Monday, August 6, 2012

Author Interview/Giveaway: SalemVI - Rebeccas Rising by Jack Heath and John Thompson

Author Inteview - Rebeccas Rising by John Thompson

Little Blurb about yourself:
I am an investment banker turned writer. Having lived for nearly 25 years in New York City I now live in Charleston, SC. In addition to co-authoring Salem VI with Jack Heath, I have written several thrillers. My first published novel, Armageddon Conspiracy was voted a Finalist for Best Fiction by the Southern Independent Booksellers (SIBA). It also received the IPPY (Independent Publishers) Gold Medal for Best Thriller of the year.

This summer, the two sequels will be published as eBooks by Pressque Publishing, the same publisher that is doing Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising.

I have also written a Middle Grade novel, The Girl From Felony Bay, due to be released by HarperCollins in April, 2013.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing poetry in high school and then did my honors thesis in my own poetry at Middlebury College. I graduated from college knowing that I wanted to write but unsure whether I wanted to be a poet and an academically oriented writer or whether I wanted to pursue a very different kind of writing. I decided I needed to go to Wall St. to work for a few years, make some money to pay for grad school and decide which direction I wanted to go in.
Wall St. quickly became more than a detour. I spent 25 years, mostly in institutional sales and management, during which time I had kids, mortgages, tuitions, etc to worry about. For much of that time any move to full time writing seemed an impossible dream, but the desire was there and it just got stronger and stronger. Finally, deciding that writing was the most important life goal I had and realizing that I had most of my biggest costs covered, I girded my loins, so to speak, left the comfort of a salary, a bonus and medical insurance and became a writer.
I have never looked back.

2. How long did it take you to write (title of book you're promoting)?

Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising was written in two steps. First, the story is the brainchild of Jack Heath. He is a direct descendant of Rebecca Nurse, a grandmother and midwife who lived in Salem, MA in the 1690s. Rebecca was accused of being a witch, tried and hanged. Jack is also a direct descendant of Anne Putnam, a teenage girl who also lived in Salem, MA at the same time, and who was one of the girls who accused Rebecca and others of practicing witchcraft.

Jack has lived with a deep knowledge of this family history all his life, and the Salem VI story sprang from this.

My role began after Jack had imagined a fantastic story that still needed to be rounded into a finished novel. I did a lot of the necessary re-writing, filled out the story, expanded the characterizations and changed a few aspects of the plot. Because I wasn’t starting from scratch, the writing took a lot less time than what would be required to write a novel from scratch.

3. While writing how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot?
When I’m working on a new novel, I usually write about 100 – 150 pages before I start to realize that either my characters or my plot, or both need to be reworked. Before I sit down to start a book, I think I know pretty much where my plot will take me and who the characters are going to be. The great thing about actually beginning to write the novel is the process of discovery I inevitably go through as I get to really know my characters and they begin to show me what needs to happen next.

There is no moment that is more fun than when I am writing along, thinking I am totally in control of my book, and suddenly a character does something that totally shocks me. It happens because that character has been well enough realized that he/she has acquired a certain reality, and thus, has an organic need to do something different than what I expected.

4. You run into a bookstore, where do you go first?
I look at the front table to see the new fiction, then I go to the thriller section, and right after that I go to the YA and Middle Grade section. I think right now some of the freshest and most inventive stories are coming from YA and MG writers.

5. How many books in a month do you tend to read?
Some months 5 or 6, some months 1 or 2. It’s very rare that I put down a book I have started without finishing it, but if I don’t like a book I tend to slow way down. Conversely, if I love a book I will inhale it. Thus, the months when I’ve read some pretty unexciting stuff, I’ll only read 1 or 2 books.

6. In all the books you've read. Who is your most favorite character and why?
As in most things there is more than one answer.
• Huckleberry Finn because he is in every sense better than he thinks he is, has a great moral compass and is largely unsullied by “education.”
• Gus in Lonesome Dove because he is funny, tough, vulnerable and invulnerable all at the same time.
• Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones because he is good and wicked, self-deprecating and totally lacking in self pity, compassionate toward the weak and cruel toward the powerful, all at the same time.

7. State 5 random facts about yourself.
• I’m a bit of a do-gooder because I believe in helping others, cleaning up the environment, trying to do something about global warming, but at the same time I’m pretty much a fiscal conservative.
• I love good wine and good food.
• I like to play tennis, fly fish, hunt birds and play golf
• I have a Jack Russel named Mr. Bean
• I love the solitude of writing, and at the same time I love companionship, seeing friends for sports or lively meals.

8. Your favorite Genre?
Thrillers and YA/MG.

9. What are you currently reading?
Diversion by Veronica Roth.

10. What is the best book you've read?
You can’t make me say just one. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy,
Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby.

11. Any new projects coming up?
Working on books 2 and 3 of the Salem Witch Trilogy, also working on a Middle Grade follow up to The Girl From Felony Bay, also working on a new thriller, Fleeing The Minotaur. My plate is amazingly full right now.

Here’s your chance to market your book. Describe it. And why readers should pick it up?

Having stepped off the fast track of primetime network television news, John Andrews has chosen a quieter life as editor of Salem News, a small paper in a quiet New England town. Life is perfect until Andrews’ wife is killed in a tragic accident. After several years of trying to numb the pain with alcohol, Andrews is visited by the spirit of a long dead ancestor who opens a door to a shocking family history.

After he experiences a surreal glimpse into the past, Andrews must confront the question of whether he is losing his mind or whether for several hundred years his ancestors have been engaged in a secret battle with a coven that worships Satan. Fueled by the need to understand whether his wife’s death was really an accident or something far more sinister, Andrews, along with his beautiful assistant editor, risk everything to discover a truth so horrifying it threatens to destroy everything and everyone he knows and loves.

Where you can find author John Thompson:


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