Your name: Thomas Drinkard
ABOUT YOUR BOOK
Name of book and genre: Piety and Murder – Thriller/mystery
What is it about?
Mack Brinson has two major problems. He’s trying to recover from the long trauma of losing the love of his life—his wife Song. Now, his only family, Song’s mother, Huong, is being systematically, and legally, bilked by a sleazy televangelist’s organization.
When Brinson goes to the smarmy preacher’s headquarters in an attempt to stop the thievery, he is physically threatened.
Brinson is a former Green Beret and isn’t intimidated. He goes after the preacher in an attempt to gather embarrassing information. When he gets too close, someone tries to murder him in a running gunfight on the Lake Ponchartrain Bridge.
Brinson meets a woman, Pattie, who finally begins to dissolve the emotional walls he has erected. He begins to learn how to love again. Another woman who figures significantly in the story is the preacher’s nominal wife, Rita.
There is an unseen hand behind the preacher’s organization. The face of the antagonist is unclear, but when Huong is kidnapped, Brinson has to call on his old Special Operations contacts to find the kidnapper and rescue her.
The face of the man behind the televangelist finally becomes clear and shocking. Vengeance: slow and awful lies ahead.
When will it be available? December 1, 2010
What inspired you to write this book?
News stories about the sleaze within the televangelist organizations.
How did you choose the title?
It reflects what the book is about. Hiding behind phony piety is an organization ready to kill.
Who is your favorite character in your novel, and why?
The protagonist, Mack Brinson; he shares many of my views and some of my background.
Who is the ideal reader for your book?
Anyone who likes action-laced thrillers with a love story included.
What are the publicity plans you have coming up?
I’m scheduled to do a reading for a mystery-lover’s group; an interview with local newspapers; press releases to various outlets and a local-author’s reading for libraries in the area.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I learned quite a bit. I learned that, to write decent dialogue, one must make it ‘sound’ right. Reading the manuscript aloud helps.
Where can readers learn more about your book?
I’ve posted the first chapter and an action scene—a shootout on the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway bridge—on author’s website: http://www.thomasdrinkardwrites.com
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I’m currently about one-third through a ‘prequel’ to Piety and Murder. The book shows the origins of the current book. Much of it is set in combat situations. A war story with a love story inside.
Tell us something about yourself. (Where are you from, what is your background, how long have you been writing and anything else we might find interesting about you.)
I was born, reared and formally educated in the Deep South. I’ve been writing and telling stories in one form or another since the first grade. I’ve published poetry in numerous literary magazines and technical articles relating to passing qualification exams for registered securities representatives. I’ve written a complete textbook for that industry and a number of continuing education courses. Like Mack Brinson in Piety and Murder, I’m a former Special Forces (Green Beret is the common term) soldier.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Favorite book? Why?
I like many types of books. Currently I’m reading a biography of George Washington. But, I read more fiction than anything. My favorite authors are the ones that have influenced my writing most: John D. McDonald, Robert B. Parker and James Lee Burke.
What is your guilty pleasure read you turn to for sheer entertainment value (book, particular author)?
I wouldn’t say ‘guilty’ but I get a lot of enjoyment from Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series.
Who is your literary idol?
If I could establish a series that engulfs readers, making them sorry when a book ends and panting for the next installment as John D. McDonald did with Travis McGee, or Robert B. Parker did with his Spenser series, I’d be happy.
Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor?
In college: the late Stanley Rosenbaum and Jack Kingsbury. They were gifted teachers. Two wonderful women who influenced me were the late Anne Carroll George who wrote the hilarious ‘Southern Sisters’ series and Helen Norris Bell whose beautiful short story ‘The Christmas Wife’ was turned into a made-for-TV movie that appears every year.
Where can readers learn more about you?
On my blog; my author’s website or Twitter and Facebook—under my own name.
What sorts of things inspire you as a writer?
World and local events. I see, read and ask ‘…what if…?’
How do you approach a story? Do you start with outlines or something else? Planner or pantster?
The broad outline is in my head, but the scenes often dictate themselves.
Where do you work when writing? What is your ideal creative environment?
My office. What Stanley Rosenbaum called the ‘womb room.’ I need uninterrupted quiet, although I often have music in the background.
When do you write (morning, night)?
Usually not early morning, but otherwise no specific time.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Bring up the word processor, locate the manuscript and start typing. The scene is already in my head. I have to translate it to words.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Some are pure invention. Some are hybrids names from people I’ve met, or read about.
Is writing your main creative outlet, or do you have other talents/creative pursuits?
I often do a bit of amateur landscape photography.
Do you ever get writers’ block? How do you tackle it?
Currently, I have two novels underway; the prequel I mentioned and a ‘space opera.’
When either becomes a bit stale, I work with the other.
What’s the most personally challenging aspect of writing?
Treating it as a job. Time management is often a challenge unless I have a deadline.
What is the best advice you can give other writers about writing?
Write about people you like. If your characters don’t fascinate you, no one else will like them either.
What genres do you write in? Why?
Thrillers, action-adventure, mystery and occasionally, a space opera.
Can you tell us about any themes you have running through your stories?
Except for the prequel and a planned sequel, each book stands on its own.
Tell us your “story of getting published.”
I sent query letters and submitted manuscripts to a couple of publishers. Most probably went unread. I found LazyDay almost by accident and, after reading what I could about the company, sent in a submission.
What was your first reaction when LazyDay Publishing offered you a contract?
Delighted. Bought a bottle of champagne and shared it with my wife.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I read that the definition of a published author is someone who doesn’t give up. I didn’t, thank goodness.
Did you learn anything from publishing this book? What?
Persistence is an absolute requirement. I heard an agent at a recent writer’s conference opine that, if Faulkner submitted Sound and Fury today, he’d probably have great difficulty finding an agent.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I may have stayed with an agent who originally liked the book. The problem was, she was on the opposite coast, wanted to do things by snail mail, and was trying to emasculate my protagonist. I’ll never know.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about publishing?
Other writers can learn what I did: persistence growing from a belief in the book.
What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?
Digital publishing is a tsunami building on the horizon. Growth in digital books has been in strong contrast to decline in hardbacks. Then, when one reads the story of a well-known author whose publisher was literally forced by demand to offer a new book in digital format and then the book sold thousands of digital copies the next week, the trend is clear. Readers like the convenience of sitting at home, reading about a book and, with one click, buying it. I think there were those, in the scriptoriums of monasteries, who thought the new-fangled device Gutenberg invented was only a passing fad.
Although readers like the convenience of the ebook, they are still drawn by images. Attractive covers and trailers sell more than bookstore signings.