Dwayne S. Joseph began his writing career at the age of thirteen. Commandeering his parent’s computer, he sat for hours on end creating dramatic stories of fiction that earned him the “best storyteller in the Joseph household” moniker. He then went on to win second place in the National Scholastic Writing Competition during his senior year in high school for a short story he wrote, titled “Playtime” (A story that he does plan to develop into a children’s tale someday soon!) The novels at thirteen and the short story in his senior year all helped to propel him on the destined path to becoming a published author at the age of 27, with the release of his first novel The Choices Men Make.
With seven drama-filled novels under his belt, including The Womanizers, Never Say Never, If Your Girl Only Knew, In Too Deep, Til It’s Gone, and short story contributions to four anthology collections, most notably, the Essence best seller, Around The Way Girls, Dwayne has consistently set out to entertain his readers with scenarios and characters that they love and love to hate.
It’s all about growth for Mr. Joseph. He strives to grow and improve with each novel because he feels that’s what the readers deserve. And that’s just what he is determined to do as he is now taking a walk down a much different literary path with the release of his latest two novels, Home Wrecker and Betrayal—darker novels filled with more suspense, more intensity, more violence, more mystery and sex.
With half of his life spent in Brooklyn, New York, the other half spent in Harrisburg, PA, Dwayne now calls Maryland his home where he lives with his wife and three children, where they never fail to wear their New York Giants jerseys every Sunday during the football season! He is currently hard at work on his next novel, Eye for an Eye, the explosive revenge sequel to Home Wrecker, which has been optioned for film or a television series. He is also working on a romantic suspense novel for 2011.
How could she, after all I've done for her?
This is the thought racing through Zeke's mind as he stares at the evidence of his wife's infidelity. The photos were sent to him anonymously and Zeke doesn't quite know how to handle the devastating news—until he catches his son in a compromising position and hatches a plan.
Sam has always been grateful for the opportunities given to him by his father-in-law, who saved him from a life in the streets. But how far is he willing to go now that Zeke is threatening to expose his secret? In order to hold on to everything he has, can Sam bring himself to commit murder?
Betrayal is Dwayne S. Joseph's most ambitious novel to date, and is sure to have your heart racing!
“Betrayal is an intense thriller of the best kind. Each page brought one pounding heartbeat after the other, and the climactic ending left me in a cold sweat. Dwayne S. Joseph has demonstrated his literary prowess and surpassed the competition with this one!” —National bestselling author La Jill Hunt
“Dwayne is back with yet another page turner that is sure to be a winner. If you aren’t a lifelong fan, you will be when you’re done reading Betrayal.” —Anna J, bestselling author of My Little Secret
Cheating, Betrayal, Lies
Tell me, why (or how) did you find yourself developing your story around this topic?
Betrayal just really came to me one day as I was trying to come up with something different. I didn't want to do the usual relationship drama as I had done in the past. I wanted something darker, more intense, more suspenseful. One day, as thoughts were running through my mind, the idea just literally popped into my head... "what if a husband wanted to have his wife killed" If so.. why? The ideas and characters all developed from there.
I almost liken the complexity of lies and cheating to that of a murder mystery. In a mystery, there is always so many layers woven in the story in order to create those twists and turns and whodunit moments. When writing your novel, how intricate, complex were you in developing the weaves of lies and betrayals?
I'm one of those authors who never plan out my book before I write it. A lot of the twists and turns in the book happen literally because I don't know they are going to happen. I like to let the characters come to life and tell me what's going to happen. In a lot of ways, as I write, it's like watching a movie. I will say that as everything happens, I do make it a point to make sure I give readers a "wow" or a "surprise" factor. That certainly happened with Betrayal!
The lies. The cheating. The betrayals. They are all a part of someone's "dirt," and people seem to be all too happy to immerse themselves in others' dirt. Why do you think readers are so fascinated with the tawdry side of characters?
Who doesn't like other people's drama? LOL. I think it's fascinating for readers to get into the "darker" sides of the characters because it's not typical. I think in some ways readers are able to live vicariously through the "darker" characters. Often times they do and say things that readers won't do, but sometimes would love to do! LOL.
Personally, what's the worst thing someone can lie about, and why?
I'd say lying about something happening to family or friends. I'm superstitious about that.
Think about all the books you've read and enjoyed; what character has been the biggest liar, cheater, and betrayal artist, and why?
Wow.. that's tough.. too many to name as I read many, many different types of books. I'll go with the three main characters in my book Betrayal, Zeke, Sapphire and Jewell, because their lies and betrayals had a profound effect on the outcome of the novel.
A Taste of Fiction
“I want you to kill my wife.”
Ezekiel hadn’t expected the words to have flown so freely from his mouth. Smooth. No hesitation. Silk, the way it had come out.
I want you to kill my wife.
He sat back in his chair and watched his son-in-law, Sam, digest the seven fluid words he’d spoken.
I want you to kill my wife.
Air sighed evenly through his nostrils and down to his lungs, where it swirled around momentarily before rising back up and passing back out through his nasal passages. For the first time in a week, breathing didn’t hurt his chest. For the first time in eleven days, the weight which had been bearing down on his shoulders, lessened. It wasn’t much, but it was just enough. He wanted his wife killed. Dead. Gone. Extinct. He intertwined his fingers in his lap.
Sam stared at him, his forehead knotted up. Zeke saw the struggle. The confusion doing the jitterbug with disbelief and fear in his eyes.
“You’re kidding right?”
Sam stared at his father-in-law as his father-in-law stared back at him, a chill creeping up from the base of his spine to the back of his neck. Ezekiel had yet to respond, but in his eyes Sam saw an answer that made his throat dry. He cleared it and said again, “Zeke…you’re…you’re kidding right?”
Zeke looked at Sam and still wouldn’t respond. He just stared and read Sam’s thoughts through the pleading in his eyes. He wanted him to smile and break out in laughter. He wanted him to say that he was indeed kidding.
Ten days ago that would have been the case.
The earth hadn’t rotated off of its axis yet. The stars hadn’t fallen out of the sky. A cow hadn’t jumped over the moon. Pigs hadn’t yet learned to fly.
Eleven days ago, his world hadn’t been turned upside down.
It was a Thursday. It had been cold. The March wind had been brutal and unkind. But it had been sunny and bright, and there had been no snow on the ground.
But then came Friday.
Snow still hadn’t fallen, but the sun had been taken hostage by black clouds, moving ominously in the sky. There wind was gone, but the air’s vicious bite remained.
Zeke said, “Do you know me to kid around, Sam?”
Sam clenched his jaws, squinted his eyes a bit. “You can’t be serious.”
“I’m very serious, Sam.”
Sam shook his head. “Come on, Zeke. This shit’s not funny.”
“I told you, I’m not making any jokes.”
“No way,” Sam said, cracking his knuckles. “No way at all that you’re not fucking with me.”
“Is there a problem?”
“Is there a...” Sam paused and shook his head again. “You’re talking about killing your wife. Shit, you’re talking about me killing your wife. For real…have you lost your fucking mind? Because this shit is crazy, Zeke. The shit coming out of your mouth right now is crazy.”
Zeke locked his eyes on Sam’s. His back remained flat against the leather of his chair. His breathing remained steady. “I’m not crazy,” he said. “And this isn’t crazy. This is what it’s going to take to keep me from ruining your life.”
Sam looked at Zeke intensely, looking for craziness in his father-in-law’s eyes. He cracked a few more knuckles. Cleared his throat. Said, “Zeke…come on…”
Zeke cut him off. “I walked in on you fucking our intern, Sam.”
Sam dragged his hand down over his face, leaned forward in the chair he’d been sitting in and rested his elbows on his knees. “Come on, Zeke. It was a mistake. It didn’t mean anything.”
“I don’t give a shit whether it meant anything or not, Sam. You fucked around on my little girl!”
Sam sat back uncomfortably in the chair. He exhaled. “I…I know and I’m sorry, Zeke. Believe me when I say I regret it.”
Zeke flared his nostrils. He could feel the control slipping away. Bruce Banner was threatening to disappear and leave Sam alone with the Incredible Hulk, who wanted nothing more than to reach across the desk and wrap his thick fingers around Sam’s throat and squeeze until Sam too was extinct.
Eleven days ago.
Zeke received an anonymous package at his office.
A manila envelope with photographs of his wife fucking another man.
She was straddled atop her partner, her back to him. The photographer had skill and one hell of a camera. They’d captured the divine, fulfilled ecstasy plastered on Zeke’s wife’s face beautifully. The way she’d bitten down on her bottom lip. The way her eyes had been rolling into the back of her head. The way she’d been grabbing her breasts and squeezing her nipples.
Zeke had always had a voyeuristic nature about him and had it been anyone else in the photo, he would have unzipped his pants, pulled out his dick and stroked until he exploded all over the expensive photo paper, imagining that his cum were actually being spilled on her breasts, her ass, in her mouth.
But it hadn’t been anyone else.
It had been his wife.
And she was enjoying another man’s dick.
After looking at the photographs, he threw up whatever food he’d eaten that day. He dry heaved when he had nothing left.
He looked at the pictures again. Maybe his eyes had been playing tricks on him. He had been working longer hours preparing for another opening. Maybe the fatigue had fucked with his head and helped create an image that hadn’t been real. The sickest kind of mirage.
He stared at the pictures. Waited for the image to change as he rifled through them. Waited for the image to fade away the way a pool of fresh water in the middle of the desert did when the sun was at its unbearably highest point.
And waited some more.
Then he gagged, dry heaved again.
Unlike the water that disappeared just before you ate sand, the image of his wife on top of another man had no disappearing act.
Zeke went over the manila envelope looking for a name, an address…something letting him know who had sent the pictures. He looked at the back of each 8x11 glossed copy.
No coded message viewable under the light or in the dark.
For hours he sat with the photographs spread out before him, his mind working, wondering, questioning.
He thought back to the last time they’d made love. Loving words were spoken, tender caresses and gentle kisses given. All seemed right with the world, despite their sparse sex life. Had that been the reason for his wife’s infidelity? Had his hectic work schedule pushed her into another man’s arms?
Hours passed. Zeke just sat. Unmoving. Barely breathing. Just staring.
The woman he loved more than life itself.
He stared at her long and hard. He would have been staring at the man too, but his face hadn’t been captured in any of the photos. Unless the photographer was the man himself, which Zeke doubted, then the photographer was sending a clear message that the man didn’t matter. It could have been any man.
At his wife.
At the pleasure in her beautiful face, which had instantaneously become as ugly as sin to him. His temples throbbed with a sharp pain as questions rand through his mind.
Who had sent the pictures?
Were they trying to punish him? Punish her? Punish them both?
What was their motive?
Was another package on the way?
Would it be worse?
Hell, could it possibly have been any worse than what he had already received?
It was nearly one in the morning before he slid the photos back into the envelope and then put the envelope in his briefcase and headed home, his head and heart aching. During the entire forty-five minute drive, he kept asking himself what the hell he was going to do when he got home. Would he throw the photos in his wife’s face and demand to know who the fuck she’d been riding? Would he threaten her and throw her out of the house? Would he lose it, say to hell with the threat, and just put his hands on her? He didn’t know.
He was pissed.
Felt damn near homicidal.
He strangled his steering wheel and drove at speeds above ninety miles an hour on the sparse New Jersey Turnpike. Fortunately for him and his wife, he was pulled over by the finest in highway patrol. The twenty minute delay had given his common sense just enough of a chance to catch up to the rage that had him rocketing towards an OJ Simpson like home arrival.
Sitting with red and blue flashing lights spiraling behind him, he calmed down enough to rationalize that, one, he didn’t want to go to jail, and two, that ending his marriage meant splitting his money with a lying, cheating bitch.
It wasn’t easy, but with the three hundred dollar ticket thrown beside him, he went home that night and somehow managed to pretend as though he’d never received the anonymous package.
The next day was incredibly difficult for him, as he flip-flopped emotionally throughout the day, going from sadness to hate to rage, and then back to sadness, back to hate, back to rage. Only by staying away from the house for sixteen of the twenty-four hours in the day, and then sleeping in his home office for the final eight, had he been able to make it to Sunday. On Sunday, after a hypocritical appearance at church, he went to the office to be alone. Sadness had disappeared and hate and rage were the only emotions coursing through him.
He had to get away. He couldn’t handle being close to her. He couldn’t look at her anymore. He couldn’t take the sound of her voice. The phoniness in it. He couldn’t handle the smell of her Victoria Secret’s perfume. One he’d bought for her. Sunday he avoided committing murder by going to the office to be alone to think.
How many of them had she been living a lie?
How many of them had he been played for a fool?
Damn those photos. Damn whoever had sent them.
She’d been his everything. His first and what would be his last true love. She betrayed him. Betrayed his trust. His devotion. Before the photos he loved and respected her.
After the photos…after the photos, love resigned and hate took its place in his heart, beside a small section occupied by heartache.
He needed to figure out what his next move would be. They had a life together. They’d raised a daughter. They’d created memories. Memories that he wished he could forget. He had to have her out of his life, because there just was no forgiving her.
At the office alone.
He’d been hoping for some sort of an answer that day. A way to remain latched on by the fingertips of one hand to the edge of the cliff. That day, he found, in Sam’s office, the answer he needed to help him grab hold of the cliff with his other hand. Five days later, he was halfway to pulling himself back to salvation. Or losing his sanity. It all depended on which mirror in the spectrum one was looking through.