I have author Thomas Drinkard on my blog today. Learn more about him and be sure to check out his book! Don’t forget to stop by his webpage too!
I was born, reared and educated in Alabama. When I graduated from college, I was also commissioned in the U.S. Army. I went on active duty eight days later—I had a son who was nine months old—graduate school wasn’t an option. I spent almost two years in Ft. Monmouth, NJ and was bored. When the opportunity to volunteer for the Special Forces (commonly called “Green Berets”) came, I eagerly grasped it. Fortunately, I was selected and after about a year of intense training, I wore the Beret. I left active duty after about fifteen years and went into the reserves. I found my way into teaching/writing for the exam preparation business. Much of what I wrote is still in use. I left that business in 2010 and became a full-time writer (and sometime freelance editor).
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
Other than writing, I have no specific job. I do cook pretty well, my wife says.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing while in grade school. I wrote stories and poetry. I once wrote an essay on citizenship that evolved into a speech. When I presented it in a contest, I won the county’s medal for first place.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve published a thriller/mystery; a story of combat and love in Vietnam; a soldier/vampire story and a chapbook of Vietnam poetry. A thriller/mystery is in editing; an action/adventure book about tracking down terrorists is nearly complete and there’s a space opera to be finished. I guess I’ve been eclectic in my writing choices
Where do you get your ideas?
Anywhere. My first book came from being bombarded, on my frequent trips to New Orleans, by TV evangelist programs. I thought one of those organizations would be a perfect cover for all sorts of nefarious activities.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Writer’s block is not normally a problem. If I can’t work out a scene in a book it’s simple to go to another work-in-progress. That usually works. I tried to work from an outline but almost immediately deviated. One of my writing mentors, the late Anne George, told me to let the characters tell their stories. If a writer has created characters strong enough to tell the story, they may take the author in unexpected directions, but the book will be better.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I mentioned Anne George. Helen Norris, who wrote The Christmas Wife was also helpful in both poetry and prose. I learned, as an adult writer, from three major authors: John D. McDonald, Robert B. Parker and James Lee Burke.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
So far, the social media and word-of-mouth have been best.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Not in today’s publishing world.
The next book will be the second in the vampire warrior novellas. V Trooper – First Mission starts the series. The exact title for the second book has not yet been set. The full-fledged book now in editing, is Devil’s Blade. A New York detective has tracked down a particularly vicious serial killer. The murderer is jailed but escapes and disappears. Two year later, he is killing again, in the southern hometown of the detective.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The only book based on personal experience is Where There Were No Innocents. Places and organizations were drawn from real life but used in a fictional manner.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Oh, for sure, the combat/confrontation scenes. My blood gets a big adrenaline infusion while writing.
How did you come up with the title?
The first title, Piety and Murder refers to killers and drug dealers using a TV evangelist as cover.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I’m having a lot of fun with my vampire/warrior series right now.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I guess the toughest criticism was when an agent said that my prologue was filled with, “…too many pretty words.” I wondered if she would have liked James Lee Burke’s writing. The highest praise has been from some who have compared my writing to authors I admire. Having one’s work compared to LeCarre, Brown, Clancy and Rice is enough to create dizziness. It’s wonderful to have readers tell me that the characters in all my books make them want more. When someone tells me that they stayed awake until three A.M. to finish one of my books, I’m honored and humbled.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Create strong characters. Ask them to show you where the story should go. Don’t quit.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
The next book in the V Trooper series is coming soon! Devil’s Blade will follow.
If you were a superhero (or villain!) what would your power be? Would you wear a cape?
Mind control. No cape.
The light side or the dark side?
I wish I could invent funny, smartass characters like Parker’s Spenser. Just not my gift.
Is there any food you refuse to eat? (Other than brussel sprouts because NO ONE likes them)
I don’t like Indian curry.
What do you think the coolest pet to have would be?
If you could visit any world (real or imagined) where would you go?
Have you every done anything really crazy? Do you regret it?
Does jumping out of perfectly good airplanes count?
When you rip out a page from a spiral notebook, do you leave the strip with the tabby pieces in? Or do you have to remove them?
Gotta pull out the debris. Bugs me.
Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?
No, but I have discovered—at midday—that I was wearing one dark blue sock and one black one. This, after standing in front of a class for four hours.
Do you get road rage? What pisses you off the most about other drivers?
My wife says that I “talk” to other drivers too much. Dangerous stupidity from other drivers makes me angry.