Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
One morning I was reading the paper. On the front page was an article about how the number of deaths from drug overdoses has increased. Fentanyl and heroin mixed together were the major causes. Then several pages in was an article on a violent gang, MS-13, and how this gang has spread into Northern Virginia where I live and work. This gang makes its money on running gangs, drugs, and prostitutes. The idea for Caught in a Web was born that morning and sprung from the newspaper articles.
Each night, I sit in the family room with my laptop. The TV is going, my wife and daughter are talking, the two dogs are playing. (I can’t write in isolation- never!) I begin by reading what I wrote the night before. This does two things: 1. It helps me self-edit; 2. It puts me in the mood and setting for the next chapter. I try to write each night but because of my occupation (high school administrator), sometimes I’m not able to due to event supervision. I usually write for at least an hour, sometimes two, or until the next chapter is written in draft form.
Honestly, I can’t limit it to just one. I like the boys in the Evans’ family. Each of them. They add context, contrast, and texture to the stories. I like the cops: Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann. Each is different, but have similarities. They care beyond the badge. If I had to settle on one or two (or three), I’d have to say three of the fifteen-year-old boys: George, a full-blooded Navajo; Brett, and Brian. Each is different and attack life differently, but are similar in their care and concern for each other the rest of the family.
I get asked this question quite a bit, along with a variation of it: “Are you one of the characters in your book?” I will answer the second question first. I am most like Jeremy Evans, the high school counselor and the boys’ adoptive father. I was a counselor for eleven years before I became a high school administrator. Still, I am not like him because I might do things, and think about things, differently. Now, if I had to choose a character I’d like to be, I would say either George or Brett. Both are self-sufficient, independent thinkers who don’t necessarily care what others think. They do what is best for their family and for each other. They care and love life- despite all that has been done to them. Their loyalty to their brothers and to their adoptive father is extraordinary, even to the point of death.
In Caught in a Web, I explore the concept of “family” in all its aspects. The nuclear, biological family and the adoptive family of the Evans’ family, and a “family” made up of gang members, MS-13. I use one to contrast the other. I explore the concepts of love and loyalty. Each of these boys in the Evans’ family has been through so much (check out The Lives Trilogy = Taking Lives (the prequel); Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives and Splintered Lives to understand each character’s motivation and life choices) and those experiences come into play in Caught in a Web and its follow-up, Spiral into Darkness. Lastly, I aim to not only make the reader think, but I want to entertain the reader. It seems that I’ve succeeded in both.
I have a follow-up to Caught in a Web that came out this past January, Spiral into Darkness (it explores the concept of nature vs nurture as it relates to a serial killer). I am currently finishing up the first draft of a work, Betrayed, which features George, Brett and Brian, and Detectives Graff and O’Connor. The setting is George’s old haunting ground (literally), the Navajo Indian Reservation in the Northeast corner of Arizona. The title is exactly what the book is about.
Thank you so much for answering my questions –
I look forward to reading more of your books in future!
Read on to find out more about ‘Caught in a Web’…
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.
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CKF7696
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.
Social Media Links –
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Many thanks to both Rachel’s Random Resources and Joseph Lewis for providing materials for this post and to Rachel for organising the tour it is part of.
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