Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I’ve always loved reading just about everything: historical fiction, spy novels, biographies, Westerns, mysteries, travel, adventure, etc. I also really enjoyed classic Christian novels like Ben-Hur and The Robe, but it didn’t seem like those kind of stories were being written any more.
I kept saying, “Somebody ought write such and such a book…” After years of wishing, I finally realized that I was the one who needed to write these books if they were meant to be written.
Tell us about your books.
“Long Road Out of Ur” is my debut novel and was published by CreateSpace on August 25, 2016.
Something is rotten in Mesopotamia. A troublesome priest has been murdered; the pagan New Year’s rites defiled; a royal tomb is robbed; and a would-be grifter, Lot, is in the wrong place at the wrong time. His father, grandfather and cousin are each likely suspects and Lot doesn’t know who he can trust. Everyone thinks Lot knows where the loot is hidden and someone wants it all–even if it’s over Lot’s dead body.
“Long Road Out of Ur” retells the familiar story of the calling of Abraham and Sarah to the Promised Land through the voice of Lot. Yes, that Lot–the one who barely escaped the destruction of Sodom with his daughters–his wife wasn’t so fortunate.This is not a Sunday school version of their lives, and they are not alabaster saints. Instead, it’s a lively coming-of-age adventure tale crossed with a murder mystery and a heaping helping of social satire. Think of it as something like “Huckleberry Finn” combined with “North by Northwest” but set in the Bronze Age.
Lot’s comical attempts to con his way out of danger only entangle him deeper and deeper in a web of greed, betrayal and murder. From the fashionable society of Susa through the murky waters of the Great Swamp to the stone huts of Elam, Lot tries to run but he can’t hide. Searching for any way out, he battles evil giants, fake princesses and blood-thirsty pirates but his greatest struggle is finding himself.
Can a two-bit con man change his spots? Or will his past destroy him?
Can a prodigal son and his prodigal father ever forgive one another? Or are some wounds just too deep to heal?
How did you go about getting published?
I spent 8 months querying publishers, editors and agents trying to get a traditional book deal. Unfortunately, my book did not fit the neat round hole they were looking to fill. So I decided to self-publish through CreateSpace.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
As a historical novelist, I need to immerse myself in the world I am re-creating. So I spent 18 months researching ancient Sumer before I wrote a single sentence. Each day before starting a new section, I re-read the previous chapter or so, to immerse myself again. That also allows me to correct and polish before getting too far ahead.
I prefer to write during the daytime because my writing is so intensive that I have trouble sleeping afterwards. More than once I tossed and turned as my characters kept fighting their battles in my head.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
Writing is my full-time job. I hike almost every day. I also like to golf, cook, travel and of course, read.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
I used Paint.net. It’s a free download and isn’t very hard to learn. (If I can do it, anyone can.) There are tons of free stock picture sites, but it can be very time-consuming finding exactly the right image for your book. I finally found what I wanted on FreePik.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Start marketing BEFORE you start writing. If you don’t love social media, networking, personal selling and marketing — this may be the wrong career path for you.
What’s your favorite book?
Pride and Prejudice
What are you reading now?
Pharaoh by Wilbur Smith
What’s your next book project?
My next book will be a continuation of Lot’s misadventures in Canaan and Egypt. This will cover the familiar narrative in Genesis plus my behind-the-scenes explanations of “why” some of this stuff happened the way it did.
Author Websites and Profiles
Joel Thimell Amazon Profile
Joel Thimell’s Social Media Links