My publishing journey has been very exciting. I’ve wanted to be a writer (and actor) ever since I was three years old and I’m very blessed and grateful to say that both of those dreams are now my career and how I make my living. Anyway, I was, I believe either seventeen or had just turned eighteen. I had mostly written plays in college, all of which were either produced in full production or had staged readings, and I also wrote spoken word. One night I was on line and looking up different publishing websites just for fun and came across Alyson Books. They had a call for submission for an anthology called Best Gay Love Stories: Summer Flings. I had never written a short story before, I had never written any kind of romance anything and had never been in love, but I had a week off from college for Spring Break, I believe, and was looking for something to do to pass the time. So I wrote a short story, emailed it to the editor and forgot all about it until several months later when I got the acceptance letter. I was over the moon. After that I wrote more short stories before finally moving onto novels. I’ve written six novels and am currently working on several more. I am lucky, honored and humbled to say that I am at a point in my career where publishers are actually asking me to write novels for them, one publishing house has asked for a series, which scares me a little, and some owners of publishing houses have even contacted me about writing for them and joining their rooster based on recommendations from other authors about me.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
The part of writing I love most is creating new worlds and characters and seeing how they develop. I love seeing my characters grow, learn, make mistakes, get hurt, become happy, all the emotions that I guess a parent goes through watching their children grow and learn. It’s also very rewarding when you get letters from people who have read your books, thanking you for writing them. When I published my first novel, a young adult love story involving two gay boys, I got so many letters from older gay men in their fifties and sixties thanking me for writing the book and saying they wished they had had a book like that to read when they were in school and struggling with coming out. That was very rewarding.
Which part do you hate most?
The waiting. Whether it’s waiting for an acceptance or rejection, waiting for the final cover art, waiting for the final edit. I’m not a very patient person, but I’m getting better. Also, one of my publishing houses just closed down, so now three of my books are out of print and no longer available so that’s very hard, and that felt like a low blow but the positive part is is the rights have been reverted back to me so I plan to do some edits/revisions on them and send them to other publishing houses, and possibly literary agents. In fact, a publishing house actually contacted me about possibly republishing two of them.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
Just not to take life too serious. Not to stress over everything. Choose what you get stressed/mad about and learn to just laugh more at life. If you think about it, most of what we go through is pretty funny and life in general, at least in my opinion, can be pretty ridiculous. I would also say just grow stronger and learn from everything and find the positive life lesson in everything we’re put through.
If you could be a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
Well I would say fairy but I’m bisexual so I’m already half fairy. Just kidding. Um….I guess I would be a dragon because I’ve always loved the medieval period and I think dragons have always been cool. They can fly and I’ve always wanted to fly. Plus they are magical and I’m a big believer in magic, as you can probably gather from reading my book.
I was looking at a deck of Tarot cards one day and the picture of The Fool freaked me out. I couldn’t get that image out of my head. Then several days later I went back and looked at the deck and became fascinated by the pictures of The Prince and The Lovers. Those images stayed in my head and then I saw an image of three kids getting their fortune read at a carnival. The rest just kind of came. Wow, this makes me sound really crazy but honestly, that’s how my mind works. I’ll see something or hear something and then the book will develop from there.
Have you ever had your tarot cards read?
Yes I have. I had a reading done when I was young and at a carnival with my mom, ironically enough. A lot of what the fortune teller predicted has come true. I have also had several psychic readings and they are generally spot on. One time, a psychic pulled me off the street while I was walking around in Hollywood, brought me back to her house and did a reading for free. She gave me a crystal and a candle, free of charge. The things she said were all true and things no one could no, I’m talking deep, family secrets I’ve never told anyone, so I truly believe that some people have the gift.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I love Stephen King, Anne Rice and V.C. Andrews because they know how to tell a damn good story and keep readers interested in what they wrote and get people talking. I also love Jacqueline Susann because she wasn’t afraid to tell the truth and say what show business and Hollywood is really like. Jackie Collins is also a guilty pleasure.
What are you working on at the moment?
Many things. I love working on multiple things at once in case writer’s block occurs. I am working on a bisexual erotic romance that takes place in Hollywood as well as a couple other erotic novels that take place in the entertainment world. I’m also working on a mystery that involves actors and Hollywood and an LGBT thriller involving gay escorts. Plus a director friend of mine asked me to write episodes for a series he wants to film so I’ve got that and I’ve come up with concepts for two other series I want to write and a movie.
Where can fans find you online?
Facebook: Joe Friend Filippone
IMDB: Joe Filippone