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14 December 2011

Welcome special guest: author Tom Mach @kansasauthor

Today we have author Tom Mach visiting. Tom wrote two successful historical novels, Sissy! and All Parts Together, both of which have won rave reviews and were listed among the 150 best Kansas books in 2011. Sissy! won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award while All Parts Together was a viable entrant for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Award. He also wrote a collection of short stories entitled Stories To Enjoy which received positive reviews. Tom’s other novels include: An Innocent Murdered, Advent, and Homer the Roamer.
His poetry collection, The Uni Verse, won the Nelson Poetry Book Award. In addition to several awards for his poetry, Writer’s Digest awarded him ninth place in a field of 3,000 entrants.

* So, Tom, what inspired you to become a writer?

The more I read, the more I wanted to write. I enjoy writing because it gives me a chance to clear my head, recall impressions, and dig deep into my soul.
* When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
When I was 18 and still in high school I wrote a 378-page novel called The Boss’s Son--using a portable typewriter with carbon paper underneath each page! I thought my novel was great at the time but as I look at it now and realize it’s crap. It’s sitting in my office as an unpublished antique.
* How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
Several, but who’s counting? I sold my first story to an editor for the Meredith Sun, a newspaper chain South Bay, California. She paid me $25 for each one and I kept sending her something every week until one day she told me to stop. I asked why and she said my writing was good enough to send to magazines. I did that and kept writing for magazines. My attempt at full length books came later.
* What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
I’ve written two historical novels, a techno-thriller, a children’s chapter book, a murder mystery, and a collection of short stories. Historical fiction, because I have a deep interest in the 19th century….a techno-thriller, because as a former chemical engineer I have knowledge in the scientific realm…a children’s book, because I spend some of my free time in tutoring young children to write…a murder mystery, because I love TV shows like Columbo and Monk as well as whodunit novels such as those by Agatha Christie…and short stories because they unleash my creativity.  My all-time favorite genre, however, is historical.
* What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The worst piece was to simply write anything, even garbage, but just write because that will release your inner muse. (That doesn’t work for me).  The best piece of advice was to stay focused on your characters--get into their minds and really understand them, don’t force them to do things they refuse to do.
* How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
Acceptance and rejection develop short term emotions. I actually don’t mind rejection letters if they give me a clue as to how to improve my writing. I abhor form rejection slips that are meaningless slips of paper.  Acceptance letters give me a short-term high, but my longer term high is getting so involved with writing a story that you don’t want to quit.
* In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
I could envision seeing Tom Hanks playing Detective Matt Gunnison in An Innocent Murdered because there’s a  hidden softness behind his persona. I could also see Reese Witherspoon playing the part of the ex-nun Susan Stratford because there is a wonderful innocence in her face.
* The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
Actually, I wrote An Innocent Murdered as a stand-alone story, but I so much like Detective Matt Gunnison that I am thinking of the possibility of writing another murder mystery in which he again plays the lead role.

*** Now for some fun info… ***
* What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate. I am thinking of joining Chocoholics Anonymous.
* Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?
I’m a cat when I get lazy and don’t feel like writing, but I’m an attack dog when I get to my computer.
* Are you a morning person or night owl?
Yawn. I’m a morning person. I like to beat the sunrise.

*** About the book… ***

Father O'Fallon has been murdered, and police officer Jacinta Perez is arrested and charged. Detective Matt Gunnison, however, is not convinced and with the help of Susan, an ex-nun, he discovers a fascinating link between the priest's death and the death of a child 25 years ago. Will Matt be able to solve both murders? See video:
~ Excerpt ~
“What’s critically important here,” Matt said, “is the time this event happened. Mr. Zylinski, you said you knew it was about 9:13 pm when this occurred. How would you know that?”
     “It’s all in the deposition, sir,” the man replied. “I checked my watch just before I got to my car. I had to be somewhere at ten and didn’t want to be late.”
     The attorney leaned forward, a smile on her face. “I am sure you learned by now, Mr. Gunnison, that the bank clock was correct after all. During the day, that clock was not set back an hour for daylight savings time, but it was corrected by the bank manager at 6:00 that evening. So it really was 9:13 after all.”
     Matt was a bit miffed at her know-it-all attitude. “Thank you for pointing that out to me, counselor.”

***Find Tom here***

Thank you for joining us here today, Tom! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.

Tom will be giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to the commenter that Tom feels leaves the best comment during his tour. Please follow the tour and comment–the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


marybelle said...

My favorite genre to read is Historical. I appreciate how you explained why you wrote different types of stories & books. Quite a mixture.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Tom today.

Karen H in NC said...

OK, so your first writing effort (The Boss's Son) was a piece of crap...but is there a salvagable idea left in there that could be brought out and written about now? Just wondering...

award-winning writer said...

Karen H--

Yes, The Boss's Son was indeed a piece of crap (written back when I was a teenager). I returne to it to see if it could be rewritten, but I no longer have the same feeling for it that I had back then. So it'll remain as an antique decorating a bookshelf in my office.

Thanks for writing.

Tom Mach

award-winning writer said...

Thanks, Marybelle for your comments. I posted a reply at your email address.

Catherine Lee said...

You wrote a 378 page novel in HS? That's amazing...even if, in hindsight, you think it's "crap."


award-winning writer said...

Catherine Lee--

I guess what I should have stressed is that when you're excited about a novel you wrote at 17 and revisted it several decades later, it's not the same anymore, the novel doesn't feel as personal to you as it did back then. I should have used the word "immature" rather than "crap." I learned a LOT about how to write a great novel after writing a very bad one. AN INNOCENT MURDERED is a great novel, but you'll have to read it to be convinced of that.

award-winning writer said...

Worlds of Possibilities--
Thanks for letting me be a guest blogger. You did a fine job in making my book look super. Have a great Christmas!