June 2021 – Here is another interview to bring to you. This time with a multi-talented author who is an amazing creator. Where did I meet him? I did meet him on Twitter, yes. He is a friend of writer JD Estrada and we started following each other. I wanted to know more about him, so I invited him for a chat (he also invited me for a chat on his podcast). I present to you my friend Joshua Pantalleresco.
I follow so many wonderful people on Twitter and Facebook. People who continue to inspire and motivate me, while working on their own projects and promotions. I’m curious who they are, where they grew up, and how they handle their writing and creative process and their everyday lives. I also want to know how they got to where they are.
My friend Joshua is Canadian, well, he was born in Canada since his mother is from there. His dad is from United States. At this moment, he has five publications of his authorship. He is a writer, poet, and podcaster. He is also a freelancer writer with a column at Firstcomicsnews.com.
His podcast, Just Joshing, where he brings us chats about his ideas and creations, and also plenty of interviews with more amazing people, has been nominated for the Aurora Award in 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2018, the podcast won the Aurora Award (Canada’s Science Fiction and Fantasy awards) for “Best Fan-Related Work,” and is a finalist this year, 2021, in the same category. The Aurora Awards are Canada’s annual English-language Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards. Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) members across Canada are the nominators and the voters. Nominees and winners must be Canadian, as are the members of CSFFA. A podcast is like a radio show available on the Internet, where you listen to the conductor talk or interview others.
His books The Watcher Saga -The Watcher (2013), Stormdancer (2015), and The Wandering God (2017), were published by Mirror World Publishing. His next books, The Cloud Diver (2020) and Alice Zero (2020), were self-published (Independent). The Cloud Diver is his first novel, the other publications are Gilgamesh style epic poem (referring to the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia).
To know more about Josh, here’s our conversation:
Hello, Joshua! My blog is Full of Coffee, so here’s the first question: I know you like coffee, tell me how do you like it?
- I started coffee when I worked for Tim Hortons. It was in Whitby, Ontario Canada, and off a highway. Famous WWE wrestlers came there. My first coffee was a two sugar coffee. Nowadays I like it all kinds of different ways. If I’m working, I’ll take coffee, and add peppermint to it. I discovered this when I worked two jobs. It actually makes coffee stronger. The smell can get a rise from a dead. When I’m not working, I like me my double doubles.
I have yet to try the peppermint in the coffee. I’m curious to taste that interesting mix. Where did you grow up?
- I kind of grew up everywhere. Primarily in Southwestern Ontario and Detroit. I lived in London, but also dabbled in Dorchester, Parkhill, and Windsor. My summers I’d spend with my grandmother in Detroit until I was a teenager. She’d spoil me rotten with pizza and burgers. My grandmother is an amazing person.
Your grandmother is certainly an amazing person. I know you are living in Canada now, how did you end up there?
- I was born here 😊. But I also lived in the United States. Both in Detroit (MI), Phoenix (AZ), and small towns like Snowflake and Show Low, Arizona. If I was to live in the states again, I’d probably go to San Diego, Hawaii or Florida. But I ended up living in Phoenix, because it was the last place I lived with my Dad. I was about to go back to Calgary when the opportunity to work with one of my heroes presented itself. It floored me and I went for it. I ended up in the states for two years because of it.
Wow! I didn’t know you are Canadian! And you have to come visit Florida someday. You should also visit Puerto Rico, I recommend it. Did your childhood influence your love for reading and your desire to become a writer?
- Reading was one of my greatest discoveries as a child. In kindergarten I remembered being able to read these instructions: “Make two bushes, draw one tree. Make four ducks, color them yellow”. When I could read it was as though my whole world opened up. I never saw the world the same way again. Although my discovery that I was a writer would happen later, in my childhood I would copy some of the stories I saw on WWE or movies like Rocky 5. I was emulating stuff to write them.
When did you decide to give professional writing a try? And, did it affect your personal life?
- Seriously? Twice. At 25, which led to me working with my hero. And at 30, when I finally recovered from that experience. I’ve always been someone that chased my dreams and let them go wherever they may. I still am that way. Writing helped make me who I am, and has shaped my life.
Now, tell me about your first published book. How was that experience of getting a book published?
- It’s always surreal to see a book finished and in your hands. There’s a part of you that never quite believes it. My very first time I was ecstatic, because i had done it all myself. Indie publishing wasn’t as respected in 2006 as it is now. Looking back, I didn’t know what to do afterwards, but that first book was a milestone I’ll never forget.
- The second book almost happened by itself. I had been through a very rough couple of years and wanted to do it again. What would become The Watcher was the result of me wanting to do a longer poem. One chapter turned into a whole book and wrote itself out on its own. I hired an illustrator by the name of Florence Chan who I worked with at the same Kinkos back in the day. My plan was to self publish. One of the people I interviewed bought my book on Smashwords. They asked what I was going to do with my book, and it had modest plans. They offered to publish both books as they were about to become a publisher. So the second book proved to me that I was meant to do this. Also, I learned that magic can happen out of nowhere.
This is a true statement you point out: magic can happen out of nowhere. You have five published books, both traditionally and independent. And you have some collaborations. How did all these books come to be, from idea to publishing.
- So I just told the traditional story. My publisher was Mirror World and I’ve done three books all part of the same saga. For what came afterwards, let’s talk about where and why. After The Watcher saga concluded, I decided to go Independent. There were business decisions for it. I have a name for myself and I did it with my podcast, but also, I think authors need to dabble in everything from traditional to independent to crowdfunding. It’s about getting your name out there in as many places as possible that fit you authentically. That’s been my decision for my last two books and the next three coming out.
- Those were the business reasons. The Cloud Diver as an idea came from meeting with a sci-fi committee. I wrote this fun draft for a read on the fly and just went with the story. It turned out to be my first novel. As for Alice Zero, it came from a request from an editor named Colleen Anderson to write a Lewis Carroll story. I had no idea what to say until I went to a bar and met a girl with a gorgon tattoo. Somehow I figured that Medusa would fit in an Alice story (Alice in Wonderland), then lo and behold, I had this thought. What if Alice was Pandora and what would happen if she opened the box? A certain Cheshire friend would be in her head. It’s been a blast to write Alice like this.
You also write a blog and do video podcast, with many episodes per week! Tell me about the podcast process.
- My blog is more semi regular. My next one will be called one moment of kindness. I have been sending one minute audio messages to people about why I appreciate them. It’s been rewarding. People have seemed genuinely moved about what I do.
- As for the podcast, I’m streaming them on Twitch. So like everything else in my career, my podcast was the result of an accident. I have been interviewing people much like you are now. I had the opportunity to interview Robert J. Sawyer. I had just gotten a phone and had recorded the interview on it. Afterwards, when Rob and I left the conference room we interviewed in, someone asked Rob where he was and he answered “Oh, I just got interviewed by Josh for his podcast.” I didn’t have a podcast at the time and something clicked.
- It’s been an evolution ever since. I started with one a week, and then it evolved for two, then three, and now I’m doing four or five a week on stream. I made the decision to move to streaming (video) in November when I was a full-time freelancer. So I contact guests, set dates and then stream them. The reactions have been great so far. At this point I just talk to my guests. There’s no set formula with the interviews. I just talk and more importantly, I listen. That’s the whole of my secret. Once I stream, I take the recordings and ship them to both my YouTube channel and make an audio.
Well, in my opinion, your formula is brilliant and works wonderfully. You set up to have a conversation, not just an interview with a questions-answers format. The way you do it, conversation flows very natural and you make your guests be at ease. When you invited me to your podcast, I was so nervous! Then, once we started talking, we kept going like we were old friends. Any future plans you want to share with us?
- Stay tuned June 15th. More books, more podcasts, and an evolution. I want to take the podcast on the road. That’s my next goal. I think it’ll happen sooner than later. Stay tuned. Stay inspired.
Thank you, Joshua, for this great chat. What a fascinating story and what a great guy! To get to know more of Joshua, go visit his social media and follow him! Find him on Facebook Joshua Pantalleresco, Twitter or Instagram as @jpantalleresco. Also find him and subscribe to his YouTube channel, and of course, check out and subscribe to his podcast Just Joshing Podomatic.
And here is our video chat Ep 499 Just Joshing Nydia Raquel.
I hope everyone enjoys this interview as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I have a few more interviews to work on. It’s a great opportunity for me to meet all these incredible writers. I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep dreaming! Thank you for reading! Time for my tacita de café. Salud!
Para versión en español, vea Una tacita de café con el autor y presentador de podcast Joshua Pantalleresco