BookView Interview with Author Josiah Jay Starr

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we talked with Josiah Jay Starr, author of War Of The Heart: An Achim Jeffers Novel (read the review here), a thrilling, fast-paced romance thriller.

Josiah J. Starr established Spirit of 1811 Publishing in 2019 in order to promote an agenda of empowerment within the Black Community through black owned and controlled media. He is a staunch proponent of black ownership and economic empowerment. Born to a military family in Erlangon Germany, Josiah was well traveled as a young child before ultimately settling down in the small town of Homer, Louisiana. Upon graduating High School, Josiah earned an athletic scholarship and attended Southern University in Shreveport for two years. After moving to Baton Rouge, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southern A&M University. After college, Josiah served in the United States Coast Guard as a Commissioned Officer. In the Coast Guard stationed aboard several USCG cutters and served in Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraqi during Operation Enduring Freedom.

After his military service Josiah decided to continue to follow his passion for traveling the world’s oceans and earned his Merchant Mariner’s license. He currently operates vessels in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Pacific Ocean, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Josiah is the husband to the lovely Brittani Starr and the father of his young son Azariah J. Starr. Josiah is the son of John Henry and Naomi Starr and the brother of Johnnie, Marcus, Jeremiah and Jedidiah Starr.

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How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Oh boy…. I have at least four different books that are half finished and saved someplace on a thumb drive. One day I may revisit them, but there is a reason they are half finished and not published. Usually, there was a problem or a hole in the storyline that I wasn’t comfortable with, so I moved on and started from scratch. That said, those experiences/difficulties taught me lessons and were valuable in of themselves.

What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success for me will be when Spirit of 1811 Publishing becomes a powerful platform for the Black Community to forward our unique narrative, outside of the filter of the mainstream media. There aren’t many avenues for the Black Community to communicate amongst ourselves and independently develop our own value system. Being able to offer that service to my people would be my definition of success.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I use all kinds of things to make up names for characters. Sometimes I use books on my bookshelf. I simply steal the last or first name of an author or editor and go with it from there. Oftentimes, I will watch sports highlights and steal a player’s name. There are a few times when I have even scrolled through my Facebook friends and found a name that inspires and interests me.

Is writers block real?

Yes. Writers block is a real thing. I have experienced it from time to time. Usually, if I just keep pounding away for about 30-40 minutes, the inspiration and vision comes. Some days its really bad and its best for me to get up, walk out the door and take a walk around the block. Writers block comes and goes, just like the moment of extremely inspired writing comes and goes. The trick is to learn how to manipulate both moments in order to meet your goal.  

What is your favorite book?

That’s easy. My favorite book is the Bible. It is awesome to read. As you get older, you are able to pull more out of it and challenge yourself spiritually. Aside from the Bible, my favorite books would be anything written by Dr. Claud Anderson or Neely Fuller Jr.

What’s more important: Characters or Plot?

Both are important, but a gripping character can salvage a horrible plot any day of the week. I’m a firm believer that the reading audience must identify with the characters. In certain genres, plots tend to get extremely repetitive, but powerful characters within those genres tend to make the difference between a boring novel or a page turner.

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