Sunday 14 June 2020

Call Me Joe by by Martin Van Es & Andrew Crofts @AndrewCrofts @The_JoeProject @RedDoorBooks #CallMeJoeBook #RandomThingsTours

The world is on the brink of disaster.
The environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. Fear and confusion seep into all parts of everyday life now, more than ever, the world needs one voice, one guide...
One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man - call him Joe - claiming to be the son of God.
Can Joe bring the world's most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind?
Can he convince us all to follow him before it's too late?
In this compelling and prescient novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our time and imagines a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world and all the life that calls it home.

Call Me Joe by Martin Van Es and Andrew Crofts was published in paperback on 11 June 2020 by RedDoor Press.

As part of the Blog Tour, I'm delighted to host an interview with the author Martin Van Es here on Random Things.

Q&A with Call Me Joe author, Martin van Es

Who do you hope will read Call Me Joe? Who is your ‘ideal’ reader?
I hope that my new novel will be read by anyone who loves a beautiful and exciting story but is also interested in the main theme within the story: human survival on Earth. The book poses questions such as what should our leaders be doing (collectively) to halt the destruction of the planet? What could we do individually as a world citizen? Can the dogmas of different religions be put into perspective to practically help the global population?

Call Me Joe has been described as ‘apocalyptic fiction’ and seems to be proving popular with female readers in particular. It is for fiction fans who believe that most of the current - primarily male, elderly – leaders of the world are out of touch with reality and are self-serving; and that radical new forms of government are urgently needed.

What is your dream - for after the book is published? 
I dared ‘to be the change I want to see in the world’ (Gandhi) from the moment I became a grandfather. When my first grandchild was born, my whole perspective changed. I hope that after reading this book people will feel inspired to make some changes within themselves. My dream is that our world leaders discuss the SWOT analysis of mankind that is included in the novel, and let us know in an honest and transparent way (ideally on a maximum of one A4 piece of paper!) what their joint vision is. It’s ambitious, I realise, but that’s my dream.

What motivated you to write Call Me Joe?
I have had ideas around the creation of ‘The Joe Project’ for many years, but to maximise impact and to bring those ideas to life, I thought a book would be a good place to start. With Call Me Joe, I want to contribute to the discussion on how the human race can survive. I doubt very much if our world leaders feel the responsibility to set up a global survival strategy together. But they must find solutions to the current problems and quickly otherwise it is ‘game over’ for our future generations. Call Me Joe offers some radical solutions wrapped up in a page-turning adventure story.

Are you a religious man yourself?

 I’m sorry, no. I am very interested in religion and I have to admit that I would find it sort of disappointing if there were absolutely nothing when we die. But in that case, we wouldn’t know, would we? But no, I am not religious, I cannot believe in a god that has created everything. However, I wouldn’t mind if that were the case.
What’s the story behind the SWOT analysis – unusual to see that in a fiction book?

As an entrepreneur, I have learned to think outside of the box. I believe our world leaders should do the same to tackle the crises facing our planet today. In my experience, a good and honest SWOT analysis is the basis for long-term solutions.

What will the world be like in 25 years?

No one can know for sure, or predict with a high probability. The coronavirus crisis confirms this more than ever. But we can be confident that change will be the only constant. What I want to warn in my book is that if we do not change anything essential in the direction of global society and in our own behaviour as individuals, we will live in a world that is downright unattractive. We are then close to 10 billion people and are going to be ravaged by miserable climatic conditions, which in turn will lead to scarcity of essential raw materials, clean drinking water and food. We will see a massive increase in energy consumption. Large groups of the world's population will be forced to flee to ‘better’ places, where they will not be welcomed.

The powerful and wealthy of the earth have been able to greatly expand their power because of their access to human improvement programs, big data, extremely advanced artificial intelligence, and autonomous and merciless fighting machines. In the future, people who can afford it will be able to plug information flows directly into their cortex. And they can remove bad experiences like heartbreak.

Is this too pessimistic a picture? Why? Aren’t we going in that direction already? Who is stopping this development? I don't like to think of my grandchildren living in such a society. And perhaps it is already much worse and as a species we are already largely extinct and / or we are dominated by machines?

If you find the above scenario nonsense, I’d say it’s best you don't read Call Me Joe.
If you want to be fed with a possible solution, then I encourage you to read Call Me Joe.

The book is written by you alongside a ghost-writer, Andrew Crofts, tell us more about the collaborative writing model used for this book?
Well, I made up the story lines, and I had a very clear idea on what kind of book I wanted to have published. I discussed the basics of the story with a lot of people and they all loved it. They stimulated me to write the book, but I had no experience and education as a writer at all. It is a profession. And I became conscious that the story about Joe is far too good to just give it my “best try”.

Happily, there were two very wise ladies who advised me to hire a ghost-writer. The Dutch publisher of the book found Andrew Crofts, promoting him as the best ghost-writer in the world. Andrew was interested, so I went to London and we chatted about the book, and I immediately decided I wanted to work with Andrew. Then I invited him to the Dutch island Terschelling, and we spent some time there, discussing all the topics in the book. We really liked and inspired each other. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I really love his writing style. He is a great man to work with, he always sticks to his promises, he has a lot of humour and a great way with words. His writing technique is unbelievably strong. I really loved writing a book with Andrew Crofts. It made our book an excellent one.

How did you come up the 12 life guidelines?
I grew up with the Ten Commandments. Some think that these are largely outdated in terms of content and wording and have often been overtaken by legislation. I have tried to establish a universal moral compass through twelve simple guidelines. I determined this concept through my own life experiences, self-insight, by reading a lot of books and watching interviews with great thinkers. In all the interviews I conducted with experts in various fields, I asked them to read the life guidelines, and asked if they would like to remove or add any, aiming to keep the total at 12. This process led to a limited number of mutations. Over time, most people were able to fully agree with the twelve guidelines featured in Call Me Joe.

Why is the book mostly based in New Zealand?

The people of New Zealand, the Kiwis, call their country ‘God’s own country’. I checked it out during six weeks with my wife in a camper. I have to admit, it’s by far the most beautiful place in the world. That’s not only because of the beautiful nature, but also because of the people. They are so kind, their hospitality is enormous and they’re proud of that. During the six weeks, I didn’t meet one unkind, unfriendly person. When I came back to the Netherlands, it took me one hour to meet several unkind, unfriendly people, in the supermarket. I think that our friend Joe made a good decision to choose New Zealand as the alternative place to go, besides Jerusalem. A second reason is that it enabled me to deduct part of my travel costs, from taxes because it was field research.

What is the next step, after publishing this book? Do you have any big ideas? The concept is The Joe Project, with this book being step one. Do you have any big, hairy, audacious goals for the next steps?

Well, to be honest, it depends on the success of the book. If it proves popular, and the majority of the readers like the book, and the solution suggested in the book, I’m pretty sure there will be a second book. And something beautiful could arise out of The Joe Project, which is my wider goal beyond the book. I don’t know what could happen, let’s see in which way the project develops. My dream is to have a global agenda for the future of the human race on the agenda of our world leaders. This dream could use massive endorsement – all help accepted!

Martin van Es

Martin van Es is a Dutch entrepreneur, father and grandfather. Born in 1959, the youngest of three children, he studied clinical psychology in Groningen, but got distracted by partying and a permanent lack of money. In 1986, he became a father to his daughter, and his son joined the world in 1989, during this time he decided it was time to study again and start living more seriously.

After graduating in international marketing, Martin took a job as a purchasing director of a partnership of 28 wholesalers, enabling him to travel the world. He then became director of a packaging wholesaler in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Over 14 years he developed the company alongside his team to create a leading player in the international packaging industry.

In 2005, Martin sold the company to the largest distributor in the packaging world, and he ventured into volunteering, investing and advising companies. MooiWeer, on the beautiful island of Terschelling, is a father and son enterprise, of which Martin is particularly proud.

Between 2013 and 2017, martin worked as MD for a large, international, family-owned group of packaging wholesale companies specialised in environmental issues. The role, and the birth of his first two grandchildren, have had a massive influence on Martin.

He started writing Call Me Joe in 2017 and hopes the book will provoke conversation, challenge the status quo, and encourage people to question more about what is happening in the world, to question their leaders, and to consider their role in the future of the planet.

Andrew Crofts

Having been introduced by Dutch publisher, Geert Kimpen, Martin Van Es and Andrew Crofts spent a great deal of time together at Andrew’s home in Sussex and Martin’s home on the remote island of Terschelling. There were long evenings talking beside log fires and long meals in beach cafes as they worked out every detail of the story which had been brewing for many years inside Martin’s head, turning it into The One – who can save the world.

Andrew is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than a hundred books, both fiction and non-fiction, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He has also guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing. Between 2010 and 2020 he has written with authors in the USA , Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, India and Africa .

Andrew’s name first became known among publishers for the stories he brought them by the otherwise disenfranchised. Travelling all over the world he worked with victims of enforced marriages in North Africa and the Middle East, sex workers in the Far East, orphans in war-torn areas like Croatia and dictatorships like Romania, victims of crimes and abused children everywhere.

The enormous success of these books brought many very different people to his door; first came the celebrities from the worlds of film, music, television and sport, and then the real elite in the form of world leaders in business and politics.

Andrew has also published his own fiction, most recently What Lies Around Us and Secrets of the Italian Gardener, which both draw on his experiences ghostwriting for the powerful and wealthy.

His books on writing include Ghostwriting, (A&C Black) and The Freelance Writer’s Handbook, (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years and Confessions of a Ghostwriter (Friday Project).

Throughout his bestseller, The Ghost, Robert Harris quotes Andrew’s book, Ghostwriting. Harris’s book went on to become a major movie by the same name, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGregor as the eponymous ghost.

Andrew was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors in London from 2012 to 2015. He lectures on the subject of making a living from writing and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing. 

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