Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Peek Inside Horror Author Joe Hart's Brain (Yikes!)

Today I'm sitting down with emerging horror author Joe Hart. When I heard he was working on a novel, I knew I needed get the inside scoop. Always the gentleman, Joe was kind enough to spare some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. 

Griffin: Your awesome collection of dark horror stories, Midnight Paths, has been selling exceptionally well. What can you tell us about it? 
Joe: Midnight Paths is my first collection of short horror that I compiled last summer. The ideas for the stories just started coming to me as I was writing a longer project and I couldn't ignore them so I decided to shelve the other project and focus on them instead. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Basically they're an eclectic array of subjects, from a good old-fashioned monster story to the horror of the human mind. I think if someone is a horror lover they'll find something in there that will satisfy them!

Griffin: Describe your journey as a writer. 
Joe: My journey as a writer began when I was about 9 years old. I had always loved to read, my mom really instilled that in me by never missing an opportunity to visit our local library when I was young. I remember sitting down at her electronic typewriter to punch out my first story. It was a scary one with monsters and a knight on a quest. From then on I wrote a lot of poetry and several short stories in high school and college. For awhile after college I was adrift, knowing I should have been writing more but something always seemed to come up. About two years ago I got down to business in earnest and wrote a screenplay which is incidentally in New York as we speak, hopefully being passed around with the right people. After discovering Direct Publishing on Amazon I decided to switch gears and started writing the short stories that eventually became Midnight Paths. Since then I've been writing almost everyday.

Griffin: I see you're working on a novel. Anything you can tell us about it?
Joe: Absolutely!  The novel is a supernatural thriller set in my home state of Minnesota. The better part of it is set on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It's about a writer who had a pretty horrible childhood, and in the middle of a fairly successful career finds himself stuck with terrible writer's block. He's drawn to a house on the North Shore and some strange things start happening to him. I'm almost finished with a first draft and it should be out in digital and paperback late this summer or early fall.

Griffin: Speaking of writer's block, has it ever happened to you and if so how do you deal with it? 
Joe: I've been really fortunate and haven't had to deal with too much writer's block so far. I have had minor bouts of it within a few of my stories and now my novel, but it usually just takes a little introspection and the answer always seems to surface.

Griffin: Do you have a daily writing schedule and if so what is it? 
Joe: I do have a writing schedule.  I actually work a full time job as well as write, so my time during the weekdays is relegated to the evenings. I try to write for at least an hour and lately I've been pushing to get about a thousand words down each session. On the weekends I like to write in the mornings and early afternoons so my evenings are free to be with my family.

Griffin: How much planning, outlining and research goes into each of your books?
Joe: You know my short stories aren't structured at all.  An idea comes to me and I let it stew there for awhile. Slowly it takes shape and when I'm ready I just sit down and knock it out. For my longer works I do an outline which really helps. A bigger work always seems so daunting when looked at in a whole, but if you break it down into sections and sequences, it loses its intimidation factor. As far as research goes, I try to be as realistic as possible without boring the reader with facts and statistics. I think that a story bogs down when the research begins to bleed through into the fiction.

Griffin: What authors inspire you? 
Joe: Oh wow. Well, Stephen King of course. He's basically my hero. As far as I'm concerned no one does characters better than King. He can broad stroke a character in a page so well that you feel like they're almost real.  I really admire that. The others that come to mind are Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, Richard Matheson, Blake Crouch, Cormac McCarthy, Kealan Patrick Burke, Rick Yancey, Joe Hill, Richard Adams, and Justin Cronin to name a few.

Griffin: What's the best thing about being a writer? 
Joe: The best thing about being a writer is knowing that you've created a world for others to get lost in. If I can write something that lets people imagine a place or scenario that they never would have on their own, then I've done my job. I've been lost in books for hours before and there's nothing like it. That's what I want to create.

Griffin: What's the worst thing about being a writer? 
Joe: The worst thing about being a writer is that inevitable feeling that you get from time to time that you have no talent whatsoever. I think every writer experiences it once in awhile. You'll be reading something you wrote days before and all of a sudden you ask yourself, "Really?  I wrote that?  It's complete drivel." Those are the bad times. But I've found they're only temporary low spots. Usually you can see some good even in the worst of it. I know if you gave in every time you doubted yourself you wouldn't finish too many projects. It's all about continuing on and revising where you need to.

Griffin: If you weren't doing this interview right now, what would you be doing? 
Joe: Probably spending a little time with my family. They're really why I do everything I do and it's their love and encouragement that's kept me going a number of times.

Griffin: Thanks so much for stopping by! Any last words?
Joe: I just want to say thanks for having me as a guest, I really enjoyed all the questions!

No problem Joe! Was really great having you. You'll have to return after your book goes live. 

You can find Midnight Paths on Amazon Kindle and get it for free with a Prime account there also. I'd love for everyone to follow me on Twitter and I update my own blog when I get time over at

About the author:
Joe Hart grew up on a lonely 91 acres of farmland in Northern Minnesota and without many playmates or company, began writing when he was 10. His first literary love was Stephen King (and still is) but he has expanded his scope to other influential authors. He published his first poems at age 17 and his first collection of short horror stories at 29. He is currently working on a novel and is editing a screenplay. If it's up to him, you'll be seeing a lot more of him on Amazon along with everywhere else that sells books.