Isaiah Moss was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. His illegitimate son Oscar Kendall wasn’t. Living in Isaiah’s inescapable shadow, Oscar has become an inveterate quitter who hides his own literary work from the world rather than suffer the pain of failure or rejection.
When Isaiah suddenly dies, Oscar inherits the old man’s lakefront writing cabin in New Hampshire. There he finds his father’s typewriter, a full liquor cabinet, and an unpublished manuscript of such genius that it could launch Oscar’s career if he claims it as his own.
But as Oscar wrestles with his own twisted inspirations, he meets the women in Isaiah’s life and begins to learn the depths of his father’s secrets…and the costs that come with unresolved trauma and romantic delusion.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Joe Pace whose book Moss captivated me from beginning to end. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Joe Pace will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Joe Pace!
Joe Pace is a writer of literary and science fiction. He studied political science and history at the University of New Hampshire and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Seattle University.
Joe has served in elective office, taught American history, and worked in business banking. His assorted interests include comic books, pickup basketball, Greek mythology, and the occasional marathon. He was elected student body president as an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire and then served nine years on the Select Board in Exeter. He currently chairs the Select Board in his new hometown of Kensington.
As a storyteller, he seeks to weave memorable characters and places with unforgettable stories that speak to the human condition. His literary inspirations include John Irving, Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Patrick O’Brian. He’s also an unapologetic Star Trek, Marvel, and West Wing guy.
Joe was born and raised in seacoast New Hampshire and still calls it home with his wife, Sarah, their sons Bobby and Xavier, and their dogs Sam and Joy.
Now, how wonderful does Joe Pace sound?! Joe Pace is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Joe Pace’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself.
I’m a full-time dad and writer these days, though I’ve done a lot of other things. I’ve taught, coached, worked in banking and finance and non-profits. I’m married to a brilliant woman and we live in New Hampshire with our two children.
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
Moss introduces us to Oscar Kendall, a fortyish man who lives a life of vague despair. His father, whom he’s never met, was one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century. When he dies, Oscar begins to unravel the mysteries of his father’s life while coming to grips with the failures of his own. Along the way he encounters May Pierce, a younger Army veteran who lost both her legs in Afghanistan. Their journeys of pain and sacrifice weave together in ways that surprise them and the reader alike.
I wanted to write about a great and flawed artist – that was the origin of Isaiah Moss, Oscar’s absent father. As I explored his story, I knew I had to find a prism through which the reader would encounter him at arm’s length. The tale grew organically from there.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
You have to write for yourself first. There must be joy in the process, even when it’s hard. Read extensively, listen, develop a sense of the rhythms and cadences of dialogue and language. Practice the craft without thinking about the final product.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
The first job a book has is to refuse to be put down. I’m not talking about a snappy first sentence or page, though those certainly help. A book has to have something that attracts and holds the reader in a sustainable way. That can be gorgeous prose, engaging characters, or a riveting plot. All three of those and you’re in business.
What is your writing process like?
I create characters first, and then confront them to see how they’ll respond. Sometimes I have an idea for the broader plot, but sometimes I’m as surprised as they are at how things proceed. My best work comes unfettered by the demands of the narrative. Yellow legal pad and a blue fountain pen first. That’s jazz. Later, stitching the narrative together and building a coherent story, that’s where the sweat equity comes in.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It depends on the book. When I’m writing science fiction, obviously, I spend more time reading and making sure I can at least somewhat competently depict the science. Literary fiction demands less of that kind of prep work. When I’m writing in the real world, I spend time online sometimes reviewing place names, distances, other sorts of data to ensure that my characters interact with real places that resonate with the reader. Sometimes the work is historical in nature. Writing Moss, there were several passages that required me to delve into military records and specific wartime events. You can be sure I wanted to get those right.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
Both. When I’m deep in a project, I write for two or three hours every morning. More if the juices are flowing. Other times, if lightning strikes I’ll grab my pen and scribble away for fifteen minutes or a few hours.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I love to read. My greatest influence is John Irving, and to a lesser extent Stephen King. I believe strongly in setting as character – that where the story is taking place needs to be as clearly drawn and evocative as any of the people roaming around in it. Nobody does setting like Irving and King – maybe that’s my bias as a fellow New Englander! In many ways, Moss is a broken-hearted love letter to New Hampshire along the lines of Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany.
I also love my science fiction authors, from Asimov to Vonnegut (yes, Vonnegut was a science fiction writer!) and Mary Shelley – Frankenstein is perhaps my favorite novel. Patrick O’Brian, C.S. Forester, Mark Twain, Sherwood Anderson, JRR Tolkien. And I’ll still revisit authors aiming at a younger audience, like J.K. Rowling and Lloyd Alexander. Great stories come in all shapes and sizes.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I’m working on my next novel as we speak, aiming for Christmas publication. It’s a study in human grief that’s proving as agonizing and uplifting to write as Moss was.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Joe Pace! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,