Up close with: Local author Joshua Dilbert

| 08/09/2019
CNS Local Life
Joshua Dilbert with his two novels

(CNS Local Life): At age 24, Joshua Dilbert has already written and published two books, starting his first novel, The Mordenham Acres, when he was only 18. Always interested in writing, he is continuing to hone his craft while working fulltime in customer service at the Cayman National Bank branch on Cayman Brac, where Dilbert was born and has always lived. If that weren’t enough, Dilbert is also taking online courses after work through Walden University in Minnesota, in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

His parents, Juliet and Erlington “Junior” Dilbert, have been very supportive of his literary efforts and think “it’s fantastic” that he has written books, he says. And while many young people seem to be heading from Cayman Brac to the “big city” of Grand Cayman, Dilbert is content to stay put. “The peace and quiet are conducive to writing,” he explains, adding simply, “It’s my home.”

CNS: What was your greatest challenge in writing your first book?

Joshua Dilbert: Promotion and sales of the book. I always thought it was the other way around, until I got published. Here in Cayman it sometimes feels like pulling teeth to get an answer to an email or get a little press for my books, but you do have to be savvy to get what you want. If you can’t get in through the front door, you might have to enter through the window! But seriously, talking to people directly and calling frequently is best. I have adopted the ‘will not give up until I get an answer’ approach. But in time, people will approach you instead of you approaching them. It just takes patience and thinking outside the box. 

CNS: Did you always want to be a writer?

JD: Yes. I always wanted to publish a book, even from high school days, but could never develop the right story. After The Mordenham Acres got published, my passion for it really grew. Writing is always in the back of my mind somewhere. 

CNS: What inspired you to write The Mordenham Acres?

JD: Honestly, the idea came from above. It literally popped into my head about five years ago. But during the writing process some influences came from children’s books I read as a child, namely Fables by Arnold Lobel, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and Lon Po Po by Ed Young.

CNS: What would you advise other young people who want to take up writing?

JD: It is not always easy, but it is very satisfying. Seek the help of former English teachers, or family and friends. You don’t have to go about it alone. Also, remember that there are a million and one publishers out there. If you get rejected don’t feel discouraged, move onto the next one. Most important, whatever opportunity you get to promote your book or get it stocked, please take it, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

CNS: Could you talk about your second book, Sarma?

JD: Sarma concerns Joaquin, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. He has recently been placed in a nursing home, receiving a few weekly visits from his daughter and twin granddaughters. On one particular visit, he recalls a dream he had at age sixteen; in it, he experiences an alien invasion, eventually metamorphoses into a reptilian-like creature and experiences an apocalyptic event.  

CNS: Your first two books are so different from each other. Where do all those ideas come from?

JD: The two books are different because The Mordenham Acres is geared for younger children while Sarma is geared for older children; however they are both science fiction books. My ideas stemmed from children’s books I used to read as a child, as well as science fiction television programmes such as Doctor Who. I would also say that some of my ideas came from personal experiences. 

CNS: Is there another book in your future?

JD: I am presently working on a book that touches on gambling in the Cayman Islands and some of the socioeconomic realities that the characters face living here. It is set in all three Cayman Islands and is really a coming-of-age story. 

CNS: What are your academic/career goals?

JD: To further develop my writing aspirations via courses and to climb the corporate ladder at my current workplace.

CNS: What is one thing you would like everyone to know about you?

JD: That I have so many ideas that I feel that I can hardly contain them sometimes! I will get them out in time though.


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Category: Books, Language, Up close

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Joshua is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. So happy to see him pursuing his dream.

    Sue Morrison

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. He has been telling stories since he was a lil pickney, always very entertaining.