Author Interview #23, with author & playwright, Thomas Amo!
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Hi Thomas! Describe yourself in 5 words:
Impetuous, creative, communicative, romantic, direct.
Share a short excerpt and
blurb of your work (10-100 words):
The City of San Francisco is locked in a grip of fear. A series of occult murders has led, Inspector Thomas James, to a crime scene similar to a murder committed 90 years ago in the once grand Aleris Hotel. A place where power barons of the early 20th century engaged in witchcraft. And silent film stars indulged in the most wicked of sins.
A place where no one questions the black smoke that rises from the hotel’s incinerators in the middle of the night.
She looked perfect now. Her hair was combed just right. Lipstick applied with the expertise of a Hollywood make-up artist. Her hands neatly placed one on top of the other to show off her manicured nails. The fresh scent of perfume emanated from her blouse filling the room with a sweet euphoria. Her portrait loomed by her side.
Her innocent smile was underlined by a hint of sultriness reflected in her eyes, eyes that could catch the attention of any man she desired. Flashbulbs popped and lit the room with the brief, yet intense, glow of a lightning storm. Finally her audience had arrived. She was at long last the center of attention. Everyone wanted to see her. Several policemen stood keeping reporters and spectators at a respectable distance. The media sat waiting, eager to learn every detail about what Amanda would have to say.
Thomas James looked at Amanda, noticing just how perfect she truly was. She was indeed the sort of woman that all men desire. He wondered how many men had she rejected. Denied the pleasure of her company or affections. Yet it now seemed that someone did get Amanda’s attention and he had made her perfect in every detail. Her screams were now silent, all the blood gone, and Inspector James stood puzzling over the most bizarre crime scene of his career. His bespectacled hazel eyes looked down at Amanda Carlyle, who was bathed in a pink glow of dimmed lights and lit candles. The coffin lid open, exposing her only from the waist up. A Catholic set up was in place for potential mourners to come kneel and pray the rosary. She was completely prepared for her funeral, the problem was, Amanda Carlyle was alive just six hours earlier.
—Chapter One, An Apple For Zoë, Book One ~ The Forsaken
Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):
“What’s that thing on your lip?” It was the nicest thing Karen had said to me all month. Granted, it’s not the first thing anyone wants to hear at the beginning of a brand new day. Somehow it just doesn’t have the same ring as “Top o’ the morning’ to ya!” But for me, the tragic optimist in this farce we called a marriage, it showed Karen still cared. For one thing, she actually acknowledged my presence, which she hadn’t done for most of that entire week. I was starting to believe that I could have walked around sans pants and nary a peep would she utter. The fact that she noticed anything at all gave me a microscopic piece of hope that we, as a couple might actually survive. It wasn’t much, but it was more than we had for quite some time.
–Excerpt from Scott Cherney’s “Red Asphalt” | Chapter One: Lip Service
Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:
Writing is fun when it’s going well. When you don’t have life distractions surrounding you all the time. I applaud women authors, who not only have a full-time writing career, but also juggle a husband, and 3 children, shop, and clean house all at the same time. However when you have writers block, it feels like a bully who just keeps getting in your way and preventing you from removing it.
I have found that when I have writer’s block, two things that help a great deal:
1. Do research.
2. Take notes.
Talk to yourself aloud, ask the questions, why can’t I seem to resolve this issue. Sometimes I find it can be the simplest thing that solves the block, and that’s a random comment by someone. My favorite example: I was writing a play for the theatre, and I was struggling with the “ex-wife” character. I didn’t know how to bring her into the show, and make witty and sharp and not be a stereotyped battle-axe. When a friend said to me, “Why does there have to be a wife?” BING! And there it was. So talk to your friends, listen to conversations, take notes, and do research!
What is your definition of “good writing”?
Narrative! I love to read someone who can tell me a story as if they are in the room with me. I get the cadence of their delivery, or the nuance of the details. Often I worry that I don’t write enough details. I am too heavy on dialogue. But I also don’t want to read about a leaf falling to the ground for 3 pages either.
Please share your #1 tip for writers:
Editors! I cannot emphasize enough the value of a good book editor. No matter how many times you try to edit your own book, a professional can often spot those mistakes you don’t see, because you’re too attached to the manuscript. They have an objective eye, and can offer you changes that make your book look more polished and professional. Finding a good editor is like falling in love, you have to build a solid trusting relationship with them. I am very fortunate that my editor at one time worked for me as an actress. So we already had a personal connection. She did amazing work on, “An Apple For Zoë”. And by the way, she is accepting clients.
Much thanks to Mr. Amo for the chat!