Joel has been a lawyer in Pennsylvania for most of his life. He has practiced environmental law and uses that information to write his thriller novels.
Joel has used the books he loves to influence his writing and strives to create page turners like Grisham and Clancy.
Midtown Scholar – https://midtownscholar.com
[00:00:00] Joel: Are you looking for new books to read? Do you like finding a new, special author? Are you tired of the same old books from the same old authors? Well, then welcome to discovered wordsmiths a podcast where you can hear from fantastic new authors. Join Stephen Schneider is he finds and talks to authors.
You may not know, but authors that have worked hard to write great new books here about their book and why you should check it out. So sit back and listen to today’s discovered wordsmith.
[00:00:47] Stephen: Hello, welcome to episode 92 of discovered wordsmiths. Today. I’ve got Joel Bearcat. He is a retired lawyer, actually an environmental lawyer, and he spent his career [00:01:00] helping fight against environmental problems, uh, in the courts. And he’s now using that information to write thriller novels. So he talks to us about his novels, what he’s been writing, what he’s been doing.
And has some good tips, uh, for other writers that are looking to change careers. So sit back, have a listen to Joel and stick around for the second half. Uh, the author talk where we talk about changing from one career to another. So here’s Joel, but today undiscovered wordsmith. I have Joel Bearcat, Joel, welcome to the podcast.
[00:01:36] Joel: Steven. I’m happy to be here. Thank you very much. And
[00:01:39] Stephen: we got through our technical issues.
[00:01:42] Joel: We’re here. Everybody’s been,
[00:01:45] Stephen: we’re all getting used to it though. In today’s world.
[00:01:48] Joel: Yes. It’s a brave new world. I never used zoom. I think I used Skype a few times before the pan, but obviously like everyone else I’ve been using zoom and a few other media [00:02:00] and social media kind of platforms, but like everyone, right.
We’re starting to get used to it.
[00:02:07] Stephen: Yeah. So Joel, tell everybody a little bit about yourself, where you live your background and what you like to do outside
[00:02:12] Joel: of writing. Yeah. I’m originally from Philadelphia and I live now in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I’ve lived here for over 40 years. I came here as a brand new lawyer and went to work for Pennsylvania’s department of environmental resources as it was called at the time and planned on staying in Harrisburg for one year.
And. Moving back to Philly and I’m still here after 41 years. It’s a nice town. I enjoy it. It’s a beautiful place and about a block away from the such ground at river. And it’s just a gorgeous town to live in with enough activity to keep you interested, especially when you’re working, you don’t have a whole lot of free time.
And then you’ve got a family and then have a whole lot of free time. And in terms of when did I begin writing? I suppose I always wrote, I was writing in high school. [00:03:00] I was writing in college. It took some creative writing courses. In college. I took a poetry class in college and, and then I just got really busy as a lawyer.
And I didn’t have time really. I didn’t have time to write when I was practicing law at first, but I had these stories and these stories were like in my head and they wanted to come out. They were talking to me, it was a little schizophrenic at times because you get these and I’m sure anyone who’s listening to this who has at all ever thought about writing.
They just have a story that they want to tell. And I would have these stories and I wasn’t putting them down, but I was saving them. And I did write a little bit when I turned 40 and actually got that story published. And then I put it down again and didn’t write again for a couple of years. And finally, about 15, 16 years ago on a trip to Maine when it was very rainy and there was nothing else to do.
I, I couldn’t even log in to my network. I started writing again and while I was up there for a week and I wrote two short stories that ultimately became published. So, [00:04:00] uh, you know, it, that got me started and I started writing again from then on I’ve written constantly. Nice.
[00:04:05] Stephen: Great. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about career and writing after your career coming up at the author park.
Let me ask though, Harrisburg, a lot of history in that town in Philadelphia, obviously a lot of history. Somewhere south you there’s a bookstore called cupboard maker books. Do you know that one?
[00:04:22] Joel: Oh yes. Great people. Good
[00:04:25] Stephen: bookstore. I love that one. We love going to it with all the cats and everything. It’s one of our top five that we visited throughout the
[00:04:31] Joel: country.
Yes. I’m Michelle runs a terrific bookstore there and she added something probably. You may not have seen it if you haven’t been there in about a year. Uh, she added a whole new book section. So the bookstore has tens of thousands of used books, very reasonable 50 cents, no more than a dollar per book.
Very well organized by genre and, uh, alphabetical. So it’s not difficult to find. It’s not like you’re just piling through plowing through a pile of books, but she added a new book section, [00:05:00] which is very nice and she likes to feature a new authors. So something your listeners, many of whom are new authors out of keeping.
And she requires you to be nice. And that’s a very important thing. It’s a good lesson to know whenever you’re dealing with people in this industry, is that being nice is better than being the opposite of nice, right. But that’s a great bookstore. And there’s another store in town, Midtown scholar, bookstore in mungus books.
And they started out specializing just in academic books. And now they branched out into all kinds of books, fiction, poetry, literature, local authors, not local authors. They have a brand new book section as well, and a very big new book section, and a lot of used books, unbelievable number of used books.
It’s like going through a catacomb and place where you literally are underneath the building and you’re just winding around. And you say to somebody, where can I find the books about. And they’ll say, oh, you have to go over here to [00:06:00] find it. So it’s a great bookstore. And the people there are very nice and knowledgeable by the way, Michelle, over recovered maker, bookstore is maybe one of the most knowledgeable booksellers I’ve ever met.
So if you say I’d like to read a book and it’s about the it’s about the civil war and it would be about this and that. And she’ll, she’ll have a pretty good, she’ll be able to get you in the right direction if she doesn’t already know that. Yeah, she helped my
[00:06:20] Stephen: wife find a book series that she had totally forgotten the name, but she was able to describe the cover and stuff.
Yeah. Good place. Okay. So you talked a little bit about why you wanted to start writing and you said we’re going to talk about a mid rage. This is your second book. So is it a series or are they two separate books?
[00:06:38] Joel: Yeah, I, like I said, I had all these stories just swirling in my. And I wanted to write a story.
I’m an environmental lawyer by training and practice. And I, and I had this story in my mind for a long time to write a story about this real life case, where there was a, an old abandoned mine tunnel up near Scranton Benson. Between scarring and Wilksberry [00:07:00] and people have been dumping hazardous waste into the mind tunnel, and then it was coming out into the river.
And so I had dreamed up this story about what would happen if teenagers or kids got into the chemicals and were killed as a result of that. And I created a whole world and a whole story with my main character. Mike, Jacob. And he’s a first year environmental lawyer working for D the name of the new state agency.
And he’s working for DEP and he’s one of a couple of lawyers who are trying to figure out what happened. And that was the first story I wrote in the series. So now a mid rage, Mike is now a year older and a little bit more seasoned and he’s more seasoned. And as a lawyer, and he’s more seasoned and. And, uh, he’s now dealing with a strip mining battle.
So Penn in Pennsylvania for those of your listeners are from outside of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a huge coal mining state and the vast majority, about 90%, 95% of the coal that’s mined in Pennsylvania today [00:08:00] is strip mined. So open pit mines. And in this case, it’s a battle between a mining company and a neighbors to the mine.
And Mike finds himself right in the middle of the. Now he’s a little bit more mature. He’s a little bit more seasoned as a lawyer. So he’s a better lawyer and hope a better human being than it was in story. Number one, I’m very excited. Mid rage has been out now since February and actually the third book in the series called strange fire is coming out in February.
If the, if there’s paper and ink, which I understand based on some articles I’ve been reading as a problem. So I do have a third story in and the Mike Jacobs series. Ready to go. It’s all lined up. It’s just a question of apron. Ankothy
[00:08:43] Stephen: these are fiction and they’re not really based on true events, but they’re based on real life things you’ve encountered.
And I’m sure you drew from many years, you know, environmental lawyer, things that have happened, white people react. So did you always want to write this type [00:09:00] of book or do you want to write something else? Science
[00:09:01] Joel: fiction or something? I think I started writing these stories as what I call environmental legal thriller.
I started writing these because I was most familiar with it, with this, with the stuff in these stories. And I like legal thrillers, and I liked John Grisham. I like Scott Truro, and this is Scott Eleni. And I liked those writers and others too, John List-Grow and others who were just great writers of legal thrillers.
So I liked that and I was drawn to that anyway, and I know a thing or two about courtrooms, and I know a thing or two about environmentalist. And I thought, well, you know, I can do something with this. I can write a story along the lines of Pelican brief or graze mountain or the appeal. Terrific, environmental legal thrillers written by John Grisham, but that’s not the only thing that I’ve written.
And it’s not the only thing I wrote, actually, my first book, the first novel that I wrote after I began writing again, 15 years ago was a story taking place in 1950 Philadelphia. And it parallels both the 1950 Phillies and a young man. Who’s [00:10:00] trying to make a decision as to what he’s going to do with this.
He wants to become a novelist. Everybody else in his family wants him to go into advertising. So it’s a really a literary story. And I’ve also written a speculative thriller called little brother about what would happen if ever someday a local police department went to war with the FBI. We could imagine something like that happening.
I’ve written a young adult, a thriller post pandemic, thriller. What would happen if in a pandemic? All the adults in the world were killed. And the only ones that survive were children and how would they survive? Kind of Lord of the flies meets the road story written for 15 year olds.
[00:10:42] Stephen: They, that they totally would get it.
That sounds like their life in
[00:10:45] Joel: general. So in any event, so I’ve written a number of different kinds of stories, and I love writing the environmental legal thrillers, but I’ve also had a good time writing these other stories as well. And I’ve written short stories about everything from beer to murder. So.
All kinds [00:11:00] of stories. One of my favorite stories is a story that was published about a guy hiking along a road who was handed a beer by somebody passing by at about 30 miles an hour. So I’ve written all kinds of crazy stories and I, and those were short stories and really a pretty wide open, but my novels lately have been all about environmental legal thrillers.
[00:11:21] Stephen: And did you find this book easier or these two books? Easier to write because. I don’t like your life, your work for years, or was there other things you learned from the first books that you helped? And that was more, it didn’t matter. How was that writing something a little different than what you’d been writing
[00:11:38] Joel: in a way writing?
The second book was a little more difficult than writing the first book in the sense that I felt that my readers would have better, bigger expectations for me. And I had bigger expectations. And I knew when I went back and took a look at my first book, I didn’t read it, reread it again after it came out.
But I knew thinking about it, that there were mistakes that I had made places that I could have done [00:12:00] things better as a writer. And I wanted to make sure that I didn’t make those mistakes in the second book. And certainly in the third book, the same thing I didn’t feel as though it simply became easier.
Some things did become easier because I knew I had a better idea what the process was going to be. Like. I chose environmental legal thrillers, because like I said, a few minutes ago, As an environmental lawyer, I know a lot about environmental issues. I’ve dealt with these environmental issues and I’ve also dealt with courtroom settings and I’ve been in court a lot over the years.
So I felt as though I could bring all of that to bear. And the other thing too is I feel as though there’s a certain realness to what I’m writing in the story there. There’s lingo. There’s, there’s the way people act as the way people talk. When they’re involved in courtroom situations, there’s the way government bureaucrats act.
There’s a way a government lawyers act, and it’s very different than the common stereotypes about. People people on the outside [00:13:00] tend to think. And so it’s like a former cop, for example, writing police procedurals, where a former da writing books about police or detective stories and the like, and these are there’s things that, you know, and there’s things that only you’ve experienced.
Now, you can certainly research those. And you don’t have to be the president of the United States to write a story about the president of the United States. Although we now have had one president of the United States working with James Patterson, done that you can certainly do research and you can write about anything that’s worth considering.
But I felt that, especially on something like this, I could bring to bear that insider knowledge and share some of that with the audience. It’s definitely right. Like. It is now I’ve never been a kid who’s alone and after a pandemic and my parents and all the other adults are dead, but I’ve got a great imagination to it.
And that’s also part of it. And I didn’t, and for all these stories, I’ve done a lot of research and the internet is very [00:14:00] helpful, but there are a lot of other resources that are out there. So I certainly rely on a lot of research when I’m writing these stories. One thing that readers I think are very tuned in on is authentic.
And I know that if you’re going to write a book about the civil war, for example, you better know a lot about the civil rights and you better know what kind of buttons, the Pennsylvania cavalry war, and you better not get that wrong because there are people out there who are really efficient autos. And if you have them wearing iron buttons and they’ll work brass buttons, I haven’t helped you.
You’re going to get raked over the coals. So you really do have to know that kind of stuff. Nobody who is alive today, who was alive during the civil war, it’s all a question of research and authenticity. So I think readers are looking for authenticity and some readers are super vigilant about it.
[00:14:50] Stephen: Yeah. I assume for years, nobody really cares if it was a wood or a plastic gavel, that’s probably not the focus on there.
Uh, but these [00:15:00] are legal thrillers, more like a Grisham than like a Jack Reacher, uh, both of which are thrillers and solve problems differently. So I find it interesting because I don’t really read. Type of book, the legal thriller though. I have read, what did you find that you had to do to keep the story moving and keep it interesting because if you just went and sat in the courtroom and a bunch of people talking and arguing, that would probably be boring.
So what did you do to help keep that thriller aspect
[00:15:26] Joel: to keep it moving the question? And I’ll tell you why Steven environmental law sounds like it ought to be the most interesting thing that there ever was. But I will tell you that the regulations are maybe that wide. Can’t see my hand there like this.
And if there’s federal regulations that are state regulations, and if you’re dealing, for example, with hazardous waste or you’re dealing with air or climate or coal mining or whatever it might be, there are a lot of regulations. And what environmental lawyers do is they read those regulations. Client comes to us and [00:16:00] we say, and they say, I’ve got this.
And you helped me where they say, I don’t want to get into trouble. What do I do? Or I’m in trouble? How do I get out of that trouble? Whatever it might be. And it’s up to the lawyer to understand those regulations. And then you sit there for hours on end interpreting and looking at the regulations. You look at the statute, you look at the regulations, you look at the federal regulation.
And it can be a mind boggling A’s long process to come up with an answer to what seems like outwardly as simple question. Now, as a lawyer, I found it really fascinating and interesting. It was very intellectually standard. But as a reader, if you read about me as a lawyer sitting there for days on end powering through regulations, that would be really boring and nobody wants to read something boring.
So I had to, I have to figure out a way to compress time and it’s like, TV a lawyer. When you see the lawyer for 10 seconds at the end of the day, it’s all dark all around him and he’s got a little light on and he sitting there like this and he’s looking at his books and that kind of thing [00:17:00] for 10 seconds.
And you’re supposed to take from that. It’s spending a lot of time studying and learning and that’s, and that’s what I try to do is I try to compress the really lengthy parts that could be very boring into something that is, that certainly gets across to the reader that you know, that Mike spent days researching these regulations.
Going into the detail about it, the same thing about the trials to environmental trials. Again, you’d think, wow, this must be really interesting, but very often what you’re doing is you’re dealing with nitpicky arguments over whether a section 42, B three six applies, or whether section 42 B3 seven and applies.
And you’re interpreting that you’re dealing with that. And you’ve got a witness on the standards. Talk to you. These various regulations and it can be pretty dull stuff. But again, what I tried to do was eliminate the dull stuff, or at least let you know that there was, there were hours of dull stuff, but here is a moment.
There always are moments, flashes of really exciting stuff. And that happens in, in every trial and try to focus in [00:18:00] on those exciting parts. But at the same time, letting the audience know that there’s all this other stuff that’s going on. It’s not all. Got it.
[00:18:09] Stephen: And so what our readers saying, what’s the feedback you’ve been getting from
[00:18:13] Joel: these books?
It’s been good. I’ve gotten good feedback. Uh, lots and lots of five-star reviews. And just talk to a guy actually just yesterday from Toronto who had just read my book and he really liked it. And a mid-range. So I’ve gotten good feedback. People like the fact that the, as they sometimes say the kimono has been opened up a little bit before.
And they get a sense of what’s actually going on. It’s interesting. If you’re reading a book about mountain climbing in the Himalayas, you want to feel like you’re in the Himalayas. You want to get the sense that, okay. Wow. There’s this mountain and it’s cold and it’s windy. And here’s what the smells are.
Here’s food is. And this is what it’s like climbing the Himalayas. You want to, you want to get, you want to be there. And it’s the same thing with a book about mining. You want to get a sense of what’s it [00:19:00] like being in that strip? And what’s it like going way down into it on a very narrow haul road and having these gargantuan tractors trucks rather passing by where the wheel alone is bigger than the car that you.
And you want to get a sense of that, but just like I said, I’m going to the Himalayas or world war II and being in the middle of a battle or whatever it might be. You want to get a sense of that. And so one of the things that I try to do in my stories is I very much try to bring the reader along into those places.
And so I’ve gotten good feedback. From people who are excited because they say I’ve never been to a strip mine. I’ve never been in a deep monitor. I’ve never been in a place where there’s chemicals coming out of an abandoned mine tunnel. Now, fortunately I have, and I’ve seen those things and I can relate to that.
And I also do a lot of research on that. Plus I have a lot of friends, I still in the agency and, and EPA also. And I have a lot of friends over at the various consulting firms and on [00:20:00] anything. I will generally consult with my friends to make sure that I get it right. So in terms of the readers are getting a responding and saying that they like all the technical stuff, they like the way it’s presented.
And it seems realistic to them. So the readers are excited about that. I think I’m pretty good in, in dialogue and I think I’m pretty good in my characters. And so my, I think my characters come across as realistic people essentially said a couple of minutes ago. You mentioned Jack Reacher and Jack major is.
A little bit of a Superman, I’ve read a number of Jack Reacher books. He said big Brawny guy, except when he was Tom cruise in the movie, big Brawny guy, six foot five kind of guy, Ron shoulders expert at martial arts and the leg. And he’s got some, he’s got some super powers and I try to make Mike very relatable character.
Mike is, could be any of us. And I did that very intentionally because I wanted my readers to be able to [00:21:00] say, I could do that, or this is what I would do, or I see what Mike’s doing and I wanted readers to relate to him. So I think readers are responding to that in a very positive way. When right when Mike does something wrong or occasionally he comes very close to doing something unethical in a readers have come back to me and said, yeah, I felt for Mike because he was in a real difficult situation.
And I don’t know how I would’ve reacted under those circumstances. So I’ve gotten good a response from readers, which has been. Fun and great to hear from that’s nice.
[00:21:32] Stephen: And it sounds more like a Lang for Dan Brown’s DaVinci code, uh, that kind of
[00:21:38] Joel: every year, the guy. Yeah. It’s you know, like I said, and that was a very important thing for me was not to give us super powers.
It’s I’ve been watching and enjoying Bosch, which of course is dreamed up by my Michael Connolly based on his character. And Bosch is a, he’s a very dark character, but at the same time, he’s an average guy. He’s. [00:22:00] Basically he’s he works really hard. I was talking a few minutes ago about all that time that you spend that book, learning time, that time that you spend just looking at paper, you actually see that a lot in the series Bosch, but he’s a normal guy in a difficult situation.
Quirky normal guy. I will say kind of characters that Michael Connelly likes to write about, but I think it’s important for my characters for that. They’d be normal that they don’t have five black belts there. They can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. That kind of thing. I want my people, I want people reading to relate to my characters.
[00:22:34] Stephen: And you mentioned paper a couple of times. So do you have it available print and digital, or are you just doing.
[00:22:41] Joel: Now and made rage and drinks. Every geese are both available digitally on Kindle and nook and they’re available as paperbacks and amid rage is also available as an audio. So you can get it through audible.
You can get it through apple books. And I have not had a drink to every beast, [00:23:00] turned into an audible book, but considering that, and also at the same with my new book, strange fire coming out in February, that’ll be coming out at least initially as a, as a, uh, digital book. And also as a paperback book, it’s exactly the same book.
It’s just the question of what media you prefer.
[00:23:16] Stephen: And this is a self.
[00:23:20] Joel: Now I’m published by headline books. Okay. So headline books is, and again, for your writers, this is very important. So we all know about the penguins and the Simon and Schuster owners and the big gigantic publishing houses. And the only way that you can approach those is through an agent.
So you have to have an agent who sells your book to those publishing houses. Then there is self publishing. The biggest one is ADP Kindle, direct press. And there are a number of others Smashwords and some others as well. And that’s a self publishing process that requires you to be your own publisher and do everything on your own.[00:24:00]
And then in between are independent presses. And I believe I read a statistic that said there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 independent presses in the United States. The Indies generally speaking, do not require you to come to that. Uh, with an agent, so they will accept manuscripts to read, and then they’ll make decisions based on your manuscript.
You send it to them directly. And then the big publishing house they’ll do some amount of. They will do the graphic design because all of those pages have to be turned into book pages that the manuscript pages have to be turned into book pages. My publisher also provides a cover and they send me several different covers to choose from.
And then they’re responsible for getting it up on Amazon and Barnes and noble. And then they’re also responsible for doing some amount of marketing. The amount of marketing that they do is relatively minimal. And so they leave. The larger amount of marketing to me. And, and [00:25:00] that’s been a challenge, something boy, talk about on the job training.
So I use a small press and I know many other writers who’ve been successful using the self publishing. And of course the writers who were fortunate enough to be able to. Yeah, I published through the big houses. They’re doing that, but big houses. Ain’t what they used to be. There wasn’t any land that meant you could eat for a year and they would take responsibility for marketing and they would set up a book tour for you.
And a lot of that isn’t done anymore today. They do minimal marketing. Unless your name is Stephen King or James Patton. They’re not going to do a ton of marketing for you and the they’ll do some marketing. I know also from talking to some friends of mine or published by the bigger houses that often it is the author who is setting up book tour.
So they go out and hire a publicist who will help them set up the book tour. And it’s the advantage of course, is that the major publishing houses can get you into every bookstore in the United [00:26:00] States. They can get you into barns. All over the United States. Whereas the Indies generally can’t do that.
Mine is on a store by store basis. So to get into Midtown scholar, to get into cupboard maker that we were talking about earlier, I have approached Alex Brewbaker over at Midtown scholar or Michelle mine Meinhof over at cupboard maker and asked if they would take some of my books. And fortunately for me, they have, and other bookstores have as well.
So it’s my, my books are indeed. Okay.
[00:26:30] Stephen: Nice. And we were talking about Jack Reacher that, so would you rather see your books as a movie or a
[00:26:36] Joel: TV show? Let’s see. I would be, I would settle for each of, either of those. If I got a call from some big Hollywood producer and they asked me that they, that they’re going to make it into a TV show, I wouldn’t be disappointed that I didn’t get a call from somebody who wanted to make it into a movie.
But no, I, a series would be fun. Actually. I’ve done a treatment for my story. Uh, as a TV [00:27:00] show, and that is currently being looked at by some people in Hollywood who are involved in that, that, that whole system, which is entirely different than anything that we’ve talked about and something that I know almost nothing about.
And also I knew almost nothing about how to write a treatment. So I found a couple of treatments online and based my treatment of my story. On the ones that I saw and then I ran it. I do have an agent now I ran a test, my agent, she had some comments and then we sent it out, but it’s, that’s a completely different process.
Totally different process. And what happens in Hollywood is that I just have no clue as to how that works.
[00:27:42] Stephen: That could be with or without Tom
[00:27:44] Joel: cruise either way. Yeah. He’s actually too old to be Mike Jacobs.
[00:27:48] Stephen: Yeah. Okay. So we talked about your next book. What are some of your favorite books? I like to read?
[00:27:54] Joel: me talk about two things. I love legal thrillers and I love thrillers, and [00:28:00] I’ve learned a lot of things over the years. I’ve read all of the original Tom Clancy novels, and I point out Tom Clancy for one. Tom Clancy took something that could have been deadly, boring, a nuclear summary. And he went into excruciating detail about nuclear submarines to the extent that it should have put people to sleep on page three, but he made that such an exciting book that he blending together.
This technical engineering. Thing, this nuclear summary that people were excited about reading it. And they sold tens of millions of copies that made him a, and almost an instant hero and a best-selling author. And he was on the bestseller list for years with that book. And so I liked the hunt for red October.
Because it shows people like me who write about technical things, how it is that we can write technical subjects in a way that [00:29:00] is readable to a general audience readable without being dumbed down. I certainly like people like Grisham and Truro and Scott, Delaney. They’re terrific in terms of learning about legal thrillers or land day or less CRO, and there’s some great writers of legal thrillers that are out.
And other writers that I’ve enjoyed over the years in the non thriller category, having people like Phillip Roth, I liked Phillip Roth in particular, and I’ve read a lot of Phillip Roth over the years because Phillip Roth did something also. And that was, he showed us how we can disconnect from ourselves and write things that are real.
We may not be comfortable with those things. And a lot of his stories are very uncomfortable stories, but he did it. And he was able to show us that if you want or want to write a story that is really gut-wrenching and really real, you’ve got to be able to disconnect from [00:30:00] your everything and be able to write that.
And I like him and other writer. I love reading Michael Chavon. He’s written a couple of books, one in particular, the Yiddish policemen’s. Where he sets up sort of an alternate universe. So he sets up this setting where the Jews of Europe are moved out of Europe to escape the Holocaust by the United States.
And they’re set up to live in Alaska. And now the story is set in the, and it’s a 50 year timeframe that they’ve made arrangements with the native Americans of Alaska and. At the end of 50 years, they have to move elsewhere. So now this is year 49 and he set up this entire construct, which is amazing.
It’s not science fiction, it’s just an alternate universe and he’s such a good writer and it, and it makes it so believable and everything is just so well blended in and seamless in terms of America. And in terms of [00:31:00] this whole construct that he has and the. And so I have some great writers out there and I like to, I certainly do a lot of reading to learn from these writers.
So there are, there’s a lot of good writing that’s out there that is, that can teach you something. You can learn a lot as a writer. I’ve learned a lot from, from James Patterson and the Jack Reacher books. And then one thing that happens in those Jack Reacher books is there there’s a certain intensity in those books and then reading those books and you’re like drawn in and then things are happening.
When you go back and you pause your reading and you go back and take a look and you say, how did he do that? How exactly did he do that? You can say, oh, okay. I see what he did. He use short sentences. His sentences are three words long. His paragraphs are one sentence, three words, long things like that, that, that increased the intensity and the patient.
You can look at their books, whether it’s a Jack Reacher novel, whether it’s a broth, whether it’s Tom Clancy, you can look at these books and you can say, okay, I can learn something from all of them. So these are writers [00:32:00] that I’ve enjoyed and many others. Of course, I’m always reading. So there are many writers that are, I try to read a wide variety of things.
[00:32:06] Stephen: Uh, yeah, me too. And you’re right. If you need a classroom, you need to learn. It’s all right there already. What you’ve read Stephen, King’s quoted often for saying, if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. Well, readers should always be, or writers should always be reading. Read outside
[00:32:21] Joel: your shop.
And you’re mentioning Stephen King. I know a lot of writers, even who say, oh, I don’t like her. And I don’t like the kind of books that Stephen King, you know what Stephen King is probably the single most successful writer in the United States. So you have to read some of his books because you have to read it and say, what makes his story so compelling?
People who don’t normally read books, Everett, every Stephen King book. What is it about these stories? And so I’ve read a number of Stephen King stories. It’s not my favorite. But you read some of these stories and you say, oh, okay, I see what he’s doing. And this is great. It’s a real masterclass in how to write.
[00:32:57] Stephen: And even if people talk about, oh, he’s not that [00:33:00] great in this area, or he doesn’t do this. Good. Okay. W that’s a proven and you don’t have to be good at every single thing. Do what you do well, and do it very well. People will come to the end of our talk here about your books. Before we talk about other stuff, do you have a website?
Tell us again where we can find your book and books and what the titles are. Tell us again.
[00:33:21] Joel: All right. My first book was drink to. And a second book is a mid rage are there. And the third book coming out is called strange fire. That’s a book about fracking, very timely and something that I have a lot of knowledge about and all available on Amazon Barnes and noble.com.
They’re also available through various Indi, uh, bookstore service. There are indie bookstores. And I always encourage people to shop indie if they can, so they can go to indie bookstores. And if they don’t have the book, they can ask for it and they can get it in for you. You can go online to headline books, which is my [00:34:00] publisher and headline books has a way that you can order the books from them.
Actually, if you go to. Midtown scholar.com and you type in my name. Now you can actually get autographed copies of my books is what they did was they had me come over and sign the books. So you’d get a book that’s actually autographed by me. And then my website is called Joel burcat.com. So you can see my name over there and that’s just over cat.com, very easy to find, and that will also link it to places where you can get more.
[00:34:28] Stephen: Great Joel. Thanks for telling us about your book. I appreciate you getting on and taking some
[00:34:32] Joel: time today. It’s my pleasure, Stephen. Thank you very much for having thank you for listening to discovered wordsmiths. Come back next week and listen to another author. Discuss the road they’ve traveled and maybe sometime in the near future, it might be you .