Whenever someone asks a writer about the amount of work involved in writing a book, they are usually astonished at the answers they receive. Writing is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult tasks an individual will ever undertake, but it is also one of the most enjoyable. I am a firm believer that writers are born rather than made. I cannot imagine not being able to write. It is who I am. It is what I do.

            I run into people almost daily who tell me that they want to write a book. While I don’t wish to discourage anyone who wants to write, I feel compelled to give them an accurate picture of what the process involves. Nothing short of a driving need to write will allow you to complete a writing project. That is not to say that every writer can’t improve the talent that God has given him, but the point to consider is: do you have a ‘driving need’ to write. This is one condition that must exist if a writer hopes to complete any work of fiction. Some books take many years to complete, while others require little research and can be finished in a month or two. Brooding or daydreaming over writing projects doesn't count. The time required to complete a book is the actual time spent on a keyboard typing, revising, and deleting those things that just don’t fit into the story.

            People often ask me how I got started writing. I am one of those people who can remember far back into my childhood. One of my sisters taught me to read when I was three years old. She read the stories so many times that I soon had them memorized. I can still recall the tingling anticipation as her finger moved along the text and I visualized what was happening. I also remember the disappointment when so many stories did not follow the path I wanted them to follow. I remember one book in particular with the title of Sammy Jay. Sammy was a bird who lived in a happy world, until a thoughtless young man shot him. As soon as I learned to write, I crossed out the ending and scribbled a few words between the lines to create a satisfying ending. I soon did the same thing with some other stories that were less than satisfying. I had a need to bring order into a world that seemed to run amok. Bringing order into the universe is a small part of the making of a writer, and it is one of the parts that I like the best.

            Another thing that appeals to me is doing research. It is impossible to construct a work of fiction if you don’t do the proper amount of research. By the time I completed the eighth grade, I had read a complete set of World Book encyclopedias all the way through. I also read a lot of technical manuals, and many magazines like Mechanics Illustrated and Popular Science. I read them from cover to cover while I tried to ponder the mysteries enfolded within the pages.

            The really moving passages in any book are those where the author is familiar with the many details involved. To put it another way, an author must be the master of volumes of trivia that could not possibly interest anyone else. His greatest challenge is to arrange that trivia where it will make a scene come alive without boring the reader to death.

            Experience probably plays a close second to research, or maybe it is the other way around. Regardless of how detailed the research is, you cannot assemble the many fragments into a story without having experienced some of what you are writing about. A scene in which some psychopath is disposing of a body in a fog-shrouded bay is more vivid if you throw in a few sentences about the laboring engine, the motion of the boat, and the feel of the cold fog against bare skin.

            I was born in a medium sized town and lived in two large cities, even though most of my formative years were spent on a farm. I have ridden horses, driven farm machinery for countless miles, baled hay, picked cotton, cared for farm animals, plus the other endless task that were part of everyday life in that era. As an adult, I have worked several different jobs, mostly for a large corporation. I served as a pastor of one church and an interim pastor of two others. I have been an avid runner for many years, played a passing game of tennis, and rode my bicycle for endless miles. All of these things are the kind of experiences that gives a writer some knowledge of the real world. Regardless of the type of fiction a writer produces, it must ring true in the mind of the reader. All of this comes from who we are as a writer, or perhaps I should say, who we would like to be.

            I write the kind of books I like to read. The Renegade is a work of fiction based on several true incidents of the 1860s and ‘70s. Dead Certain is a psychological suspense novel. Abraham’s Bones is the first book in a three book series about the conflict in the Middle East. I am currently working on the third book in the series. Innocent is a police procedural story set in a small town. The sequel is Gone In A Minute, a story about abduction. Eric Hated Being Dead, is a whimsical novella about the problems that continue to torment Eric after death. You will also find a volume of short stories on the main page of this website that runs the gamut from horror to the mundane.

            At the present time I am working on the last book in the Abraham’s Bones series, plus plodding along with another story which is my first attempt at romance. To say that I am having the time of my life would be putting it mildly. I believe there is no higher calling than the privilege of being able to entertain and bring pleasure into the lives of the people I touch. I hope you enjoy reading what I have written. I would like to hear from you. My email address is:


joeprentiswebsite@yahoo.com