Author interview with Joel Carlson of ‘Wrath: A Prelude to Forging the Nightmare’

Author Interview with Joel Carlson

Wrath: A Prelude to Forging the Nightmare is a thriller set in a remote region of Northeastern India that follows a team of security contractors guarding a millionaire philanthropist as he returns to his homeland.



What will befall the philanthropist and his team as they return to his homeland? Joel Carlson, author of Wrath: A Prelude to Forging the Nightmare, has kindly agreed to guide us through the thrilling pages of his novel to give us a little taste of the team’s upcoming challenges. Joel, can you set up this interview today for us by walking through Wrath? How does Wrath start?

It’s set in 2005 when that part of the world was shaken by political upheaval. Violent militant groups drove tens of thousands of people from their homes. Disease and starvation were rampant. It’s a dangerous area to travel through, and the security team’s mission is made more difficult by a last-minute decision from their client to visit the place of his birth. I won’t give too much away, but the team runs into trouble. There is a lot of violence and bloodshed before it’s all over.



Never give too much away too early, it spoils all of the fun! Without spoiling anything, can you share what inspired your exploration of this bloody and violent path?

It began with an interesting character named Jarrod Hawkins. He’s the main character in my novel titled “Forging the Nightmare.” Wrath was written as an origin story. It explores the roots of his psychology and the source of the darkness inside him.



Okay, so by the time you were writing this novel you were acquainted with Jarrod, but maybe didn’t know some of those secrets lying deep within him. Were some of the sources of darkness inside Jarrod that you explored in Wrath inspired by events in your own life to ensure that you could bring sufficient realism to his psychological roots?

Yes. I drew heavily from my experiences in the military. I wanted to add aspects of realism to this story, even more than the novel it introduces, which is a techno-thriller. The convoy procedures, the weapons, and the tactics in this story weren’t researched online or experienced through a video game, and I hope it shows.



That’s the tricky thing about those little specific details that bring about realism. They may not call out attention to themselves in a casual reading, but when you read while taking care to appreciate the nuances you find that they start becoming very powerful and realistic, which leads to greater appreciation of the details themselves. One thing we can all agree upon is the appreciation for Jarrod Hawkins. Is this the last readers can expect to see of Jarrod or is it possible that we just might see more of him in the future?

At the moment I’m working on the sequel to Forging the Nightmare. I started it before I even wrote Wrath, so there will be elements that tie in neatly with the origin story. I’m very excited about this series, and the layers I can weave together. Chronologically, it all starts with Wrath, so that’s a good place to jump in.



Thanks for giving us a starting point. I’m sure I can speak for many a reader who loves a good series, but can’t decide whether to start reading by release date, or by story chronology. After three adventures in Jarrod’s universe, and a few more under your belt in others, what do you feel keeps driving you back to write?

Honesty, there are some things about the world that I really dislike. I mean REALLY dislike. Things like human trafficking, terrorism, child-slavery, and other crimes against humanity. When I feel despair at a world gone wrong, writing gives me an outlet. I may not be able to bring actual justice to some of the criminals out there, but I can bring them poetic justice through fiction. It’s therapeutic for me, and hopefully, it brings awareness to the readers.



As you’re often using writing as a type of therapy, what do you feel that you keep in your mind? Are you thinking about the victims so that you can bring them justice, do you remember the perpetrators so that you can deal them justice, or are there other ideas that you keep at the forefront of your mind?

It depends on the book. Sometimes I write children’s books (under a different name) and I think of what my daughter would enjoy reading. When I’m writing books like Wrath, I keep my cousin in mind. He also served in the military, and we have many shared opinions and experiences. But, no matter what I’m writing, I always keep my wife in mind. She is the gatekeeper, a brutally honest editor that will put me in my place if I step out of line. She reigns me in and helps me make a product that is enjoyable for a wide audience. Thinking about what she would leave in or cut out saves time…and heartache.



You are very lucky to have a live-in editor who has your best interests at heart. It also sounds like you’re already doing a little self-editing while you write to at least keep your live-in editor happy. What other writing techniques do you find that you useĀ  alongside this?

I am a big proponent of using routine to stimulate creativity. When writing a rough draft, I go into my basement six days a week and work at my stand-up desk. I try to start at the same time, and I always have a word count goal in mind. I often edit at the same desk (it’s better for the back), and I accomplish business-related items elsewhere. Marketing, e-mails, promotions, research, and interviews like this one are not allowed into my sacred writing space (the musty basement).



*Laughs* A musty basement doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a sacred writing space, other than being somewhere the rest of the family would avoid! I hope it isn’t as musty as my imagination has dreamed up. Now, I know you’re quite eager to return to your sacred musty space, but let’s take a few seconds get your creativity stimulated before you get there by turning our minds to a single silly question of the day. And today’s selection is, why isn’t there mouse-flavoured cat food?

Maybe because the taste-testers don’t want to try it. I don’t know. Do people eat salmon-flavored cat food to make sure it tastes like salmon?



I wouldn’t have thought so, but I’m sure they can find more taste testing volunteers for the salmon-flavoured food over the mousy meals. Joel, thanks for sitting down to share a little of Jarrod’s life with the readers and myself today, and I wish the two of you the best of luck in the Forging the Nightmare sequel.


Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Wrath: A Prelude to Forging the Nightmare ( ASIN: B0764T53ZR )‘.

Want to find out more about Joel Carlson? Connect here!