Interview with Josh Powell

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The book that first sparked my love for the fantasy genre was A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony. I believe I was in junior high at the time and we went on a family trip. I bought the book at the airport. I found it incredibly funny and a fun adventure and read the series, his other series, and then branched out into more fantasy novels.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It's difficult to limit it to five books, how about five series?

1) The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
2) A Story of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin
3) Jhereg series by Steven Brust
4) Necroscope by Brian Lumley
5) Ender's Shadow series by Orson Scott Card
What do you read for pleasure?
I have a difficult time finding time to read, I spend all of that time writing now. Instead, I listen to audio books in the car. It's more difficult to find a good audio series than reading series because you have to find a good book and a good narrator. Recently, I've listened to Pandemic by Scott Sigler, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer, Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, The Martian by Andy Weir, Fat Vampire by Johnny Truant, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein, Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Saurazaka, Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch, and the entire Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I range between classic fantasy books I never had the time to read before, new independent authors, and popular contemporary fantasy writers.
What's the story behind your latest book?
There's a story I've been thinking of for a long, long time. I set out to write part of that story in a novel, but found it bringing up some other ideas I wanted to try out. I wrote out a chapter for each of those ideas and the story of The Berserker and the Pedant just stuck. I found it easier to write than the novel and gradually gravitated towards writing it instead. It's a funny fantasy action adventure, which probably meshes better with my personality than the more serious science fiction thriller novel I set out to write.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had a story I wanted to tell for a long time, but never wanted to go through the pain other writers tell of hundreds of rejection letters. I don't have the time for that, I have a full time gig as a software engineer that pays pretty well and have a family, writing would take enough time, plus I didn't want to invite the misery of that much rejection into my life.

So when I read Blake Crouch's Wayward Pines series and loved it, I dug into finding out more about the author and discovered through him and JA Konrath that indie publishing is not only possible, but you get to keep the rights to your stories and you can actually make money doing it.

Keeping my rights was important to me, I have a traditionally published book on programming and the publisher has been amazing but there are always things I want to do that have to get their permission or go through them in order to accomplish.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's the same as the joy of reading. It's discovering a story as I go along and seeing what these characters do. I am a combination of outliner and pantser (writing without an outline-by the seat of ones pants). My first chapter is usually written, a scene or a concept springs to mind and gets fleshed out. Then I outline very briefly the book and write some more, then revise the outline, then more writing, and on and on. I don't feel like I have to stick to the outline, but it's very beneficial to see where the story is going even if it veers off and goes somewhere else.
What are you working on next?
Continuing the Berserker and the Pedant story.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working as a software engineer, raising two kids, being a husband, and, on occasion, spending a few hours with friends.
Published 2015-04-14.
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