Landfall - An Interview with the Author's Son - Peter Jablonski

Note: We're honored to be publishing Landfall. Not only because it's a terrific book, but also because of the unusual circumstances. The author, Joseph Jablonski, died suddenly last May. Only days before, Danny Wynn, author of  Man from the Sky, had told us he'd passed along our name to his friend Joe. 

Many months later, Peter Jablonski contacted us to see if we'd be interested in publishing his father's novel. We read it and loved it. 
Here is our interview with Peter.

Publishing a book is hard enough when you’re the author, what made you want to publish this book on behalf of your late father?

One thing I was really sad about when my father died was that he didn’t get more of his work published. When I gave his eulogy, I told everyone that I was going to do whatever I could to get more of his work published.  

I knew he felt discouraged that he had only had Three Star Fix, and an Op-Ed in the NY Times published (“Pirate Nights” in 2013), but he didn’t really like to dwell on his disappointments. Over the years, he talked less and less about his publishing prospects and I eventually stopped asking - so this was all sort of sad for me. I knew he worked on his writing almost every day and that his work was very good and deserving of getting published.  

I felt like he got discouraged easily when it came to searching for publishers, so after he died, I wanted to find a way to get his writing published; sort of to fulfill an unfulfilled dream of his. I contacted my father’s writing buddy and novelist Danny Wynn about it and he guided us towards Bacon Press Books. I was so thrilled when I sent Michele Orwin the first manuscript for LandFall and she wrote back saying it was "pretty close to brilliant."

Have there been challenges in publishing you didn’t expect?

All the editing and marketing questions have been challenging, but my mother, Darlyn Jablonski, has really worked hard editing with Lorraine Fico-White, and getting the manuscript into shape. The marketing aspect is definitely challenging since my father has passed away. So there is no Facebook or Twitter account he can manage or book signings he can attend. One idea we have and plan to do is to get the book narrated and onto Audible.com. 

Can you talk a little bit about what Joseph Jablonski was like as a writer? What prompted him to take up writing in mid-life?

I don’t know why my dad loved to write, but even from his mid-20s he was writing pretty entertaining journals and loved to relate sea stories. He was a magnificent story teller and other authors would tell him to write down the words exactly as he told them. 

Before he passed away, he had expanded his stories to include a young adult series called The Sasquatch Detective Agency, which was born out of telling my son bedtime stories about two teenage cousins, Jack and James, and their adventures in tracking, interacting with, and protecting Sasquatch. We were all very entertained by these stories, to be honest.  

Of course, as I think most writers probably are, he was a big reader- a true lover of literature- this also gave him lots of inspiration. One thing about my dad was that he never seemed to suffer from writer’s block- the words just always flowed for him it seemed.

What authors did he admire or influenced him?

Joseph Conrad was one of his favorites. He read so much - mostly fiction. He read across a wide range of various authors.

What was his favorite book?

Heart of Darkness was one of his favorites.

How would you describe Landfall? And why did he write this book?

Landfall is a dark and mysterious book that settled into my subconscious unlike any of his other stories I had read. Even years after reading the first draft, which was a short story based on a true story, I never forgot the dread and sense of darkness he portrayed with this huge monitor lizard belonging to this slightly, crazy person on a freighter crossing the Pacific.

He wrote the book because it was one of his many sea stories. It is based on a true story of something that happened while my dad was sailing (although it did not happen on the ship he was on).

This is the second book with Jake Thomas as the main character, do you know if Jake is based on anyone?

To me, it seems obvious that Jake is based on my dad. Especially in the first published book, Three Star Fix, which is about a cadet’s first voyage to sea. It is kind of interesting to me that my dad inserted Jake Thomas into the lead role in Landfall (which is based on a true story of which my dad was not a part of). I never did think to ask my dad why he put Jake into this particular story.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know?

Just that I’m very proud that my mom and I got Landfall published and I really want to thank Michele Orwin at Bacon Press Books for believing in this novel. When I look at the cover and marketing material that has been generated so far for Landfall, I think of my dad and how proud he would be if he were still alive.  

For me, this whole process is partially about honoring him and fulfilling one of his main unfulfilled dreams in life- which was to publish more novels.


Peter lives in Mill Valley CA with his wife and nine-year-old son. In addition to managing rental properties in New York City, he is a business banker with Wells Fargo in San Rafael. He is also a painter. One of Peter's paintings, Long Beach, is used for the cover of Landfall