Here to talk to us about his writing is Joe Turk–author of the dystopian novel Making Monsters.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was once an architect. But I kept losing my job. I was fired three or four times during my ten year career. After the last firing, I finally learned a hard life lesson—other people always know when your heart isn’t into your work. So, being unemployable as an architect, I started doing what my heart wanted; writing and painting. I still haven’t figured out how to make a living at either, but I’m a much happier person now, so the money part doesn’t matter as much.
2. When did you start writing?
When the earth started shaking where I live. In this part of the country, we used to have 2 or 3 earthquakes every year—from the dawn of time until 2008. (3.0 magnitude or higher) Then we became ground zero for hydraulic fracking. In 2010, we had 43 earthquakes over 3.0 magnitude. Last year we had 875. (More than every other state combined -minus Alaska) Think about that for a second: 2 or 3 earthquakes a year–eight years later—875! That’s more than 2 MANMADE earthquakes you can feel, every day. We’re on pace to beat that record this year. The energy companies know they’re causing these ‘frackquakes’, but they’re making too much money to quit.
So, a few years ago, I was sitting on my couch, feeling the apartment shake and watching stuff fall off the walls, again. I sat there thinking, somebody should really do something. This is insane. A group of men and women are orchestrating manmade-natural disasters for profit. If this were a movie, there’d be a super villain at the head of a long table, tenting his fingers.
So I started writing my thoughts down and structuring them into a story. The story was absurd, yet based on real events. I thought my friends, particularly those who live in this part of the country, might get a laugh out of it. So I published the book and shared it with them. And that’s how Making Monsters was born.
3. Does your story have a moral?
Yes it does and no it doesn’t. The story details (humorously) what might happen if we don’t stop these manmade earthquakes or other corporately piloted disasters. Part of me really wants them to quit, but I don’t know that they’ll stop until it’s too late. Might be too late already. If they stop fracking today, would the earthquakes stop? So I’ve mentally prepared for —and admit to being a little excited about—the end of the world. I’m both pro-environment and pro-apocalypse.
4. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I published what I thought was a completed novel over two years ago, but after receiving a wealth of constructive criticism, I made several significant changes to the story. Structurally, today’s version of Making Monsters is very different from the book I published 26 months ago. I wish I could go back in time and give those first readers this copy. I’m very proud of what the book has grown up to be. That said, I still make little edits from time to time. I can’t help myself. I’ll be driving or lying in bed and I’ll hear the story in my head and get an idea on how to improve a sentence or choose a better word. This is one of the wonderful things about indie publishing. I can keep improving the book, bit by bit, for the rest of my life.
But to give a more direct answer, it took over 8 years to write Making Monsters. And it’s taken about 16 months to write the prequel. (Currently titled “Breaking the Toy”.)
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Summer or winter?
Winter—I rarely turn on the heat in the winter. I love to bundle up in the cold.
2. Cake or ice-cream?
Ice-cream—Easiest question on the list.
3. Ebook or physical book?
Physical book—ebooks still don’t seem ‘real’ to me.
4. Nights out or nights in?
Nights in—I’m a recluse.
5. Living in the country or living in the city?
Living in the city—I thrive on the energy of other people nearby.
6. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Having telepathy—This might be a bad idea.
7. Being able to travel to the future or being able to travel to the past?
Being able to travel to the future—To a degree, we already know the past.
8. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Sending a text—I hate talking on the phone.
9. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Travelling by car—freedom to stop when you want.
10. Going camping or staying in a hotel?
Staying in a hotel—To quote Jim Gaffigan, “If it’s so great outside, why are all the bugs trying to get in my house?”
11. Working alone or working in a group?
Working alone—I do like working with other people, but if I have to choose one or the other.
12. To find the love of your life (only to find out that you’re not the love of their life) or to have someone declare you the love of their life (note, however, that this someone is not a person whom you are romantically interested in)?
To find the love of your life (only to find out that you’re not the love of their life) –This kind of thing has birthed art for centuries. The other is much, much worse, in my experience.
13. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind—I feel like animals are going to repeat themselves a lot. Like that commercial about dogs asking for sausages all day.
14. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
To never speak again—I’d rather paint or write than talk anyway.
15. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) –I’ve done this a few times. It’s kinda fun.