Meeting Joseph Sale – author of The Darkest Touch

This week I’d like to welcome Joseph Sale to the hotseat on the Thursday Throng. Joseph is a poet and writer and this is his first full length novel. He is currently studying Creative Writing at Birmingham University.

The Joseph Sale Interview

joseph saleWhat is the one thing no one would usually know about you?

This one’s tricky, as I like to wear my heart on my sleeve. I think one thing no one would usually know about me is that I’m a HUGE James Blunt fan. I think most wouldn’t twig because I listen to Metal, Rock, Alternative, stuff like Avenged Sevenfold, Muse, Radiohead, Slipknot – all of it extremely dark and intense. But I love James Blunt as well. I’ve got, and regularly listen to, every single album. He’s written some awesome, awesome lyrics: “Maybe one day we will meet / and perhaps we’ll talk, and not just speak”, and his musicianship and song-writing ability is hugely underrated. He’s also damn handsome.

Are the names of your characters important to you?

Absolutely. Naming a character is like naming your own child! I like my character names to suggest something about them: a trait, an image, a foreshadowing of events, but often you can’t make it too obvious or it becomes unpalatable. The fascinating thing about names is there is never just one name for a character. There are always variations depending on who is referring to them and why and where. Then there are nicknames and titles to consider as well. This creates more like a web of terms and associations to work with, which can really build a character and make them feel 3d. George R. R. Martin and Stephen King do this incredibly skilfully.

Do you think there is any elitism attached to the different genres of books, both in the fiction and non-fiction worlds?

Yes. The fact that there is a genre called ‘Literary Fiction’ and then a whole bunch of other genres confirms it. Publishers and high-profile editors believe they can decide what constitutes literature and literary writing, but it has always been the readers. The Lord of the Rings is undoubtedly one of the most important and profound literary masterpieces of the 20th century, but for years academics have swept it under the carpet as just ‘a fantasy novel’. Now, it’s finally being brought onto University syllabuses (I had the pleasure to study it!). Any genre of novel can be ‘literary’, just as any genre can have good and bad writing (even within the same book).

What is your favourite TV moment of all time?

This one’s harder than I expected. It might have to be a moment from Boston Legal, a quirky law comedy that in my view was massively underrated. The characters in this series are fantastic, and their friendships and relationships develop in the most astonishing ways. The central friendship of the series, Alan Shore and Denny Crane (played by James Spader and William Shatner respectively), is full of wonderful moments. The best of these for me is when Alan Shore is arguing a euthanasia case. His friend Denny, once the greatest ever lawyer in the world, has Alzheimer’s and is slowly losing his grip. Alan is fighting for his client’s right to commit euthanasia. The personal and the professional become blurred, and Alan makes a closing speech about how Denny has charged him with the responsibility of ending his life when he is “too far gone”. The personal emotionality of the scene makes it devastatingly powerful as we sense Alan’s internal battle – his beliefs, his duty to his friend, his understanding of his friend’s psychological suffering, his promise, and his love are all tearing him one way and the other. Spader nails it with his performance.

What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?

It said: “Joe Sale has a very masculine style”. Although at the time I thought it ridiculous and even had a chuckle over it, I realise now it’s probably true. I don’t consider myself a macho-man in any respect (see James Blunt comment above), but lots of people have tried to comment on the type of energy they find in my writing, and can’t think of a term. Some would argue gender-traits are a redundant, or perhaps even prejudicial, concept, but I think there’s a strong current of truth in that reviewer’s description of my work.

Are you jealous of other writers?

Yes. So many! Stephen King , Tolkien, Edmund Spenser, Milton, George R. R. Martin, Dan Abnett: the list goes on and on!


darkest touchWhere can you find out more about Joseph and his book?

You can find The Darkest Touch in Kindle format here:

You can also meet him on his website at: and on Twitter here:


Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?

These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here:

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