If Thrillers and Science Fiction are your tastes – this author interview with Joseph A.Turkot might be of interest.
What genre(s) do your write? I am writing a realistic suspense thriller and a sci-fi thriller right now. I have written fantasy, horror, and realistic fiction. In other words, I’m not a one-genre man.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m 28 years old. My friends call me a renaissance man. I owe that attribution to the wide spectrum of creative projects I throw myself into. Writing stories goes back to before I was ten years old, writing Predator-inspired stories of slaughter, or creating my own choose-your-own adventure stories. I’ve been drawing my whole life. More recently, at 19, I started playing guitar and recording music—I’ve amassed hundreds of songs since then and have played in two bands. One of my songs called “Smile” appears in a Lionsgate film that came out earlier this year called Mancation, starring Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years and Joey Fatone from N’Sync. Beyond those pursuits, I am a filmmaker and actor, currently in the shooting stage of a documentary I plan to send to Sundance.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to begin writing? My first stories appeared when I was probably around eight or nine years old. I was trying to emulate the carnage I saw in the movie Predator. I also began to contrive my own choose-your-own adventure stories, mimicking the ones I would read and enjoy. I’ve always been a fan of role-playing, whether it be in a video game or in a game outside with my friends. These types of games involve heavy storytelling and imagination, so it was natural for me to feel as if I could spin a yarn just as good as anyone else.
What is the last book you read? In the Heart of the Sea. I’ve been on a nonfiction kick over the past year, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get off it. I find that there are so many adventure tales that really happened, I can’t find a good reason to read fake stuff anymore. I hope that sentiment doesn’t catch on with my readers, however. I am not writing non-fiction yet.
Which writers inspire you? Lately, it would have to be Sebastian Junger and John Krakauer. Over the course of my life, there are so many who have influenced me that I can’t list them all here. In my formative years, my influences were Tolkien, CS Lewis, RL Stine, and Steinbeck. Since then, there’s been Keats, Joyce, Shakespeare, Henry James, and Poe, among others.
Where did you get the idea for your novel, Black Hull? I had this itch to write a dedicated scifi thriller novel that incorporated a lot of the nonfiction science stuff that I like to read, such as Brian Greene and Stephen Hawking’s novels. Then a premise came to me—a man wakes up on a small escape pod, not knowing why. Something went wrong with his mission on the trip home. His computer doesn’t give him good information because it’s damaged somehow. On top of all that, the pod’s badly damaged, without thrusters, and without main power. He’s got hours to live. And to make things worse, he was on an illegal smuggling run, trying to get money to avoid a prison sentence on Earth for killing his ex-wife’s lover. That might not matter so much, except that the title Black Hull refers to the types of smuggling ships used in the book—untraceable vessels similar to our stealth bombers, but more advanced. I basically put this guy in the worst imaginable situation and then worked to get him out. The plot and backstory have developed quite a bit since the first episode of the story.
Can you tell us something about the story? I pretty much did that. The story is a serial novel, meaning I am releasing it in episodes. That might sound like a gimmick, but you can buy a novel’s length of Black Hull for less than a pack of cigarettes. I heard reader’s would wanted serial novels again, and that that trend was returning, so I decided to give it a go with Black Hull.
Who do you think will like reading your book and what other novels do you think are similar to it? People who like Michael Chrichton, or any thriller that references interesting true facts about space and time. Also, anyone into gritty, thoughtful science fiction. As far as similar novels, I’m not sure which one to cite: it’s got a mix of Memento and Alien, but then they’re movies, so. . .
Are you working on a new book at the moment? On top of releasing a new Black Hull episode every two weeks (look for episode 5 later this week), I am writing a realistic fiction novel that is painfully suspenseful and moving. I can’t really say more at this time. Eh hem. Next question.
Where can people go to read your work? To buy my books, go to Amazon and type in Turkot. Everything should come up. My horror story “House for Sale” has become very popular. You can find me blogging on josephturkot.com, and from there you can find my social media buttons and follow me.
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors? Have an open mind. The moment you have too much pride in your writing, or put too many eggs in the basket of one single novel, you may start to run into problems. Continue to be open to learning about your craft. Continue to read alongside your writing endeavors. And most importantly, continue to write.
Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews – what are your thoughts on each of those? Bad reviews sting. But then you learn from them. Good reviews are great—they reaffirm what I already knew—I have a gift for imaginative storytelling. Any review (they’re hard to come by), is appreciated. It shows you’ve got a reader out there.
If you review other books, what is your approach to reviewing those? Providing some critical feedback, but being concise. Perhaps two things done well, and two things that need improvement.
Black Hull (Amazon description): Black Hull is a lost-in-space thriller, with strong elements of suspense and mystery. There are also tones of subtle eroticism, minus graphic imagery. It is intended for adult audiences.
This thriller’s edge of your seat narrative keeps the reader questioning: What’s going to happen to Mick next? It’s given up front that Mick Compton is a man with a past: he’s facing thirty years in prison for violence—and he’s lost his once highly coveted position with NASA’s FRINGE outfit. Now, facing a long stretch in prison, with two sons and an ex-wife he wants back, he’s faced with a horrible dilemma—do the time and miss out on his children’s youth, or run one black hull smuggling operation in a distant system, get a meaty reward, and pay off a connection with a standing offer to wipe his crime history from the UCA database.
All is going well until the ride home: Mick finds himself waking up prematurely, long before arriving in Earth orbit. He’s floating in dead space. Not only has he woken from cryo early, but he’s not aboard his black hull vessel any longer: he’s in an escape pod with only enough power for several more hours of life-support. It is Mick waking up that begins the first episode in the Black Hull serial novel. The fast-paced writing, the mystery of what happened to his crew, and Mick’s panic-stricken quest to stay alive in a strange future and get back home to his family creates an incessant need for readers to devour each new episode in this serialization. The action of the plot is interwoven with riveting flashbacks that depict Mick’s mistakes leading up to the loss of his marriage and the murder of his wife’s lover. Mick’s is a story of a man grappling with regret, clinging to a far-fetched hope that somehow, things can be made right again, despite man’s known laws of physics.