Interview with Joseph Badal
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first story in 1st grade for my school newspaper. The positive reaction I received from my parents, teachers, and fellow students was all the encouragement I needed. When I was a junior in high school, my father asked me what I wanted to study in college. I told him I wanted to become a writer and would one day write novels. He looked at me as though I was from another planet and said, “Dummy, you have no life experiences. What are you going to write about that people will want to read.”
I fixed him; I joined the Army to get life experiences.
What genre do you write and why?
I write thrillers. My first Robert Ludlum read put me on the thriller path. The life experiences I have had lend themselves to thriller plots.
My latest novel, The Lone Wolf Agenda, was released on June 25, 2013. It’s the 4th book in my Danforth Saga, which began with Evil Deeds and the kidnapping of Bob & Liz Danforth’s 2-year-old son, Michael, in Greece. This is loosely based on the kidnapping of my own 2-year-old son. The Lone Wolf Agenda takes place in present time and brings Bob Danforth out of retirement and back to the CIA to manage a Top Secret program titled Operation Lone Wolf. This program is intended to counter lone wolf terrorists in the U.S.
Michael Danforth is now a general with DELTA Force and plays a significant role in this novel as he and his father combat lone wolf terrorists sponsored by OPEC.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
The bulk of my marketing activities are centered on the Internet and Social Media. Although I selectively do presentations and signings at book stores and speak to numerous writing groups, I have found that emails to friends and associates around the country and postings on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. are excellent ways to get out the word about my books.
What formats is the book available in?
All of my books are in print format—either hardback, trade paperback, or mass market paperback, and on multiple ebook platforms.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to read all types of books, whether fiction or non-fiction. Thrillers and mysteries are my favorite fiction genres. I currently am reading A World Lit Only By Fire (William Manchester) and Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad).
I also like to do aerobic exercise. I find I can think about writing while exercising.
Who are your favourite authors?
That’s a question I get a lot, and one I can’t answer with one name. There are so many writers who have inspired me. In some cases, I find one primary thing about an author’s style that I strive to emulate. For example, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark’s economical writing is an example of what modern fiction should be. Tony Hillerman’s scene setting is superb. James Michener’s ability to tie history to fiction is amazing. Elmore Leonard’s ability to invent quirky characters is unique. Michael Connelly’s elegant prose is among the best. Robert Ludlum’s story-telling is inspirational.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I often speak to writers' groups. One of the things I tell these groups is that, with the ebook revolution, there is no excuse for a writer to not be published. Until a writer is published, he/she is not an author. But I warn these aspiring authors to focus on the elements of good writing, and to not be in a hurry to publish. Too many beginners are so impressed with their stories that they ignore the basics, like clear writing and editing. I warn them that self-publishing a bad book will taint their ability to ever get traditionally published.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Mark Twain wrote in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: “There ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it, and ain’t agoing to no more.”
What's the best thing about being a writer?
I can’t imagine doing anything more gratifying than writing. I have often said that even if I knew I would never have been published, I would still write. Also, I can get away with putting thoughts into a book that I would never get away with saying out loud.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Anything else you'd like to add?
I have a pet peeve: Unless an author is writing in the paranormal or sci-fi genres, I suggest he/she avoid having characters leap tall buildings in a single bound or dodge bullets. I think readers want to read about characters with whom they can relate. I write about characters who are everyday people confronted with a challenge. How they react to that challenge tells the reader all about the character’s moral fiber and personal character.