Today, in the Forum, I’m excited to be back and interviewing Joseph Beekman, author of the Little Orphan Anvil series and A Tail Spun
Tim Greaton: Joseph, it would be great if we could start off with a little background. Could you tell us about you, and don’t forget a juicy detail or two?
Joseph Beekman: I moved to the “wild west” of Arizona when I was a year-old from Bozeman, Montana. Had a great childhood with my two older brothers and younger sister; went to high school and then college at the University of Arizona. I Love music, play the guitar, although a bit rusty at the moment. Love to explore and find out of the way ghost towns and graveyards from the early days of settlers. Fishing, cooking, and learning about the history of the world are fun things I like doing.
While living in Tucson, back in 1990, I had a few paranormal happenings in a house that I rented out with two others, where many times things like objects were displaced unexplained, at random times when no one else was around; shattering lights at odd hours of the night; dogs going crazy at the same area of the living room where knocking could be heard under the floor of this one story old house! That was a something to remember!
Tim Greaton: Have you found that writing has at all changed the way that you look at the world or the way that you live your life?
Joseph Beekman: It most certainly has. It enables me to see this world as a far more beautiful, yet fragile, place. And when I write, I have to remember that even though my style focuses in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, there are always going to be elements that co-exist within the larger world. When people read the stories, maybe these elements somehow touch upon fragments of their own lives, either directly or indirectly, and hopefully that adds something beneficial to their life.
Writing has also helped me stay a bit more focused on how I treat others and everything around me; kindness and honesty, and honesty with myself first and foremost. Realizing that the world is full of infinite stories and that everyone, whether they are a writer or not, has a story to tell. One thing I realized as I was writing my first story, A Tail Spun, is that I was writing with a lot of emotion from a spiritual perspective on how my own beliefs had been re-focused in a more realistic manner. I had gone through a severe, life-threatening incident prior to finishing the story, and it really was a blessing in disguise! Not to get to detailed about the whole incident—for it would take quite a few pages in itself—but it was something that put my perspective of myself, others, and the world around me into a beautiful and spiritual light.
Tim Greaton: Often, writers have an event or a period of time that really cemented their desire to be a writer. What was it for you?
Joseph Beekman: That’s a tough one! I always wanted to tell stories since I can remember. I recall being in the third grade and the teacher asking all of us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said I wanted to be a storyteller, and she just smiled at me. And I cannot leave out the same period of time when I saw a fantastic movie called “Star Wars” on the giant silver screen - Wow! That definitely catapulted my desire to tell stories, indeed!
But really, I’d have to say the period of time was around high school, and I was discovering so much great music that had really exploded in the mid-80’s rock and roll/heavy metal scene! I remember always wanting to write stories like many of the bands were writing in some of their songs. There were certain bands that really set their music around stories - for example, Iron Maiden and the poet/writer Samuel Taylor Cooleridge with his poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” - and bands writing stories around the music they wrote, as well - Pink Floyd and Queensryche with their conceptual story albums.
Basically, that era of time probably was the cementing factor for my decision to be a writer, and not just a storyteller. It set me on a more defined track of where I was going with my writing and of the genre I would continue to write within; sci-fi/fantasy/and even horror/paranormal.
Tim Greaton: I know you’ve had some amazing things happen to you. What is one true event from your life that readers might even find hard to believe?
Joseph Beekman: Well, there were certainly a few, but I guess one that flashes to mind would have to be the incident I referred to earlier involving a life-threatening incident I had. I’ll try to be brief. I suffered for a while with severe anxiety, and having finally accepted taking prescription pills for this, I then decided after a time to withdraw from them, thinking I no longer needed them. That thinking would lead me to who I am now, although it was a great risk to my life. After two days of deciding to withdraw from the pills, I suffered a massive seizure - brain shut-off - and falling to a tile floor, shattered the frontal bone structure of my face. As a true “God shot”, as I would call it, my mother happened to be in my apartment area and found me in a pool of blood and barely able to breath.
Long story short: after coming out of a coma and extensive facial surgery and recovery, I am – 3 plus years later - in great health (some pain), no anxiety, and in full force of my writing dreams! This also reflects back to what I said earlier about spiritual perspective: I always believed in God, but put Him in the background, and me in the forefront. Now, for me, it’s God first and everything thereafter. This has truly enabled me to put so much of my writing and of life itself into sharper focus and move forward without fear of what I believe I was always intended to do: write!
Tim Greaton: Most of our readers won’t realize how hard you work to not just market your books but to give exposure to many other writers’ works. What motivates you to get up early and work late each day?
Joseph Beekman: My love for books and storytelling! I love not only writing and reading, but I have always loved helping others in any capacity of life, including the welfare of animals and of course helping others pursue their dreams of writing and getting as much exposure as possible. Again, this isn’t about me, it’s about all of us, and we cannot do this alone. I believe we need each other to help make our passions come to life. So every minute I have free from my weekly routine of life, I head straight into my passion and do my best to help out wherever possible!
Tim Greaton: You gained a lot of initial attention for one particular title. Could you tell what that book is and maybe give us a brief glimpse at the story?
Joseph Beekman: Yeah, it has been! The book, a first volume short story called “Little Orphan Anvil” is a “tale of magic and metal” and the story revolves around an orphaned robot who journeys to the Land of Shadows to help save an orphanage of children from the hands of a wicked witch and hopefully save an entire realm from her spell. After being lost to the wilds of a divided realm, the robot is found by a little boy and his dog, eventually reuniting with its creator along the way, and off they set out to save the orphaned children and the realm from the witch’s rule.
Amazing how fast this book really took off in terms of writing it, promoting it, and finally being accepted into a publishing house! Patience and the pursuit of a passion - That’s it. Never give up and keep trudging forward at all costs.
Tim Greaton: Your plot has a very unique twist. What gave you the inspiration and idea?
Joseph Beekman: The inspiration for “Little Orphan Anvil” came from my love for the fantasy genre as well as the science fiction genre. I have always loved books by Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ray Bradbury, for example, and as a kid, really enjoyed books like Charlotte’s Web and the Chronicles of Narnia. Plus, the films like Star Wars and 2001, were also great, inspiring factors.
I also liked the idea of inanimate objects coming to life and have always been fascinated with robots and the horror genre, too. So really it was kind of a mish-mash of inspiration that brought this “little” tale to light!
Tim Greaton: You’ve already mentioned several fascinating points, but could you tell us which character was your favorite to write? And which one was the worst to write?
Joseph Beekman: My favorite character in “Little Orphan Anvil” would have to be the old man, Will. He was fun to write - a bit loony but full of life and was the inspiring, go-getter, of the bunch that kept the others moving and to never lose faith.
The worst, that’s hard to say because I liked them all. But in terms of “worst”, I guess writing the character would be the robot itself, and only “worst” because of the fact that I really had never put human qualities into a robot, especially one made from a pounding hammer and anvil. But, still a lot of fun to write!
Tim Greaton: People need only to look at your marketing efforts to see that you are an extremely visual person. Do you have an art background? Either way, where did you learn your storytelling skills?
Joseph Beekman: I graduated from the University of Arizona in 1994 with a fine arts degree in media arts, so I had much to learn with art classes and had some really great literary classes and teachers, as well. Some of the classes I enrolled in were exceptionally outstanding! I made sure I got the most out of classes that dealt with literature, history, art, and even various types of media and marketing in these fields. But, like I said, storytelling and writing was always something I kept at since childhood, so practice and patience.
Tim Greaton: Do you plan a sequel or is your book part of a series?
Joseph Beekman: The sequel is out now, but it may turn into a series depending on how the story itself rolls. So far the second has been really well received.
Tim Greaton: Just for fun, if you could choose three celebrities or other famous people to read your book and do a television commercial together, who would they be and why?
Joseph Beekman: Quentin Tarantino, James Earl Jones, and Anne Rice. That would be pretty wild! They are all people who have inspired me and all have unique talents and driving passions to tell stories. Plus they’ve all dealt in the dark side at some point of their careers and lives!
Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.
Joseph Beekman: Thanks! Here are a few places to visit:
http://www.amazon.com/Tail-Spun-1-Joseph-Beekman/dp/1451547153/ A Tail Spun - paperback/kindle
Tim Greaton: After our time together, I expect that a number of our readers are probably searching for your novels on their e-readers right now. Thanks for spending time on the Forum today, Joseph.
Joseph Beekman: Thank you so much, Tim for the time and the opportunity to share a bit about me and my passion, as well as the upcoming release of “Little Orphan Anvil”!! Much appreciation to you and all the readers and writers!! - Joseph
“Never Abandon Hope”