Interview with Kirk Jockell

How do you approach cover design?
As an Indie Author, I do everything myself. That may change one day, but I like the creative part of it. I'm fortunate that I'm a photographer too, so I have an extensive library of images to choose from. The image used for the first volume of "Tales from Stool 17" is actually one of the spectacular sunsets we enjoy at Port St. Joe, the central location for all the craziness and action that follow on its pages. I felt it was important to represent that.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow ... my favorite five. My wife has a favorite five, but it doesn't have anything to do with books. If I had to choose though, I would have to say my favorite books are the ones that moved me from a functioning illiterate to a reader of books.
1. "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway
2. "To Have and Have Not" by Ernest Hemingway
3. "The Sun also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway
4. "The Shining" by Stephen King
5. "The Firm" by John Grisham
What do you read for pleasure?
I love me some Randy Wayne White. Seems like I'm always waiting on the next Doc Ford novel. I'm also enjoying Lee Child and the Jack Reacher series. I haven't read them all, but I'm sold. It is just a matter of time. And I love the craziness of Carl Hiaasen books. They are always a fun read.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Any device that puts a book in the face of a reader.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I just like stories. As a kid, I always had an imagination that ran wild. There was a lot of time alone, so playing pretend was used to create my own world. Here I am at age 53 and the only difference is I put them on paper. I have always written just for myself, but there is something special about when someone else reads and enjoys your work. I guess that is what bring me the greatest joy.
What do your fans mean to you?
When, or if, I get enough of them, I'll let you know. ;-)
What are you working on next?
The second volume of Tales from Stool 17 is in the works. Right now I'm turning loose the creative juices and getting down all the first shitty drafts.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Sailing. I am an avid sailor. I fell in love with the sport at about the age of twelve when my father bought me a Super Snark. It has been a huge part of my life ever since. I've had a lot of boats over the years, but the one I have now, a 1978 Pearson 26 named "SeaNote" is one of my all time favorites.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". My dad made me read it. Growing up I wasn't a strong reader. I hated it, primarily because I couldn't do it. It being a small book helped me through it. I painfully poured over every word, often not really knowing what the author was talking about or trying to convey. All I knew was, I loved the story. I love it enough that I read it over and over again, till I got it right. As a matter of fact, just thinking about it makes me want to grab that all too well loved copy for a fresh reading.
When did you first start writing?
Wow ... I've never really thought about that. But I guess it's a good question. It's funny. I was, and still am, a member of the Southern Sailing Club on Georgia's Lake Lanier. Years ago they were in need of a new editor for the club newsletter, "The Masthead". My job was to collect and compile all the inputs and content from the other officer. Then I would put the document together and get it out in the mail.
Well, it didn't take me long to figure out why nobody wanted the job. Getting the officer to submit anything was like pulling teeth. The first couple newsletters suck. There wasn't any input, and to be honest, what input I did get was awful: short, sweet, uninteresting. After the first few I warned them, "If you don't send me something, I'm just going to make shit up for you." I guess that was a mistake because all the inputs just stopped altogether.
So, instead of being embarrassed by putting something out there that sucked, I kept my word and started to fill the pages with my own commentary. People liked it, so I kept it up. And that's how it all started.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first thing I ever wrote was a Letter to the Editor. I was still excited by the birth of my daughter. And on the morning after she was born, I sat down to my Commodore 64C and banged out this little piece called "Live is even better now" and submitted it. If you are interested, it is featured as a posts on my blog called "The Beginning of a Writing Hack".

Anyway, they published it. I even got several calls from readers telling me how much they enjoyed it. I never expected that, but it made me happy.
Published 2015-02-08.
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