We are delighted to welcome author Joe Hart to CrimeFiction.FM’s digital interview booth today.
Joe’s new novel is THE LAST GIRL (Thomas & Mercer) in which a mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 to less than 1 percent. Governments around the world scramble to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women
THE LAST GIRL is told from the limited perspective of one fierce woman, and the author taps into the deep fears and struggles that we all share in this searing, explosive story.
We recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Joe to talk more about the book.
CFFM: Tell us a little about THE LAST GIRL.
Joe: THE LAST GIRL is a thriller set in the near future after a mysterious epidemic causes the female birthrate to drop below one percent. The main character’s name is Zoey and we meet her about twenty-five years after the phenomena appeared. She’s been held in a research facility against her will and told that a plague had caused the lack of female births before becoming deadly to humans in general. But Zoey’s not so sure she believes her captors, and with a program where no women has ever returned from looming on the horizon, she decides she has to take action.
CFFM: THE LAST GIRL is the first in of a trilogy. How do you expect your characters to evolve over the course of your series?
Joe: I love all the characters, and there’s a lot of them in this trilogy. They all have their little quirks but over the course of the books they’re going to learn just how far they’re willing to go for one another. The world they’re in is a very dangerous place and sacrifices will have to be made to survive. Zoey especially will have quite the character arc since she is subjected to some pretty harsh circumstances.
CFFM: How do you go about researching the settings for your books, particularly when creating a futuristic setting as in THE LAST GIRL?
Joe: Many times I set the stories I write in places I’ve already visited or live near, but for The Last Girl I knew I wanted it set in the Pacific Northwest and I had never been there. So one of my best friends and I did a crazy two-day drive pretty much all the way across Washington state and back and got to really soak in the surroundings. As far as the futuristic aspects go I always try to keep those from getting too wild or out of hand. I like to have little differences or subtleties when creating some new technology or setting, basically a twist on what we have now. I think those types of things are the most believable because readers can envision them and not have to make a huge leap with the imagination.
CFFM: What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing?
Joe: That one’s easy. Blake Crouch told me once, “No more small ideas.” It’s definitely served me well so far.
“No more small ideas” – Blake Crouch
CFFM: What hobbies do you have that might surprise your readers?
Joe: Haha, well I’ve been dabbling in making short films now for almost two years. I write and assist with production and one of my best friends directs. It’s absolutely grueling sometimes, even making a ten-minute film, but the outcome is so rewarding. Seeing a story come to life in a different medium is very gratifying.
CFFM: What’s the first crime story you remember reading and what was your reaction to the story?
Joe: The first crime story I ever remember reading was Dolan’s Cadillac by Stephen King. It’s definitely a revenge tale as well as crime but I remember it striking me as so different from anything I’d read before.
It was a working man’s revenge story, something only King could dream up and chilling in a way that made me read it again and again.
CFFM: What’s next for you?
Joe: I’m in the midst of writing the third book in the trilogy and after that I have an idea for a conspiracy thriller that has some supernatural elements in it. Very excited with the premise and the characters that are already chattering away in my head.
Joe Hart was born and raised in northern Minnesota, where he still resides today. He’s been writing horror and thriller fiction since he was nine years old. He is the author of five novels and numerous short stories, including the books The River Is Dark, Lineage, and The Waiting. When he’s not writing, Joe enjoys reading, working out, watching movies with his family, and spending time outdoors.