Welcome to the Joe Shumock website. Please permit me to tell you a little about myself. Have you ever heard someone say they would like to write a book? That may have been me. I started reading authors like Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark when I was twelve or thirteen years old. Entranced as I read, I thought, “I’d like to do that.”
So here we are.
Over a half century later, I started my first novel, A Letter to Die For.That effort was followed by The Lost Letter and Letter From the Dark, each in my Letter Series. I expect to continue the series until I run out of ideas. FYI – I already know the plots for the next four or five, and I have ideas for other stories outside the series.
Through the years after Hemingway and Ruark, I continually thought of writing, even constructing a few shorter pieces here and there. Several, including a short story entitled, A Cup of Coffee and a Shootout, favorably make their way among friends. Also during those intervening years, I read—a lot—and I still do. In retrospect, I realize a great deal of what I’ve learned about writing comes from my reading.
Also concerning the writing, I enjoy making location an important part of my stories. Most of A Letter to Die For took place in New Orleans where I lived for several years from the mid 1960s to the mid ‘70s. Either through travel or Google Earth, I expect to treat location as a sub-character in most of my books. A side note – I met and married my wife in New Orleans, and, with Kathy’s help, received a degree in Accounting from the University of New Orleans. Great city!
In early 2007, my wife of forty plus years was scheduled to be away from home for a few days. I decided to try and put some words in order and on paper. I was prepared to try and write if I could do that. If not, I was going to cease talking about it. When Kathy returned, I had written about 15,000 words on my first novel. In late 2011, and with much rewriting and revision, A Letter to Die For became my first novel to be published. In the book’s early stages, Kathy was my first reader and editor; she was tough, too. Though she didn’t see it in print, three weeks before her death in 2010, Kathy commanded me to “finish the book and get it published.” I did, and I know she would be proud of the results.
I love the writing and foresee doing this forever. With fiction, the page is blank until the writer tells his/her story. Then, depending on the narrative, it can take the reader wherever they may want to go. The time is unlimited, too—past, present or future.
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