Stuck in the Rubbermans cage with Joe Picard


It took all summer and a lot of hard work but the Back of the Shed Gang(minus one love-struck member) managed the renovations on the tiny shed on the wharf. Nice eh?

Today, as our first guest in our new shed, we are honoured and humbled to have Joseph Picard with us to share a liquid refreshment and tell us all about his exciting and unique novel, Rubbermans Cage.

Welcome, Joseph Picard  have a seat on my spanking new easy chair. Care to have a refreshment?

Hello! I’m Joe. The books say ‘Joseph Picard’ on the front, since it’s written that way. But it’s pronounced ‘Joe’. I brought my own chair, it was expensive and fancy, and rolls around. Not to disparage that new easy chair, but escaping it might be more hassle than anyone wants. I’ll pass on the energy drinks… those are for writing (and NOT editing) and makes me hard to understand in normal conversation. A Cuba libre would be cool… I don’t drink often, but I declare this a special occasion.

Thank you for coming Joe!  Though I have known you for years, this yahoos are unfamiliar with you, share a little about yourself.

Well, I write ‘speculative fiction’… which is a snobby way of saying science fiction, and/or other ‘high concept’ stuff. When one of your books has a heroine made out of recycled fish and nanites, and her father (who’s made millions of zombies) lives in her skull, and she’s only technically a few seconds old… well, it can be hard to pick labels.

In chronological order, I’m a writer, paraplegic, novelist, and father. All of which fight each other for my time.

I have seen Rubbermans Cage on and of course amazon, and I would love to pick it up, but before I do, could you tell me a little about it?

Well, our hero, Lenth, (just a sloppy pronunciation of ‘length’ due to the length of his …. ARMS (you perv) compared to his Brothers… lives in a small environment. He’s been there his entire life, and has no idea that there’s more than a few people in the world. Or that the rest of the world is even there. Or things like a sky. Every day he works on a job that he has no idea what it’s for, and gets mildly electrocuted by the Rubberman in his ceiling if he doesn’t do what he’s supposed to. But that’s normal, so no biggie. His world starts coming apart when when one his Brothers dies (WTF IS DEATH??) and he sees a stranger (WTF IS A STRANGER??) peek in from above.

Wow, Joe that sounds intriguing!  Is there a particular part of the story that you really enjoyed writing?

Lenth himself is adorably ignorant. Even in a world that would be strange to us, he marvels at things like doorknobs, elevators, and females (WTF IS A WOMAN??) as he explores outside his corner of the environment. He meets people who have odd perspectives, and different kinds of ignorance, and poor confused Lenth just tries to get along.

This chat is going smoothly, the Back of the Shed Gang are behaving themselves but then Jack, high on New Mexico booze, blurts out…

“Hey dude, tell us who your favourite characters are!”

Darth Vader. Yeah I know he’s nothing without the wardrobe and James Earl J… huh? MY characters?

Let’s see. I’ve covered Lenth, but he does fall a bit into the ‘everyman’ role. Leena’s fun. She’s amused by Lenth, she’s playful in a way, also tough as hell when crossed. A bit of a ‘pitbull’ in such an instance. Even more fun perhaps is her main squeeze, Mike. Brazen, kind of shallow when we first meet him… but that is… he’s that way to Lenth, who comes from a group that Mike deems inferior. Oh Mike… he’s in the next book, much of which takes place before Rubberman’s Cage. He wasn’t always so flippant. He’s a hero in his own right, but once on top… I guess he lost some perspective. But now I’m rambling about a book that isn’t even out yet. (Rubberman’s Citizens)

Sorry about that, but Jack’s question brought another question to light, If Rubbermans cage were to be optioned for a movie, who do you see playing your main characters?

That’s a toughie. I want 80’s Kiefer Sutherland to be Mike, mixing in a little of the dark charm he used in Lost Boys towards the latter half of Mike’s reign. (Yes, my casting office is a Tardis, shut up). Leena can be a pre-Farscape Claudia Black. Pff, current Claudia, why not… Lenth? Oh, anyone who can do compassion and confusion.

I haven’t mentioned Six yet… ohhhh, how could I forget Six. Does the name tell you he’s a badguy? HA! Tricked you, he has six toes!….. and he’s a badguy. Sort of. Boy, that’s a toughie… who can do panicy-rage-anger-anguish-misery? I have no idea.… James Marsters pops to mind, but I don’t think he’s as wiry as I see SIX anymore…. TO THE TARDIS!

They will be perfect, Joe.  I could really see those actors playing those parts. I was wondering, as a person who writes on the side, during my down time, my writing process starts with forming the story in my head before I put pen to paper, what is your writing process like?

I start with a concept. A “wouldn’t it be cool if” idea. Then I figure how that could work, in any sort of reality. Rubberman’s Cage turned out to be much more plausible in our world, so technically, it’s not sci-fi. No nanites, no particle-of-the-week, no aliens, no warp drive ghosts or monsters…

Anyway, once I’ve decided to run with a scenario, I do a little world building. What would be around this mess, to let it exist? Then it’s time to sprinkle in some characters. Where’s an interesting starting point? Where’s the end? What’s in the way? Soon this exolves into a point form timeline/outline. It’s never more than a page long, but each line is set to potentially become entire chapters. The outline is rough, and not set in stone, so if the wind blows this way or that, or a character doesn’t want to take that path, things can change. Heck, several people survived Rubberman’s Cage (sometimes to meet DIFFERENT deaths than originally planned) because of choices they make for me, or research I fleshed out while writing.

Sober for once, Terrance is suddenly inspired by a need to interrupt. On his way over to us, he trips over a lobster pot Gerard accidentally left in the middle of the floor, landing on Joe’s lap.

“All of this sounds fascinating but I heard writing is a hell of a lot of work, why do you do it, what do you get out of it?”

(Lick Terrance’s forehead before pushing them onto the floor)
What do I get?
Laid. No wait, that doesn’t happen.
Paid. No wait, that barely happens.
Shelf candy. Yeah, shelf candy. My name on my shelf.. er, wait, that’s awesome, but no.
I want to entertain. To vomit my worlds out into a cohesive thing that other people can go explore. To stumble over one of my ideas and go “cool” or “never thought of that”, or ‘I feel that, too.”

Thanks for the awkward segue, Terrance, now go over with the rest of the b’ys and let me and Joe have our yarn. “Terrance asked you why you like to write, now I want to ask you, is there anything about writing you don’t like?

Not having enough time to flesh out every idea. The time it takes, I suppose. There’s also an ugly moment when writing any book, I think most writers go “uuugh, this isn’t really going anywhere”. Thankfully, my characters take the reigns and show me where to go. By the end, I’m twice as hyped as when I’d started.

When you write, what is it that you hope your readers take away from your story?

Lots of things. I think different people find (and maybe were looking for) different things. Adventure? Sure. Comfort is a big one, in different ways. Closure. The badguy got what they deserved, even if you find out they deserve something different. The romance was explored.. even if not a happy end, explored and not just pondered whimsically. A journey traveled, be it physical or emotional.

Do you have any other stories you are currently writing or are planing to write?

I mentioned Rubberman’s Citizens. Rubberman’s Cage is the start of my second series. As is my habit, each will be complete stories unto their own. Cage introduces the reader to a lot of places through Lenth’s exploration. Citizens focuses on one such area much closer. The series’ world (some readers have called it the Cage, which is not unfitting…) is small compared to the wide real world, but it’s diverse, and has a history to tell, and a future to explore. The Cage is a character all it’s own. Even if each book in the series has its own different heroes, the Cage goes on.

Thanks a million for answering all my questions…and the others, Joe. It has been a real pleasure. As I said before, I have seen Rubbermans Cage online at is there anywhere else your book is available and what formats?

Oh, Amazon’s the only place right now, all of em, or
for Rubberman’s Cage specifically.
Paperback and ebooks are my main formats (Oh, my poor pretty covers reduced to thumbnails for ebooks…) Though I also have hardcovers available at lulu:
Honestly, they don’t make those suckers cheap at all… but there’s a handful of hardcover diehards I want to please. And, yes. Purdy. And fit for wielding like a weapon.

You must be frozen solid by now, Joe and my mates have been pretty greedy with the heat, so I am going to let you go so you can toddle on home and warm up, but before you go is there anything else you want to add?

Oh, I may as well, mention my home page, It links back to the amazon/lulu pages if you try to buy there, but there’s lots to poke around, like videos of varying quality, including an interview with Rubberman Cage’s hero, Lenth. (Played by moi!) And a few funny things. Sort of funny. Mildly amusing? To certain people?


rubbermans cage

And just for kicks, the ‘controversial’ tree that ebook readers won’t see… since it’s on the back of the paperback!
 (transparent gif, looks best on dark backgrounds.)







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