Joseph Carrabis is the author of over a dozen novels and hundreds of short stories, including the Nebula-nominated Cymodoce and the Pushcart-nominated The Weight. Raised by his maternal grandfather John, Joseph developed a thirst for knowledge that would motivate him to seek immersion within indigenous societies all over the world. These experiences compelled Joseph to help others and have inspired his writing. In addition to writing fiction, Joseph is the author of internationally best-selling non-fiction. Prior to becoming a full-time author, Joseph sat on several advisory boards including the Center for Multicultural Science and the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research, an Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California, and served with the UN/NYAS Scientists Without Borders program. He currently holds patents in what the USPTO describes as “a base, disruptive technology that allows machines to understand and respond to human thought.” Joseph was born in Melrose, MA, and currently lives in Nashua, New Hampshire with his wife, Susan, and their two four-legged children, Boo and Ghost.
Joseph, thank you for agreeing to this interview. While you are known to describe yourself as “dull” or “boring”, your unique experiences have led you to explore many realms of intrigue. What passion(s) guide your actions each day and how have you incorporated these into your art of storytelling?
I’m told that readers can recognize my writing even when my name’s not on it. I’ll take that as a good thing, having that unique a style and voice, basically a trademark. I’m also told the two things you’ll find in all my writing are 1) a deep understanding of psychology and 2) love. I’d probably add an appreciation for nature. My work (prior to retiring) often had me walking the edge of science and not-yet science, the preternatural.
You have released three volumes in the Reading Virtual Minds collection. Give us a synopsis of what is captured in these three books and what inspired you to write them.
Well, umm…those are trade technical, not science fiction, although many people consider them science fiction. I created a technology that allows machines to understand and respond to human thought through any human-machine interface. Those are the USPTO’s words, not mine. Those books detail the development of the technology, what it’s based on, how it works, and provides several hundreds of examples on how to achieve the same things without using the technology. FWIW, my wife and I created a company to promote the technology’s use. It was active in over 120 countries when we closed the company. The technology itself was independently validated at over 98% accurate predicting people’s responses to information in 600 tests. We used it to correctly predict the outcomes of the US and foreign elections since 2004, always months in advance of final voting.
Let me give you a heads-up. Never create anything that accurate. It terrifies people. Especially when it’s that accurate about them.
Over the years, you have offered advice in marketing multiple projects, specifically when considering the thoughts and responses of people to strategies used to garner their interest. What simple marketing advice would you offer to writers?
I offer the same advice to writers that I offered to companies internationally; know your audience. The more you know your audience the more you can sell them. The first rule is a paraphrase of the First Law of Semiotics – Give the audience what they want first. Give them what they want first and they’ll take anything else you want to give them. The problem is that most businesses don’t really know what their audience wants, they know what they want their audience to want and the two aren’t always the same.
This “give your audience what they want” can be a challenge for writers who want to write “their” stories and not audience-driven stories. But such writers can have it both ways; Write your story the way the audience wants to read it and you’ll have success.
Now the question is “How does the audience want to read it?” That’s a Scotch and cigar discussion.
Having Cymodoce nominated for the Nebula award and The Weight nominated for the Pushcart award are huge accomplishments. What steps did you take to have them recognized for their worth? What are the stories about, and can readers find them online?
Umm…I wrote them and sent them out to magazines in the hopes they’d be published. Both were. Success! Cymodoce is a love story between a woman and a merman that ends in sacrifice and loss. The core of the story is about understanding who we are and what we’re willing to sacrifice for another to find happiness. People can find it on Amazon until the end of June 2019. After that, it’ll be available online at parABnormal Magazine.
The Weight is also a love story but a different kind. It deals with self-love and self-forgiveness, and the extremes people will put themselves through – consciously and non-consciously – to change their past, right wrongs they committed against others, et cetera, all while seeking forgiveness from themselves.
Both can also be found in my Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires anthology.
Of course, you have written hundreds of short stories and many novels. Do you have a favorite among them? Give us a synopsis of the story.
A favorite. Not really, no. I mention in http://www.josephcarrabis.com/2018/02/07/joseph-carrabis-its-autobiography-i-swear/ that all my work is based on my own experiences and my training teaches me that I’m the sum of my experiences, so to have a single favorite is to deny how each other movement through time has brought the current “me” into being. I often reference life as “A Great Becoming”.
Example: There are sections of The Augmented Man, my next novel due out 25 July 2019 from Black Rose Writing, that brings me to tears. There are sections of Empty Sky, a novel in rewrite (people can find the current version at http://nlb.pub/EmptySky), that brings me to tears. On the surface, they’re quite different stories. But the stories behind those stories, the interior truth of those stories, my experiences that I draw on to write those stories? Quite the same.
What can we expect from you in 2019? Anything else you would like to add?
As mentioned above, The Augmented Man is due out mid-year. I’m going to keep writing and sending things out. I’ll send out the rewrite to Empty Sky when it’s done, hopefully get a publisher interested (it’s self-published and hugs and kisses to all my friends who bought a copy). I have three other novels through the first draft, waiting for rewrite/editing. Three or four others still in the first draft. I’m developing at least one sequel to The Augmented Man.
I should also explain about the rewrite of Empty Sky. When I self-published it three years ago, I thought it a worthwhile story and it was – at the time – probably the best version of the story I could write. Since that time I’ve studied quite a bit about writing, realized my weaknesses (some of them, anyway. New ones keep showing up) and am actively working to improve my craft. A result of this is knowing I can write Empty Sky better. The difference is between StoryTelling and StoryCrafting. My StoryTelling – do I have an interesting story to tell? – has always been good. My StoryCrafting – do I tell an interesting story? – has, in my opinion, improved greatly, hence the rewrite.
It has been a pleasure, Joseph! Please tell us where fans can find you online.
Website (some free, some sponsored content). My lastest post is http://www.josephcarrabis.com/2019/04/04/i-have-codes-and-i-know-how-to-use-them/