Interview with Joe Zeigler

Describe your desk
Organized clutter which is both useful and distracting. Multiple current projects and remnants of completed ones abound. I organize now and again which just maintains the clutter at a reasonable level. If a messy desk indicates a messy mind ​what does an empty desk reveal?
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up all over the world. My father was a naval aviator and was reassigned to a new base every two years. I've lived in North Africa, Florida, Norfork, Texas, California, Virginia, Washington State, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Alabama. This enabled me to become familiar with people of varied cultures and opinions which I believe helps my writing. Never having a real home as a child has also led​ me to create a world of my own in my writing.
When did you first start writing?
In high school, I worked on the school newspaper. After college, I wrote for various motorsport magazines. My first novel was in 1980, my second in 1982. Then I took a thirty-five-year​ break to write computer programs. That's almost the same thing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Gorge was never meant to be. Originally the working title was Puke, and the story line was a tongue in cheek dissertation about the origins and history of kissing. The plan immediately went awry as Mi, the protagonist, took control of the action (of which there is plenty) and led me where she wanted to go. I realize this sounds improbable and most likely is just my imagination. Nonetheless, as I sat down in the morning to begin writing, my thought was: What is Mi going to do today?

It's about the subjugation of women in ways both physical and mental. In most cases, the exploitation was not mean spirited. Rather, it was a consequence of the social norms of the group. However on other occasions, it is brutal.

Mi looked forward to the annual migration of her early-civilization hunter/gatherer clan with happy anticipation. But a ceremony, whose purpose is to guarantee the continuation of the species, crushed her plans. Little did she know that her participation in and acquiescence of The Breeding will result in her being an outcast with little prospect. If she wants to rise above the stigma, she must take control of her life, confound expectations, and become independent from those who would control her.

The action is continuous as Mi and her friends face famine, flood, animal attacks, and The Raiders. They suffer the cold of the upper Canyon counterposed by the heat of the desert. In the process, they prove the equal of the warriors and victorious over their enemies. And, they learn to defend themselves both morally and intellectually.
Simutanioniously, the girls work toward the empowerment of women, starting with themselves. They are quietly helped by The Others, aliens who have infiltrated The People. The Others, are on a mission to enhance the moral and intellectual advancement of humankind to the benefit of all.

However, it's not clear which if any, of the groups, represent humanity. Perhaps The Others are the humans and The People, the aliens. Ostensibly the action takes place on Earth about 10,000 years ago. However, you're never sure.

What is clear is the depths to which these people can fall when lead by their worst inclinations and the heights to which they can rise. At its core, The Gorge is an inspirational story of how the spirit of man (or women) and great effort can free us of our self-imposed shackles.

The girls redefined the boundaries of their culture, and nothing would ever be the same.

In the end, Ge, one of the aliens who has fallen in love, stays behind with Mi.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I became frustrated with trying to entice an agent to read my book. I didn't know much about indie publishing, still don't. I'll looking forward to seeing how it works out.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Define success.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The writing itself absorbs me as I create a world that raises questions and challenges the characters.
What are you working on next?
There are two more books planned for the series. The Plain and Space. The latter ties up the loose ends from the first two books as all is revealed​.
Who are your favorite authors?
John D. McDonald, John Grisham, Herman Wouk, W.E.B. Griffen, C. J. Box, Nelson DeMille, Tracy Kidder, Steward Woods, Lee Child, Dan Brown, Alexis De Tocqueville, F. Paul Wilson, and many many more. I love to read.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to read. That fills the time between adventures​ and writing. I take a lot of pictures. I'm serious about landscapes and take lots of snapshots.

My wife and I travel all over the country in our motorhome during the summer months. We explore, learn, take pictures, and I do research for the current book.
Published 2015-05-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Gorge
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 91,390. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Micaela and her friends eagerly anticipate the coming winter migration, unaware that the ceremonial Breeding will leave them outcasts. To survive, they must change their lives—and their culture.