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Interview with Joseph Posner

History has brought us a great number of authors from “across the pond” who have thrilled, entertained, enlightened, and educated us in a variety of ways through the written word. Jane Austin, J.K. Rowling, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, just to name a few. Britain arguably has more famous writers than any other country, their works spanning every period of history and many literary styles. This week’s featured author also calls England his home; London, to be more precise.

Just like so many of those British authors, Joseph Posner also faces the challenges of marketing to cultures and regions that are different from his own in many ways. Thankfully, there are enough similarities to make the bridging of the gap well within reach. Still, Joseph is thankful he can change the default language in Microsoft Word to English (United States). That at least helps with spelling discrepancies. But an even bigger challenge is crafting a story and characters that resonate with readers.

So, how about entering the mystical realm detailing the origin of the world’s national parks? President Teddy Roosevelt is one of many who recognized the unique wonder and splendor of these natural habitats, but just like everything in God’s wonderful world, there had to be a beginning somewhere. Joseph spent a lot of years visiting several parks, and while he didn’t set out to choose this topic as the focus of his debut novel, the story emerged as he traveled through the parks on his multiple visits.

“I didn’t sit down one day and decide to write the novel," he says. "It was birthed through experience; one character developed when I was in Glacier, another in Sequoia, so on and so on.”

Despite having the story organically develop, Joseph still doubted the market and how well his story would be received. As is the case with many writers, we hesitate quite a lot before letting go of our precious work and sending it out into the world to be critiqued. With the fantastical element to his story, Joseph had to wonder where it would fit. The novel incorporates completely fictitious elements such as the "Huckleberry King," but conversely, many of the locations and characters, such as General Sherman (the tree in Sequoia National Park) are real. In the end, he decided, “I would just write the story that I want to write…and classify it as speculative fiction.”

Isn’t that what all of us writers are told to do? Write the story we want to write, and write what we know. Flowing from his visits to the national parks, Joseph took the visitor’s guides, photographs of the scenery, and conversations with park rangers and combined them with extensive research online to establish the unique mannerisms, scientific names, and behaviors of the creatures he created. He also delved deep into his personal experiences to capture the very essence of the worlds he emulated in his story.

Quite often, as writers, we are awestruck and inspired by experiences, which envelop our senses. A song we hear, a story that is told, or a place we visit leaves an indelible mark upon our souls. For Joseph, this was Yellowstone National Park.

“I took a moment by Yellowstone River and was overwhelmed with emotion. There I learned more about the delicate balance of nature; beneath my feet and below the ground was a gurgling, violent volcano, yet around me in the park was remarkable tranquility. All that separated the two extremes was the crust of the earth, which can be penetrated with relative ease if the volcano ever erupts.”

With this type of experience, it can be quite easy to imagine an entire world entrenched in the existence of what is unseen.

But it doesn’t stop there. Although Joseph doesn’t write overt Christology in his books, there is a definitive aspect of the Christian faith lightly weaving its way through his stories. It’s like a treasure map where the reader must identify the elements of theology and connect the dots, similar to the way God speaks to us indirectly.

“God has creation on his heart. If we know the Lord, we should view creation through the eyes of redemption and preserve it as such. There is boundless beauty and grandeur in the world, through which God directs us to Himself.”

Allegory and fantasy can be some of the best genres through which you can reach the lost. As C. S. Lewis once said, “Any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people’s minds under cover of fiction without their knowing it.”

In this novel and the ones on which Joseph is currently working, the main message is, “Christ is Lord over nature, and we should not neglect our role as ‘caretakers’ to take care of the world.” What better way to convey that than by using the majestic splendor of the national park system as a backdrop for a much deeper message!

Just as adventurous prose make their way onto the pages of his stories, Joseph’s enthrallment with this beauty also inspires poetical expression. He thoroughly enjoys all aspects of the creative writing process. His only regret? No doubt echoing the sentiments of so many who are reading this, it’s the regret of not starting sooner.

“I have always enjoyed wordplay and using the English language, but only really took the craft seriously and focused recently. If I had written more poetry and started to develop some stories earlier on, I could have a solid library of works right now.”

If you relate in any way to Joseph, feel free to reach out to him. He would love to connect with you. And if you happen to know how he could get in touch with any park rangers, be sure to drop him a line. Oh, and the next time you see something purple, you just might think of the Huckleberry King!
Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having an active imagination and a flair for the dramatic. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning author and speaker who works as a homeschool mom and independent contractor, helping others become their best from the inside out. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Kentucky. They have a daughter and son, and 2 cats. She has sold over 25 books so far, three of which have won annual reader's choice awards. She is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. (

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