Monday, 28 November 2016

Uncaged by Joe Gazzam

Release Date: 12th October 2014
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Genres: Mystery /  Thriller
Please welcome Joe Gazzam to the blog. Thank you Joe for agreeing to an author interrogation interview!


Name?  Joe Gazzam

Do you write under your real name or is this a pen name you use?

I use my real name.

Where are you from?

I was born in Baltimore, MD -- but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL. 

List 3 interesting facts about yourself. 

1     My primary job is as a screenwriter.
2     I moved out to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting, knowing absolutely no one.  And without ever having been to California in my life.
3    The first person I met in California, I married.  I came out here with one name and one phone number.  A buddy of mine knew my wife years before and said I should look her up when I arrived.

What was the first thing you ever had published?

“Uncaged” which is my debut novel.

Do you have a writing routine?

I have a pretty well established one for screenwriting, so switch to novels was a bit of a 180.
I’d love to say it was easy, but it was really, really hard.  At the time, I was in the process of completing two screenplay assignments, one for Disney, one for Universal.  So, while I was knee deep in those, I’d have to try and pull the switch to the novel for a few hours a day.  So it was a little bumpy.
The differences are massive.  But I have to say, writing a novel was like a continual breath of fresh air.  Screenwriting is basically a highlight reel.  You have a tiny box that you can only fill with a limited amount of stuff.  So, it’s always – “What combination of that stuff will get the best story across?”  And there are a lot of times where, you have to skimp.  In other words, you are forced to continually make story concessions.
On top of that, there are normally two or three people looking over your shoulder (producers, studio execs, etc.) that are telling you how THEY want the story told.  So you are also making personal concessions as well.
All in all, while it was difficult to go back and forth, I honestly loved it.  Novel writing was an oasis for me every single day.
More specifically in terms of routine, I’d switch to writing the novel near lunch time.  Then after the break, do a bit more before going back to screenwriting.

Do you have any writing rituals? 

No, other than putting myself in front of a keyboard every day from 8 am to 5 pm.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

Out of my own, unmitigated fear of prison.  Prison and sharks pretty much scare the crap out of me.  The prison part, stemmed from an old documentary I watched when I was probably way too young to watch it.  My dad had it on an old videotape; it was called “Scared Straight.”  Named, obviously, after the program (the same program in my fictional book).  It was this program for repeat juvy offenders -- kids they couldn’t get to stop committing crimes.  They’d put them in a real jail for a day and these real convicts would explain (in the most terrifying manner ever) what life would be like in prison if they ended up there.
It honestly gave me some of my worst nightmares growing up.  And that seed just stuck in my head.  So when I decided I wanted to do a thriller – it was already there.
In the documentary, as scary as it was, those convicts were all volunteers.  Guys who had a new attitude and wanted to help reform these kids.  So there was always an imaginary line you knew they couldn’t cross.  No matter how much they threatened these kids, you knew they weren’t really going to hurt them.
But, in my head it was always – what if that imaginary line was gone.  What would it be like to be one of those kids in the most terrifying place on the planet with some of the most dangerous people on the planet? And the writing pretty much flowed from that.

Who was the first person you shared your book with? 

My wife.  She pretty much sees the first and last draft of everything I do.

Do you have a current work in progress?

I have two novels that I’m outlining now.  One is a bit of an action-thriller set in the world of espionage.  And the other is a very grounded sci-fi thriller.

Do you have any advice for budding authors?

Just two things…
1      Get a set routine and write every day.
2     Don’t be precious about your work.  Let people read it.  Let people give you notes and tear it apart. It’s the only way to grow as a writer.

About the Author

Screenwriter/Novelist Joe Gazzam was born in Baltimore, MD, grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL and graduated from the University of Florida. Soon after college he moved to Los Angeles with one script under his arm, never having been to California in his life.

Since then, due to good luck and the support of friends and family, he’s been a working screenwriter for 8 years.  Joe has worked on such films as:


Joe currently lives in Southern California with his wife and son.
His debut novel, UNCAGED, is available now.

Author links –


 Jason Holden has been on thin ice since his mother died. Capping off a burglary and bar fight with a brutal car wreck, the seventeen year old finds himself firmly on the wrong side of the law.

His behavior isn’t winning him any points with his father, who happens to be the state governor. So when Governor Holden learns of a program for troubled youth, he jumps at the chance to deal with Jason’s outbursts while cementing his position for being tough on crime.

The program is a radical exercise designed to frighten teens from a life of crime. It’s called “Scared Straight,” and takes them into the heart of Blackenbush Maximum Security Penitentiary.

Jason, along with a group of hardened juvenile delinquents, quickly comes face to face with some of the most extreme convicts the state has ever seen. But what’s designed as an exercise becomes all too real as a prisoner take-over comes to fruition. Before long the entire penitentiary is under siege, surrounded by feds and overrun with violent lifers loose from their cells.

Jason, trapped in the middle of in the chaos, will have to trust in the most unlikely person— Karl Rix, a convict with his own body count. Between them, they just might find a way to save their skin and even a bit of redemption. But at what cost?

- Copyright © 2013-2014 Brook Cottage Books - Powered by Blogger - Graphics & Blog Customization by JellydogDesign