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Author Josh Green Tells All About His IRDA-Winning Book

SECRETS OF ASH was the winner in the LITERARY FICTION category of the 2024 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Josh Green.

Thank you to IndieReader and all the wonderful judges, who clearly have marvelous taste—ha! Seriously, this novel was a tough, decade-long process of research, failing, refinement, failing, and trying not to quit. At many points—like when not one, but TWO literary agents representing me decided to leave the business—it seemed hopeless this story would ever become anything more than a Word document in a dusty corner of my laptop. To have the book recognized by an international operation like this, just a few months after it published, is absolutely sweet. I can’t thank you all enough.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

SECRETS OF ASH. It was published by The Sager Group at the end of September.

What’s the book’s first line?

“From the outset, Chase Lumpkin couldn’t shake the feeling he was under investigation in Cherokee.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

Here’s the logline, as they say in the TV/film world:

CHASE LUMPKIN, a decorated Afghanistan war veteran, commits a heinous act and retreats into the North Georgia wilderness in hopes of disappearing forever. JACK LUMPKIN, a millionaire wildman sports radio star in Atlanta, catches wind his kid brother is in a life-or-death situation. With the help of a tough female deputy, JACK sets out to rescue his kin at all costs.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

Two decades of writing for newspapers and magazines about the plight of U.S. military veterans was the main inspiration. It was unbelievably inspiring—the good and bad. There’s also a very real (and wild) sports radio host in Atlanta who inspired the main character who isn’t a veteran.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Despite some unbelievable flaws—and decisions so bad they’re not just illegal but would bring a really long prison term—Chase Lumpkin remains likeable because his heart’s in the right place, and it’s a lionsheart at that. He’s a pastiche of many very real U.S. military veterans I’ve come to know.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

People of all backgrounds, from all walks of life, have told me they literally couldn’t stop reading it. And that the story moved them deeply in many cases. Above all, it’s a story about the love between siblings—and how powerful that can be. Almost anyone can relate.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Long, long before “Barbie,” I envisioned the male lead as a tortured Ryan Gosling. Alternately, Charlie Hunnam, from “Sons of Anarchy.” Friends and journalists have recently said the wild, funny, famous, drunk older brother character should be Chris Pratt, Jake Gyllenhaal, or Danny McBride.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I was maybe seven or eight. I was trying to bring the story in my head about bears in a cave onto paper, via Crayon drawings. I couldn’t. It looked terrible. So I flipped that page over and started using language to make the story real. Will never forget it.

Is this the first you’ve written?

No, I previously had a book of short fiction published by another indie press.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

Journalism. For a variety of magazines, and I run a fun, popular website covering real estate development and other aspects of Atlanta’s physical evolution.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

All day, all night. (This is being typed at 12:52 a.m.) At least for now. Always grinding.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

Emails to my publisher are typically returned within a few hours. We text for fun. We’ve become buddies, I suppose. It’s not a problem exclusive to indies, but the job of keeping the book alive is a one-person show, 99 percent of the time.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

Yes. In a word … advances.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

The idea that writing might one day unlock the world, literally and not, to me and my family.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

The ones I like most, male and female, are all kind of a-holes … but I’ll take Kurt Vonnegut for the wit.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

“The Road.” And “High Fidelity.” And yes, “Deliverance.” Plus anything by Lauren Groff.


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