ABOUT JOE NIEHAUS
Joe Niehaus, a veteran police officer in Ohio, is the author of six books and numerous articles in police and martial arts magazines. He holds certificates in fraud examination and clinical and forensic hypnosis. A graduate of Tiffin University, he is an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Ashford University and Sinclair Community College.
ABOUT MARY SIKORA
Mary Sikora is a former daily news reporter, freelance writer, and editor. A University of Dayton graduate and Cincinnati native, she is the author of A Mississippi Family and Orphan’s Gift. Previously, she and Niehaus collaborated on Beware the Whale’s Wake and Hypnosis Unveiled.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I had been interested in writing and telling stories since I was very young. However, I did not truly know how to go about this and basically placed it on the back burner as a dream that probably will never be developed or accomplished. Then I started taking martial arts under Stephen K. Hayes, the man who brought Ninjutsu to the US. Stephen is, of course, also an author. So what inspired me was the love of the martial arts and medieval Japan along with the support and assistance from Stephen.
What books have influenced your life the most?
Well, that is certainly a complex question. The Bible is probably the book that has influenced me the most. But I don’t think you want to go there with the interview.
So, I will say my interest in reading was developed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes stories. From him I moved on to Rex Stout and Nero Wolf but mixed in there were the Jack London wilderness stories that revolved around wolves and dogs. But I would say the author who really got me going for as far as thinking about plotting and characters was James Clavell and is Asian saga. When I had read all of his I moved on to Clive Cussler who is the master at getting you to turn the next page.
What are your current projects?
Currently I am working on another mystery that has to deal with industrial espionage. But I am planning on a non-fiction book dealing with police defensive tactics a project that Stephen may assist with and who knows what next!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Shadow in the Reflection is a fun story – in that I have always liked Vikings and magic. Marty and I have spent a lot of time with the story and have tried to make it just a little different from your typical fantasy and sword and sorcery style book. If I had to change one thing I think I might add more from the modern day story that is there – basically when Hrothgar and Anya are in their modern day bodies. We didn’t do that as we thought it might take away too much from the medieval story – but since then I have thought of a few ways that it could have been done.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Oh, wow, I have many rejection letters that say a multitude of things. Probably the toughest criticism was given to me by an editor who was thinking of accepting my Investigative Forensic Hypnosis book. He had not accepted it yet and had someone review and begin to edit it. His letter to me basically said that the book had too many grammar and stylistic errors in it to be accepted. Now that hit hard as I could see if there were some problems with content and such but those are basics to writing.
Interesting ending to the story was I asked for the manuscript back since they weren’t going to accept it. He sent it back, shredded, but I could see all the blue markings on the shredded pages from their editor. I sent the manuscript out again (of course a new copy of it) and it was accepted by CRC Press.
What has been the best compliment?
Isn’t any compliment the best? No, seriously, probably the best came from another author who was reading my unpublished work and commented that my plotting and characters were very well done. I have heard that more than several times – so that must be my strong suit!
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up! The writing of a novel, non-fiction book, short story or article comes down to tenacity. The old saying that the only way to get better at writing is to do a lot of it is very true. But, I have met a lot of very talented writers who are not published because they gave up. It is not always the most talented who gets published – but the most tenacious.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Oh, that is difficult to say. I would guess that I am honest – I try to be a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. No hidden agendas or games or plots. I think that being truly who you are all the time is very important and not to put on airs about who you think you are. As I climbed through the ranks at the police department I always tried to remain who I was – but I did notice that many times the rank would change someone because they now thought they were better than someone else or something. I just think that no matter who you are or what you do – we are all people and we are all equal so just relax and be yourself!
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I am quite sure my ex-wife would be quick to say that I tend to over-react to things sometimes. Take things out of context or react without getting all of the facts. So, I guess we can go with that.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Yes, of course – pick up a copy of Shadow in the Reflection. Give Mary and me the chance to take you away to a time of wizards and warriors where magic ruled and worlds were open to conquer. Let’s us show you the depth of true love and that it can last beyond a lifetime. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our work with you. Best wishes to all.