Joseph Carrabis Bio
Joseph Carrabis has been everything from a long-haul trucker to a Chief Research Scientist. He’s taught internationally at the university level, holds patents in a base, disruptive technology, created a company that grew from his basement to offices in four countries, helped companies varying in size from mom&pops for F500s develop their marketing, and most of this bored him.
But give him a pen and paper or a keyboard and he’s off writing, which is what he does full-time now.
His most recent novel, The Augmented Man, was published in March 2021 by Sixth Element. You can find most of his published work at http://nlb.pub/amazon (and he wishes you would. He wants to know your opinion of his work, specifically how he can do it better).
Interview with Joseph Carrabis:
How do you come up with book titles?
Some titles come with the book attached, meaning I become aware of them simultaneously. The Augmented Man was originally written in the early 1990s. “Augmentation” had a different meaning than it does now and that title came to me along with most of the storyline over the course of a day or so.
A work in progress, The Book of the Wounded Healers, was a completely different experience. I had an idea for a novel but couldn’t figure out much about it other than the opening and a few scenes here and there. I was at a conference listening to a presentation and BOOM!, there was the title. I couldn’t get back to my hotel room fast enough to write the title and all the scenes blooming in my mind.
Who are your literary influences or inspiration?
AJ Budrys stands out as author, editor, and teacher. I learn quite a bit from the classics. They’re challenging for modern readers and if you’re reading for craft, they’re gold. Edgar Rice Burroughs is a graduate course on describing character through action and dialogue. Some but not all of Michael Crichton. Ditto Ursula K. Le Guin. More recently, Charles Frazier and Truman Capote stand out. Katherine Mansfield is must reading for anyone studying how settings and character description move a story forward.
What have people most liked or found most meaningful/funny/creative/ challenging about your book?
People always comment on my characters, specifically how real, identifiable, and relatable they are. This gratifies me as I work hard at bringing my characters to life. It also amuses me because I don’t consider myself good at it.
Why do you write?
Probably for the same reasons I breathe; it keeps me alive. I didn’t write (daily) for the longest while and would always be jotting down ideas and short stories. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything but writing.
Where do your characters come from?
Toledo. I have an apartment building there and rent out rooms to them. They come, stay a while, then move on. It’s a good deal because the rent’s cheap and I change their names before writing them into stories.
What genres do you work in?
I tell people I write autobiography and it sells as science fiction, fantasy, horror, children’s stories, poetry, creative non-fiction, magic realism, real magickism, et cetera. My sister often asks if we grew up in the same house. My regular readers tell me my genre is “Joseph.” This is great for branding but rotten for marketing, at least until my name goes above a title on a book as that’s a sure sign you’ve become a brand.
How do you start a novel/story?
I sit and write. Wait a second…you mean there’s another way? AND NOBODY TOLD ME!?!?!?
Seriously, beginnings are both the easiest and toughest things to get correct. I’ve written openings and never had to change a word. I’ve written openings and gone through twenty and more edits before I felt it worked. The Augmented Man‘s opening came in one rush and needed next to no editing. The previously mentioned The Book of the Wounded Healers had three equally excellent openings and I couldn’t decide which one worked, then realized they all worked and were Rashomonish. The opening became those three separate openings and the narrator, and the end of them, states “All are true, but I don’t know which one happened.” The beginning to Cymodoce, a short story appearing in my Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires anthology, came out whole hog. Ditto the opening to another short story, Canis Major. The beginning to a novel, Empty Sky, went through the aforementioned twenty drafts before I felt it worked as it should.
What feeds your process? Can you listen to music and write or not… can you write late at night or are you a morning person… when the spark happens, do you run for the pen or the screen or do you just hope it is still there tomorrow?
My process comes from reading good writing (fiction and non-fiction) and music.
I always have music on when I’m actively writing. Time of day is irrelevant. I’ll wake up and jot down ideas, record them on my phone when I’m at the gym, record them and jot down notes when I’m driving (I’ll pull over to write things down). Some ideas can be trusted to memory and most often I’ll record or make notes.
Where do your ideas come from for stories/books?
Did I mention that apartment building?
The better question is “Where do your ideas not come from?” I pity people who lack imagination. They may be wonderful people and excel at their jobs, but someone who sees rain and only sees rain…that’s sad.
What writing mistakes do you find yourself making most often?
Please note this response contains intentional misspellings
Speling is a mjaor failure to me.
Autocorect isn’t much hepl, either.
I write in a rush, meaning I write whole chunks at once, three to ten thousand words at one sitting. Then I go back and edit to remove unnecessary verbiage. I work at being able to write cleanly first time out. That sentence, for example, took three tries, no, four tries, to get correct. No, to get right. No, correct.
Learn more about Joseph here.