Morning everyone! I hope you’re all keeping warm and safe! Today on Meet the Author I’m thrilled to be chatting with Tom Fowler about glamorous childhood dreams, chainsaw accidents (!), the best thing he’s ever done (cute!), his most recent novel, The Mechanic, and more….
How many books have you written and published?
Currently (not counting box sets), I’ve published ten novels and three novellas. Additionally, I have another novel on preorder and a new novella coming out in a multi-author box set next month.
How long does it take you to write a book?
In normal (pre-COVID) times, I could crank out a novel draft in about six weeks. Now, with more on my plate, it takes a few weeks longer. I’ve actually dialed back my planned released for 2021. Normally, I aim for four in a year, but I’m currently figuring on three. If I’m able to do a fourth, I’ll consider it a bonus.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Daughters and Sons, the fifth book in my mystery series. It’s by far the most personal for the main character, and he learns a lot about himself in the process. I think it’s the one which shows who he is the best.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I went back and forth between being an astronaut and a spy. They both sounded so interesting and glamorous back then.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
My first job was a paperboy delivering copies of the long-since-defunct Baltimore Evening Sun from my bicycle. Later, in my high school and college years (the first time I tried college, at least), I worked retail jobs for a few different companies. About twenty years ago, I started working as an IT contractor for the US Army, and I’ve been either a contractor or a federal civilian in the IT arena ever since.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I have a chainsaw scar on my lower left leg from a tree-cutting accident when I was a teenager. It could have ended a LOT worse.
What is the best thing you’ve done in your life so far?
Marrying my wife.
You win a million pounds – you give half to charity. Which charity do you pick and why? What would you do with the rest of the money?
The charity would be the American Cancer Society. I’ve lost close family members and friends to this terrible disease, and $500,000 would be a great help to the organization.
With the other half, I wouldn’t do anything wild or crazy. I’d pay off our cars, debt, and house. With the remaining money, I’d open a special needs trust for our daughter.
Then, if anything remained, I’d buy a Porsche.
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
Characters. Without them, even the best plots and most exotic settings will be flat. Great characters can cover for a mediocre plot. In the end, I think they’re more memorable than all but the most outrageous of plot twists.
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
Several times in a book, I mistyped “the court of public opinion” as “the court of pubic opinion.” I think this would a VERY different entity . . .
When people read your books, what can they expect?
I went character over plot above, so I would say compelling characters first and foremost. I don’t think I’m bad at plotting, but there are only so many scenarios for a mystery novel. No one’s calling in the private detective because someone stole a ham sandwich.
Mostly, I think readers can expect mysteries, action thrillers, snark, and flawed heroes. I’m way too sarcastic to write about someone who doesn’t have the same trait to some degree. Personally, I don’t think goody-goody characters are very interesting, so they need to have some baggage and imperfections. I want my stories and the people in them to feel real even though it’s all fiction.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My most recent novel is The Mechanic, the first entry in the John Tyler thriller series. It’s about a former soldier who lives with both PTSD and a teenaged daughter. He fulfils a dream of working as a classic car mechanic but discovers his old life isn’t finished with him yet.
It’s available anywhere paperbacks and ebooks are sold via this universal link: https://books2read.com/Mechanic
Thanks so much Tom for coming to chat with us!
If you have any comments or questions for Tom, make sure you get in touch!
I’ll be back with another post soon….