From time to time, I will post interviews with authors whose books I’ve reviewed on this blog. So, first up is Thomas J. Thorson, author of the Malcom Winters mystery series.
I never reviewed Thomas J. Thorson’s first book, Serendipity. But thus far, I’ve reviewed the books in Thorson’s Malcom Winters mystery series: Heirs Apparent, The Connubial Corpse, The Cosmic Killings, and Bad Fortune. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting a review of his newest addition to this series, Two Lists.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve always been an avid reader even as a young child. I remember trying to write a war novel when I was in junior high–I got about half a page done, it was terrible, and I gave up. My true desire developed when I was an English major in college and spent a lot of time reading great and not-so-great books.
What got you interested in the main subject of your books?
My mom turned me on to Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe when I was young, and I’d read those stories in the dark with a book light when I should have been sleeping. Since then, I’ve always loved mysteries, so it was my go-to choice when I started to write.
Do you have any manuscripts written prior to your first published book that you feel will never be published?
Full manuscripts, no. But I was never without a notebook and pen nearby and would jot down plot ideas or snippets of a scene or character I thought would be fun. Some of them are really good ideas but they never fit into any of my novels, so they’ll probably languish unwritten.
Have you done any writing other than fiction?
I set out to write a mystery but a conversation with my daughter got me distracted and heading down a different path, so my first book called “Serendipity” is non-fiction and focuses on accidental discoveries and chance events that changed the course of history.
How do you handle publishing your books? And what about marketing?
My first novel was put out through a vanity publisher. I was naïve and thought they’d market my book. After that, I’ve self-published and love the total control over the content. I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with a wonderful editor and a talented and knowledgeable friend who does my design and all of the technical stuff required to get the novels printed. I market mostly through social media but frankly am terrible at it.
Do you like the direction in which your writing career is headed? Why or why not?
I’ve never relied on my books as my primary source of income which has allowed me to proceed at my own pace and under my own terms. I set out to write one book but now have my sixth one due out this month, so I’m happy with that. My fifth novel is the last in a series, so I may jump to a different genre just for the challenge. If I never publish again, I’ll be satisfied with and proud of what I’ve done.
Is there any area in which you feel you need help to succeed?
Marketing, no doubt. People who read my books really like them and I get great reviews, but I need to reach a larger audience.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I’ve come to love my characters and the universe I created for them, so wrapping it all up had some pretty significant emotional moments.
If you write a series, have the characters in your series become easier to write about?
This sounds pretentious, but my characters early on took on a life of their own and I would hear their voices telling me what to say and what behavior they would manifest in a particular situation. But yes, it became easier as their personalities and character traits became more established. They could still surprise me though.
What previous jobs have you had? Do you still work at something other than writing?
I’m a real estate attorney working full-time. Writing has always been more of a hobby than a career, although one that takes up most of my time away from work.
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