Joseph R. McNulty – Map of a Distorted Mind

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Map of a Distorted Mind

This book is a personal reflection, that tells the truth of my soul. It reveals my vulnerability and events that have occurred between the ages of 17 and 25.

Every time I transfer poems into fresh notebooks, I always keep them in the same order as to which they were written in. Therefore I chose to order this book chronologically, so that in a sense, it tells a story of my life adventure. As you read along, you dodge the bullets and feel the emotions that I felt as I grew up and matured. It’s an emotional masterpiece and inspiring to the readers. I’ve had a couple of readers tell me that they actually cried tears of joy while reading it. I have inspired people and that’s what it’s all about. That is proof that I have created something special, and in turn, gives me inspiration to keep on writing and sharing.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am from the Syracuse, New York area. Graduated from Marcellus high school in 2001. I am an only child. Never been to college but have been recently thinking of going back to school. After high school I disappeared, hopping aboard a Greyhound with the clothes on my back and a bus ticket. I spent close to four days on the road until I reached Boise, Idaho. My entire family from my Father’s side lives there. I’m in love with the West Coast mentality and easy going ways of life. Boise for me, is the perfect combination of big city and small town.

In 2004 I cheated death but as a result, a major life lesson was learned at the cost of losing someone I loved. (I have reason to believe that I was headed down the wrong path.) In 2005 I visited Oregon for the first time and felt an overwhelming reason, unknown at the time, to move there. So I did, on a whim. I met a girl named Cortney and her little boy of almost 3 months, and together we formed a little family. They are the reason why I moved to Oregon. I also had a prophetic dream while still living in Idaho, and in doing research of this dream I discovered that the details of this vivid dream applied to them as well.

What inspired you to write this book?

I started writing as a healthy way to channel the upsetting emotions of my parents’ divorce. I don’t know, something just clicked and I kept doing it. I had so many poems accumulated that an old friend, partial enemy, gave me the idea to write a book. Its interesting because I had been writing and writing but not for the reason of publishing a book. That idea had never crossed my mind until it was brought to my attention. It sounded good and so I went with it and here I am.

How did you choose the title?

I was listening to an Incubus album and while writing, a particular lyric buzzed through my ears and out of the blue ‘Map of a Distorted Mind’ appeared out thin air. Originally it was ‘The Map of a Distorted Mind’ but at the advice of my friend, Austin, I dropped “The” from the title. It always stuck and the title in all of those years never changed. I did a book search with my title and no results were found. I just knew that was what the title was going to be.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

The only obstacle was trying to figure out the ending. I think in the entire process prior to publication, I said “It’s ready” probably about 5 times or so, before it actually was. Patience and perseverance was how I overcame the process. I did not have any issues finding an agent to represent me, nor did I receive any rejection letters. I was quite surprised. I almost expected a few but was happy when I nailed it on the first try.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Like I said before, it clicked. At first I was writing only Lyrics for the band I never had, or the band I envisioned to have. A year or so after writing strictly lyrics I ended up watching an Oliver Stone film ‘The Doors’. That inspired me to write a poem and from there, I dropped the lyrics. Although, I’ve been told that you could create a couple of songs from the poems included in this book. That would be pretty neat, I think.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I write every single day. Usually late at night and into the early morning (1am). The way I see it is this, whether you write a sentence, a verse, a chapter, a page, or more, you are that much closer to publication. You are that much closer to the ultimate goal. Don’t stress about how much or how little you write, the point is that you’ve written something new. It’s supposed to be an enjoyable experience and if there’s stress involved, where’s the fun in that?

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

It’s a rewarding experience for sure. I don’t think you really ever stop learning.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

Poetry, of course. I enjoy books that provide inspiration. Books that give you a reason to wake up in the morning. Over the years I’ve tried branching out into other genres. I always write down recommendations from co-workers. I subscribe to Powells.com ‘Daily Dose’ newsletters which gives me random books recommended by folks, that I keep in an inbox folder so when I am in pursuit of something new, I look in that folder. There are so many great novelists and poets throughout history that it is really hard to narrow anything down…universally speaking. I find that when I head to a book store I always have an author in mind but as soon as I enter the front doors, my mind goes blank and I explore the shelves. I try to be open minded.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I have been working on a few manuscripts. The first one that I have been focusing most of my attention towards is a follow up poetry collection. I also have been working on a self-help/ inspirational book about surviving death, and being given a second chance. The third one is an Epic Poem (inspired by The Divine Comedy), currently 90 pages in length. I have contemplated breaking into the novel world, and with a notebook filled with story ideas, we shall see.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Never compromise your art for ANYBODY. Develop your own voice and don’t let others try to con you into copycat writing. Be unique. Do not let a silly rejection letter stray you away, either. I was mentally prepared to receive a rejection letter and if I had received one, I would’ve shrugged my shoulders and moved on to the next publisher. It took me altogether ten years to reach publication and I never abandoned my project. Not once. Although it is good to put it away for a week or so and re-read your manuscript with a fresh mind. You tend to find more mistakes that way that you easily would’ve overlooked at the time. Also, get an agent first before you attempt to contact a publishing house. They won’t take you as seriously and will not be too eager to read your manuscript without an agent backing you up.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

I don’t if there is a perfect reader because not everybody can appreciate poetry, but if I had to narrow it down I’d say Young Adult to start with. I think they could relate because like I said, I was 17 when I started writing this book. I’ve had people in their early twenties say they could relate to some of the material and I’ve inspired people in their mid to late 40s.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

As far as my book is concerned, just Google the title. Regarding myself, I’d like to keep in touch with my readers. I want that personal relationship with my readers. Anything you want to know, just ask me. I am on Facebook and I also have a fan page (Joseph R. McNulty) Friend request me and/or send me a message and I will always eagerly respond. Hell, I’ll even buy you a drink.