Monday, September 16, 2013

Interview: Joe Filippone

Hello and welcome to my jaded Eden.  I don't know about you, but here, the summer is over. The temperatures are beginning to cool down, and this is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a book on the couch. In fact, I have the pleasure to host today a prolific and eclectic author. So don't hesitate, you'll surely find a genre that you'll enjoy. Please welcome Mister Joe Filippone.

The morning, you are tea or coffee?

Coffee most definitely. I never drank coffee, or smoked ironically enough, until I moved out here to Hollywood and started working on set. Those five AM calls, twelve hour days and night shoots, will really make you addicted to coffee. And I actually really like the taste of it. Sometimes I'll have an afternoon or evening coffee too. But I love tea as well. It's fun to try all the different flavors that Celestial Seasons puts out and when I'm sick I always have some sleepy time and wellness tea around plus some tension tamer for stress relieve.


What kind of books do you write?

I primarily write erotica; gay, straight, bi, lesbian, BDSM, historical, erotic horror. I want to write some trans erotica because I don't think there's enough out there and I recently found a publisher who publishes incest erotica, I may try that just to see if I like it or if it sells good. I also have a horror novel out and a young adult novel. I've also written a couple children's books which I'm shopping around to literary agents.


Why did you choose this genre?

I didn't. It seemed to choose me. Growing up I had always been interested in sex and the human body. I actually wrote my first erotic story when I was in sixth grade, my mother wasn't too happy when she read it, anyway, when I was in college I wrote poems and plays and everyone said that my characters had a lot of sexual tension and there was erotic undertones, and homoerotic undertones in my writing. I didn't even know I was doing that! A couple friends suggested I look into erotica. I did and started getting published and a fan base. But growing up I always wanted to write children's and young adult novels and horror. I wanted to be the next Stephen King, could probably still be if I focus more on the horror ideas I have.


When you write, are you keyboard or paper?

I'm trying to use the keyboard more to save time but when I use my laptop I have the bad habit of getting distracted and checking my email, Facebook or surfing the web. I like writing on paper because I can take my notebook anywhere. I live by Griffith Park in Hollywood so I go there a lot and write. Sometimes I go to Hollywood and Highland, a big tourist spot, watch the tourists and get inspiration from them.


Are you more motivated to write when the sun shines or when the weather is gray?

When the weather is gray. I love LA when it rains and is cloudy. It feels like such creative weather. Right now when it's sunny I wanna go out and go to the beach or to Universal Studios. Plus, during the summer when LA has our heat waves it's hard to write steamy sex scenes.


Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere. From experiences I've had, from people I see on the street, photos I see, conversations I overhear, sometimes even something from a movie or TV show I watch or a song I listen to will inspire me. I also have profiles on a lot of dating and hookup sites-don't tell my husband-and regularly look at the pictures on there to see if anyone would make an interesting character in one of my books. Plus I use a lot of my own fantasies and being in show business, I've found that more and more of my characters and books take place in the business. Maybe I'll invent showbiz erotica and become famous that way.


When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head, or is it built progressively?

Depends. Sometimes I know how it will end. Sometimes I just know the ending. Sometimes I don't know anything and just have a character and I'll see where that takes me. I wish I could do outlines like some writers but that feels to limiting to me so I just let the story and characters take me where they want. Sometimes I've gotten mad at my characters because they've done something I didn't know they were going to do and totally changed how I wanted the story to be.


How do you feel before the release of a book? Fear, joy? And after?

I always feel a little nervous. It's like when a movie I'm in gets released or I'm going to be on TV. I always wonder if people will like it. If it will be at the level people expect from me. If it will bring people joy. Afterwards I kind of move on to the next project. I occasionally check to see what people are saying about it but I try not to stress about past projects. I just try to grow as a writer with each book and keep making my work get better and better.


Between your first and last novel, do you feel a change? Do you write differently?

I think I've gotten stronger as a writer since my first novel. I wrote it when I was about seventeen, but it didn't get published until two years ago so when you read it, it is definitely written and has the feel of a younger writer and someone who maybe doesn't know exactly what they're doing. I feel that I've gotten better with showing instead of telling and with dialogue and making each character distinct but I know I still have a long way to go before I can call myself an author or even a good writer.


They say that writers project themselves into the skin and into the head of his hero / heroine, is that the case for you?

Yes. There is a part of me in every character I write. I feel for my characters. I go through what they go through. When I finish a book, I feel sad because it's like I've lost friends. If I kill a character off I get sad and mourn a little. I think, especially with main characters, writers have to put most of themselves into them so they are likable and relatable. If we don't know our characters and can't relate to them as writers how can we expect readers to?


You define yourself more like a bookworm, a city mouse or a country mouse?

A little of all three of them. I do love to read so I am a bookworm, I love living in a big city like LA and love all big cities but I ultimately want to buy a little cabin in the woods down in The Inland Empire.


Molière said: “Writing is like prostitution. First we write for the love of it, then for a few friends, and in the end for money.” What do you think about it?

I think that's true. Writing and acting is the only way I make a living so I definitely am doing both of them for the money but I still do them for the love. If I ever got to the point where I wasn't doing it for the love and just doing it for the money I would retire. I never really wrote for friends or just to give my work to friends though. So I went from the love of it to the money. Just cut out the middle man.


Your books have already been translated?

Not that I know of. I do have a publisher in the UK who has published some short stories of mine though and I've gotten fan mail from London for writing. Apparently there's a small group of people in Bulgaria who are fans of my acting work so I'm big there haha.


Do you pay attention to literary criticism?

If it's constructive and not malicious.


The days are 25 hours. You spend that extra hour in the garden or in the kitchen?

In the garden. I love being outdoors.


What is the book you would bring with you on a deserted island?

Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews.


In the evening, do you turn off the light directly or do you take the time to read?

Depends on what I've been doing, what time I get in and how early I have to be up the next morning.
Slave's Awakening Excerpt:
The gentle ocean breeze caressed Slave’s skin as she stepped out of the long limousine. Looking up at the clear purple black sky she sighed. So much was happening in the world, too much it seemed. Even though it had happened nearly two years ago people were still rocked by the disastrous Hindenburg tragedy. It had just been reported that Hitler had escaped a bomb blast in beer hall in Munich and she had read in the paper that Polish Jews had just been ordered to wear Star Of David armbands. Slave shuddered. She couldn’t imagine what the people overseas were going through. Thank God there were people like Salka Viertel who were aiding the escape of the Jews and employing them in the studios, but of course like many things in Hollywood that was a closely guarded secret. It seemed that the only happy things going on in the world was the much anticipated debut of Greer Garson and the premiers of The Wizard Of Oz and Gone With The Wind. With a sigh, Slave walked along the walkway to the massive, heavy front door and opened it.
Slave’s heart was pounding as she stepped into the archaic Victorian manor. Soft, slow violin music completely surrounded her, caressing her body like a lover, causing her head to slowly roll from side to side. She looked around the grand foyer but she couldn’t place where the music was coming from. It seemed to be—everywhere. She wondered if there were live musicians in the house or if the music was coming from an old phonograph. The only light came from innumerable candles. Their flickering orange flames created dozens of dancing shadows, voyeuristically watching her every move. There was no one else around. She was alone but she could sense hundreds of others; almost as if they were ghosts.

Twitter: @JoeFilippone
Facebook: Joe Friend Filippone

1 comment:

  1. - Hi Jade. I don't read your interviews very often. Is it just because of not taking the time (to rushed which is not a logical excuse) or too lazy? Right now I'm at a café with my Netbook. My laptop is at home and appears to be sick - can't reach Internet. It's strange how I tend to look at different things in a café than I will at home - proof of the atmosphere making a difference. I enjoyed reading this interview. It also struck me how I don't feel that I am doing myself justice in pursuing an art that I was into at one time. Two years ago, it stopped after a move from one city to another. Too much interruption, maybe. When it comes to exiting the apartment, me and my husband do almost everything together so I have to be available when it comes time to going to the market or getting groceries. Feels like having to pay attention to two schedules. We’re both retired from formal employment.
    Certain things are mentioned in Mr. Filippone’s answers which attract me towards the art. It’s interesting when people bring out points that the author him/herself doesn’t recognize – naturally enough, because psychology, in itself, is more than skin surface. I think I realized what was happening to me once I changed my name to allow myself to become as free as an uncaged bird. He mentions undertones in writing but also there is the mention of trans erotica, incest, horror (for me, erotic horror). I thought that maybe I was brought to the point of psychological necessity which was the reason of not being inclined to write but it could have been more to do with priority – a couple of Facebook sons who were in need of intense friendship in order to get their lives in some kind of shape to be able to go on to significant change for a progressive future, hopefully. Things are manageable now, so it seems, so my desire to explore other writers’ style and make comparison might still be in my future.