Today, I’m hosting Joseph Devon as part of his Persistent Illusions book tour. Joseph has agreed to share his answers to questions about himself and his work. Check out the end of the blog entry for an opportunity to win an electronic copy of his novel!
Tell us about yourself:
I’m a thirty year old guy who lives in a cracker box apartment in Manhattan. I have a hard time describing myself, which I always find odd since I spend most of my days describing things that exist only in my head. I hate clothes and would prefer to wear the same thing every day…or have someone just tell me what to wear so I don’t have to think about it. I grew up the fourth generation of three generation of scrap dealers and could use an acetylene torch when I was thirteen, though my skills are probably pretty rusty by now. I love reading, that one’s probably obvious, and food. Cooking is my favorite creative outlet, but I have no urge to cook for anyone but friends and family, so unlike writing it has stayed a hobby. Oh, and I listen to too much pop music.
Tell us about your book:
Persistent Illusions is the sequel to Probability Angels. The books revolve around a group people who have passed away from our world but are still hanging around on earth. They range from Matthew, the most recent member who died in the 1980s, to Epp, who died over two-thousand years ago in ancient Rome. Basically these people died under a strange set of circumstances that allowed them to stick around on earth and become a race of immortals tasked with “pushing” humans to live up to their full potential. They’re known as testers. In Probability Angels, though, there’s an uprising amongst the testers, sparking off a civil war, and Persistent Illusions follows the echoes of that uprising and how it affects their society as well as our own.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in high-school we had an assignment for English class to write a short story. I got such a rush from writing fiction that I thought it might be fun to do for a living. In college I started writing my first book during my Freshman year. So, yeah, I think I knew what I wanted to be fairly early on and started working towards that goal as soon as I could. What I didn’t see coming was how interested I would become in self-publishing and what was going to happen to the mainstream publishing industry. It’s all so wide open right now and I’m fascinated with taking my work and figuring out the best way to plug an audience into it. I might be as interested in how art spreads as I am in creating it. Which is odd when I say it like that.
Who is your favorite character in your book, and why?
My favorite is probably Kyo. He was a samurai in his mortal life and he’s wonderfully enigmatic, a self-declared loner who constantly puts himself on the line for others. He’s the deadliest tester out there, but he’s also tortured by his past. I don’t want to go into it too much here, but he has emotional scars that he’s carried around for centuries and still break his heart on a daily basis.
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been?
That’s a tough one. I think I have to say San Sabastian, Spain many years ago. I was doing the backpacking through Europe thing, and one of my friends wanted to stop there. I had no idea what the town was. I found it to be a harbor town of quaint beauty. Except oddly, for me anyway, it was also a surfer town, apparently there were good breaks up and down the coast nearby. So you had surfers, but I think it was also close to the running of the bulls? And some of that crowd was making their way through. Then there was a huge Australian presence for reasons I haven’t quite figured out. And then you had my people, the backpackers, doing their thing. And it was unbearably hot, so at night the bars would spill out into the street because it was stifling inside. Only if you combine that crowd with outdoor nighttime drinking on small streets lined with old-world two-storied apartments, most with balconies outside…well the natives also came into the picture. I can remember standing there, an unlit cigarette dangling from my mouth as I patted myself down looking for a lighter, watching some Australians arguing with some Spanish surfers about where the best waves were, only nobody spoke the same language, and then someone made me pause in my quest to light my cigarette to take a drink from a pitcher, I think it was sangria from someone on their way to the bulls, and then the person living just above us decided that I, standing there without making a peep, was clearly the source of all the noise. So in the midst of all this they came onto their balcony and poured a bucket of water onto my head. That was pretty strange.
What book or author has been most inspirational for you, and why?
In high-school the most influential book for me was probably The Aenead. I read it in Latin class and I didn’t exactly learn any Latin, but we paid an endless amount of attention to the language while translating it, picking apart every word choice and its placement. It was revolutionary. Since then I’ve come to love Joyce, mainly The Dead, and The Great Gatsby, and Hemingway, to name a very few. I just love language, and story, and painting with words.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
I recently started writing the third book of this trilogy. I don’t have a name…or, you know, the clearest idea of the overall structure, but I have a lot more story to tell with these characters and some absolutely delicious scenes. So I’m excited. I know I’ll figure out all the rest of it as I go.
Finally, where can we find you?
I can be found at JosephDevon.com, as well as on Facebook and I’m constantly dropping thought crumbs over on twitter where my handle is @josephdevon.
Enter to win an e-copy of Persistent Illusions by leaving a comment below. It can be a question for Joseph or a comment related to anything in this post. The winner will be randomly chosen at midnight on July 27th, the end of the book tour. Winner will be contacted by email.