Thursday, April 26, 2012




Hello Joel, thank you so much for allowing us this interview. First this is the ice breaker question, how many times a day do you have to keep the cats from eating the gerbils? ;)

That’s a pretty funny question, but it’s more like, how many times a day do I have to rescue my seventeen-pound Maine Coon cat from my maniacal gerbils. Each night I let my gerbils get out of the cage and run around the bathroom for about twenty minutes or so. Each night Chance, my enormous orange ball of fur, scratches the other side of the door to get in as I’m babysitting the gerbils. When I first let him in to check them out, I wasn’t sure how he’d react, so I kept a close eye on him. Soon it became very obvious that he was more afraid of them than they were of him. Chance tries to lie on the floor, but the gerbils come over and sniff him. He’ll move around the bathroom as the gerbils give chase, until he finally jumps into the bathtub because Chance knows that those little bully gerbils can’t jump up and bother him in the tub.

You grew up in a very large family. How has this had any bearing on your inspirations in writing if any?

I’d like to say not much if any at all; however, that wouldn’t be the truth of the matter. My grandmother was an English teacher, my dad was a perfectionist, and my mom constantly reminded me when I was growing up that she regretted having kids altogether. Yet, make no mistake, writing is not a form of therapy for me, as with many other authors out in the world. Rather, I pen the human heart, the hidden agenda, and both the conscious and unconscious parts of our humanity. Now for that, my family was as inspirational as a good old-fashioned, eighteenth century Christian revival on a smoldering July day in a makeshift tent in the middle of a cornfield.

You are currently a nurse as well as a writer. Do you find inspiration for writing in your work as well?

Yeah, you know, being a nurse has opened my eyes to life, death, and the difference between living and just existing in this world. I have several patients that are over a hundred years old, and you know, believe it or not, they don’t want to die. Now don’t get me wrong, they all want to go to heaven to see their loved ones again, but I think they’d like to get to heaven without having to give up the life they have. I’m also not saying that being elderly is an enjoyable experience that one wants to continue on with, but if life were ideal, and a person never lost their loved ones, and they themselves could remain young, people would have no need of heaven to find what seems impossible here on our tumultuous little planet.

Tell us about your book "Shrouded Secrets" you recently got a contract offer from Bloombury press is that correct?

In Shrouded Secrets, teenaged siblings David and Danielle James experience the loss of a parent, harassment at school, and self-doubt as they struggle to find their place in this sometimes confusing world. When they discover that they have inherited unearthly abilities, they are unknowingly hunted by a group of clandestine immortals. Soon, secrets injure the ones they love as a shrouded and unyielding adversary seeks to cast Earth into a modern dark age. In time, the burden of true power isolates them, and the temptation to abuse their new gifts threatens to crumble the very foundations of the Earth itself. While one of the siblings will reluctantly choose the path of righteousness, the other will defiantly dabble with the promise of true power and the darkness that always accompanies it.

Shrouded Secrets has captured the attention of a subsidiary of Bloomsbury. A European literary agency has a publishing house that’s interested in picking up the novel at the moment. Before this, I had over one hundred rejection letters from American literary agents, so I decided to go Indie a little over a year ago. My sales for the first year have been great. I hit number seventy-four on Amazon’s Best Sellers list, and I didn’t even have to list my book as free at any time to do that. After a few literary agents and even the people at Amazon Encore kicked the tires on picking up my debut novel, this very reputable literary house in Europe jumped into the mix and found a publisher for Shrouded Secrets.

What is your next endeavor in writing, and when can we plan to see your new work out?

The novel that I’m finishing up right now is titled The Shadow Harvest. It’s not a sequel to Shrouded Secrets, but it’s more like a sidequel instead. It’s a bit more edgy than my debut novel, but it’s still in the YA/urban fantasy genre. It’s due to come out late spring/early summer 2012.

Here’s a sneak peek of The Shadow Harvest:
Most teenagers believe that they are immortal, but unlike fifteen-year-old Vincent, they are wrong. As he learns about his secret past, friends become enemies, as his enemies become his only source of redemption. When Vincent is ensnared by a forbidden love, he discovers that deceit, jealousy, and lust capture his once perfect heart. Only in the end does he understand that his immortality is an enchanted gift, and like all enchanted gifts, it has rules, or otherwise the spell of life everlasting can be broken, and he, like anyone else, can die.

Who are some of your inspirations in the literary world?

Sorry, but most of my literary inspirations are dead. However, they include, among others, Jane Austen, Frank McCort, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, and James Howe.

What is some of the best advice as a writer that you have ever received?

About a year and a half ago, after I lost count of all my form rejection letters, my wife told me to give up, but I never was good at taking advice from anyone

Tell us about a typical day in the life of Joel McGrath.

This one’s easy. Get up at noon time, write a little each day, work as a nurse from 2pm to 10:30pm, come home, hug and kiss my wife, pet my cats, pick up my gerbils, eat supper, sometimes write a little more, and then go to sleep. I know, it’s pretty boring stuff, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

Do either of you have any advice you'd care to share with other authors?

I try to always remember just a few things—write what you know, write what you love, and don’t let the stuffy literary haters bother you one tiny little bit for being an Indie author. Find joy in your creation, because after all, it is all yours.

Please leave us your links so we can get to know more about you and your works!

I’m actually busy these days, so my Goodreads blog is kind of hit or miss at times. Nevertheless, I will always reply to a personal email in a timely and considerate manner. That being said, here are three sites that I suggest:
My video blog.
Go to Goodreads where you can contact me, read blog posts, and find out about upcoming book release information.
Here on my website there are photos of Chance and the gerbils, and a few more things about me as an author.
On Amazon you’ll find reviews of Shrouded Secrets, an author Q&A, and you can look inside the book.

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