I’m enjoying a nice moonlit night sitting on my wharf and enjoying some rare solitude and warm weather waiting for my friend Thomas to drop by share a drink and give me the inside scoop on not one but two of his latest works! How lucky can a gal get?
Normally I only do either an interview or a promo for upcoming releases, but Thomas is an old hand around this wharf, often helping the gang mend fishing nets, so I wanted to do both for him.
First, our lively chat:
Welcome, Thomas Rydder have a seat, sorry that it is not more comfy, I did have two Lazy Boys here but the shed was robbed last evening, leaving me with these milk crates.
Hi Tina, and thanks for the hospitality. Milk crates are fine – I’ve sat on worse. Since it’s getting into fall, I’d like a White Russian.
Thank you for coming Thomas though I have known you for years, those who are spying on us around the shed, don’t, so please tell us a little about yourself.
Hoo boy. Something I’m not really good at. Okay, I’m 56, have been a Marine, warehouse worker, handyman, strike security guard, data entry clerk, auto body repairman, land surveyor, and most recently, the project manager for a civil engineering firm. Been around the world once, visited a dozen states, lived in five more, along with Japan and Okinawa for a year. Now, I draw on all my life’s experiences in an effort to entertain folks with my books.
Could you please tell me about The Clearing and Restless Souls?
“The Clearing”, my debut thriller, actually came out this past March, but due to some review remarks on one particular aspect of the book, I decided to re-write a couple parts, and am now re-launching it. It’s about a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania that gets some unwanted visitors – the large kind, with lots of hair and super long fangs. The residents discover their new occupants through a series of grisly events, and spend the rest of the story trying to rid themselves of some very distasteful neighbors. Not everyone lives through this.
Restless Souls started out as something to do while I worked through editing my “The Clearing.”
All the stories are about spirits who are trapped in our world. Each of them seek out – or are sought out by – live folks. All with disastrous results, I might add…
Wow, The Clearing and Restless Souls sounds intriguing. Are there particular parts of your stories that you really enjoyed writing?
In “The Clearing”, the process by which everyone becomes aware of the nature of their problem is pretty entertaining to me. (Not to sound morose, just sayin’).
In “Colors” (short story), my favorite part was when the main character, Harrison Street, smacked a guy in the mouth. Not that he did, but why he did.
In “Do Unto Others” (short story), Jeremy’s way of dealing with life I find fascinating. (Since I wrote it, that might sound odd, but it’s true.)
And in “Simona Says” (novella), my favorite scene is the one where she gets her wish – through a visitor both she and her friend Mary are ill-prepared for.
It was a peaceful yarn so far with Thomas and I was enjoying it, until a far away voice shouts:
I groan because I know it’s Jack.
“Hey dude, tell us who your favourite characters are!”
Great question – uh – dude, whoever the hell you are. Not all of them were the main characters of the stories, actually.
In “The Clearing”, there’s a big farmer by the name of Dan Wigand who is no-nonsense. He’s a simple fellow, honest and hard-working, and doesn’t suffer foolishness. I picture him as the backbone of the area in which the story is set. A salt of the earth type, you know.
In “Colors”, which is a story centered around a biker gang, a fellow by the name of Mountain figures heavy in the story line. As you can imagine, Mr. Mountain is, well, let’s say large. He’s also very affable and an all-around likable chap.
In “Simona Says”, I actually took a liking to the cop in the story. He’s carved out of the mold that created the flatfoot detectives of decades past. Nose to the grindstone, keep at it until you get answers, don’t take crap from anyone.
And in “Do Unto Others”, Jeremy, who is the main guy, is street mean and has learned how to deal with situations in a very straightforward, let’s say reactionary way. Not that I have violent tendencies, but I envy him that freedom.
Sorry about that, but the question brought another question to light, “If The Clearing or your other stories were to be optioned for a movie, who do you see playing your main characters?
Whew. Tough one. Jack’s a real pain in the derriere, right?
I did actually thing about this with The Clearing, and since the county sheriff is rather the main character, I’d like to have Timothy Olyphant play him. Tim is one of the best actors on TV, and I think he’d do a bang-up job of it.
In “Do Unto Others”, I picture Jeremy looking a lot like Adrian Brody, and with the same off-hand manner.
In “Colors”, Harrison is a bit of a coward, but yet tall and stalwart, so I’m thinking Chris Pine.
In “Simona Says”, I’d would have loved to have a young Helena Bonham Carter play Simona, but I’ll go with Bonnie Wright, oddly enough another actress in the Harry Potter series.
They will be perfect, Thomas I could really see those actors playing that part. I was wondering, as a person who writes on the side, during my down time, my writing process starts with forming the story in my head before I put pen to paper, what is your writing process like?
Yep, that’s the start. I typically have the first germ of a story spring up at the darnedest times – and believe it or not, twice it’s been in the shower. I’ve learned to carry a notebook with me, so I can jot down the idea when I think of it. After that, the ideas tend to roll around – stewing, if you will. I get little snippets here and there about things and characters I’d like to see in the story, and once again, I have to jot them down. By the time I actually sit down to write a story, I have a good idea what I want to do.
I should have known that the rest of the gang would be curious about what Thomas was saying to me, so I wasn’t surprised when Terrance, obviously drunk, staggers over to us. He trips up in a loose board and spills his drink on Thomas and gets a little rude and nosy.
All of this sounds fascinating but I heard writing is a hell of a lot of work, why do you do it, what do you get out of it?
At least Jack didn’t spill crap all over me. How did you get saddled with these winners?
If it will make you leave me alone, I’ll answer you, Terrance, big fella.
You know, I kind of tripped over writing. I didn’t have the type of beginning that many have had. I didn’t yearn to write all my life and so on. It was quite accidental, and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Work is doing something you don’t enjoy. I enjoy writing, a lot. I’ve done a few things from a creativity standpoint – played the trumpet in various bands, sang, some other things. But man, you get to create worlds with writing. Your very own worlds, where you create the people, places, and best of all, the rules. What could possibly be more fun than that?
Thanks for the awkward segue, Terrance, now go over with the rest of the b’ys and let me and Thomas have our yarn. Terrance asked you why you like to write, now I want to ask you, is there anything about writing you don’t like?
Re-writing is very hard. As I mentioned above, I re-wrote parts of my first book, and that, I have to say, was work. Once you get a particular scene or scenes in your head, along with the characters, it’s rough to back up and take it all at a different angle. I had a tough time of it, but in the end, I really like how it came out.
When you write, what is it that you hope your readers take away from your story?
Oh, I don’t know. I really don’t write to send messages or convey any particular moral. I like to think my stories are reflections of life, and I hope people are moved, amused, or horrified. Um – I mean by my stories, not my writing skills.
Do you have any other stories you are currently writing or are planning to write?
Oh, yeah. The list is building, and my one complaint is that the flippin’ landlord won’t let me stop paying rent so I can write full time.
A sequel to “The Clearing” is on the way, I have an idea for another full-length book about a group of ghost hunters, one about a serial killer who uses biological weapons, a YA novel about time travel, and yet another centered on a young married couple who has the ghost of a murdered woman invade their country home. I’m good for a while.
Thanks a million for answering all my questions…and the others, Thomas it has been a real pleasure. Since we are being spied on, might as well make some money off the news bags. Where are your books available?
Both are available currently on Amazon:
Smashwords Kindle – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/290578
Restless Souls: 3 dark fables
Amazon paperback – http://www.amazon.com/Restless-Souls-3-dark-fables/dp/1909636045/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1382119056&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=thomas+rydder
Amazon Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Restless-Souls-3-dark-fables-ebook/dp/B00FYQ59K6/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1382118924&sr=1-3&keywords=restless+souls
Smashwords Kindle – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/368653
And if anyone is actually foolish enough to wish contacting me:
You look a little cold,Thomas, its getting kind of chilly. Is there anything you like to add?
Tina, you’ve been most generous with your crates and your booze, and I’m most grateful for both. I’d just like to say that the ebook versions of both my works are available for an introductory price of 99 cents, so swing by and grab one with that price lasts!
Now, if you’d be so kind to fill my thermos with some more of that fine grog, I’ll wander back home now 🙂
Good night, Thomas, it’s been a real pleasure.
Now as promised the Promo!
The man of the hour:
1. “Do Unto Others” (short story) – Jeremy is a street hood, lawless and unchained. When he is wronged by a local businessman, it becomes his mission to seek revenge. But his new enemy has friends – ones that don’t take kindly to intruders.
2. “Colors” (short story) – Harrison Street. attorney, biker wannabe, coward. When he finds the bike of his dreams, it seems too good to be true. It is.
3. “Simona Says” (novella) – Simona has had it rough. Death, disenchantment, and disappointment are all part of her life. She wants to be happy for a change, and she’s willing to do just about anything to find some. Anything.
A small town in western Pennsylvania – quaint, simple, peaceful. That is, until The Elder takes up residence. He has an agenda – one that is 1,000 years old, and cannot be denied. One that will change the lives of many – and end the lives of any who interfere.
Restless Souls –
The Clearing –
I was born in 1957 in a small town in Western Pennsylvania that had – and still has – one traffic light. There wasn’t a whole lot to do there, and we had few neighbors, so I learned to play quite a bit of make-believe – soldiers, cowboys and Indians, that kind of thing. At the same time, I loved to read and watch old movies. On Saturdays, my dad played in a country western band, and I stayed up to wait for him. It was during that stretch that I discovered the horror movie. You know the ones I mean. Karloff, Chaney, Lee. The masters, right?
Fast forward 40 years. I’m now the project manager for a small civil engineering firm in picturesque Charleston, South Carolina with my lovely wife and four rescue pets, two dogs, two cats. Oh – and eight feral cats outside that put up with us because we give them two squares a day.
Anyway, since childhood, I’ve loved to create. I played trumpet, sang, even dabbled in genealogy. Nothing quite did it for me. Over the years, I’d composed quite a few term papers and theses (there are a few ex-teenagers in this world who owe their English grades to yours truly), and unfailingly earned an “A”. My wife knew this, and one day just suggested that I try writing.
What the hey, I thought. So I sat down and found a writing site called Hubpages. Nice little site, and I started getting the basics of writing a little from some of the inhabitants. I wrote a short story, and everyone liked it. So, I wrote another one. Except it kept growing, and I kept getting more ideas, and it lengthened to 20 thousand words, then 30, then 40. By the time I sat back, I had the rough draft of my first novel, except back then it was called “Werewolves and Flapjacks”. Somewhere along the way I decided to submit my work (now called “The Clearing) to three publishers. I was turned down twice, and miraculously was accepted by the gentleman who gently rules this site, Mr. Tim Taylor. And the rest, as they say, is history. By the way, you need to like Tim…he’s a great guy, and I owe him much, which can never be repaid.
I now have a second book availabe – “Restless Souls: 3 dark fables” – an anthology (novella and two short stories) of ghost stories, and life is grand.
Even though I make wise cracks about all of it, this is all like living a dream – and I don’t plan on waking up for a very long time.
Thomas Rydder – writer