Author Thomas Atwood, Jr.
We are so please to have the opportunity to share author Thomas Atwood, Jr. with you today. A phenomenal author with plenty of great writing advice to share, we met him in a Facebook group called The Phoenix Quill. We know you’ll find him just as terrific as we do.
Thomas Atwood, Jr. was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His love of writing was kindled early when his father gave him a copy of The Legends of King Arthur as an Easter present. These presents continued every year and he would devour them all. Soon he was developing further adventures for the characters to go on. When his high school teachers encouraged him to pursue writing, he embarked on a journey that would result in Dauntless, his debut novel.
- How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since my freshman year of high school. It started off with small stuff, fan fiction of my favorite series, short stories featuring King Arthur and his knights, stories like that. I only started trying to become a serious novelist since 2012
- What kind(s) of writing do you do?
My primary genre is urban fantasy, but I also dip into high fantasy and mysteries.
- Why did you choose that particular field or genre?
I originally wrote mysteries and I planned on being the next big mystery writer. However when a friend of mine introduced me to the series The Dresden Files I fell in love and enthralled by the concept of Urban Fantasy.
- What inspires you?
Storytelling mediums of all kind, including movies, tv, books, and comics. John Green is who inspired me to start writing again and Dauntless was directly inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from?
My Dad. Every year my dad would get me an easter basket. In addition to the typical chocolate and candy, he included an illustrated classics. I would devour novels like The Legends of King Arthur, Ivanhoe, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Count of Monte Cristo and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.
- How do you find or make time to write?
I have a quota of two thousand words a day. I write whenever I get a spare moment. My lunch break, after workouts, when I first get home, weekends, whenever. The primary advice I would give someone trying to find time to write is to set aside an hour or two every day and keep the writing time sacred.
- Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
A combination of the two. My rough draft is just getting it all on page. Get a vague idea of the story and write it down. After that, I wait six weeks and work on something else. After that I go through the story and find out what works and what doesn’t. With the new picture in mind I outline the story, writing two paragraphs describing what happens in each chapter and two paragraphs for each character’s journey.
- How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
Hard work and good friends. I have two or three friends that I trust to give me honest opinions and tell me what works and what doesn’t. After that I just put in the work until I’m satisfied with the result.
- What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on Sanguine, Dauntless’ sequel. In it Kacey Alexander must confront a Necromancer and stop him from bringing the dead to the world of the living.
- What process did you go through to get your work published?
I opted to publish traditionally. I got a book that gave me a list of publishers and authors looking for work. From there, I kept sending out queries until I found someone interested.
- What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The rejection. Nothing crushes your dreams more than opening your inbox and seeing a form rejection letter. Putting a year of work into something and seeing agents and publishers pass will break your heart.
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- What do you enjoy most about writing?
The best part of writing is seeing a whole world unfold at your fingers. It’s wonderful creating this new world from scratch and using it to spread lessons and messages.
- What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t true?
- What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they should?
There is so much fun in juxtaposing the modern world with the fantastical. Dragons and Helicopters, wizards and soldiers, putting the elements of the old and the new together can make for an amazing story.
- For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your work, where should they start?
The primary theme of Dauntless is both the good and ills of family. The easiest way to write a novel about that is to explore your own family. What challenges do they face? In what ways is your family stronger than others?
- What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?
I tweet my progress, posts excerpts on my blogs, talk about other books and keep active in writing groups, networking with my fellow authors and learning from them. It takes away from my writing time, but what I get in return is worth so much more.
- Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson and Alexandre Dumas are my three favorite authors. Alexandre Dumas brought out my love of adventure. Brandon Sanderson showed how unique magic systems can make a story richer, and Jim Butcher first brought out my love of Urban Fantasy.
- What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?
Dauntless is unique in that it shows a character struggling through grief, while growing up, and facing their family’s secrets. Kacey Alexander is definitely a stranger in a strange land, but she faces these new challenges without fear, failing but determined to keep going.
- What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
- What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I can’t say for certain but I think that the independent market will make writing much more accessible which will allow more perspectives and unique stories to fill the market.
Thank you for the fabulous interview, Thomas. Much success in all you do!