XENIA — It took 12 years, but once he actually started writing, the words came easily for Joe Schlegel.
The 30-year-old Xenia resident recently self-published his third thriller novel, completing the first three of his nine-part series in only 19 months. “Wrath, and Raleigh” continues the story of anti-hero Godrick Jasper which began in “The Appetite of Floyd,” and followed-up with “Dare to Defy.”
The series was conveived when he was a sophomore at Xenia High School and was gone but never really forgotten for years.
“Something I never let go,” Schlegel said. “It was just a seed of an idea. There was no initial spark. It was something I remember thinking about one day. About 12 years later I finally promised myself I’d write chapter one and I never stopped. Been a little over two years of straight writing. I’ve got momentum on my side.”
Between donating copies of his books to the Xenia library and selling paperbacks face-to-face at Stan’s One Stop where he works, his Schlegel’s homegrown project is quickly growing.
“I’ve been getting a lot of support,” he said. “People have come to the store and asked when this book would be available. I’m excited to have finally finished it and that my first shipment is nearly sold-out. It’s been a whirlwind.”
While he describes his series as “a fast-paced suspense thriller mixed with gritty horror,” Schlegel admits it’s blazed a trail he never saw himself traversing.
“I didn’t think I’d write anything quite like this, but I enjoy this raw, grown-up look at real-life motivations behind unexpected characters,” he said.
He warns that the action in his story can be violent and the language course, but insists that his novels aren’t any “worse” than a rated-R movie.
Schlegel chose to self-publish, an increasingly cheaper option for start-up authors, and has made his work available for digital download, an increasingly popular option.
“Self-publishing would allow me to put myself out there in a professional format but still be able to gauge if I could move forward,” Schlegel said. “There are limits. I don’t have national resources or marketing skills.”
Nonetheless, Schlegel isn’t out on the street corner begging for readers.
“I’m finding plenty of readers here in Xenia, complete strangers who never knew me before they read my books,” he said. “And they’re getting into them. They’re sharing them and talking about them. I’m perfectly happy right where I’m at.”
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