Face Time: Fantasy and Fiction with Book Lover Joshua Gauthier

Joshua W. Gauthier, Lewiston Public Library cataloger, book lover, author and playwright. Submitted photo

It really makes sense: Joshua W. Gauthier is a man of words.

He has had his eye on a writing career since he was a young boy. He has a master’s degree in creative writing and recently published his first novel, a fantasy story about a mercenary named Eli and his war corner Sasha.

It is Gauthier’s considered opinion that writers and librarians are kindred spirits, so it makes sense that somewhere along the way he sought work at his local library.

Lewiston Public Library, that is. There, Gauthier spends his non-writing hours managing collections on the shelves. It’s a job that seems to fit perfectly with his love of words and books and stories.

We caught up with Gauthier recently and asked a few questions about his work, his novel and his aspirations. Here’s what the young writer had to say.

What are you doing at the Lewiston Library? After working in various departments throughout the library, I am now a full-time cataloger. This means that I am primarily involved in adding lots of new material to the collection, as well as managing the existing items in the collection – adult fiction, films and audiobooks, magazines, teen articles, graphic novels and more. It also means that I have the pleasure of seeing all the new items as they come in. Unfortunately, finding the time to actually read all of these books is a whole other challenge.

What inspired you to write this book? I have always had a love for fantasy novels and adventure stories. From series like “The Lord of the Rings” to movies like “Indiana Jones” or “The Mummy” franchise, the ability to step into a new world and experience an exciting story is something I keep coming back to again and again again. These were many of the things I read and watched growing up, and the love of stories never went away. When I started working on “Land of Outcasts”, I wanted to create one of these stories myself – fantastic and strange landscapes, funny characters, dramatic adventures. I wanted a fantasy novel that would be accessible to readers who don’t have time for a 700-page epic. I wanted to write a story that reminded me of as many of the stories I love and make it something that as many people as possible could enjoy. Then, as I played around with ideas of what it could look like, my two main characters finally solidified in my mind and things took off from there.

“Land of Outcasts”, a novel by Joshua W. Gauthier Submitted photo

What does the story imply? “Land of Outcasts” tells the story of Eli, a mercenary gunslinger who loves stories and is tired of conflict, and his snarky battle unicorn partner, Sasha. As the story begins, they lie low in a huge swamp after disturbing a powerful figure back where they came from. While hiding, they meet a woman who hires them to help her find her father, who has been missing for years. Taking the job means going deeper into the swamp, unprepared for the natural hazards, strange creatures and swarms of insects – or the secrets they will reveal along the way.

Is it a coincidence that you are a writer who works in a library? It’s not a coincidence, exactly. I was looking for part-time work while getting my MFA (master of fine arts degree) in creative writing, and an opening at the library seemed like a good fit. It wasn’t necessarily where I expected to be, but I quickly realized that writers and librarians are kindred spirits in many ways—and being around books all day didn’t hurt. The more time I spent in libraries, the more it felt like the right place to be, both as a writer and a lover of books in general. Art and the stories we tell are such important things and I love being able to make this my day job in addition to working on novels. In addition, libraries play a vital role in the local community, so to be doing something I love while also contributing to an area I’ve lived in for many years now is a really exciting thing.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? I’ve always been drawn to good stories and fantasy, but it was around middle school/high school when I first started putting stories down on the page. Once I realized that this was something I enjoyed doing – and that other people seemed to enjoy those stories too – things took off from there. Ever since, I’ve worked across a wide range of fiction genres, while also branching out into playwriting. It’s been great so far and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the stories I hope to tell.

What’s next and where can we find out more? I have a few other projects going on and I’m also hard at work on the sequel to “Land of Outcasts”. It doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s been a lot of fun returning to these characters and sending them off on a whole new adventure. For those interested is my website www.joshgauthierwriter.com. I also share updates on Facebook as Josh Gauthier, Writer, as well as various other social media platforms under @JG_writer.

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