Welcome, Tom. What is your book about?
I’ve had two books published this year, and I’ve been fortunate enough that both have been Amazon bestsellers. The first, Beyond Nostalgia, is the story of two underclass kids who for twelve months shared a world-class love affair, only to be ripped from each other’s arms and reunited twenty-four years later. The second, The Last American Martyr, is the story of an unemployed doorman who writes a book about the unfair spread of wealth in American and a year later is awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. When he returns home from Stockholm, he and his wife are forced to run for their lives with the corporate elite hot on their trail.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
Some of the events in Beyond Nostalgia are based on my real-life experiences. The thoughts and values of Thomas Soles, the MC of The Last American Martyr, are based on my own.
How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
I usually have a vague idea of my stories are about when I sit down to right them, but I put myself in my MC’s shoes and let him do the walking after that. Often I steer him, but just as often I follow him.
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
I’ve said this before in other places, but you never finish a story, you abandon it. No matter how many drafts you do, eventually you have to let it go. I did nine drafts of Beyond Nostalgia and sometimes, during that ninth draft, I’d spend a full hour reworking a single paragraph that I’d overhauled eight times before. A writer can go over and over a manuscript forever and keep making changes. When you’re confident that you’ve given it ninety-nine percent, ya gotta let it go.
How has your background influenced your writing?
My background has been a huge influence on my writing. Other than what a writer has lived, he or she has nothing else to work with other than stories he has heard from other folks and what he can conjure up. Those are the only three wells a writer can pull from, and they are all equally important.
Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?
Yes, Pat, I’m a morning writer. Hemingway used to say that you should write first thing–that you shouldn’t read a newspaper first or anything else. Everybody is different, but that is what works for me. Rarely does anything I write come easy. I’m what I call a grinder. A one thousand word morning is a good one for me. When I’m done with that, I feel like I’ve run a marathon, and it’s time to kick back.
Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?
Not really. I try to write something that has meat on its bones. I try to pen something that portrays the human condition in its truest sense.
What is the easiest part of the writing process?
For me it’s definitely the rewrite. It is much more difficult for me to get my original thoughts down than to dress them up later.
Does writing come easy for you?
Like I said a few questions back, I’m a grinder. Not only that but I have a problem coming up with worthy ideas. I want to be darn sure that before I commit myself to writing a novel-length story that I feel my idea has substance and a purpose.
Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?
Yes, I have a couple of spiral notebooks lying around my place somewhere. But I haven’t seen them in ages. The ideas were all scrawled with good intentions, but I don’t use them.
How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?
One, right now—the novel I’m working on. And it’s creeping around up there rather than swirling. I’ve got some scenes and characters in mind that really excite me. Now all I have to do is pull them all together into one neat package. I’m hoping my two MC’s will help out with that. Like I said, I like to give my characters a free rein to do what they want. Once they begin to lead me I embellish and add along the way. Right now, for the past few days, they’ve been stubborn and lazy. But I’m sure that will change soon.
Where can people learn more about your books?
The best place to investigate my books is on their Amazon pages. Of course both Beyond Nostalgia and The Last American Martyr have story descriptions on their pages, but they also have lots of five-star reviews that I’m awfully proud of. Some of the things that have been said about them absolutely stun me. Beyond Nostalgia has been out the longest and it has 33 five-star reviews. If you check out some of its reviews, you’ll see that it has been called “A Gone With the Wind for the twentieth century” and compared with such works as Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Steinbeck’s stuff, and quite a few others. While I find every one of them ever so flattering and I deeply appreciate them, it seems a lot of folks have more confidence in me and my books than I do.
Beyond Nostalgia’s Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Nostalgia-ebook/dp/B00650O686/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1320917795&sr=1-1
The Last American Martyr’s Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-American-Martyr-ebook/dp/B005GFM764/ref=pd_sim_kinc1/184-9415842-1837338?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
Pat, you can find out more about me at my website, which is in its infancy. http://tomwintonauthor.com/