It's Book Review Wednesday, but seeing as I'm sick as a dog, I can't bring myself to read anything. Instead, I've conducted an interview with Mr. Thom Reese, the author of the book I will be featuring next Book Review Wednesday...
About the Author:
is the author of the novels, A SAVAGE DISTANCE, THE DEMON BAQASH
, DEAD MAN'S FIRE
, CHASING KELVIN
, and THE EMPTY
, along with the short story collection, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER & MADNESS
. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Several of Thom's audio dramas have been published on CD and MP3 formats. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home with his wife in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main characters in my new novel, A SAVAGE DISTANCE, are Marc and Dana Huntington, a husband and wife rescue and recovery team. He’s former Delta Force and left under a cloud of disgrace. She’s former MI6 which is roughly equivalent to the British CIA. They make their livings by collecting reward money for rescuing missing persons and recovering lost or stolen items of great value. They both have personal issues plaguing them, Marc has a prescription substance abuse problem and Dana is dealing with the aftereffects of a brutal attack on her. They are still very much in love but these issues have impacted them to the point where they are living separately.
In A SAVAGE DISTANCE they work independently of one another, Marc attempting to rescue the kidnapped child of a Nishati Azibo, who is the oppressive tyrant of a small African nation. And as if that’s not bad enough, she’s a sorceress in the service of a demon god. That, as you might expect, causes problems for Marc. There are plenty of twists and turns as well as significant supernatural elements to this side of the story. Meanwhile, Dana’s inner struggles have led her to track a Hoodoo-inspired serial killer/rapist across the southwestern United States. The characters have a lot going on and are multifaceted. As well, the supernatural elements impact Marc and Dana in unexpected ways.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Wow! It may be hard to believe, but I’ve never really given this any thought. The characters of Marc and Dana were birthed on a weekly audio drama radio program that I wrote and then co-produced with my wife, Kathy. Neither of the actors that played Marc and Dana in the audio dramas resemble the character descriptions in the books. Dana had a Vietnamese mother and a Caucasian British father and so has a euro-Asian appearance. And Hunt has severe scaring on his face due to an explosion on his final mission in Iraq. That said, minus the scars, Matt Damen is pretty close to Marc’s description and Lucy Lu might work for Dana. But both are probably a decade older then the characters are in the book. Halle Berry might be a good choice for Nishati Azibo.
Why do you write?
Because I can’t stop myself. Seriously, it’s become such a big part of my life that I can’t imagine not writing. I write seven days a week and have done so for years. Some days may only be an hour and then another day twelve, but I do write every day. It’s just who I am.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. I’m always thinking about my current projects and tend to be aware of interesting people that I could use as models for characters and for interesting settings that I can use as locales. All of these are modified for the story. I do a lot of meshing various ideas together. As far as plots go, I think I’ve trained myself to be in writing mode throughout the day. So an off the cuff comment, a news story, a strange dynamic between two people, any of these things can trigger a plot idea or the setting for a scene that I’ve already planned. I’m a real pack rat when it comes to ideas.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve always thrived on creative outlets. Whether it be writing, music, art, acting, whatever! As to writing, I constantly have story ideas flitting about my brain. The ideas come very naturally to me. But I had to work on my craft for quite a while. It’s not that I had no natural ability. I think that was there. But like anything else, it takes practice and perseverance to truly excel at something. I see growth with every book I write and hope I continue to do so. Life is about growing and I’m forever seeking to grow as a writer.
What genre are your books?
I tend to walk a tightrope between genres. At my core, I’m a speculative fiction writer, which refers to the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres. My stories tend to have elements of all three along with some thriller trademarks thrown in. Home base for me is a story with supernatural elements, but this isn’t always present. My book, THE EMPTY, for instance, really has a science fiction concept at its core, but nothing supernatural.
What draws you to this genre?
It’s what I read. It’s what I enjoy. I’m drawn to stories that take the reader outside of the normal existence of life. I’ve always found that taking characters away from the ordinary often allows the writer to explore issues and traits of humanity from a “safe place.” The circumstances are not possible in real life and so readers are sometimes more comfortable confronting what might be difficult or controversial issues in a purely fictional setting.
In what formats is your book available?
My books are available in print and eBooks. I also wrote and co-produced, with my wife, three audio drama CD sets. These are full cast recordings with sound effects, original music, the works. They’re available on CD and MP3.
What is your favourite book and why?
If I can only pick one I’d have to say John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.” It’s not in my genre but I’ve read it three times now and intend to read it again. The characters are so rich, the prose so vibrant. The last time I read it I was tempted to go directly back to page one and start all over again. I just didn’t want to leave those characters.
What is your favourite quote?
Oh, I’m sure it’s something silly. Maybe, “I’m Batman,” or, “Luke, I’m your father,” or “This parrot is dead!” Or maybe, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
What is your favourite film and why?
These questions keep getting harder! I’m terrible at this. There are so many and I’m sure that after I answer I’ll think, “Wow, that was stupid, Thom. You forgot all about – fill in the blank
– which is actually the favorite. I think I might go for the original Wolf-Man, though. The one with Lon Chaney Jr. I’ve always loved werewolves and that’s where it all started.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
On Earth… And still writing.
What is your biggest fear?
On a quasi-humorous note, not living long enough to read all of the books that I already own but have not yet had a chance to read. But more seriously, not having enough opportunity to spend quality time with each of my daughters, all of whom are now grown and living in different states. The other is something like Alzheimer’s or dementia. I always want to be me. Any disease that takes away the person that I am would be horrible to me.
If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?
I used to be a competitive swimmer, so something with water. Maybe Waterboy! Yeah, Waterboy has a nice ring to it. And, considering my stellar physique, my costume would be anything that’s not a Speedo.
What secret talents do you have?
I don’t know how secret it is, but I play guitar and bass. I also have an amazing ability to fall asleep during any movie or television show in less than a second’s time. I guess you could call it my super power.