Interview with Joseph Hayes, author of The Wall

08 Oct 2018

What can you tell us about your new release, The Wall?

The Wall is my third novel (When No One Is Watching and Consequential Damages being my first two). It’s a political thriller that a reader can pick up and enjoy for pure entertainment value. However, for those who like something thought-provoking or something that serves as a good platform for a lively discussion of timely and important subjects, it delves into the challenges—and the opportunities—relating to the immigration issues facing America today.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I have always enjoyed good books and good storytelling and have a deep appreciation for writers who are able to provide the material for the rewarding and satisfying experience that a good read provides. It is my hope that I can be a source of such enjoyment for others.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Wow! It’s really hard to narrow it down to just five, but I will share the names that immediately jump to mind: I tend to favor the classics: Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, The Brothers Karamozov, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy all come to mind. For something a little more modern, Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War and War and Remembrance are both remarkable books. (Sorry, I know that’s six, but the two Wouk books named above are really one story spread out over two books!)

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Hmmm… Probably John Grisham. As one of America’s most commercially successful and prolific writers, I would like to know: (1) how he keeps his ideas and writing from getting stale; (2) what is his writing routine and how many hours per week does he typically spend writing; (3) where does he get the ideas for his stories, and (4) as a fellow lawyer, I am curious how he keeps up on legal developments and trends

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Both the creativity required to build a complete story from a very simple starting premise or idea and the exactness and precision required to craft well-written prose.

What is a typical day like for you?

I am still trying to figure that out! For 30+ years, I spent long days working as an attorney and business executive and then spent my downtime (which was scarce) with my family. I started working writing into that routine about 10 years ago, either early in the morning or late in the evening, or in hotels, airports and airplanes. I retired from my corporate life about two years ago and now have the luxury of being able to devote more time to writing, traveling, exercise, and spending quality time with my lovely wife, Susan. We still haven’t settled into a pattern yet, so I don’t really have a typical day. And that’s OK!

What scene in The Wall was your favorite to write?

Much of my working life involved the funeral profession. There are a number of scenes in the book that draw on that experience but I won’t say any more than that because I want to avoid spoilers!

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I have always loved the phrase “Character is defined by what you do when know one is watching.” So I made that the title of my first novel.

Joseph Hayes is the author of the new book The Wall

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