Joey Salomone was born in 1984 in Kansas City, Missouri. Joey was home schooled, which allowed him a lot of free time to read and write. He began writing poetry as a teenager and continued to write throughout high school and college. Joey attended Northwest Missouri State University where he received a bachelors degree in Broadcasting and a minor in Creative Writing. After graduation, Joey moved back to Kansas City and made independent films for several years while working at several local area restaurants. He then became an educator and taught High School English in the Urban Core of Kansas City, MO for several years. After the school he was working at closed, Joey did sales for a few years then attended UMKC’s EMS Education program and received his Paramedic license. He worked for several years as a paramedic in Kansas City. After graduating from nursing school, Joey now practices as a nurse at a local KC hospital. He continues to read and write every day. Joey hopes to publish many more collections of poetry and prose, as well as several other projects he is working on. Joey and his brother Chris are currently writing a fantasy book series together and hope to release the first several books in 2020-21.
Joey writes weekly on his blog on a variety of topics, from healthcare to politics to movies & tv shows and discussion of poetry, short stories and novels.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I am sort of a jack-of-all-trades, I started out of college making low-budget independent movies and then moved into sales, then education and then healthcare.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
Everyone deals with insecurities in one form or another. I think for me personally, I have cut out people in my life that I believed where toxic, those individuals that helped sow the seed of self-doubt. And I try to surround myself with people who are positive. Working in healthcare, this can be difficult because we deal with illness, patients dying and death often. And it is not just the seeing the patient suffer, but also watching the family watch the patient dying. That can be just as difficult, if not more. This gives me a unique perspective of one, being grateful for my health and my families health and two, I stare fear in the face at work all the time, I am not going to let a little fear or rejection or failing in writing stop me.
What scares you the most?
Dying alone. I think this is a fear many people have.
What makes you happiest?
I think this changes based on where you are in your life. Right now, the happiest I am is when I pick up my daughter and she laughs and squeals and kicks her legs.
Why do you write?
I enjoy writing, I always have. And I think this probably stems from my joy of reading. I have been amazed, my entire life, by a wide variety of authors. Science fiction and fantasy writers can take you into a world they created, and to me, that’s amazing. Poets can make you think outside of the constructs of the written word. They can make you question everything, from love to even the meaning of a word. And I love that.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Like any creative, I have a love/hate relationship with my writing. Sometimes, I write something that I think is simply amazing. Other times, everything I write is garbage and I hate it all and I want to quit forever. I think finding a balance between the two is part of the process. And simply understanding that is part of the process: going through these stages.
What motivates you to write?
Anything. Love. Pain. Boredom. Excitement. Sadness. Feeling overwhelmed. I feel like any creative person can find any reason to share their work. For me, writing is a personal escape. Not that my life is all that bad, I have a great life in fact. But writing allows me to venture into unknown territories, and as a poet, I simply try to explore the fluid motion of the English language, while trying to bend and break some of the rules as well.
What writing are you most proud of?
My first book titled “0% of Something” was a decent book, but if I am being honest, I rushed it in the editing process. “Drop of Atom” is finely tuned and I am extremely proud of it as a collection.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Recently, my daughter turned one. And I have to say, this last year has been tough. However, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am working very hard to be a good father, and while I know at times I will surely make mistakes, as long as I keep working at it, I think I will do alright.
What books did you love growing up?
As a young adult I read the poetry of Langston Hughes, Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath. I read a fantasy series called “Dragon Lance” by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and I loved the Goosebumps series and Hardy Boys series. As I aged, I continued to read poetry, both the classics and contemporary, and I continued to read both fantasy and sci-fi. My book shelf is an odd combination of Star Wars books next to Kurt Vonnegut books next to Chuck Palahnuik books next to the Lord of the Rings.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
I hope it says I was a good human being who touched many lives and will be missed by many.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in the Midwest and while I am certain that has some influence on my writing, my life experiences have more. Working in the service industry and working as a paramedic and nurse has allowed me to see how humans behave in all sorts of situations. One aspect of poetry is trying to discover and speak on human emotions and actions. I think my life experiences up to this point have allowed for the development of the type of poet I am today.
How did you develop your writing?
I have been writing poetry off and on for nearly 2 years. I have taken a variety of poetry classes, both in person and online, and several years ago I decided the only way I was going to get better at writing poetry is to read poetry. And that is what I do, I read poetry nearly every day. I love classic and contemporary and foreign poetry.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
All three are hard in their own right. Getting published or self-publishing is an unique challenge full of disappointments and unexpected experiences. Writing, like any creative, has its up and its downs. Sometimes, I love everything that I write and other times I hate it. But the process of writing is what I love. Marketing is very difficult when you have little to know marketing experiences.
What marketing works for you?
To be honest, I have not found a technique that works fully yet but I am trying a variety of strategies with this book.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Absolutely, poetry can be awfully revealing and it’s hard to think that family and friends will be reading some of the things I wrote, let alone complete strangers.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
My family is endless supportive, both my immediate family and wife’s family. All the books that I have sold so far I am sure have been purchased by either family members or friends. And yes, I feel like I have a very large group of friends who have been extremely supportive.
What else do you do, other than write?
I work full-time as a nurse. I am a father to a 1-year-old and a husband as well. My wife is finishing up an intense healthcare degree so I also am in charge of many things around the house, from cooking to cleaning to laundry. So needless to say, I keep very busy when I am not writing.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I made independent movies for a while and then I was high school English teacher for several years. I worked in sales and the service industry as well. I got into healthcare about 10 years ago working as a patient care tech in a hospital and then a paramedic for an ambulance service. After several years of that, my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, convinced me to attend nursing school. And I currently work as a nurse.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
Anything in the creative world, writing or painting, theatre would be fun as well I think.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
All of the above, I keep small notebook laying all around my house. And I use my laptop, desktop and iPhone to write small little notes and poems. Every 2-3 months I gather up everything that I have written from all these notebooks and such and try to squeeze some life out of them. That is how I start the process of writing my poems.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Working as a nurse fulltime and being a father and husband means I have little time to sleep. I have accepted that I will simply be “perma-tired” for a while.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
A personal goal I set for this book was to sell 1,000 copies. For me, that would be the ultimate success.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I have done a variety of advertising, from blogs, to press releases to video and podcast interviews, Facebook and Instagram ads, and amazon advertising campaigns. I am hoping that some of these things start to pan out and turn into sales.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
Drop of Atom is my second book of poetry that I started writing in 2020. When Covid hit the world and then America, the lockdown was quite the experience for everyone. I tried to capture what was happening in the country and in healthcare as well as personally. I believe I have a unique perspective as both a nurse and a poet. I touch on large subjects like the criminal justice system, racism, healthcare, the American government, and mental health. I also whittle down some of my poems and discuss things like love or loss, death and dying, pain or pleasure, things like that. I wrote this book because I wanted to write a second book of poetry and take my time doing so. I gave myself two years to write and edit this book and I am extremely proud of the final product.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Reading is how I relax and I cannot wait for the day when I have more free time so that I can read the giant pile of books I have building up on my desk and in my kindle.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope that anyone who reads Drop of Atom will simply find one thing inside the pages that they love.