Interview Q&A with Joseph L.M. Sturm, a writer at

Interview Q&A With Joseph L.M. Sturm

Interview Q&A with Joseph L.M. Sturm



We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Joseph L.M. Sturm, a writer whose literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of January & February 2024.


  1. What does it mean to be selected as Author of The Month?

It’s an honor that demonstrates my commitment to what I write and how I write. I’m thankful that both my content and style are appreciated enough to be featured in prominence, and I can only hope that I continue to bring more to readers who enjoy the nuances I bring forth.

  1. How have your friends and/or family influenced your writing?

I started writing poetry twenty years ago. I thrived on the positive responses I received, and it pushed me toward practicing all kinds of expressions. Family often did the same thing, but no one seems to be surprised anymore, and, after a while, the novelty of getting a piece published loses its luster in the eyes of those who are supportive. Anyone could easily ascribe support as an influence, and that’s certainly part of it. For me, though, I like to think that true influence was a result of what I read and my desire to weave my truth into something feasible.

  1. What inspires and motivates you to write?

Emotions, effect, creation. All of these are part of why I do what I do and what motivates me to write. I try not to be mimetic; I try to use inspiration from what I experience or understand and apply it to a world I’m still in the process of creating. I once heard that Michener would get up at 4 am and begin writing. The day didn’t offer him much time to write, so that’s what he had to do. It seems to be the same for me, so that’s what I’m now doing. I recently made that change, and it is working out.

  1. Can you tell us about the catalyst that sparked your writing journey?

The spark that started it all was a tawdry poem I wrote during the summer of my ninth grade year going into tenth. I was 15, and I got bored reading while my family and I were headed to our vacation spot. I had my dad’s old laptop, so I opened it up and thought about what I wanted to write. It sort of shaped itself after I thought about various images. For me, it was likely that I wanted someone to love, to share my life with at the time. I created a symbol for that love and made a promise. Like most teens living in a world of media that gives a false sense of what love actually is, I had unrealistic expectations. Regardless, it was my first jump into the world of writing, and I stuck with poetry for some time.

  1. Please share a glimpse into your writing process.

I’ve mentioned before that I take a lot of inspiration from anything that causes me to experience strong emotions, so that’s kind of the start of it; it’s a way to begin generating ideas. I’ll spill out the words as I focus on images and emotions. I do this a lot now, but it’s more apparent in Survival, Almost Native, and Passive Devils – all on Spillwords. Then I look at the rhythm established by measure and assonance/consonance to ensure it fits whatever purpose I want, and I try to anticipate the subtleties and connotations others might perceive. I just adore the interwoven artistry of it all. Words are, after all, a process of art, and it must be anticipated and shared with the reader.

In prose, I do something similar. I have a lot more words to use, so what I want to convey can be shaped more delicately and specifically according to whatever anticipated outcome is desired. But the planning of it all is the key, along with the ability to make notes as they come up. I now even keep a pocket planner just in case I think of something when not around a computer. And technology: wow. Just the ability to walk around or drive a car while writing is so much more convenient. It has helped me to tell a story on the go, because I can’t just sit down and complete the prewriting. I can’t always consult my notes. But, if I have a story to tell, or part of a story for that same matter, then I can tell it touchless while driving home or while walking around in my backyard enjoying the soothing night breeze.

Ultimately, I’m still trying to fine-tune my own process, but I think I’m getting there.

  1. What do you find most fulfilling about the act of writing?

Creation. I get to literally create something that I can share with others. I love comments and interactions. I write short stories and poetry to teach different concepts in my High School and College classes, so I get some interesting feedback, especially when I don’t tell them who wrote the piece. I love to see all of the interpretations and how we all can relate to each other in some way. It’s about developing connections for me.

  1. How does the use of imagery contribute to conveying your story?

Descriptive imagery is key. Focus on the senses, and you’ll know what to convey. I often have imagery and emotion in mind when I write. We, ourselves, perceive the world around us and experience emotion in some way. So, that’s got to be how the process starts. I push other devices into its substance to create my world and its story, but descriptive imagery is perhaps the most profound and emphatic.

  1. What is your favorite reading genre?

That depends on my mood at the time of reading, but I generally gravitate to the Supernatural, Psychological, Fantasy, and Horror genres. Mixes within are just a bonus. I’m currently working on a series that combines them all in some manner in a realist perspective if that’s even possible. Almost done with it, too.

  1. What human being has inspired you the most?

I’d say that would have to be a combination factor for me; My mom and dad. They adopted me when I was 13, and they instilled a love for education, and, ultimately, a love for teaching and writing. Their patience and compassion inspire my teaching, and their examples of dedication and creativity inspire my writing. I’ve been through a lot, and, while we certainly had our own ups and downs, they taught me some of the best values to be held and shared in life.

  1. What message would you have for the Spillwords Press community that voted for you?

I am beyond honored to receive Author of the Month, and I am so thankful to be part of a community that values my work. I can only hope to continue to grow as a writer and receive more feedback as I write and publish. I’ve published elsewhere and tried at many other places, but it seems like Spillwords just has that sense of worth exuded by the community itself, and this is a fantastic concept to see. Thank you, Spillwords community. We are in this together.

  1. What would you like your legacy as a writer to be?

Thought-provoking, edgy, and an artist of value. I hope to be able to share experiences that provide connections and understanding, and I want to convey a sense of compassion for a long time to come. My purpose is to do my best to provide a way for others to make sense of the world around them.

I started this journey 20 years ago, and I’m still enjoying the trek into its wilderness of possibilities. I believe it important to say this, especially being a teacher: be willing to receive feedback that offers constructive criticism but never accept feedback that can’t tell you the ‘why.’ If you have to pay for that feedback, do so. Always get it and never assume that you’re done with your work until you have your constructive criticism.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have multiple volumes of poetry and a middle-grade novel available on Amazon, and I just have a deep-rooted sense that I’m going to be pushing out a lot more in the future, but not on Amazon. I’m so excited to see where everything goes these next couple of years. I have a series I want to push out chapter by chapter, and I have a couple of projects that will be sent out for traditional publishing this year as well. Keep tuned here and on Facebook to see what’s coming!

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