In 2018, Joseph Reid, partner at Perkins Coie, had his first thriller published, and from there his writing career took off. Here are five things you may not know about Joseph and his bestselling Seth Walker series:
- Joe wanted to be a research marine biologist who worked with sharks. “I wanted to do stuff that’s hot now: ecological psychology. Why does a shark go where it goes and hunt what it hunts? It’s what you see on Shark Week now—they were just starting to do early stuff on that when I was in grad school, but no one was willing to pay me a living wage to do that.”
- An avid reader, Joe decided to attempt writing a novel as a challenge to himself and his skills. “Back before eBooks, I would go on vacation and pack 10–12 books in my suitcase, so I know exactly when I came up with the idea to write professionally. My wife was pregnant with our first daughter and we took our last vacation without kids. I prided myself on being a pretty good writer but it was always adjacent to what I did; it was just a skill, not a profession in and of itself. So, I was sitting and reading these books and thought, ‘This is high-level writing. I wonder if I can do this.’ I took it as a challenge from that point on.”
- His first published book, Takeoff, was actually the third he had written. “All the stories you hear about publishing are true. It took 13–14 years for me to get published. I have two manuscripts sitting in drawers that have never seen the light of day. Now, I have published three books in my series and have two other manuscripts in with my agent.”
- Joe wanted to create a character and setting he could build a series around. “Most novels are set in a specific city—Atlanta, L.A., Minneapolis—so I sat around thinking about what my place was. I realized that growing up as a Navy brat, I moved all over the place, and now as a lawyer, I was traveling a lot, so what if I didn’t have a city and instead the setting was the sky. This appealed to me because it allowed the book series to not be the ‘17th serial killer in the same city’; instead, I could tell different kinds of stories."
- His secret to balancing writing and practicing law? Very little sleep. “I get up at 4 a.m. and head to the office to start writing around 4:30 because it’s quiet there; I can bang around without waking anyone up. Then I go back home around 7:30, shower and then come back and am a lawyer all day. It’s a juggle; I’m constantly attending to both.”
Insider Tip: Joseph will throw in the names of his colleagues or clients throughout his stories—you never know what name will show up attached to a body or in danger!