Jasper native publishes first book in trilogy


Joe Luegers

EVANSVILLE — If young Joe Luegers could see himself now, selling copies of a book he wrote and published, he’d probably be amazed.

Luegers, a Jasper native, recently published the first book — called "The Bridge" — in a trilogy. It’s a young adult novel that is part science fiction and part fantasy and follows two young protagonists from different worlds who collide and change each other's lives forever.

Growing up, Luegers always had dreamed of becoming a writer. Just the other day, he found a CD with a 55,000-word story he had written before starting middle school. But like many aspiring authors, life eventually took him in another direction. He became a musician and a music teacher.

“In high school, I joined a rock band and then it became all music all the time,” he said. “I still love music, but it’s definitely become a job. So about five years ago, I started writing again so I could have a hobby outside of the hours and hours of music I had to learn. And I really loved it.”

Luegers, who lives and teaches in Evansville now, wrote his first book a few years ago but mostly just showed it to family and friends. When he wrote "The Bridge," though, he let some of his fifth grade students at Highland Elementary School read it and was thrilled by the response, he said.

“Immediately, I was like, ‘Gosh, this is what I should’ve been writing in the first place,’” he said. “I can’t imagine ever straying from YA (young adult) after this.”

Although the book is marketed for young adults, Luegers said many adults still enjoy similar stories, such as the Harry Potter series, "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent." He still often reads new young adult books, he said.

"The Bridge" is the first book in a trilogy by Jasper native Joe Luegers. Cover art for the book is by Ashley Ellen Frary Art & Design.

“I think the thing that people like is that it’s not challenging,” he said. “Like, I can put on a YA audio book and do the dishes and not worry that I’m missing a word or two.”

In his life, Luegers has heard that there are two kinds of writers: those like Stephen King, who create the initial characters and plot and then see where their writing takes them, and those who plot out every detail in advance. Luegers said he thinks he’s somewhere between the two.

“I usually start a book not exactly knowing where it’s going to go, and I just spend a lot of time daydreaming about it when I’m driving or on recess duty or whatever,” he said. “I do sort of halfway plot out things in my head, but I’m not afraid to just go with random ideas that pop up as I’m writing.”

Unlike most famous authors who typically work on deadline for publishing companies, Luegers said he can write at his own pace, which he enjoys. He wrote the trilogy before the first book was published — about a year per book — so now he’s spending his free time editing the second book.

"The Bridge," which is the first of "The Mindbridge Trilogy," is available in paperback, hardcover, audiobook and e-book. The audiobook features original music and narration from his wife, Alax. It is being distributed by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks and Scribd and is available to libraries through several services.

Although he hopes the book will sell, Luegers said he’s also just happy to share the world he’s created with others.

“The weirdest thing is the fact that I wrote all three of them before starting the publishing process, so for the most part, I’ve been alone with this story for a good three years,” he said. “So hearing thoughts from people actually reading it after being alone with it for so long is super cool.”

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