Beyond the Books

Home » Writing » Interview with Mike Thomas, author of ‘The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton’

Interview with Mike Thomas, author of ‘The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton’

Categories

Archives



The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee ThortonABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS TREASURE OF JERRY LEE THORTON

What does a guy do when his best friend starts doing things that are completely out of character? In the case of Luke McAllister, you can’t do anything – until you figure out exactly what it is that is different.
The fact that his best friend is a girl complicates matters a heap. Nothing makes sense when RaeNell Stephens, the girl that has “the best curve ball he’s ever seen”, starts blushing and acting like a durned female. All of this at the beginning of the ‘summer to end all summers’ too. This is the summer that Luke, RaeNell, and their friend Farley Midkiff set out to locate, and cash in on a rogue Civil War soldier’s stolen one million dollar Union payroll.

Undaunted by thousands of scholars and fortune seekers having looked unsuccessfully for the treasure for a hundred years, the three twelve-year-old friends search diligently for themselves. What they find is an adventure that leads them on a spiraling path of discovery.

They discover newness in themselves, their families, and the closeness of a small southern community in the process. Luke wrestles with his morality, ethics, and his slowly emerging awareness of the difference between boys and girls. He also discovers that his late father left him an incredibly large legacy of duty, fidelity and caring for those around him.

The telling of the story takes place in imaginary New Caledonia County, NC in 1966. The deep rural traditions, vernacular, and ways of life of the region and community are portrayed in great detail as the story unfolds.

This is an adventure story, but it is also a story about making good decisions whether you want to or not… It is also a story of relationships. Family and community are underscored, but there is an underlying theme of male/female relationships. It’s really okay for boys and girls to be buddies without always having to be boyfriends and girlfriends. It is also a story about innocence. NOT innocence lost, but innocence maintained.

Purchase at:

barnes and nobleamazon

 

 

 

Add on Goodreads:

goodreads

Welcome to Beyond the Books Mike! Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my first published novel, though I have been writing a freelance newspaper filler column for years. I have something like eighteen other novels dwelling the proverbial bottom desk drawer. I have also done a text book, and contributed to other people’s texts. I contribute to nursing trade journals, and ghostwrite a bunch of stuff for colleagues, hospitals and institutions. I am now working on a novel that is a follow up to The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton.

 

When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published, or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

It was a very small press. In fact I think I was one of their earlier efforts at publishing after spending years as a prepress setup outfit. We’ve learned together.

I wrote The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton back in the late ’90’s and spent nearly fifteen years trying to get someone, anyone, to read it, and tell me if it had value or not. I could pave several miles of eight lane highway with all the rejection slips I have accumulated since then. I almost gave up on it.

On a whim, I sent the book out again in December of 2012. I heard from Moss Press Publishing in January. Why did I choose them? I guess you waltz with the one that brought you to the dance.

 

How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I signed the contract in mid-February and the book was published in late June.

 

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I did have some self-satisfied feelings after working for so long to get The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton published. However, I just went back to work on another book. Some friends did take me out to eat to celebrate.

 

What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I created a Facebook page for the book (https://www.facebook.com/TheMysteriousTreasureOfJerryLeeThorton ), and had a personal website designed too (www.mikethomas-writer.com). I also signed up for goodreads and twitter.

 

Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I am learning the fine arts of book promotion, and this hasn’t been easy. I am not a natural self-promoter and publishers are notorious for not promoting very well. I have a lot of trouble with interviews like this for the purpose of saying “Look at me.”

I have learned that publishing is product, and promoting seems to be mostly author. I’m not there yet, but I am learning fast.

 

What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I was astounded at the indifference shown toward promotion. There is a lot of lip service, and a little bit of budget. Creating a product like a book would seem to inherently lead to promoting the product, but that hasn’t been my experience so far.

I have also been amazed at the cut-throat level of competition. I have seen a lot of shuffling of morals to accomplish some of the tasks.

The publishing industry publishes. They do not care much about writers, the writing process, your ego, your sensitivities, or your goals. They want a product as close to “ready to go” as they can find. They don’t even talk to writers. They talk to agents. Agents do not have time to wade through junk. An author has to SELL themselves and their product to the agents. If it’s crap you lose. If it’s really good, slick and polished, you have maybe a half of a chance of getting someone to read it.

It is really the author’s job to get out there and do the cheerleading. You keep writing while doing promotion, then start the whole process over again. It’s a learning process, and it is one tough way to make a living

 

 

What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

At a recent non-writing conference, a little eighty-year-old lady approached me. I could see the bright red book in her hand, and I was ready for anything other than what she said.

She held the book to her chest and said, “I relived several great years of my life while reading your book. It meant so much to me to go back. Would you please autograph it for me?”

What more could an author want?

 

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

There are hundreds of thousands of excellent basketball players in the United States. They work hard and do okay on many levels. There are only three-hundred to four-hundred players in the NBA.

There are hundreds of thousands of excellent writers in the United States. They work hard and do okay on many levels.

How many can you name that actively are making a positive income today? Do the math. As mentioned, it is a tough way to make a living.

My writing process is fairly simple. It comprises a four step process:

  • Park your tail in a chair.
  • Place your hands on the keyboard.
  • Write.
  • Don’t get up until you’ve written a minimum of five thousand words a day.

For the most part, it doesn’t matter what you write. Just write. Writing is a job. You clock in. You clock out. Just like any other job, while you’re there you have to work, or you will surely fail.

Ernest Hemingway put it best when he said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I use what I call a ‘block notebook’. If the ideas aren’t coming, or the story won’t move forward for me, I just pull up my notebook and start typing anything. Gibberish, dogma, rants, whatever. I just keep writing until some form of cognizant thought begins to blossom in my little noggin again. Then I drop the block notebook down into the tray, and continue on with my original project.

Before you get too freaked at the idea of five-thousand words a day, just think of it as a bit over fourteen pages. That’s probably not as imposing.

Some days my whole five-thousand words is in the block notebook. Some days not so much. But, I guarantee that the notebook is used every day. One of my favorite authors, Jack London said “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

A few other thoughts on just sitting and writing:

·   Don’t worry about your title, your marketing strategy, who the publisher or agent will be, or the design of your book. Write the book, and then worry about the other stuff.

·   Your family, your “day job”, and the neighbor’s dog barking, are all just excuses for not writing. If you stop and think about it – you don’t need excuses to not write. Just quit.

But then again, if writing IS important to you, you’ll find a way to get it done. I have worked a full work week my whole life. Sometimes it’s just easier to come home, have a sandwich, and relax. Yet my writing job calls to me, and on those days I struggle in, sit down and start to write. Sometimes it’s a bummer, but if you’re going to succeed it has to be done. Then there are the other days where you can’t wait to get back to the story. Those are the days that make us a writer.

·   Don’t get discouraged. Do the output and eventually it will all come together. It took me thirty years to come to a point where I thought I could be considered a writer.

In short, writers write, orators talk. If all you can do is talk about writing, then you’re an orator. I don’t recommend oration as a living. So go write, and quit talking about it.

Welcome to Beyond the Books Mike! Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my first published novel, though I have been writing a freelance newspaper filler column for years. I have something like eighteen other novels dwelling the proverbial bottom desk drawer. I have also done a text book, and contributed to other people’s texts. I contribute to nursing trade journals, and ghostwrite a bunch of stuff for colleagues, hospitals and institutions. I am now working on a novel that is a follow up to The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton.

When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published, or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

It was a very small press. In fact I think I was one of their earlier efforts at publishing after spending years as a prepress setup outfit. We’ve learned together.

I wrote The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton back in the late ’90’s and spent nearly fifteen years trying to get someone, anyone, to read it, and tell me if it had value or not. I could pave several miles of eight lane highway with all the rejection slips I have accumulated since then. I almost gave up on it.

On a whim, I sent the book out again in December of 2012. I heard from Moss Press Publishing in January. Why did I choose them? I guess you waltz with the one that brought you to the dance.

How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I signed the contract in mid-February and the book was published in late June.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I did have some self-satisfied feelings after working for so long to get The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton published. However, I just went back to work on another book. Some friends did take me out to eat to celebrate.

What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I created a Facebook page for the book (https://www.facebook.com/TheMysteriousTreasureOfJerryLeeThorton ), and had a personal website designed too (www.mikethomas-writer.com). I also signed up for goodreads and twitter.

Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I am learning the fine arts of book promotion, and this hasn’t been easy. I am not a natural self-promoter and publishers are notorious for not promoting very well. I have a lot of trouble with interviews like this for the purpose of saying “Look at me.”

I have learned that publishing is product, and promoting seems to be mostly author. I’m not there yet, but I am learning fast.

What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I was astounded at the indifference shown toward promotion. There is a lot of lip service, and a little bit of budget. Creating a product like a book would seem to inherently lead to promoting the product, but that hasn’t been my experience so far.

I have also been amazed at the cut-throat level of competition. I have seen a lot of shuffling of morals to accomplish some of the tasks.

The publishing industry publishes. They do not care much about writers, the writing process, your ego, your sensitivities, or your goals. They want a product as close to “ready to go” as they can find. They don’t even talk to writers. They talk to agents. Agents do not have time to wade through junk. An author has to SELL themselves and their product to the agents. If it’s crap you lose. If it’s really good, slick and polished, you have maybe a half of a chance of getting someone to read it.

It is really the author’s job to get out there and do the cheerleading. You keep writing while doing promotion, then start the whole process over again. It’s a learning process, and it is one tough way to make a living

What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

At a recent non-writing conference, a little eighty-year-old lady approached me. I could see the bright red book in her hand, and I was ready for anything other than what she said.

She held the book to her chest and said, “I relived several great years of my life while reading your book. It meant so much to me to go back. Would you please autograph it for me?”

What more could an author want?

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

There are hundreds of thousands of excellent basketball players in the United States. They work hard and do okay on many levels. There are only three-hundred to four-hundred players in the NBA.

There are hundreds of thousands of excellent writers in the United States. They work hard and do okay on many levels.

How many can you name that actively are making a positive income today? Do the math. As mentioned, it is a tough way to make a living.

My writing process is fairly simple. It comprises a four step process:

  • Park your tail in a chair.
  • Place your hands on the keyboard.
  • Write.
  • Don’t get up until you’ve written a minimum of five thousand words a day.

For the most part, it doesn’t matter what you write. Just write. Writing is a job. You clock in. You clock out. Just like any other job, while you’re there you have to work, or you will surely fail.

Ernest Hemingway put it best when he said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I use what I call a ‘block notebook’. If the ideas aren’t coming, or the story won’t move forward for me, I just pull up my notebook and start typing anything. Gibberish, dogma, rants, whatever. I just keep writing until some form of cognizant thought begins to blossom in my little noggin again. Then I drop the block notebook down into the tray, and continue on with my original project.

Before you get too freaked at the idea of five-thousand words a day, just think of it as a bit over fourteen pages. That’s probably not as imposing.

Some days my whole five-thousand words is in the block notebook. Some days not so much. But, I guarantee that the notebook is used every day. One of my favorite authors, Jack London said “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

A few other thoughts on just sitting and writing:

·   Don’t worry about your title, your marketing strategy, who the publisher or agent will be, or the design of your book. Write the book, and then worry about the other stuff.

·   Your family, your “day job”, and the neighbor’s dog barking, are all just excuses for not writing. If you stop and think about it – you don’t need excuses to not write. Just quit.

But then again, if writing IS important to you, you’ll find a way to get it done. I have worked a full work week my whole life. Sometimes it’s just easier to come home, have a sandwich, and relax. Yet my writing job calls to me, and on those days I struggle in, sit down and start to write. Sometimes it’s a bummer, but if you’re going to succeed it has to be done. Then there are the other days where you can’t wait to get back to the story. Those are the days that make us a writer.

·   Don’t get discouraged. Do the output and eventually it will all come together. It took me thirty years to come to a point where I thought I could be considered a writer.

In short, writers write, orators talk. If all you can do is talk about writing, then you’re an orator. I don’t recommend oration as a living. So go write, and quit talking about it.

 

ABOUT MIKE THOMAS

Mike Thomas is a southern writer. He grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina where he learned a lot about family, traditions, and the genteel lifestyle most southerners enjoy. The richly eccentric folks of his youth have become his characters in today’s books and stories.

Mike began as a newswriter, editor, columnist, reporter, and speechwriter before switching to the role of Critical Care Registered Nurse. He traveled nearly every corner of the world as a vagabond contract nurse before resettling in North Carolina a few years ago.
He lives with Bobby, his desktop computer, and Rachel his laptop, in Halifax County, NC.

“That’s all I need,” He says, “Just my computers and a bit of focus. Then we can make up worlds we could only have dreamed of last week.”

You can visit him at www.mikethomas-writer.com 

WATCH THE TRAILER!

divider

The Mysterious Treasure of Jerry Lee Thorton Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

————————————————————

Monday, August 5 – Book featured at Margay Leah Justice

Wednesday, August 7 – Book featured at Between the Pages

Friday, August 9 – Book featured at Book Marketing Buzz

Tuesday, August 13 – Guest blogging at Beauty in Ruins

Wednesday, August 14 – Guest blogging at The Writer’s Life

Friday, August 16 – Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Monday, August 19 – Book reviewed at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks

Tuesday, August 20 – Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Wednesday, August 21 – Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Friday, August 23 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Monday, August 26 – Book featured at Plug Your Book

Tuesday, August 27 – 1st chapter reveal at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, August 28 – Interviewed at Between the Covers

Friday, August 30 – Interviewed at Review From Here

Wednesday, September 4 – Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

Thursday, September 5 – Guest blogging at Between the Covers

Monday, September 9 – Interviewed at Broowaha

Wednesday, September 11 – Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Thursday, September 12 – Guest blogging at Straight From the Authors Mouth

Friday, September 13 – Guest blogging and 1st chapter reveal Queen of All She Reads

Monday, September 16 – Book reviewed at Create with Joy

Monday, September 16 – Book featured at My Book Addiction and More

Tuesday, September 17 – Guest blogging at She Writes

Thursday,September 19 – Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Monday, September 23 – Guest blogging at Allvoices

Tuesday, September 24 – Interviewed at Blogher

Wednesday, September 25 – Book reviewed and interviewed at Authors and Readers Book Corner

Thursday, September 26 – Book featured at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Friday, September 27 – Book reviewed at Blooming with Books

Monday, September 30 – Book featured at A Room Without Books is Empty

————————————————————–

Pump Up Your Book

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

We support Indie Authors!

%d bloggers like this: