– ‘The Magic Of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Caught in a Web’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, Joseph Lewis, but b
About the Author :
Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web, Taking Lives, Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.
Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.
Guest Post :
Where My Ideas Come From
I grew up poor, the second youngest of ten kids in the country next to a river. We never had much, but we did have each other, and honestly, I never lacked for anything as far as I was concerned. My brothers and I would pretend and invent to entertain ourselves.
We had a green apple tree in our backyard. It was a B-52 if we played army. It as a haunted house at night. It was a hut in a jungle. Further back in our yard next to the river was our tree house. It was built by my two older brothers, but my younger brother and I inherited it. And living next to the river, of course we had a raft with a large push-pole just like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Our bikes were race cars or horses if we were cowboys.
I think growing up poor had its benefits. It enlarged my imagination and for that I’m thankful. I could create anything out of everything and there was always something for me to do. My parents fed my reading habit with books and I was proud – still am – of the library I had built. After school, I would walk across the street to the library to wait for my dad to get off work and drive me home. I wouldn’t sit at a table in the large brown wooden chairs, but instead would sit on the floor between the stacks of books and read whatever struck me at the moment. I grew up in that world and loved it. I hungered for it.
I think a writer needs to be an observer. As a high school administrator, I stand in the hallway or monitor the cafeteria, and I supervise athletic and academic events. I listen to conversations. I watch interactions. I take note of facial expressions, hand gestures, and body postures. I think this comes across in my writing. It provides authenticity, especially when it comes to my adolescent characters.
Stephen King talks about where his ideas come from in his book, “On Writing.” It has become a go-to book for me. The first part of the book is more autobiography filled with anecdotes and stories about his writing life. He writes that his ideas come when two or three unrelated events “fly together” to create a storyline.
“Caught in a Web” came from the newspaper. One afternoon after I got home from work, I sat down to read our local paper. On one page there was an article on the rise of deaths across the country from people mixing heroin and fentanyl. A couple of pages inside was an article about MS-13 and how it is seeping further south into Northern and Central Virginia. An idea occurred in that instant and out of that idea, came my book. I ended up winning a PenCraft Literary Award for Fiction several months later, along with some really nice reviews.
One day at school, I had a conversation with a staff member, a psychology instructor, about nature vs nurture. That evening, I watched an episode of “Criminal Minds” that dealt with a serial killer. My book, “Spiral Into Darkness” was born.
Back when I was a counselor, I became the go-to guy for many of the abuse cases on our campus. Not sure how or why that occurred. I didn’t have any additional training that the other counselors didn’t have, but somehow, I ended up with a lot of abuse cases, if not most of them.
In December of 1989, I was on a plane flying back to see family and spend my Christmas vacation with them. In the pocket of the seat in front of me was a magazine and in it was an article on Jacob Wetterling, a missing eleven-year-old. He was abducted by a stranger wearing a mask and brandishing a gun in front of his brother and best friend.
I was moved, saddened. When I got back to California, I contacted the family and asked if there was anything I could do to help. I told them I could write and that I was a pretty good speaker. I became an adjunct for their foundation speaking to parent groups, schools, teachers, and kids on how to keep kids safe. When I got married and had two of my own kids, I had to step away from that work because instead of talking about missing kids, I began to picture my own kids, Wil and Hannah. It hit too close to home.
However, I knew I would have to somehow give back and tell the stories of missing kids, of human trafficking, of abuse. It took twenty or so years, but from the experience I had working on behalf of missing and sexually exploited kids, and from the experience I had as a counselor working with many cases of abuse and listening to the stories of kids and the stories of their parents and families, I wrote “The Lives Trilogy and Prequel”: “Taking Lives”, “Stolen Lives”, “Shattered Lives”, and “Splintered Lives.” They aren’t easy reads and perhaps they shouldn’t be. I didn’t pull any punches, but honestly, I’m proud of them.
Events happen. I observe them. I listen to people and observe their interactions (or lack thereof). I think any writer is a natural observer and for me and for probably many others, that’s where our ideas come from.
The Magic Of Wor(l)ds