I had the opportunity to read and review Joe Vadalma’s work and I was very happy to do so. I thoroughly enjoyed his novel as it was quite different. I conducted an interview with Joe over e-mail, the transcript is as follows:
Jason Damman: When and why did you start writing?
Joe Vadalma: I have dabbled in writing fiction for as long as I can recall, but never had the time to pursue it seriously until I retired. Nonetheless, I had plenty of experiences in the writing craft by then, since I was a technical writer for a major computer manufacturer.
JD: What is the process you follow when writing a novel?
JV: I usually start with a general concept. Then I think about what sorts of characters that would be involved. I then do whatever research I need to too get started. If the action takes place in a made-up world then I write a blurb about what the world is like. Next, I write a working outline. When those things are done, I start writing the story from beginning to end, referring to or changing the outline of the characters and the story as I go along. After writing a few chapters I go back and revise. What usually happens is that I need to make changes to earlier chapters because of the way that the late chapters are proceeding. Once the novel is done, I give it a thorough edit and revise, revise, revise. Sometimes I need to change the chapters around or move scenes, and so forth. When that’s done, I edit for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Depending on the publishers guidelines I may need to change the format. Thank God for computers!
JD: Was it hard for you to get published?
JV: Yes. At first I sent my novels to the major publishers and short stories to print magazines. As a result I collected a lot of standard rejection slips that told me nothing. Finally, I started sending my stories to E-Zines. After a while they started to get published. When I started sending my novels to E-Book publishers, I included my E-Zine sales in the cover letter. That’s when I made my first sale.
JD: What attracts you most to the genre you write in?
JV: I write in science fiction, fantasy and horror. I’ve always enjoyed reading books and stories in these genres. I like the fantasy element of these genres. As a writer, they give me a lot of freedom to express ideas that would not be possible in other genres.
JD: Have you ever based characters in your books on people in real life?
JV: Not completely. Nonetheless, I use parts of people that I know and combine them… The looks of one person combined with the personality of another and so forth.
JD: What authors were/are your influence to write?
JV: I think the first authors that inspired me to become a writer were Frank L. Baum and Lewis Carroll. As a child I loved the Oz series and Alice in Wonderland. I still read them. When I got older, I began buying the sci-fi pulps and reading such people as Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg and Ray Bradbury… to mention three of my favourites.
JD: You have done a lot of work for E-Zines, what is the difference between planning a story for getting published online or through a publisher for a novel?
JV: It’s simply the difference between writing a short story and a novel. Usually when writing a short story I only jot down a few notes. The outline and characters are in my head. Some short stories seem to come to me full blown and it’s simply a matter of typing them into my computer.
JD: What advice do you have for writers that want to be published online or want to publish their own book?
JV: Be grounded in the basics. Take a writing course if you haven’t had a good creative writing in college. After that, it’s simply write, write, write. Make sure you have at least a couple of hours of the day devoted to the craft.
JD: What ideas and information can you give SFFWorld on future work that you have planned to write?
JV: Right now, I am working on a galactic empire novel based on a chess game. I also have some ideas on a series of fantasy stories that take place in what are known as the Dark Ages, from A.D 300 – 1000
JD: Thank you for your time, I anticipate more releases from you in the future.
2005 Jason Damman