Author Interview with Tom Winton
Good Sunday to you! Today we have the fortune of sitting down with Multi-genre author, Tom Winton. Let’s kick-off this exciting interview with The eReader Cafe’s signature first question:
Coffee or Tea?
I’ll take coffee, please, just a bit of cream. I’ve got to have it when I write or do anything else in the mornings. Usually I go with decaf but every now and then I take a walk on the wild side and go with the high-test.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start writing?
I was born in Manhattan and for the most part grew up in Queens, New York. I didn’t start writing until I was forty-five. I tried to begin earlier, but for two full years all I could do was stare at the first blank page of a Spiral notebook. When I finally got going (on a part-time basis), it took me two-and-a half years to complete my first novel, Beyond Nostalgia.
You’ve written several highly rated novels in multiple genres, and most recently a contemporary novelette: Within a Man’s Heart. Tell us about your books and what inspires you to write.
I was first inspired to write after I’d been reading seriously for about ten years. At the time I always had about a half-dozen books at the ready, alongside my recliner. But there was a problem. I couldn’t finish reading many of them. While some folks feel they have to finish every book they start, I’m not that way. I’ve got a short attention span, and if a book doesn’t hold me from the get go, I’ll quickly move on to another.
That’s what inspired me to put my pen to paper. I believed I could write fluff-less stories. My goal was to write entire books without a single paragraph that would allow readers to yawn. And that’s what I still try to do. For example, descriptions of people and places are often very humdrum and can slow down a story’s flow. So, to me, descriptions are the real challenges. Those are the parts of a story I really grapple with. Honestly, there have been times when I’ve spent three or four hours working on a single paragraph.
As for my books, I’ve been very fortunate with them. All, except my brand new novella, have been multi-list Amazon Bestsellers—several times each. And seventy percent of their combined reviews are five stars
Beyond Nostalgia is the poignant story of a man who has the misfortune of finding love too early in life, squandering it, and then mourning its loss for twenty-four years.
The Last American Martyr is about an unemployed doorman who writes a book about the unfair spread of wealth in America. Two years later, after the book becomes an international bestseller, the unlikely candidate is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. But all is not roses. Once he returns home from Stockholm with the prize, he soon learns that a powerful, elitist clique has it in for him. With no other choice, he and his wife flee their longtime home and drive all over America in an RV, hoping to find peace and anonymity.
In my third novel, Four days with Hemingway’s Ghost, Hemingway aficionado Jack Phelan slips into a four-day coma after an accident and finds himself in Key West—spending time with Ernest Hemingway himself—learning more about his hero than he ever could have imagined
And lastly, my new novella Within a Man’s Heart is the story of a New York Sales executive who, four years after the death of his young wife, moves to a small rural New Hampshire town with hopes of finding peace and solace. But it doesn’t happen so quickly. He’s not there fifteen minutes before he finds out he’s in for a lot more than he’d bargained for.
Describe your writing process. When and where do you write?
I work at a small desk in a corner of my living room and like to write in the early mornings, before any clutter has chance to accumulate in my mind.
What do you do in your spare time when you are not your writing?
I’m up every morning before the sun and almost always go for a drive at dawn. After that I spend most of my time writing, marketing my books, participating in my social network, and posting on my Facebook group “Tom Winton Authors Helping Authors.” To clear my mind I hit a local gym three days a week and often take long walks.
Do you have any favorite books or authors?
That’s a tough call but right off the top of my head I have to say The Prince of Tides, Travels with Charley, and Stephen King’s On Writing. I’ve read each of them more than once.
What are you reading now?
Nothing at the moment, but I am getting ready to give King’s On Writing another whirl. I think it’s a must read for all authors. Every other book I’ve ever read about the writing process has been about as enjoyable as reading a big-city phone directory. Not this memoir/how to. King’s book is a keeper.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Ernest Hemingway used to tell aspiring writers “Write just one sentence; the truest sentence you know.” Great advice! You get that one sentence right, and you’ll have no problem going on from there. Now, if a new writer is at the point where she or he has finished their first book, I strongly recommend joining an online writer’s community. Random House’s YouWriteOn is a very good one, as is the Harper Collins Authonomy site.
Are you planning on writing another book in the near future?
Yes, of course. I’ve already started one. I’m about five thousand words into a memoir about the hair-raising experiences I’ve had while dealing with my mentally ill mother for decades.
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