Yesterday I introduced the paranormal thriller, Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising by authors Jack Heath and John Thompson. We talked a bit about the history of the book and spent some time getting to know Jack Heath. Today we’re talking with the other half of the Salem VI author team, co-author John Thompson. He is a versatile author and ghostwriter.
John Thompson spent twenty-five years as an investment banker in New York before retiring to write full time. He is the author of the Brent Lucas trilogy, The Girl from Felony Bay, and coauthor of Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising. He lives with his wife and daughter and divides his time between Charleston, South Carolina and Hawley, Pennsylvania.
For someone who has never read any of your books, how would you describe your writing?
My writing flows in a very readable style. It’s full of plot elements for suspense, strong characters and action. Also, my style is very visual.
Do you remember the very first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was my first novel, and it was so bad and un-editable that I buried it in the trash. Don’t even remember the name. However, I don’t think I have ever had such a steep learning experience in anything else I have done in my life.
How do you start writing a new book? What comes first? The characters? The story?
I start with a ‘situation’, and usually everything else falls into place around it, such as the age and sex of the hero/heroine, the type of story, setting, general outline of how that ‘situation’ might come to pass. For example, when I wrote Armageddon Conspiracy, I thought about: what if Christian ultra fundamentalists wanted to start Armageddon? How would they do it? What kind of unsuspecting hero might be sucked into their plot yet possess the abilities that would allow him to stop them?
Do you have the entire trilogy planned out, and do you take reader feedback into consideration?
Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising is planned as the first of a three book series, and while Jack and I have some very definite ideas about where we would like to take the next two books in the series, we will definitely take reader feedback into consideration as John and Amy dig deeper into the terrible threat posed by the Coven.
What can you tell us about the next two books in this Salem witch trilogy?
The first book is set in Salem, but the Coven is bigger than just one city. As John and Amy discover the true reach and power of the Coven, they also uncover its ultimate objective. They realize they must stop the Coven before all of mankind is threatened.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Not until I spent a night in a hotel in Vienna that had once been a private residence. There was unquestionably a ghost in my room that night, and it wasn’t a nice ghost.
Rumor has it that you have a book coming out with HarperCollins, can you tell us about that book?
The Girl From Felony Bay is a Middle Grade mystery set on a sea island in South Carolina. The two heroines Abbey and Bee are both 12 years old. Abbey’s family owned Reward Plantation for nearly 300 years, but they were recently forced to sell. Bee is descended from slaves who once lived and worked on Reward. Bee’s father, a wealthy businessman, now owns the plantation, but that doesn’t stop the two girls from becoming best friends. Together they solve the mystery of a modern day theft, a crime of which Abbey’s father stands accused, and also a hundred and fifty year old mystery that dates all the way back to the Civil War. The Girl From Felony Bay is a nail-biter.
What excited you about this Salem witch project?
Salem VI has all the elements of a great occult thriller, and even better my co-author, Jack Heath, is actually descended from Rebecca Nurse, whose ghost plays a major part in our story. By all the elements I mean we have the perfect setting for an occult novel, great characters and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
You’ve got a big six publisher and then you’re tied to this smaller, boutique publishing house, Pressque Publishing, LLC, how has your experience differed relative to the publishing process?
The publishing business is undeniably in a state of major change right now. While it is a wonderful opportunity to work with a group of people as talented as the ones at HarperCollins, the big publishers certainly don’t have a monopoly on talented and highly intelligent people. The tremendous changes that have been brought about by electronic publishing have created an environment where small start-ups can compete successfully with the largest, most established publishers. Writers with successful books can make a lot of money with either type of publisher. I am lucky enough to be able to deal with both.
What is your favorite book series?
I have several: Lee Child (Reacher), Daniel Silva (Gabriel Allon), Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller) and Don Winslow (The Dawn Patrol Surfers)
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I serve on several boards in my local community, and when I’m not doing good stuff like that I like to fly fish, play golf, hunt, travel, read and play tennis
Vanilla or chocolate?
To learn more about author John Thompson go to: www.booksbyjohnthompson.com.
Images courtesy of Pressque Publishing.