Today I have the privilege of introducing author C. Kevin Thompson.
Kevin is the author of The Serpent's Grasp published by OakTara. We not only share the same publisher, but an education background and a childhood that wasn't filled with books.
So...let's meet Kevin:
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself….
I’m 29, GQ Cover-handsome, and drive a Rolls-Royce (my other car is a Maserati). Now, that’s fiction! Fantasy fiction at that! In the real world, I’m an assistant principal at a local high school by day and a writer by anytime I can steal at night, on weekends, over holidays, you name it. I would love to have my Plan “B” become Plan “A,” so if anyone reading this would like to help a brother out, here’s my website: www.ckevinthompson.com. I don’t care where you purchase my book (soon to be books), I just appreciate you helping this brother out, so THANK YOU in advance.
I’m married, been so for 31 years this coming August to my wonderful wife and writing supporter, Cindy. We have three daughters. Yes, I got out-voted on many a movie night and watched a boat load of chick flicks. We have three grandchildren, two boys and a girl, and two more on the way in November and January. We enjoy them immensely and wish we had had them first. Just kidding. We live in Central Florida where I was born and raised (Cindy is a northern transplant…Thank God for transplants J).
Congratulations on 31 years married and your grandchildren. What a joy!
So, did you read a lot as a child?
No. I actually hated reading. I only read things I had to read for school and hated it, every word. It wasn’t until I was 13 when my mother took a friend of mine and me to Daytona Beach for a weekend. It was raining the Friday night we arrived, so we went and watched Jaws, the big summer blockbuster that had just come out (Okay, movie buffs and math geeks, now you can start doing the math to find out how old I am). Later that evening, I saw the book in a store, picked it up, and started thumbing through it. My mom asked if I wanted it. I said, “Sure.” So, she bought it. That book turned me on to reading. I had finally found a genre I liked. Wanting to be a marine biologist at the time, it was right up my alley. By the way, for all you reading teachers out there, that’s the key. Most students today hate reading like I did because they haven’t found anything that interests them yet. As a teacher, you have to get inside their heads (scary thought) and find out what they want to do (at this stage of their maturation process…and it will probably change) when they get out of school. Once you narrow the topics, target those areas of reading.
That's good to know since I will teach writing this fall to 7th and 8th grade students. What books do you read now? What is your favorite genre?
What books do I read now? Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m all over the map. I read books that author friends ask me to read and review which takes me into areas I sometimes never travel. I also research a great deal, which really takes me into forays in which I never pictured myself involved. I just finished a book about bioweapons and what the Russians have been doing since the 1980s. Scary stuff. I also have five or six books going at once; fiction and non-fiction. Right now, I’m reading:
- The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg
- The Gabon Virus by Paul McCusker & Walt Larimore
- Putin’s Labyrinth by Steven Levine
- Lab 257 by Michael Carroll
- Unleash the Writer Within by Cecil Murphey
- Plot versus Character by Jeff Gerke
- And I was just sent a book to review which I’ll start soon: Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea party Movement by Jonathan Wakefield
You know, after looking at that list, I never thought of myself as having ADHD, but maybe there’s something to it, because…..squirrel!
As for my favorite genre, thrillers & mysteries. I like books that keep you guessing. I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and would love to write stories for the Conan Doyle Trust. However, it seems to be overdone these days (that’s a three-pipe dilemma in its own right, and I was never one for the 7% solution). My first novel (never before published, by the way) was a take-off of SH (Stand by for shameless plug…and announcer’s voice:) “and could be available very soon after a few edits for any agent or publisher to peruse for possible future publication.”
I tend to read four or five books at the same time ranging from fiction to non-fiction to writing craft books, so I can relate! What made you get into writing?
I’m a conundrum. As I stated earlier, I hated to read growing up, but I liked to write. Go figure. I’m not sure anything “made” me get into writing other that I just have that creative vibe in my body that shakes out all sorts of story ideas. I’ll be reading something, and my mind will start piecing ideas together until I say, “Hey, I could write about that.” I have a little book in which I write those ideas down so I don’t forget. The book I’m working on now was the amalgamation of two stories in my little book that were intended to be separate. However, the beginning of one book idea is now going to be the end of Book 1 that launches the reader into Book 2…obviously, it will be a series.
When did you know for sure you wanted to be a writer?
Mid-1990s. In the early ‘90’s, I wrote several articles and was published in different publications. Then, I turned my efforts toward fiction. When I finished A Case of Déjà Vu. (That’s the Sherlock Holmes take-off, BTW.) I learned a short time after that most writers who aspire to become writers never finish that “Great American novel” they “always wanted to write.” The completion of Déjà Vu really inspired me to keep writing. The one I’m working on now is actually my fifth novel, three of which have never been sold. One of those I’ve never attempted to sell because it was a gift for one of my daughters.
What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a panster or both?
What’s a “panster”? I’m a high school principal. If you say it fast, it sounds like a practical joke one guy would play on another. I’m not a “planner” either, at least not like some people who map out chapters like meals they are going to cook for the week, complete with recipes right down to the pinch of salt. I write with the beginning and the ending in mind. I know how I want it to start; I know how I want it to end. So, as I write, I launch from the beginning, heading for the ending, keeping it always in front of me, and enjoy the journey. I’m amazed at how the story steers me into areas I never would have considered by “mapping it out.”
I also pick a theme I wish to stress throughout the book/series as well. The Serpent’s Grasp deals with the issue of Truth. Dr. Evelyn Sims, the main protagonist, says this very well in a quote from her article in the Journal of Marine Paleontology entitled, “Biospheres and Bios-Fears: Keeping an Open Mind in a World and Time of Scientific Discovery,” she states:
“One question keeps haunting me as a scientist. One query’s answer eludes me. I ask and ask, search and search, research and research, and not one scientist can give me a definitive answer. I posed the question when researching the Scopes Monkey Trial as a graduate student. I inquired when ‘Little Lucy’ was unearthed. I have combed the halls of academia, scoured the journals of science, and questioned leading experts searching for the answer to this question: Of what or whom is evolution afraid? If time is on the side of truth, then there is nothing to fear if it is truly truth we seek.”
The book I’m working on now deals with the issue of True Peace. What is true peace? What does it look like? Can it be acquired? A great question for a former Black Ops turned FBI agent who has devoted his life to serving his country, huh?
Tell us how your book was published. Has it been what you expected it would be?
Has it been what I expected? Yes and No. More of the latter. I actually chronicled this story how my book was published on my blog @ http://www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/2011/08/from-mere-musings-to-post-publication.html. It is a six-part series explaining how it happened to me.
Why do you continue to write?
Because I love it. It’s my therapy. Others work in the yard, pulling weeds and planting flowers. Me? I need therapy after yard work…physical, emotional, and psychological therapy. Writing, though, I could write every day for hours on end if I could. And it’s developing into a ministry, too. I want to reach people with my writing. Like I said before, I’ve always wanted to write and wish now I had pursued it when I was a teenager. Who knows where I’d be today. Now, though, as my stories become more developed and complex, I write for my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I want to honor God in everything I do, including my writing.
I know what you mean. I came to writing late in life and wish I had started earlier! But God's timing is perfect. I find it to be very therapeutic. Do you have any other books contracted for publishing?
My publisher, Oaktara Publishers, is very interested in the next one I’m working on. The tentative title is 30 Days Hath Revenge and is the first book of a series. We had a long discussion at the last writer’s conference I attended, and I was asked if I could have the manuscript completed by June 30/July 1. Since I still work a Plan “A” job right now, I informed the editor that I was planning on having it done by August 1 at the latest before school starts again. We’ll see if we can’t speed that along a little. They are pushing it because they want a Fall 2012 release. I’m praying right now about seeking a literary agent, too. I had an agent show great interest in my present project at this last writer’s conference, and also have another agent who has already told me send it to him when I’m done.
How does faith play a part in your writing?
It plays an enormous role. As I’ve stated before, my books deal with themes. Those themes are like umbrellas that spread out over the entire novel. However, under the umbrella, there are other aspects of the faith tackled as they arise from the lives of the characters. I try not to force faith issues into my stories. When they are forced, they stick out like a life-size Waldo in a book-size puzzle. I try to keep it real, but I also want to help the reader face the same issues in their own lives. Like in The Serpent’s Grasp, for example, the science in the book is irrefutable. Even scientists in no way sympathetic to Christianity have come out and agreed with the science I used to formulate the book. So, as my editor stated to me, “I loved your book because it’s smart fiction that gets the reader asking, ‘What if?’” If you can get a reader asking questions, like What if what Evelyn Sims says is true? or What if Dr. Landover’s conclusions about evolution are correct?, then the Holy Spirit can do the rest.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Romans 12:1-2. The Apostle Paul says it all in these two verses. In view of what God has done for us, i.e., read chapters 1-11, now do this, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices….”
If you could interview any author alive or dead, which author would that be?
Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favorites. His ability to describe, like this scene below, fascinates me, and I can only hope I can write with such depth someday:
They left the busy scene, and went into an obscure part of the town, where Scrooge had never penetrated before, although he recognised its situation, and its bad repute. The ways were foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched; the people half-naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly. Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offences of smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth, and misery.
This is a masterful description of what life was like in those days on the “poor” side of town in 18th century England. I used to read this story to my students, and we would always stop and have a history and vocabulary lesson on this paragraph. Why would alleys and archways smell like so many cesspools? If you know your history, then…you know. And what does “disgorge” mean? You get the picture.
As for the entire story, I love the concept, love the message, and love how Dickens wrote for the hearts of men and to scourge society when the poor and destitute were wronged. I also scream when all the movies leave out the part about Jesus. Yes, Virginia, there is a part about Jesus in this Christmas book. HINT: It begins, “Oh, cold, cold, rigid dreadful Death…”
I'll have to share that passage from A Christmas Carol with my students this fall when we discuss descriptive writing! Thank you so much, Kevin, for answering a few questions about yourself. I look forward to reading your book!
You can connect with C. Kevin Thompson on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
His book is available at Amazon.com and also at our publisher's web site: