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Friday, February 3, 2012

Thomas Wilson Shares Insight into His News Novel, No Rules of Engagement

Besides having a boring and 10th most popular name, my life is anything but boring.  Currently I am Operations Manager of a huge tire wholesaler in the middle of the country in competition with four other wholesalers, very fast paced and competitive.  That's my day job.
Then its home to help Wonder Woman, my beautiful wife, raise up and train our two young boys, Hayden and Garth.  When eight o'clock rolls around, I become the future New York Times Best Selling Author of science fiction novels.  I belong to a book club made up of myself and seven ladies from my church.  They are responsible for getting me into writing in 2010 when I finished the rough drafts of my first two novels.  It was then I discovered my true passion for my life.  With a limited four hours a night, almost every night, I write books I would love to read but nobody has written.
I have a twenty-one year daughter in college from my first marriage.  I did one stint with the United States Army where they let me drive and shoot tanks.  I loved the tanks, the fellow soldiers, organized PT every day, but didn't quite like the Army way of doing things.  I have an associate's degree with an emphasis in accounting I managed to get along the way.  I have a Kawasaki motorcycle I absolutely love to ride when I get a chance.  The whole family loves the bike and going for bike rides.
Hobbies would include reading, riding my bike, building models, building crazy science stuff in my garage, once in a long while drawing or painting.
You can learn much more about me, writing, the discoveries along the journey of self-publishing by following my blog posts.
You can also follow me on Twitter   @StorytellerTDW

Tell us about the Genre of your work?

I write Science Fiction Action Adventure novels.  I have numerous series of books I plan to write over the course of the rest of my life.  A few future projects will include Fiction Crime Novels, but mostly it will be Science Fiction.  I probably should have been an engineer, but with writing I can bring my crazy ideas to life through books.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
Whisper (A Wiley Randolph Novel)  Published Jan. 2011
My First Novel
The crew of the USS Whisper tries to get back to their rightful place in time after accidently being sent into the past over 200 years while testing a device to make the ship invisible. Captain Wiley Randolph and his crew fight against time, a 200-year old frigate, a Japanese Zero, and a German Wolf Pack of submarines.
The main character Wiley Randolph was actually named after Wiley E. Coyote, from the Warner Bros. cartoons I watched as a child.  Wiley has always been a hero of mine because he always comes up with another plan, and never gave up.

No Rules Of Engagement ( Alexander Hawk Novel)  Published Sept. 2011
For eight year old orphan, Alexander Hawk, the question, "Is there other Intelligent life in the Universe?" has been answered with a resounding YES!
Plucked from a correctional facility for boys because of a test he never even finished, Alexander is sent to train for combat against an alien race of Alligators which is attacking another group of aliens, the Macktonics, who have allied with United States in return for advanced technology.
The United States' gathers an army of children so they will arrive at the perfect age for fighting. Alexander faces grueling training exercises as he struggles to rise to the challenge of preparing to save the placid Macktonic alien civilization from pending attack. Before his training is complete he comes face to face with the enemy. Alexander becomes student and teacher as they square off against a superior aggressor. Traveling through time portals crossing time and space to gain intelligence, and ultimately to hunt down their foe before they attack the Macktonics.

The idea behind this novel started from years of thinking about what humans would have been like if we always found a way to solve our problems peacefully and never even considered war as an option.  Eventually the thinking turned to what would happen when these people ran into Earthlings, or worse.  This will be a three part series that was literally ten years in the making.
Both are available from Smashwords dot com Or Amazon dot com as E-books, Or as a paperback through Createspace or Amazon.  ISBN numbers are different depending upon if you choose E-book or Paperback.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?
I make them up as I go along for the large part, but I am an avid people watcher and many characteristics of people I know are inflected upon the characters in the books.  One of the ladies in my book club bought me a sweatshirt that has printed on it, "Be Careful You May End Up In My Next Novel."  The places and Aliens in No Rules Of Engagement were truly fun to create.  The cast in this book is enormous.  Thankfully, we don't have to know everybody's name in the Army.
How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?
Alexander Hawk is the way every little boy feels at one time or another, unwanted, unloved, and totally not in control of the events of his life, magnified by being an orphan and socially inept, always being forced to fight.  The events of his life take an out of this world turn when the Army plucks him from a correctional facility for a test he didn't even finish.
What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?
The military officer who collects Alexander is the original antagonist, and he is downright mean and sadistic, again based off aspects of a couple of people I know.  There are other bad guys who add to the drama, and an Army of enormous humanoid Gators.
What’s your favorite thing about your book?
My favorite part turned out when part of my writing style surfaced unexpectedly.  I would explain the characters plans and then they would begin their work and then all hell would break lose.  Plans never work out like you expect them too, kind of like true life.
Why and when did you begin writing?
English has always been the one subject I struggled with.  Yet if I had listened, teachers had been telling me for years I had the makings of a good writer.  To me that was hilarious because my total lack of the primary skills needed to write well.  In my thirties, my reading ability slid into over drive.  By 2002 the idea of writing a book had taken root.  I started chapters of stories, wrote story outlines, came up with places and characters, but just didn’t commit to anything.  The ladies of my book club asked me to bring in a chapter so they could read it and help me edit it.  So each month I brought another chapter, and got it corrected and made the changes.
So realizing I was slowly writing a book.  After some thought and knowing my first novel would always be my worst I picked the weakest story I had and started writing every day.  After months, I was surprised how much I had done.  When I finished it, I found an editor, and sent it off to be edited and started my second novel.
What is your writing schedule?
The only time I have to write is from 8:00PM until midnight, sometimes when I am on fire I stay up until 12:30 or 1:00.  I don’t get to write every night but at least five out of seven days of the week I am writing.  I have found a passion that has given me new energy.  I feel it makes me work harder at work, to be a better husband and father.  I am worker harder and longer hours than I ever have in my entire life and enjoying every moment of it.  When you enjoy what you’re doing, have passion about your work, it changes everything.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
Currently I am writing the sequel to both books.  The continuing adventures of Wiley Randolph, and the sequel to No Rules Of Engagement picks up right where the first one leaves off.  I plan to have both ready to be published sometime in 2012.  I know I need to continue working on my English skills and editing, but when I am crafting the rough draft I have to just get it out, and not let accuracy slow me down until I get the scenes and ideas out of my head and figuratively on paper.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write and get published?
My advice would be to write.  Write, write, and write, because when it all calms down that’s all there really is.  Editing sucks worse than playing soccer with ingrown toe nails and no shoes.  I hate editing, but it is a very necessary evil.  Being published is great but seeing your books sell is better.  That somebody is willing to spend their hard-earned money to try your work.  Reviews when they are good are awesome.  In time with good reviews, word of mouth, and more books for people to buy, hopefully I can stay at home, and get my boys off to school and write all day for a living.
Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
Yes, to write your book and publish it yourself.  As I got close to finish of Whisper, I researched Publishing, the process, query letters, and literary agents.  There is Traditional publishing, vanity publishing, and self-publishing.  The other thing I realized is that the publishing industry is more screwed up than the tire industry if that’s possible.  Writers and authors are publishers and literary agents, and it is a whole world of who knows how, who is interested in what, what other people think will sell, and very few care about the new undiscovered author.
Only a small portion of people who ever wrote a book ever get their book published.  I love writing and want to write books, not ruin my self confidence by writing query letters.
Today there is true self-publishing, DO NOT PAY ANYBODY TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK!
Self-publish for free, get help with editing, cover art for your book, start a blog, start networking, and write your happy butt off.  Live the dream of being a published author!  We all will not succeed and make enough money to stay at home and write for a living.  We can all be writers, take it out of the hands of the agents and traditional publishers and put it in the hands of readers with what they buy and read.  To sell more books, write better stories, polish your craft, write more books.

What do you do when you are not writing?
Between my full time job, two very young boys, and writing, when I am not doing one of these three I am sleeping or reading.  I sleep great now days.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
Recently in January when I published Whisper it was awesome!  Selling my first book!  Making my books available through Createspace and actually holding paperback copies of my books.  Finally signing books for people who have bought them all have made me feel like an author and helped me realize I am accomplishing steps towards my goal.
You can learn much more about me, writing, the discoveries along the journey of self-publishing by following my blog posts.
You can also follow me on Twitter   @StorytellerTDW

You can visit my other blog at: that features a preview to my new book that will be released in 2012, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts.

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