Interview with Joseph Philbrook

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Well the first story I can remember was never published. I called it "The Power". It was about a young boy, a camp fire and the boy's mentor, who had an unusual ability to affect the flow of time. It was also about how much effort, a kind hearted man was willing to invest in the happiness of the small boy, who just wanted his mentor to be proud of him.
What is your writing process?
I probably make things harder for myself than I need to. Or at least that's what it would seem like to most people. I generally compose using a document processor called LyX. Which keeps me from accidentally fat fingering extra spaces between the words, and a few other similar things. LyX tries to let me focus on what I'm writing rather than on how to format it. It also lets me easily define larger than output screen fonts. So that I don't need to wear my reading glasses.
As I write, I also keep browser tabs open to a couple of on-line dictionaries. Which I often use to find just the right word or phrase.
Once I'm happy with the book, I extract a plain text version of it, which I paste into a 'blank' LibreOffice document, which has all the pre-defined paragraph styles I need to replicate the way it all looked in LyX.
I try to follow Mark Coker's 'Smaswords Style Guide' as I apply those paragraph styles, and save the result as the "Word doc" that I'll need if I'm going to upload it to Smashword's meat grinder. Then I read the resulting file several times, as I try to spot and fix my mistakes. When I stop finding typos, I think about publishing the results.
How do you approach cover design?
Well so far I've only done this with help from one cover art specialist but I like the results so much that I'm likely to use her services, for as long as I get to keep writing books. It hadn't taken long for me to realize that I didn't have the right skills to make my own 'professional looking' cover. So I picked a cover artist from Smashword's list of them. Once I selected an artist, I described my ideas to her. She asked pointed questions. pointed me at some stock images at so I could select. for example, a core facial image that she could then modify to match my description. Once it sounded like she had the gist of what I wanted, I made a deposit and she presented me with the concept art. So that I could suggest a few changes. So far it hasn't taken many rounds of revisions before I'm very happy with the results. To anyone out there thinking of doing the same thing. I heartily recommend using the services of "Fiona Jayde" You can find her on "Mark's list" at
What do you read for pleasure?
Adventure, mysteries and sci-fi. But ever since I was a child, I liked the science fiction/fantasy genre best.
I read so many different authors that it wouldn't be fair to credit only the ones I can still remember. But I'm thankful to all of them. For it was them, who inspired my dreams. Just as it is my dreams that now inspire my own writting.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My computer(s). Both my desktop, and my laptop are multi-boot Linux boxes, And on both of which I have calibre installed. I'm partial to the ebook reader that came with that.
Describe your desk
I once had a wall hanging that said, "A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind."
All I will say about my desk, is it indicates that my mind, is very healthy...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
While I was writing the first book that I hoped to someday publish, I found out about Smashwords. I read enough of the process as described on their site, to figure out that it was my best shot of letting the readers decide if my book was worth a sequel or three. Rather than trying to convince some publisher, who might not even have the time to read it, that it was worth publishing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That can only be achieved when somebody else reads what I wrote, and tells me that they want me to write more.
What are you working on next?
Well at the moment I'm only waiting for the cover art to be ready to upload my unpublished back story as a free prequel to my existing series of adult themed sci-fi/fantacy books about the unusual symbioitic relationships that humans could become part of. At least in the multiverse my stories take place in...
Then I'll get to work on the series finale. After which If I'm able to continue writing I may decide to follow up on one of a number of side plots to spin off a new series.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Mostly my dog's need to answer a call of nature.
Published 2017-08-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Series: Symbionts. Price: Free! Words: 238,680. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Jake Peterson is on a treacherous mountain road with poor visibility. A man suddenly falls into the road in front of him. Jake swerves and crashes. When he comes to he is alarmed to learn that to save his life the stranger infused him with nanites. Which come with strange abilities and huge problems. As he tries to remain human he learns the galaxy's fate may depend on his embracing his nanites.
Biosymbionce 2 XenDar
Series: Symbionts. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 193,240. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(5.00 from 1 review)
The biosymbiont, Tom is haunted by reoccurring dreams of a world he's never been to. They are the result of other people's memories having been implanted in his brain. Then Tom, along with his pledged adept, go to the strange forest world of XenDar. Where the daggerthorn plants they bring with them may be the answer to a strange disease that's beginning to decimate it's forests.
Series: Symbionts. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 228,400. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(5.00 from 1 review)
An ageing off the grid hacker is mutilated in a tubeway accident because he tried to save a stranger who turned out to be a renegade genius. Who declined to let him die. And who turns to genetic engineering to regrow his body using DNA from an aggressive sentient symbiotic plant. After his painful awakening he finds himself among a primitive promiscuous people, on a dangerous planet named Gudjeon.