Welcome, Kevin. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I’ve been told some of the phrases I use come out in the dialogue of characters. “I hear you say that,” my readers will tell me. But overall, I try to use certain things from time to time to help make the character more authentic. I remember putting into the manuscript of The Serpent’s Grasp a description of a car Micah Gregson used to own that caused him to purchase the car he owned now, a red Mustang Cobra. The car he “used to own back in the day” was a red 1971 Mach 1 Mustang with a 351
That was the car I had in high school and when we were first married (boy, do I
wish I still had it now). Unfortunately, that recollection of Micah got axed in
the final edit. However, he is driving the Mustang Cobra when he gets followed
by the FBI agent, trying to find a news station that carries late, breaking
news, and wishing he hadn’t allowed his satellite subscription to expire
(another personal piece of info about me, by the way). Cleveland
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’ve sat here for ten minutes, and I can’t think of much. I even asked my wife, who’s known me since we were 15. She can’t either. So, I guess I’m not a very “quirky” person. More on the conservative side when it comes to my actions, I guess. However, I suppose it depends on who’s watching, too. Some people would say becoming a writer is a little quirky. “How can you sit at a computer for hours on end?” Ever heard that one? I’ve also had others “say”—not with their words so much but more with their looks and actions—that becoming a follower of Christ is quirky, if not borderline crazy.
When did you first discover you were a writer?
I had an inkling when I was in middle school. Creating stories was an interest, for sure. However, I really didn’t have anyone around who noticed or encouraged it growing up, and there weren’t the opportunities available back then like there are now for young writers (which maybe answers why I wasn’t encouraged?). I finally got more serious about it in my mid-thirties, got more serious about it in my mid-forties, and now, here I am, wishing I’d gotten serious about it way sooner.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
With fiction, I enjoy mysteries and thrillers and wander around that section of the bookstore the most. That doesn’t mean I won’t pick up something else and give it a try, like a speculative fiction work or a science fiction piece. As for non-fiction, that’s all over the map, depending on what I’m doing. Christian spiritual growth books, if I want to read something for personal edification. Books about education, which are related to my day job as an assistant principal at a middle school (that job choice may qualify as quirky, too). Books about the subject I am researching for a novel I am writing. If you look at the bibliography in the back of The Serpent’s Grasp (and yes there is one…I put it there for a reason…), then you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about here.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sanity? What’s that? I work in a middle school. And I’m a writer. Doesn’t get much more insane than that. Especially in this day and age of school shootings and brick-and-mortar store closings. But hey, you can’t say that I’m a bystander in the game of life. I’m right in the middle of the action.
Through it all, though, the only thing that keeps me even-keeled is Christ. If I wasn’t a Christian, I’d probably be in prison by now. Some of the thoughts that cross our minds at times are far from Christ-like. Understandable, maybe, but miles away from unconditional love. So God helps me stay on track, especially when I start to jump the rails. I do have to admit that as the days get darker and the pressure gets more constrictive, I’m finding the need for more time with Him. But my biggest struggle is I don’t deal with “stupid” and “foolishness” very well. I have always had very little patience for it, and that is wearing thin these days. I understand when people get upset about things that are unfair or even teeter on the line of being criminal or not (we’d all probably be upset if we were in those shoes). But there is so much foolishness going on today, so much stupidity, and so much senselessness. For example, humans taking challenges like eating Tide pods. Really? Back in the day, those teens would be working on a farm somewhere or learning a trade that would eat up all the free time they have. Or what about those who take a stand on political, divisive subjects they have no clue how to truly solve (but they’ll tell you how to solve it so it helps their cause)? The Apostle Paul’s description of minds thinking, acting, behaving, and believing as if they were seared with a hot iron was never truer than it is today. And all this drives me to God more and more. Personally, I don’t know how He does it (doesn’t destroy us all), or how He did it (died on a cross to save us). I know why (love). But to know and to act are two very different things. I guess that’s what makes Him God and me a fallen human.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
You know, that’s a good question. Some are just random. I need a certain name, and I’ll scan the books on my shelf to see if one jumps out at me. Other times, I’ll run across a name I really like and jot it down for future reference. In many cases, because the names are nationalistically important, I’ll do a web search of “Russian surnames” or “Hispanic female first names,” for example, and choose one after researching it further to verify that it would work. But my favorite way has been when I have assigned the names of my children and grandchildren to secondary characters in my books. I try to use them creatively, and not use them exactly like the real name. Like, for example, making my grandson’s first name the last name of a deputy.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m assuming you’re talking about writing accomplishments? Because I’d say being married for over 36 years is quite an accomplishment, especially with everything my wife and I have been through. J As for the writing, my proudest moment was when my book, The Serpent’s Grasp, won the 2013 Selah Award at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference for first fiction (debut novel). My second proudest moment was when my second novel, 30 Days Hath Revenge (A Blake Meyer Thriller – Book 1), won second place in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite awards for Christian Fiction. I found out later that the only reason it didn’t win first place was because of the cover, which I admit was not that tantalizing. This book has since come out in second edition with a new, great-looking cover.
I was surprised and honored when my novel Maggie’s Journey won the Selah for long historical. I had only won one other major prize at that time. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Probably a cheetah. I could outrun anything trying to catch me and outrun anything I’m trying to catch. And I’d have the tools needed to defend myself from most anything. Next would be a tiger. Wouldn’t be able to run as fast, but I’d better better-looking. J
What is your favorite food?
That’s a tie between an inch-thick, medium-well ribeye steak cooked to perfection with a slight char on the outside (I’m channeling my inner Guy Fieri here) and a good pepperoni pizza (preferably from a locally-owned place versus chain stores). If I could eat these two things every day and not gain an ounce, that would be heavenly.
Good luck with that. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
When my first two novels were published, the publisher who had them started having problems (a common tale these days). They stopped publishing new titles, and became very hard to get a hold of. Although they were still “in business,” I was not receiving any monies from sales either. During this time, I acquired an agent. We both agreed that getting the rights back would be the best option, since publisher was, by that time, in breach of contract. It took well over a year to see that come to pass. Because my second book, 30 Days Hath Revenge, was the beginning of a series, it really caused issues because most publishers don’t want to reprint the first book in a series. As a result, we had to “self-publish” that book and the subsequent books in the series (I put it in quotes because it’s a bit of a different process than your typical self-pub route). My agent did find a home for my first novel, and it was reprinted by Hallway Publishing last summer.
Now, we have four books out. Book 4 of the Blake Meyer series, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, is coming out later this year. Books 5 and 6 will complete the series in 2018.
Tell us about the featured book.
The featured book is 30 Days Hath Revenge. The overarching theme of the series is, “What is true peace?” We hear about that topic a lot these days. So did the Israelites in the days of Jeremiah…right before the Babylonians showed up. It’s this biblical scenario that has given me the bones from which to develop this story.
In my Blake Meyer Thriller Series, SSA Blake Meyer is the biggest patriot out there. He’s served his country in the military. He’s worked undercover. He has Black Ops training. And now he’s part of the FBI as a means of keeping tabs on certain people. Nobody bleeds red, white, and blue more than him.
It’s this past that raises its ugly head when a man by the name of Colin Murphy, who Blake actually worked with 15 years prior, organizes a diabolical plot to release a deadly, weaponized contagion with no known cure within the major cities of the
as an act of revenge. This attack is being orchestrated by several big
financial players from around the world, who are using Murphy to help bring the
to its knees so it can use economic espionage to finally topple a nation they
would never be able to beat militarily. U.S.
Blake is the only one who knows all about the past, and he has now been tasked by the president to lead the effort at finding the people responsible before it’s too late.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Four Years Earlier
Republic of Congo,
A Congolese man stumbled down a narrow, filthy alley clutching his chest. He staggered like a drunken man, bouncing back and forth off the walls like a pinball as he traversed its length.
He burst forth into a swarm of people in an open market and scanned the crowd before grabbing his head with both hands. He took a few more lumbering steps before falling face-first into the busy dirt road.
He rolled onto his back with a grimace, and his body contorted and writhed in agony. Mouthing something inaudible, he mustered the strength to flip over to his stomach.
Pounding the ground with his fist, he willed himself to his hands and knees. His labored breathing and internal pain caused his entire frame to heave in a distressed, desperate dance.
The ailing man finally rose to his feet. His well-worn clothes puffed plumes of dust as he teetered toward a passing ambulance, attempting to flag it down. Frantic but unable to wave his arms, he watched the vehicle turn the corner and disappear behind a building. He shook his head in despair and raised his arms in disbelief. Unintelligible words were overcome with tears as the man collapsed into a sobbing heap.
Seconds later, the man’s body shook with a violent force. Then, as if a great cable or rope was wrapped around his midsection, pulling him to the clouds, he arched his back and let out a horrific cry. As the man’s howl subsided, his body eased back down to the ground like a deflating balloon.
Very graphic description. Very good. How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can find me in these locations:
My website: www.ckevinthompson.com
Kevin’s Blog: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/C.-Kevin-Thompson/e/B007ANOEDE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Also, check in soon to my website for the links to my new Pinterest page and Instagram page!
Thank you, Kevin, for sharing this book with me and my readers. We are all eager to read it.
Readers, here are links to the book.30 Days Hath Revenge - Paperback
30 Days Hath Revenge - Kindle
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