Find out more about author Joanna Lee Doster and her book Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit.
“Whether consciously or subconsciously writers are the voyeurs of other peoples’ lives and their characters are composites of the writers’ own alter-egos, or of people they know or have observed. All this goes through the mixmaster of the author’s imagination and voilà, out comes the developed characters.” - Joanna Lee Doster
Joanna has been featured as a guest in fellow author Kenneth Hoss’s blog.
Below, here is Ken’s interview with Joanna in it’s entirety. Feel free to leave a comment.
Guest Author Interviews
by Kenneth Hoss
My guest this week is the Joanna Doster, author of Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit. Welcome, Joanna.
Where do you call home?
I make my home in New York (USA).
What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 words or less, what would you say?
My most recently published book is Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit. It is an action-packed stock car racing thriller.
I’ve downloaded it and have added it to my reading list. I’m looking forward to it.
If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
The hero, Sean Devlin, a twenty-three old racing driver, would tell you he has decided to live his life according to his own rules now, since trying to conquer the world by winning championships and trophies just to overcompensate for a terrible childhood stutter, has proven to be hollow. He follows his mother’s advice, “You have no competition if you believe you are number one.”
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I am currently writing the second book out of a planned trilogy in the Maximum Speed series.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have always been drawn to telling stories for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I have interviewed scores of people, both famous and not so famous. I have put together ideas for books, screenplays and television series. I write about whatever moves me. When stories gel in my mind, they tend to play out in their entirety. That’s when the characters in my head become overcrowded and make me put pen to paper so to speak.
What or who inspired you to write?
My beloved father (recently deceased) and my brother have written many books so I guess it’s in my genes, although we all have written in different genres. In 1939, my father was hired by Warner Brothers to provide them with research about the iconic Mexican revolutionary, Benito Juarez, for their movie “Juarez” starring the actor Paul Muni. My father, although a history professor at New York University- New York City for over forty years, was also a specialist on Latin American history. In addition, he was an avid movie goer, television watcher and history book writer and a voracious mystery book reader. He had a great influence on my brother and me.
When you start to write a new novel, what is the process for you? Do you have the story worked out, or do you just kind of wing it as you go?
I first get a clear vision of the characters and then they tell me where they want to go. In the case of Maximum Speed, the characters were percolating in my thoughts and dreams. Now I’m an avid fan of motorsports, so it was interesting how this cast of characters came together in an exciting backdrop of the auto-racing world.
When you write, do you write from beginning, the middle, or the end first?
As I mentioned before, the whole story tends to play itself out in my mind from beginning to end. To help organize my thoughts, I first develop a timeline and then thread the story together from the beginning, and let it unfold as it did in my mind. With Maximum Speed, I played with the chronology of the story to enhance the dramatic effect and create tension.
Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
Of course! Whether consciously or subconsciously writers are the voyeurs of other peoples’ lives and their characters are composites of the writers’ own alter-egos, or of people they know or have observed. All this goes through the mixmaster of the author’s imagination and voilà, out comes the developed characters.
What books have influenced your writing most and why?
For me it’s a lot of mysteries! So, it’s no surprise that I read everything I can about my favorite authors, including the biographies of Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock. I also enjoy the books of: Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Elizabeth George, Wilkie Collins, Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, Ian Fleming, John le Carré, and etc.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Many, so forgive me; I can’t limit myself to a single author. I would have liked to have met and talked to: Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, Stieg Larsson, Mary Shelley etc.
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I read books in all formats, but if given a choice, I still prefer the paperback or hardcover.
Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
For the Maximum Speed (series), yes, I am an Indie Author.
Have you ever read a book more than once?
I find that I enjoy re-reading the classics.
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
That’s a tough one to answer. Perhaps the (1991) movie “The Prince of Tides” with Nick Nolte. I think they did an excellent adaptation from the novel by Pat Conroy.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (electronic/paperback/hardcover)?
I’m reading the paperback edition of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson.
Are there any new Authors that have grabbed your interest?
There is such a wonderful talent pool of indie authors that I have come to know personally as well as by their writing. Many of these authors are up-and-comers while some have enjoyed becoming best-selling authors. I have read many of their books. They all deserve our support and attention.
Is there anything you would change in your last book, and if so, why?
Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit is the first of a three-part series. If I had to do it again, I would have added the beginning of my second book as sort of a preview.
Who designed the cover of your book?
A brilliant designer, Ms. Haesook Han.
Do you have a book trailer? What are your thoughts on book trailers?
No, I don’t currently have a book trailer for Maximum Speed. However, I would recommend that indie authors consider book trailers as a useful marketing tool.
What is the best advice that you can give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing and perfecting your style and inner voice.
What is the best advice you ever received when it comes to writing?
Someone once said “Let it flow and then edit after.” I tend to be a perfectionist and found myself getting bogged down with rewriting.
Where can your readers follow you?
My facebook page:
Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joanna-Lee-Doster-Author/180302338723812
Book Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maximum-Speed-Pushing-The-Limit/229948400351682
My Goodreads author page:
Barnes and Noble:
Print, ebook or both?
Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit is available in all formats- including hardcover, paperback, ebook.
(Paperback Edition) http://www.amazon.com/Maximum-Speed-Joanna-Lee-Doster/dp/1450293980
(Kindle Edition) http://www.amazon.com/Maximum-Speed-Pushing-Limit-ebook/dp/B0056ISNPA/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/185-4070623-5404137?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
(Nook Edition) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/maximum-speed-joanna-lee-doster/1102386435
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and allowing my readers a glimpse into your writing world. I hope you share this interview with your friends. Ken
Thank you for having me as your guest.
I have been just featured as a guest author on Ashley Fontainne’s blog. Please visit and learn more about me and also about my book Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit.
When the going gets tough, one family in particular pulls together to find out who is behind a deadly plot to keep them out of them of the most important race of the year. In Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit, the Devlin family and the Devlin Motor Sports racing team find themselves caught up in a web of danger.
The recurring theme throughout my book is that the family who stays together and rallies for one another is a force to be reckoned with, and that impenetrable force can withstand any outside danger. Ace Devlin, the powerful patriarch of the Devlin family, is the glue that has kept his family safe and protected for many years, instilling in his children from an early age valuable life lessons; helping them to become strong individuals, while also imbuing them with love and encouragement.
There are several life lessons we can learn from Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit:
- A family that stays together and rallies for one another is a force to be reckoned with, and that impenetrable force can withstand any outside danger.
- Strong father figures can help instill valuable life lessons and help his children become strong individuals.
- Strong families imbue love and encouragement, which begets the same.
When the chips are down, the Devlins automatically help one another and stick together. We should all take lessons from them. Want to read more about the Devlins? Pick up your copy of the book here.
It’s very hard to develop a thick skin and slough off negative and damaging things that are said or written about you. It’s especially hard to shield yourself when you’re the target of constant criticism like Sean Devlin, the hero in my book. What do you do? First off how do you redirect your anger and feelings of revenge?
This has always been a tough one for me. I remember hearing,” The whole world doesn’t have to love you.” Some people are born with a tough interior and healthy ego and can laugh off negative things said or written about them. Their reasoning is,” What’s wrong with the person making the accusations?” In Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit Sean and Avery Devlin triumph by reprogramming their painful past and rechanneling their energies into positive experiences. Sean focuses on becoming a champion stock car racer and trains himself to block out negative outside distractions.
After all, “The Whole World Doesn’t Have to Love You.” Here are a few exercises you can try when negative things affect you. Let your anger come out. Curse and rage back but do not respond in writing or via the phone. Engaging in and behaving on the same level will only inflame the situation and ignite it. Try and take deep breaths and think of all the positive things in your life. Hug a loved one or pet.
You’ll see that by behaving on the same level as the person who launched the attacks will not net you anything. Ask yourself were their actions justified? Did you do something to provoke it? And then if the answer is no try and think why would someone want to rebuke you in such a ferocious way? What’s wrong with them? What set them off and made you the repository of their hatred and anger? You might have to seek legal counsel for slander and or libel, or take other actions. I have often heard the Irish saying,”Don’t get angry get even.” As Ace Devlin in my book says to Sean, “Son, don’t go off without a plan of action.” You must be prepared and not let your emotions lead you.
How do champion racers in NASCAR control their anger when a competitor might not have acted in a professional way? Today the drivers are much more disciplined and try and rein in their anger. Sure they swear, slam and bang into each other and even have fights on pit road, but by and large they behave better than their colleagues did back in the day.
In 1979 at the Daytona 500, Donnie Allison and Cal Yarborough were having a spectacular argument on the track that was more akin to a demolition derby than a car race. They were ramming and crashing into each other relentlessly. When the cars were wrecked, Donnie’s brother Bobby Allison joined in on a good old-fashion fist-fight with Cale Yarborough right on the track. Richard Petty won the race, but at that moment, fans were watching the fight.
In my book Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit, Dakota Philips deliberately goes to the inside lane and sideswipes Sean Devlin to get ahead of him. Sean, a determined racer, charges after Dakota to take her down. But, he listens to his crew chief who calms him down and doesn’t retaliate until a little while later. After a necessary pit stop, he waits until the time is right and makes a strategic move by coolly avoiding another swipe from Dakota to find himself at the head of the pack.
How does the saying go? “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” It is always better to “chill-out” first and then after some careful reflection decide on a new plan of action.
I couldn’t help getting emotional watching NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon achieve his 58th career win in a gripping race-to-the-finish at Richmond. It was truly a team effort; a combination of events that gave J.G. every advantage to do what he was born to do. Race and race hard and fast. Like Richard Petty and David Pearson before him, Jeff Gordon earned his place as one of the winningest drivers in NASCAR history
As a fan of stock car racing, it wasn’t long before I came to recognize what it takes to be a champion racer. In my racetrack thriller, Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit, I mention how it takes a combination of many things like: a laser sharp focus, tenacity, first class professionalism, adaptability in an instant, the ability to race under different track conditions, Olympian strength, great athleticism, and to be as knowledgeable as a mechanic.
I know that sometimes showing grace under pressure is hard to do, especially when racing back in the pack fighting for position. But, a champion must show grace under pressure. Right. This is car racing! There is going to be fender-bending, helmet-tossing and a few bleeped words. Fans eat that up! In the fight for the lead, the standard of a champion racer is to be number one and nothing less.
Congratulations to Jeff Gordon and the 24 team for an outstanding effort!
A good book to read can be hard to find. But when you find one that’s endearing, you know its worth sharing. I think that’s why Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit received a 5-star rating at Diesel, an online e-books store.
In my book someone’s out to destroy the Devlin Motor Sports racing team, whose stock car racing roots span three generations. A top DMS driver, Jimmy Stanton, is brutally kidnapped. When sexy 23-year-old Sean Chase Devlin tries to intervene, he’s tasered senseless. Two days later, Sean, a champion driver in his own right, barely survives a suspicious accident and a bone-crushing crash on the speedway.
The reviewer said, “if you like stories of underdogs overcoming obstacles, this [book] is a good one to read.”
Other people have similar comments too. Check out What They Are Saying, a new page added to my blog.
As far back as the ancient Greeks in history, there were epic stories about heroes either mythic or real. People worshipped heroes since they were the symbols of what mortals could attain by pushing the limit of what was possible. Courage, selflessness, and honor were the main characteristics of heroes whether they were good or evil. We looked up to them and were inspired by their extraordinary bravery and strength, making great sacrifices and overcoming great odds to go beyond the mortal scope.
The need to revere certain people either for their deeds or their courage in the face of adversity is universal. Remember the biblical story of David and Goliath? We always root for the good guy in movies or books. Good versus evil has been a running theme since the beginning of time.
Children have heroes or role models that they try to emulate. I remember wanting to be a champion ice-skater or a prima ballerina like the stars of the day. My brother wanted to be a famous drummer like Ringo Starr of the Beatles.
In Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit, our young hero Sean Devlin, the champion stock car racer, talks about one of his childhood auto racing heroes. He was an admirer of the great Carl Zimmer, a long-time champion racer with Villereal/Clayton Racing. Who would have guessed that due to Zimmer’s positive influence, one day Sean would soon become a champion driver himself and one of Zimmer’s most challenging competitors on the race track? Zimmer’s positive influence had a great impact on a boy and perhaps taught him to become a hero himself as a man.
Exceptional people inspire people to do exceptional things. That is why we will always need heroes. They create great role models and help to broaden people’s horizons by pushing them to go far beyond their safety net to achieve remarkable things.
I learned a long time ago that good friends, co-workers and even loved ones can betray you in an instant if they think that their actions are justified. What is in their nature or soul that allows them to detach emotionally and behave in reprehensible ways?
In my book Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit, Dakota Philips does whatever she feels like to propel her racing career. With her blind ambition she sacrifices love, friendships, and even double-crosses her racing teammates to “win at all costs.” Some people are born that way. Others become misguided from conditions in their childhood. But, whatever the case, “winning at all costs” usually backfires.
People do unexpected things and behave in horrible ways to follow some twisted fantasy or goal.
(Photo provided by the Associated Press)
I remember a story about a woman who told her best friend about a new job that she had just gotten. The woman was so relieved that the new job was to begin shortly, since she had been out of work a long time after her previous company had closed overnight. So of course she couldn’t wait to tell her best friend the good news. In her excitement, she blurted out all of the details: like who had interviewed her and who had hired her. This was her best friend who she had always trusted. After all, she already had a great job elsewhere and was on a fast track to success, about to get another promotion.
Well this was on a Friday. On Monday, the woman got a call from the person who had interviewed her telling her that her best friend had stolen the new job away from her by convincing the top boss that she was much more qualified for the job than the woman.
The poor woman was jobless again and emotionally devastated that her best friend had could backstab her by stealing her new job away, especially after knowing how much she needed it. The best friend called and asked, “You’re not angry with me are you? I was more qualified for the job than you.” Shocked and heartbroken over what her best friend had done, needless to say, from that moment on, they were no longer best friends.
Well, the woman later had a small consolation over her friend’s misdeed. It turned out that the job was a temporary one and the best friend was soon out of work too, and had to start over
So what drove this friend to steal the job away from the woman? Perhaps ,it was plain jealousy or competiveness, or in her own twisted way, she felt that she had to prove to herself that she was the best person for the job? Whatever the reason, it was all illusory since she only found out about the job through the woman and not on her own. In this case a harsh life lesson to be learned: never divulge to friends, relatives or colleagues your future plans or potential jobs.
Should you mistrust everyone? No, but you must be cautious, vigilant and close-mouthed, especially in business. Know who your friends are and how they would react if you were to confide in them.
How did Sean Chase Devlin, the hero of my book Maximum Speed: Pushing The Limit, overcome his horrible childhood memories? Are his adult nighttime terrors and nightmares manifestations of his childhood struggles? How do any of us overcome our bad childhood memories?
I always remember my parents trying to soothe a terrified little girl’s nightmares (mine) with the words, “There, there now honey. Just think good thoughts.” Like that would chase away the goblins lurking under my bed. Speaking of goblins, my older brother would pull warped pranks on me whenever our parents would go out for the evening. One prank in particular still stands out the most: As I lay sleeping, he banged loudly on my bedroom window startling me awake and as I looked out into the dark a grotesque glow in the dark Frankenstein mask peered in at me and I ran off screaming and hiding under the bedcovers crying hysterically until our parents got home. Of course my brother would deny everything and just chalk it up to, “Oh, she had one of her nightmares.” Yeah, right!
Haven’t we all experienced scary dreams like falling off a cliff, being chased by evil people, not being able to find your way home? After a lifetime of stored memories good and bad just like a safety deposit box that is a repository of all of your important papers it starts to sag under the heavy weight of our subconscious and has to make room.
As adults we develop different coping mechanisms when dealing with frightening situations: like biting on my finger as the dentist is about to give me a shot of novocaine, or just as the nurse is about to take your blood you start thinking about your loved ones, favorite pet, swimming in the beautiful ocean and splashing about, etc. Maybe if more people shared their methods of dealing with their nightmares or past and present struggles, it would be helpful to all of us who have suffered and still do.
So, whatever works for you works!