This week I get the privilege of interviewing another Canadian Indie like myself! Please welcome Joel Mark Harris!
Joel Mark Harris is an award winning novelist, journalist, and producer. His debut novel A Thousand Bayonets is the winner of the Pinnacle Achievement Award and nominated for the Giller Prize Reader’s Choice Award. He produced and wrote the film Neutral Territory which has won over fifteen awards including best feature film and best cinematography. Joel is currently working on turning A Thousand Bayonets into a feature film.
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing when I was very young for the simple reason I love stories. I find stories more interesting than reality. And no, I’m not crazy. In the movie Shadowlands C.S. Lewis, played by Anthony Hopkins, said we read to know we are not alone. I believe the same goes for writing.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I always find that is such a loaded question. I have many favorite authors. It’s hard to pick just one. My all-time favourite book is Lolita by Vladmir Nobokov, and to answer the inevitable next question it’s not because of kinky. My favorite all-time writer has to be Dostoevsky for his insight into the human condition.
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
I hope my readers realize the importance of journalism and how important reporters are, especially in today’s complex world. In North America we take freedom of the press for granted and we shouldn’t. I believe it is vitally important to establish freedom of the press in Afghanistan and Iraq so those people can live in a true democracy and not be afraid to voice their opinions for a better society. If the countries we invade fail to establish freedom of the press then we have failed and all those lives lost and all the billions of dollars we have spent have all been in vain. I don’t believe I’m exaggerating because democracy can’t function without true journalism.
Traditional or Self publishing? Why?
I am self-published with Author Solutions and I’ve had nothing but great experiences with them. I believe in the end it doesn’t matter if you go traditional or are self-published in today’s market so as long as you create a great product. Traditional publishes are less likely to take chances on new and experimental novels and if they do they probably won’t put the necessary marketing dollars behind your novel in order to really give it a fair run in the market place.
Adding to all that is the fact people are buying more ebooks and the books they do buy aren’t being bought in bookstores. The new J.K. Rowling novel is being pushed in places like Safeway, Walmart and convenience stores. As much as it pains me to say it, bookstores are become less relevant than they used to.
Tell us about your book (s)
A Thousand Bayonets is about a war correspondent who comes home after spending much of his life covering wars and living in war-torn countries. He is exhausted and is looking for some peace and quiet but in his next assignment he witnesses a murder that is gang related and as he tries to solve the murder he must use the skills he learned in Afghanistan and Iraq to outmaneuver the criminals while staying alive.
What inspired you to write these books (or in this genre)?
When I was in journalism school I was inspired by my teachers and some guest speakers to write about a war correspondent. I was fascinated by how a journalist is supposed to be neutral in war, especially when he or she is faced with the horrors and the atrocities of war and how they would effect a person and his or her perception of the world.
Tell us why we should love or hate your main character?
John Webster is a very troubled character. He has just come back home from Afghanistan after seeing terrible things and he is thrown into a situation where witnesses a murder and he must face his demons or be destroyed by them. He has a strong belief in what is right and what is wrong and he haunted when he fails to uphold his moral code.
Do(es) your book(s) have a soundtrack?
Great question. I’ve always loved music and it invariably seeps into my writing in one way or another. While I was writing the novel I was really into Fleetwood Mac and listened to them a lot. I love their dynamic sound. In A Thousand Bayonets there is an East Indian taxi driver who listens to Fleetwood Mac on the radio. One of my friends phoned me up and said an East Indian taxi driver would never listen to Fleetwood Mac. I would respectfully beg to differ.
Thanks Joel for hanging out with us today! To keep up with Joel and his book visit his website!
His book can be found where