If you have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, Simon & Schuster happens to be one of the most prestigious publishing houses out there. One of the coveted “Big Six,” they are usually high on author’s most wanted list. For most of us, it will never happen, but for Joshua Graham, author of Darkroom, it did. I find Joshua interesting because I have watched him from afar and know how hard he worked to get into one of the largest publishing houses in America. Today we interview Joshua to find out his secrets.
WINNER OF 2011 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble #1 bestselling author Joshua Graham’s novel BEYOND JUSTICE is taking the world by storm, one reader at a time. Many of his readers blame him for sleepless nights, arriving to work late, neglected dishes and family members, and not allowing them to put the book down.
Suspense Magazine listed BEYOND JUSTICE in its BEST OF 2010, alongside titles by Scott Turrow, Ted Dekker, Steven James and Brad Thor.
His short story THE DOOR’S OPEN won the HarperCollins Authonomy Competition (Christmas 2010.)
Publishers Weekly described BEYOND JUSTICE as: “A riveting legal thriller…breaking new ground with a vengeance…demonically entertaining and surprisingly inspiring.”
Joshua Graham grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree and went on to earn his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. During his time in Maryland, he taught as a professor at Shepherd College (WV), Western Maryland College, and Columbia Union College (MD).
Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in Southern California. Several of Graham’s short fiction works have been published by Pocket Books and Dawn Treader Press.
Writing under the pen name Ian Alexander, Graham debuted with his first Epic Fantasy novel ONCE WE WERE KINGS, an Amazon #1 Bestseller in multiple categories and Award-Winning Finalist in the SciFi/Fantasy category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, as well as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, and an Award Winner in the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards in the Teen/Young Adult category. ONCE WE WERE KINGS is available in ebook and hardcover editions.
Look for his next Suspense/Thriller DARKROOM (Simon & Schuster/Howard Books) to be released May 1, 2012!
You can visit his website at www.joshua-graham.com.
After scattering her mother’s ashes in Vietnam, photojournalist Xandra Carrick comes home to New York to rebuild her life and career. When she experiences supernatural visions that reveal atrocities perpetrated by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, she finds herself entangled in a forty-year-old conspiracy that could bring the nation into political turmoil.
Launching headlong into a quest to learn the truth from her father, Peter Carrick, a Pulitzer Prize Laureate who served as an embedded photographer during the war, Xandra confronts him about a dark secret he has kept–one that has devastated their family.
Her investigations lead her to her departed mother’s journal, which tell of love, spiritual awakening, and surviving the fall of Saigon.
Pursued across the continent, Xandra comes face-to-face with powerful forces that will stop at nothing to prevent her from revealing the truth. But not before government agencies arrest her for murder, domestic terrorism and an assassination attempt on the newly elected president of the United States.
Darkroom is a riveting tale of suspense that tears the covers off the human struggle for truth in a world imprisoned by lies.
Thank you for this interview, Joshua. When we had you on tour before, I don’t think you had any idea at that point you were going to get a contract from Simon & Schuster for this new book, DARKROOM, am I correct?
Joshua: That’s correct. I have always querried my books out to publishers, but for some reason, Simon & Schuster was the publisher I’d always dreamed of working with. So when the Howard Books imprint of Simon Schuster offered me a contract, I was thrilled.
So after you finished your tour last time, where did you go from there? Is that when you started writing DARKROOM, or was it at least in the planning stages?
Joshua: The truth is, DARKROOM was already completed and I’d been sending it out to various publishers, even as BEYOND JUSTICE was gaining ground on the bestseller lists.
I know you must have been thrilled to get the call. Do you remember your initial reaction?
Joshua: I got “the call” in the form of an email. It was during my daily prayer time in which I don’t usually have my computer on, much less check my inbox. But somehow, this day, while I was deep in prayer, I got this nudge in my spirit to go check on the email which had just caused my computer to chime. Usually, I don’t allow this kind of distraction, but this time, I just did—not sure why.
Well, when the screen displayed my email list, there was a message from an editor at Howard Books with an attachment that simply said “Happy Monday. Please see attachment.” And when I scrolled down, I saw that the attachment was a MS word .doc file entitled “Offer Letter.”
Before even opening it, I let out such an excited shout that Kangadog (my goldendoodle) leapt into the air in surprise. I’m glad nobody was home, or they might have done the same. I kept shouting my praise and thanks to God. Naturally, I grabbed my Bible, my manuscript for DARKROOM and fell on my knees just thanking The Lord over and over. I knew that He had plans for my writing. And like He always does, He knocked my socks off with His blessings!
I guess you could say I had a positive reaction.
Take us through the journey. After you received word that S&S was going to publish your book, what was the next step?
Joshua: The next step was negotiating the contract. That took a few months, and I hired a great IP attorney to represent me. It was a very cordial and friendly experience. We all made the necessary compromises to come to a happy agreement and then I was free to announce the big news (almost 3 months after the offer letter) to my waiting fans. I had the biggest number of hits in the history of my website ever that day.
What happened after that?
Joshua: Then came the editorial process. They told me that the manuscript I sent them was unusually well-polished, and for that, I would like to thank my dear friend Christy Giangreco for helping me with the original proof-reading and copy-editing. But Simon & Schuster put another 2 or 3 pairs of eyes on the Manuscript and they took it to another level, doing fact-checking, making sure the accents in the Vietnamese language terms went in the right direction, etc. I’m amazed at the level of detail they went into bringing this book to the editorial level it is now. I’m blessed with such a team of kind and professional editors to work with including: Becky Nesbitt, Holly Halvorsen, Jessica Wong, and everyone else who helped bring DARKROOM to publication.
What major publicity does S&S have planned for your book?
Joshua: S&S is helping me get onto the media (radio, television, public speaking, etc.,) to get the word out about DARKROOM, and to give me an opportunity to speak on topics related to my books. Interestingly, a lot of those venues will focus on me, the author, and my life and career, and topics about which I’m passionate.
What are your plans now? Do you have another book in the works?
Joshua: As I always say, a writer ALWAYS has another book in the works. I have at least two titles I’m completing even as we speak. One of them is by Ian Alexander, my pen name for Fantasy (epic and contemporary) books.
Thank you again for this interview, Joshua. Do you have any words of advice for others who would like to be in your shoes right now?
Joshua: You’re most welcome! It’s such an honor to share my thoughts and experience here. There are so many different paths for people to reach their dreams. But the best path is through finding out what you were created to do and be. That comes through knowing your creator personally and understanding His design for you. Only then can you truly flow in your gifts and abilities. Once you start to do that, you’ll find that even though the circumstances of life don’t necessarily change for the better, you will overcome the challenging ones, and attract the wonderful, fun, fulfilling ones. I would love to discuss this further with anyone who is interested, so please contact me via the social media links in my bio.