Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Tom Winton, and I’ll be 71 years young next week.
Fiona: Where are you from?
For the most part, I grew up in Queens, New York.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Education? I made it as far as community college, but Uncle Sam cut my stay rather short when he decided to draft me into the military. That was during the Viet Nam fiasco. As for my family, I live in Florida with my wife of 45 years and have three grown kids.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m closing in on the end of the final draft of my ninth novel—Nameless on No Name Key.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started stringing words together when I was about 45. Had my first novel, Beyond Nostalgia, published when I was 62.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first baby was published and became a bestseller. I was very fortunate in that it sold so well from the start that Amazon decided to feature it on the home page of their book site. And its cover was placed right smack in the middle of four New York Times Bestsellers.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had done a good amount of reading and found myself finishing only about every fourth book I started. One day I said to myself, “You need to put a pen to paper. Most authors can’t hold your attention. You can do better than those guys
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Again, the title of my first novel is Beyond Nostalgia. It’s about a middle-aged man who loved two different women for decades. Although he was estranged from his first love for many, many years, he always knew that his lingering memories and feelings for that love were far beyond nostalgia, hence the title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Among other things, I’ve been called a man who writes with his pen dipped in his soul. And I sure like to think that’s true. Whether I might be writing romance, suspense, or anything in between, I try very hard to make my reader’s feel my words rather than just read them.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fiona, this author has but three wells to draw his ideas from: things he’s experienced, things he’s heard about from others, and whatever he can cull from his whirring, hyperactive imagination. That’s it—three wells. Now, what percentage of a novel comes from each one? There really is no way to measure that, and even if you could it would vary greatly from book to book.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Personally, I don’t need to travel just before or while I write a book. Although I still do quite a bit of travelling and absolutely love hitting the road.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve had some of my covers designed for me by different artists, and some I’ve done with the help of my wife.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I really don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about messages when I’m trying to put together a new novel idea. All I do is search my mind for a story line that I feel will be worth spending 6 to 9 months working on. But to get back to your question about messages, I believe that every well written novel ultimately winds up with its fair share of thought-provoking messages in it.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
As far as contemporary authors are concerned, I think guys like Neil Gaiman and T.C. Boyle are extremely talented. Some of my all-time favorites are Steinbeck, Pat Conroy, Jack London and Hemingway. What strikes me about the works of my favorite authors? I’d have to say their exceptional abilities to bring a story to life, and to make readers feel like they’re right there—walking in the shoes of the characters. And then there are details. It’s amazing how a few well-chosen well-placed details add so much more authenticity to a story.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
After my wife, my muse was my next biggest supporter. He’d been locked inside the most distant recesses of mind for decades, and suddenly started screaming to get out.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
When running really big promotions, I’ve occasionally sold over two thousand books in a single weekend. But that’s only happened a few times. For the most part I only supplement my retirement income with sales from my books. If the day should ever come that day in and day out I start selling enough books to make a nice living, only then would I ramp up my work schedule. As for now, I only write for a couple of hours each day.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change a thing in my 8 published books. But, as I said earlier, I’m working on the last draft of number 9 now, and I am thinking about changing things a bit in the last chapter.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
The only things I learned were a few factual tidbits from what little research I needed to do.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I’d think about giving Brad Pitt an audition.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Whenever writer’s block sets in forget what you’re working on and read something from an author you highly respect. That’s worked for me several times.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you like a good yarn, full of drama and emotion, pick up one of my books. Seriously though, if I were to tell my reader’s one thing it would be many thanks for all the kind words and reviews you’ve given me. Those are the things that keep me going back to my keyboard.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m not reading anything right now. I’m spending my reading time on my writing.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Old Man and the Sea was one of my first. I was eleven years old at the time and, since I loved fishing, I fell in love with the story.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Funny things and sad things. LOL
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Ernest Hemingway, because I admire the life he lived.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Fishing is one. My other past time is weight training, although I can’t really call it a hobby. It’s more of a necessity.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I LOVE watching my taped episodes of Jeopardy. Another good one is 48 Hours.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite foods are Italian and seafood, though Mexican is pretty darned good too. As for colors, I don’t think there’s anything that can touch the pink of a new dawn when it first lights up the eastern horizon. As far as music is concerned, give me that good old classic ‘60s and 70’s rock and roll.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Read and travel.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d hit a Las Vegas casino. And, with my luck, I’d probably win big that one time since there’d be no tomorrow to spend the money.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Martin Scorsese should have made all my novels into movies.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I haven’t used those much of late. But many of my readers have friended me on Facebook, and I’m quite active there.
Tom Winton’s Amazon book links:
The Last American Martyr – https://www.amazon.com/The-Last-American-Martyr-ebook/dp/B005GFM764/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_3_Q201
Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost – https://www.amazon.com/Four-Days-Hemingways-Ghost-ebook/dp/B008FBXENQ/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_3_XJ20
Within A Man’s Heart – https://www.amazon.com/Within-a-Mans-Heart-ebook/dp/B00B29JHR0/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1_DDVE
Tom Winton’s Author’s page on Amazon USA – https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Winton/e/B005H2T7AA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1