Joseph Cognard

 Three Twigs for the Campfire

Joseph Cognard

Your daughter is your illustrator. Do you tell your daughter what to draw, or does she come up with her own ideas based on the story?

Gabriella came up with the images herself. I gave her very little feedback except with one character. I asked for the dragon to be fluffy and some other details about him.

What is your creative writing process?

I often write at night, after wife and kids have gone to sleep. I will often write till basically pass out. Near the end of the writing sessions I often will not remember what I wrote. Reading it the next day can sometimes be a little scary and not just due to the grammar.

Do you write every day and if so how many hours do you write?

I don’t write every day, but I will work on the story every day. Putting it together, thinking about the scenes and the characters’ interactions.

I read on Goodreads that you have several endings in mind when you write, how do you decide which one to use?

Not really endings but even middle of the books, I like to let the characters have choices. The book will often change from them. There is one book I am finishing now that is going to end with a big decision by the main character Janie. She will either choose to do the right thing or the wrong thing, she has yet to make up her mind and it is driving me crazy.

What made you pick this genre over other genres?

I haven’t really picked a genre yet. I have written four works (Three Twigs – a middlgrea picture book, Cemetery Girl – A YA Paranormal – novel, Reignng – A YA Sci Fi Novel, and Written for You – An adult Dark comedic Play.

Who are your influences?

Authors that influence me are Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams and Piers Anthony. But I am also a huge fan of music, especially lyrics and love Elvis Costello, Louis Jordan and especially Bob Dylan. I would say Dylan is my biggest influence. The thing about Dylan that I love the most is he studys the other side of the argument. He makes sure he understands what the people who might not agree with him are thinking, what there rationale is. That usually is overloocked.

My son and I both read “Three Twigs for the Campfire” How long did it take you to write this
book?

Probably about 6 months to write, but then friends and wife edited and that took a while.

Do any of the characters in your books reflect someone you know? If so, what was their
reaction?

My play is about a guy in the accounting department of a publisher who writes a campfire book. Having actually worked in a finance department of a publisher and written a campfire book, I would have to say no accountants get paid way more.

Will your daughter continue to be your illustrator?

I have sequels planned for both Cemetery Girl and Three Twigs. In Three Twigs there is a teacher mentioned, guess who is in her class in the next story.

What is your favorite part of writing? Is it the characters, the story, the dialogue, the creative, etc.?

I love writing dialogue. Which is kind of weird because I am a pretty quiet guy. You know with writing you have more time to respond then in a normal conversation. I think I need that time.

When not writing what do you do for fun?

Spend time with family. We play a lot of badmitton. Though Gabby our oldest is now away in college, Marisa still runs me all over the court. We also enjoy bike riding, and I love golf. I do not get to play a lot but love it.

The Book Thief is my favorite book. Do you have a favorite book(s)?

Hithikers Guide to Galaxy series, Confedarcy of Dunces and many Vonnegut’s works. Also a big fan of Outlaws of the Marsh, which is one of the first Chinese works. Got into from a video game when I was a kid, but the book is great.

What did the self-publishing process entail?

A lot of work, a lot of failure, and meeting some really nice people along the way especially on Goodreads.

Are you currently working on another book?

I am working on four. A thriller(similar in genre to “The Girl on the Train”, you know just to add my multiple genre condition. Sequels to Cemtery Girl and Three Twigs, and a novel I was working on with one of my best friends who passed from Cancer.

How long have you been writing and has writing always been your passion?

I always loved stories and tales. I do not love writing, but I love the creation process. The writing part is really hard for me and I am the first to admit that English is second language at best.