Josh Erikson spent twelve years in the hospitality industry before life gave him a swift enough kick to propel him toward publishing his first book, Hero Forged. Now he splits his days between thinking up stories for awesome people, and spending time with his wife and two young children. He lives in rural Nebraska, does not own any livestock or cowboy boots, and likes corn a perfectly regular amount, thank you very much.
I’m not used to asking the questions, so let’s start off light to ease both of us into it: What’s your favorite fantasy universe and why? And as a follow-up, would the answer change if you knew you’d have to live there?
My favorite is definitely the Yarnsworld – seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t know this by now? – because it sounds so magical, full of myths and stories, and creatures out of a nightmare. Benedict Patrick really has a way to lure you in and once you set foot in the Yarnsworld, you’ll never be able to leave. Would I want to live there? Ugh, no, I probably would be one of the first to die. In that case I’d choose the Wizarding World, with all the comforts of the modern world, and some magic at my disposal. I’ll leave Voldemort and the others for Harry to deal with.
I know you’re a musical person, so name your top three favorite genres in no particular order. Extra points if I’ve never heard of it. (e.g. Industrial Punk Yodeling, or Death Metal Ukulele)
Oh damn, I really suck at genres. And I listen to rock in 99% of the time anyway. So… let me come up with my own genres, will you?
- Leave Me the Fuck Alone – it’s usually when I’m angry and need to let my frustration out. That’s when I go for the really hard rock, something like Breaking Benjamin or Disturbed, or something close to metal but not quite like.
- Melancholic Nostalgia – still rock, but usually this is when I listen to bands like 3 Doors Down, Hinder, Three Days Grace, Goo Goo Dolls, Linkin Park, basically all the bands I fell in love with in the 2000s, plus The Gaslight Anthem.
- I’m a Badass and You Can’t Fuck With Me Today – well, I still listen to rock, because I hardly listen to anything else, but at least I’m in a good mood. There is sunshine, I wear my badass leather jacket and usually some other black attire I love. For some reason, I don’t have much “happy” rock music on my player, but I usually go to Fish! (my favorite Hungarian rock band), The Faim, maybe Shinedown though they probably more in the previous category, Nothing More, Papa Roach.
Alright, I feel warmed up. Let’s dig into some real dirt. Imagine the world suddenly split into two warring factions: The Catechism of Cake, and The Priory of Pie. Which dessert-based crusade would you side with? This is assuming, of course, that the Cult of Confection was wiped out in the great Calorie War of 2022.
Oh shit, for the first time ever I wish I knew anything about cakes and pies. As a person who doesn’t eat stuff like that I feel oddly disqualified to answer this question. First I should know what caused the war? How many of each faction survived? What flavors are there? And more importantly, what would my role be if I sided with any of them? Leader? Slave? A bored noble who wants to play war? Or a genius investor who sees money in the rebuilding after the war? You haven’t given me nearly enough information to decide just now!
Ok, on a more serious note, which blogs/reviewers inspired you to want to do this? Anyone stand out from the crowd?
Honestly? No one. I mean, there are several awesome reviewers and blogs I got to know about this past year, but it wasn’t what motivated me in the first place. I never read or followed blogs and reviewers before. I only stumbled upon Drew’s blog (The Tattooed Book Geek) after I more or less decided to go with blogging. I hardly ever wrote reviews myself and I’ve been a reader all my life. I just never thought I had anything to say. When I felt like saying something because something stood out to me, then I whipped up a few paragraphs on Goodreads and that was it. I think my first serious review was about Darkshine by R.D. Vallier because she offered me a copy and we were friends so I felt inclined. Then I saw Damien Black looking for people to read his book for a review and thought why not? Then I fell in love with the Yarnsworld which I had to write about. And as things went on and got my hands on a few more books in exchange of a review I thought, hell, I should have a blog to try and help spread the word more than I can now. So it’s all thanks to the friendships and connections I made on Goodreads that prompted me to give it a go once more – I had a feeble try at it back in 2015 but in Hungarian – and see what happens.
I’m sure by now you’ll have been asked what your favorite types of books are, so I won’t revisit that. But how about your LEAST favorite genres? I mean, an open mind is great, but you must have a harder time with at least one…
I’m not a fan of Sci-fi. I know, I know, shame on me. To be fair, I didn’t read much in the genre mostly because I’m just not interested, though if I come across something that picks my interest, I won’t say no. Probably. The other genre which I don’t touch is romance – be it paranormal romance or contemporary. Just, no. I used to read some PNR books and YA romance books when I was younger, but I grew out of it. Though sometimes I go back to reread some of my favorites. I’m actually planning to do a reread on Meg Cabot‘s The Moderator series at one point in the near future.
And to continue from the last question, are there any unforgivable sins you’ll drop a book for? Anything you simply can’t look past? Like when the author kills the dog or inserts an inexplicable crayon drawing in the middle of a battle scene?
A crayon drawing in the middle of a battle scene would be amusing actually. I’d be annoyed probably by the interruption but wouldn’t put it down. I hardly drop a book to be honest, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but over this past year I learned to let go. When I don’t connect with the book at all – especially the characters – or there is nothing to keep my interest up, then I eventually put the book down. When you have to force yourself to read something then it’s better to let go. Or if there is something that pisses me off for good. Like totally irrelevant sex scenes and/or brutality for only shock’s sake. A plot full of holes and inconsistencies are also usually a no go for me.
In a perfect world, what’s your dream job and why? I’m currently hiring at my magical academy/chocolate factory, if that helps.
In a perfect world I don’t have to work. But if I’d be really bored I would take some proofreading, beta reading jobs just to pass the time. Or eventually take your magical academy job offer – depending what position is vacated, that is. Teaching, and more like handling kids is totally not my thing. Can I take care of the Library?
Fair warning: I couldn’t figure out a way to get a joke into this one, but I’m honestly curious. Reviews are always subjective by nature, but how do you try to reconcile that in your personal scoring system? If you read two books, and one clearly took much less work and skill to produce but makes you happier in the end, which is “better”? Or is it more of a gut feeling?
I don’t think I book that required much less work and skill to be produced would make me happy in any way. Most good books require both. Well, except maybe coloring books, which make me happy but require less work than, say, a 500 pages long epic fantasy book. Although the artist who produces the pictures definitely had taken their time to draw the pieces. But to answer, I usually go for gut feeling. Sometimes it’s impossible to compare two books – in the end you choose based on which gave you more feelings, or which story will stay with you longer. At least I do. And you can always differentiate using 0.5 ratings in your reviews – Amazon and GR are bitches in those cases though.
A group of alien scientists land on Earth to find out if we’re worth anything as a species, and they choose you as our representative. The world supplies you with unlimited funds and resources to convince them we’re all pretty cool here, and you have ten days to do so. What’s your plan?
10 days? Ugh, that’s going to be a rough 10 days. It’ll need some good planning, but I think I’ll manage. First, I’d show them all the ancient places like Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Easter Island, some beautiful natural places like Yellowstone or practically anything rural Japan. Architecture – Barcelona, Athens, Rome. And all the important places I can squeeze in. I probably can work around the time zones. I probably would take them to some concerts while we are on the way on the evenings just for good measure and would throw hundreds of books at them. I would either bore them to death or would convince them they shouldn’t bother with us humans – sooner or later we destroy everything.
And finally, a showdown. Which is cuter? A baby orangutan in a baseball cap and diaper? Or a baby panda repeatedly failing to climb up the wrong way on a slide?
This is a cruel question. There is only one movie I ever cried on – well, it was until I saw How to Train Your Dragon 3 that is – and it was about a panda. He lived in a forest, his mom was a doe, the queen of the forest. To stay and claim his place he had to climb up a waterfall. But he couldn’t and fell, and had to leave and oh damn, I cried my eyes out as a kid. So failing and climbing pandas are my weakness. You practically can sell me anything if it has pandas involved in any way.
If you’d like to get in contact with Josh Erikson, you can find him on social media:
Check out my review and get Hero Forged! The second book of the series, Fate Lashed is already available in every format (e-book, paperback, audio)!