A Bookish Conversation with ‘When the Sky Falls’ Joseph Bendoski @JBendoski #blogtour
Thriller. Espionage. Conspiracy. This book would make a great movie! I am thrilled to have as my guest today, Joe Bendoski, author of When the Sky Falls. Joe studied psychology in college and was fascinated by all the insights it provided into human behavior, only to realize most the information never reach people, and when it did, rarely was it in a form that allowed for practical application. He started writing non-fiction, but soon came to understand how few people read that genre and began the difficult transition into fiction writing. His non-fiction works include; the Chemistry of Attraction and the Language of Emotion. He worked as the head writer for the television show ‘Saved by Grace.’ After being frustrated with comments like “make this scene cheaper,” “What’s my motivation?”, and “Do we need this scene?” he decided to go in to literature.
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About the Book:
Title: WHEN THE SKY FALLS
Author: Joseph Bendoski
“What makes you believe a lie? I’m not asking how you know someone is lying. What makes you believe? Because if you don’t understand how that works, then you won’t know when you’re being manipulated.”
In 1938 the War of the Worlds hoax panicked millions of Americans, then in 1988 another fictional media broadcast convinced nearly half of Portugal that sea monsters had risen from the ocean to destroy their cities. A team of CIA agents was sent to study the aftermath of this 6th Skyfall Event in the hope that they could turn it into a weapon of war. When the team consultant turns up dead, everyone scrambles to be the last man standing: the one who will decide if or when the sky falls.
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Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Joe! Can you tell us where you are from?
I from Utah, a small midwestern state in the U.S.
Q: How did you come up with your title?
Originally it was “A Sky Fall Event” I wanted it be a little tongue in cheek reference to the story of Chicken Little, who told everyone “the sky is falling.” After talking with my writers group, and friends it slowly evolved. Honestly, I regret it a little bit because most people think it’s post-apocalyptic and that’s a sci-fi genre, which means they think all my science is fiction, not real science.
Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
The cover is a complicated story. I got exactly what I wanted, after several attempts. First, I hired an illustrator because I love the look of illustrated covers, but it was very costly and in the end I didn’t love it. So, I went with 99 designs. I don’t know a lot about my designer, but she lives in France. She created the cover almost exactly as I imagined it, but the problem is that I imagined it wrong. It plays into the problem of people thinking it’s a post-apocalyptic story. I’ve had a new cover done again. It’s not as incredible as my original designer’s work, but it communicates the genre better. I’ll run some tests on it to see if I can get a better RoI, we’ll see. Covers and complicated and important.
Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?
It’s real. I’ve heard many times that it reads like science fiction, but it’s not. These events actually happened, and the psychology behind the is also very real. If I’ve done my job right, you’ll never see the world the same again.
Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
I don’t think so, I’m not subtle about the messages in the book. It’s clearly about media persuasion and media literacy, and how a lack of understanding can lead to mass manipulation.
Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?
The Magicians Lie, I write about ideas above all. I think it’s the real weakness of my writing. I focus on them too much and in that chapter I didn’t hold back. That’s where I deliver on my promise to finally put it all together and show the reader how these events of mass hysteria can occur.
Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
I love books and stories that give you real science and history in them. Books that change the way you think about things and see the world. I also feel they are just too few. I don’t think I even stumble across such books once a year. So, I decided that I would write them, for people like me. People who loves stories, and fiction, but also want more. It’s great to walk away from a book thinking that was an ‘awesome story.’ What I love is having to put a book down while I’m reading and just think about the ideas I’ve read, ponder them.
Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?
I love RPG video games. I love them so much that only get to install them on my computer for 2 days out of the month, when all my work is done.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Germany. I’ve been kicking around an idea for a book for some time and I feel like I need to see parts of Germany to really get a feel for the setting there before I dive into the book.
Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?
Morning. Honestly, I like to get up around 4:00 a.m. On the flip side I don’t sleep at night without a sleeping pill. My whole family suffers from insomnia, and I’m no different. It’s not like I’m not tired, I just can’t sleep. I spent years battling it, trying different techniques and creating elaborate bed time routines. In the end, chemically induced sleep has worked best. It changed my life.
Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?
My brother, Eli, but he’s not very serious about it.
Q: As a child, were you a dreamer? A day dreamer?
Not really, but I’ve always been very goal oriented. I set it and chase it with everything I’ve got.
Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?
I wish I could listen to two audio books at the same time while reading a physical book and have complete comprehension of all three. The real motivation behind it is I love to learn, and always want to be able to learn fast.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?
I know makes me love a book, but what makes people recommend it? I’ve noticed there’s a separation between the two. Something about certain genres that no matter how much people love them, they don’t tell their friends. I’d like to understand that.