you are being read, you are not a writer." Harsh but true. I was wondering about this when I attended my third book signing in St. Louis. There were likely thirty writers there. I was doing okay, selling a few books, when this young dude asked me to shake his hand, sign his book, and take a picture with him. He had driven from Indiana just to meet me. That is when I realized I was doing something bigger than myself and it was obvious, even to me, that I was a writer.
How can we find you? I'm fairly minimal on the web compared to others, but I'm easy enough to find.
On twitter: @JoesBlackTShirt
On fb: Author Joe Schwartz
Goodreads: Add A Season Without Rain to Goodreads list
Tell me a little about your book.
A Season Without Rain is a book for dudes. It is the kind of stories men are telling each other around open fires and broken motors with beers in hand. It pulls no punches and is considerably dark writing but introspective in the sense that men don't talk, especially about what is really bothering them. This sense of hopelessness, that life is basically pointless, is the secret most guys are carrying around thinking they are alone. I've written this book to reach those dudes, to dispel this myth that no one cares, and that talking about your problems with another dude may actually help to solve them.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Three things: 1- Things can always be worse. 2- There really is a God. 3- If you wait long enough anything can change.
Is your protagonist like you?
Only in the lightest sense. Hemingway said an author’s first novel would always be his most biographical work. Everyone’s life is interesting except to the person living it. I prefer to think of it more as a way that I took to heal after having to live through such a long and terrible nightmare. But those are the most interesting stories, that demand to be told, and which will make any of us stop to think because in a sense, we've all been there in the dark wondering how in the hell would the sun ever rise again.
What about your book makes it special?
My hope is that this book will reach dudes who are desperate, that are stuck in cycles of drugs, alcohol, and violence and show them that self-destruction is not a life sentence. That our lives, no matter how mundane or seemingly insignificant, matter. To our families and friends, to our wives and children, we are the heroes of our stories and it's about time we took that honor a bit more seriously.
Any tips for new writers hoping to write a book?
Damn the cost, get an editor. Nobody likes a sloppily written book. It’s your name on the front cover not an editors’ so don’t be afraid to get second, even third opinions. Once it is in print there is no taking anything back.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Without a doubt, John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men is the gold standard to me. I first read it when I was thirteen and I still remember how deeply his work touched me. I want to do that to others, draw them in to my private world, share it and affect readers viscerally on a deep, emotional level. I want my work, like Steinbeck’s, to be something more than casual entertainment.
What inspired you to write this story?
Believe it or not, my kids. I’ve often told my friends that I don’t have much to offer my children in the way of an inheritance except when it comes to advice. I’ve been hustled by the best and have lived to tell about it. I figured this could be something I could share with them someday. Hopefully, they’ll read it and remember their old man loves them very much and once had to crawl through hell to save himself.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
Great Minds Think Aloud is my publisher. I had been shopping my novel around getting some bites, and some very decent rejections, but basically I had given up on getting it in print. Officially, I hadn't submitted my work to them, but a friend in the industry asked them to read it. Long story short, they liked it and I liked them. That's the funny thing about getting your work out there, it's like falling in love; when you least expect something wonderful happen that it probably will.
Jacob Miller is angry with himself, the world, and God. Life seems so unfair, so cruel, that he can’t imagine why anyone even tries. After having a nervous breakdown, selling his business, filing for bankruptcy, having a baby, and finding out he owes over twenty grand in taxes, he is hardly happy to be alive.
In the span of a year, Jacob will discover three very important things about life. Things can always be worse. There really is a God. And if you wait long enough anything can change.
A Season Without Rain explores that gray area between poverty and middle class life, the struggling underclass for whom there are no advocates. A powerful story told in a modern, everyday voice that will entrench readers in Jacob Miller’s black world of anger, hate, resentment, lies, and violence.
A Season Without Rain is Joe Schwartz’s first novel. His previous short story collections Joe’s Black T-Shirt, The Games Men Play, and The Veiled Prophet of St. Louis have been acclaimed vulgar as Bukowski and visceral as Carver. Joe lives and works in St. Louis happily writing stories exclusively about the Gateway City.
About the AuthorJoe Schwartz
A St. Louis native, I write exclusively about the Gateway City. I prefer the style of fiction deemed transgressive fiction. That is my stories protagonists generally find a solution to their problems through either illicit or illegal means. I personally prefer stories told through a criminal's point-of-view. It is never the crime that fascinates me so much as the motivation to do it and the terrible, almost predictable outcomes to such actions. Just as I have an expectation of writing to be read I believe that it is as important, if not more so, that you as a reader should have the expectation of being entertained as you read. Anything less is such a disappointment.
Life is short. Stories are forever. –Joe
A Season without Rain's Tour Dates
Wednesday the 4th of December Crossroad Reviews
Friday the 6th December: Paperback Hero Aaron
Tuesday the 10th December: The One Saga
Wednesday 11th December Donna
Thursday the 12th December: Adrienne Woods
Tuesday the 17th December: Indie Author: How To
Thursday 19th December: Have You Heard BookReview
Tuesday the 24th December: From the Land ofEmpyrean
Thursday the 26st December: The Dragonian Series