I am pleased to welcome my friend, author Tom Winton, to my blog today.
Said to be a man who writes with his pen dipped in his soul, bestselling author Tom Winton has been listed as one of Amazon’s Top 100 “Most Popular Authors” in both Literary Fiction and in Mystery, Thriller and Suspense.
Born in New York City, he has done everything from working on a railroad gang in the Colorado Rockies to driving a taxicab in Manhattan. He’s been a mailman, a salesman, an entrepreneur and more. Now living in Florida with his wife Blanche and their ill-tempered but lovable Jack Russell terrier Ginger, Tom is working on his sixth book.
Tom’s novels have been likened to such classics as Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and more. His titles are Beyond Nostalgia, The Last American Martyr, Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost, Within a Man’s Heart, A Second Chance in Paradise, and a short story collection The Voice of Willie Morgan.
Please tell us more about yourself, anything you like- interests, background etc.
My main interest right now is in all reality a goal. I want more than anything to find a way to move back to the state of Maine. I’m obsessed by the desire. I don’t care about owning things. I don’t care about ever becoming rich. All I want is enough to move back. If I were to sell 20,000 books while I was asleep tonight, I’d pack up in the morning, grab the missus and our aging terrier Ginger, jump in our SUV, and head back to those North Woods where we recently lived for five years. I so miss the 19 to 21 turkeys that used to eat the cracked corn we left outside our kitchen window every morning. I miss the changing seasons, the chipmunks, the moose, deer, porcupines, foxes, coyotes and all the other critters. Nothing makes me feel more alive, or more connected to this world, than being alone in it.
Please tell us more about the book or books you would like to feature today.
Okay, how about Within a Man’s Heart? That was the fourth novel I set out to write, but it ended up being a novella. There was more I could have put into it yet when I came to what is the book’s final scene I said to myself, “Tom…what a great way to end this.” And I did. Problem is that I’ve had a very difficult marketing the book because most of the big e-book blogs will not feature novellas. Nevertheless, when I was approached by Wattpad three months ago, and they asked me if I wanted to be one of their “featured authors”, Within a Man’s Heart was the perfect book to put there. I’ve now had close to a half-million folks read it on the site. And just yesterday the wattpad administrators emailed me saying I was one of the most popular authors on their site, with over 20,000 readers following me. Who knows? Maybe over the long haul, that novella just might bring an awful lot of readers to my other books.
What gave you the idea to write in this genre?
Although I write in several genres and usually combine a couple when writing a novel, my first book Beyond Nostalgia was a romance. I can’t tell you how many lady readers have told me how they so enjoyed reading a romance written by a man. That’s why I wrote Within a Man’s Heart, and that’s why I chose the title—the girls love a look inside a man’s heart. Many women capture a man’s heart, but not all of them know exactly what’s deep inside it.
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect with?
Yes, messages always find their way into my novels. Sometimes they’re sublime, other times they’re quite obvious.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
I think all of us writers do a bit of that, Lily. I’m not saying we base characters entirely on friends, enemies, ex-lovers, mean bosses, benevolent priests or Rabbis, in-laws or outlaws we know or once knew. But I sometimes find myself interjecting bits and pieces of such people into my characters. Okay…you know what? I’m going to fess up here. Yes, there have been times that I’ve based characters almost entirely on people I’ve known.
Do you make a plan for your novels, or do you just start writing and see where it goes?
No, I don’t put a lot of time into planning a novel. I know some authors like to do outlines and the whole nine yards (sorry, an Americanism), but I don’t. If I worked out an entire novel chapter by chapter or any other way, it would bore me to tears to then try to write the thing. I spend quite some time trying to think up what I’ll write about, but all I need or want is a worthwhile idea. Once I get that, I think about who the characters are going to be in my opening scene, and I jump right into their shoes.
Which of your own books/ characters is your favourite and why?
That’s a tough one to answer, Lily, but for now let’s just say that Thomas Soles in my The Last American Martyr is a quite interesting guy. I mean, how can a guy who was an unemployed doorman and went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature two years after losing his job not be interesting?
What has been the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received as a writer?
Probably what Ernest Hemingway used to tell writers who wanted to begin writing a new novel. He said something like, Write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you can, and make it as good as you can. I’ve passed that small bit of advice to dozens of aspiring writers over the past few years. Another excellent piece of advice is, You never finish a novel—you abandon it. I did nine drafts when I wrote Beyond Nostalgia! I’m sure I could have done ninety-nine if I didn’t abandon it.
What books or other projects do you have coming up in future?
I just released my sixth book, A Last Chance in Paradise, three days ago. It was a rewrite of my first “novel” attempt. I wrote it seventeen years ago but just spent five grueling months reworking it. I’ll take a bit of a break for now, but I do have the very beginning for a new book written. As I always do, I’ll take my time with this idea. I like to let my subconscious cook the stew for a while. Seriously, that part of the mind is amazing. As I’m sitting here, typing these answers to your questions, that quiet part of my mind is surely coming up with some terrific scenes. I can’t tell you how many times, when I’ve tried to fall asleep and was not thinking about my work in progress, the most fandamtastic ideas just raced across my mind. That’s why I always have a pen and pad on the night stand. Those ideas are sometimes golden and I don’t want to lose them.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
Thank you all so very, very much! If it wasn’t for the encouragement I’ve gotten from so many readers, I would have given up writing long ago. To me the process is extremely difficult (just ask my wife), you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve labored for hours over single paragraphs. I know it sounds nutty, but it’s true. Nevertheless, to me there’s no feeling in the world (well almost no feeling) as good as the one I get when I whip the perfect words into just the right order—step back from the paragraph—and say, Holy moly, I cannot believe that I actually wrote this. Thanks heaps for having me here today Lily. I had super good time.
EXCERPT FROM A SECOND CHANCE IN PARADISE
Crystal clear images of Wendy’s face again started rolling through my mind. And as I studied each one closely, they were all shrouded with dark doubts. I doubted I would ever truly fit in on the small island or, for that matter, anywhere else. Sitting there on that barstool, thinking about my estranged wife, the home we had, and the life we’d once shared hurt me deeply. And as if that wasn’t enough, I seriously began to doubt that I would ever be capable of loving again. After the way Wendy had betrayed me, how could I? How was I ever going to trust another woman again, let alone love her? Ever since our breakup, my past, present, and future problems had churned over and over again in my mind – abrading my spirit like so many grains of sand in a roiling surf. Oh sure, there had been other times since my previous birthday that I’d been at ease. Times like the first hour I’d spent in Barnacle Bell’s that afternoon and the day before, when I’d walked through Ernest Hemingway’s house. But those moments of contentment were always short-lived. They never lasted. For the most part, ever since that first moment when I realized my wife had been unfaithful, I had steadily felt my mind eating away at itself. There was no way I could stop it.
LINK TO TOM’S AMAZON PAGE AND HIS BOOKS
Link to Barnes and Noble
Link to Kobo