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Interview: Tom Blubaugh

  • It’s been said that writers must first be readers. Do you enjoy reading?

I do enjoy reading although I was not encouraged to read as a child. I read mainly nonfiction when after I became an adult. Now I read fiction for enjoyment and seeing how other writers write.

  • What genres do you read most?

I like historical fiction best, but I read a lot of different genres.

  • Who are your favorite authors, and what makes them special to you?

One of my favorites is Andrew Klavan. He wrote a four book series—Homelanders. The four books covered one year in a young man’s life. It was constant adventure that kept me turning the pages and was void of any four language or sex scenes. Most of my reading now is authors and writers I made a connection with online in writing groups. One of my favorites is Elaine Cooper. Her Deer Run series is a very good read.

  • When did you decide you wanted to write?

I can’t say that I made a clear-cut decision to write. I think I just grew into it. Even though I was being published in articles and I self-published a book in 1974, I didn’t consider myself a writer until I was contracted by Barbour Publishing to co-write a book under contract.

  • How many books have you written, and how many of them have been published?

One I self-published, one I co-wrote, a novel and I guest published a chapter in a book. I guess that’s four that have been published. I have three or four in process.

  • Can you tell us what you believe has had the greatest influence on your writing?

I believe it was my ministry website The Genesis Project. I have written several articles about things I’ve learned in life in an attempt to help others who came from alcoholic homes and sexual abuse backgrounds.

  • How do you prepare to write a book? Did you do any special research?

I’m writing a sequel to my first novel Night of the Cossack, which took a huge amount of research of Russia and several countries in Europe. I’m now researching World War II for the sequel. I didn’t have a love for history as a kid, but I love it now.

  • How long have you been writing?

I began writing poems when I was fourteen. Sort of love letters to girls I liked, but was too bashful to tell how I felt in person. Guess that was 56 years ago.

  • What genre do you usually write?

Until Night of the Cossack, I wrote spiritual nonfiction. At the present, I am writing historical fiction and nonfiction about my life and that change four books have made in me.

  • What made you choose that genre?

Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. I knew very little about either of them. One thing I did know about my maternal grandfather was that he was a Cossack soldier in Russia. This intrigued me, so I somewhat invented my grandfather.

  • Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

It’s a sequel to Night of the Cossack. I’m 50,000 words into it, but it’s not going the way I planned. My protagonist and readers are influencing me.

  • How do you get an idea for a book?

This is a difficult question. I have a lot I want to say before I die so I have a lot floating around in my head. My office is full of memorabilia that brings back many memories. Sometimes I close my eyes and just start typing until an idea grabs me.

  • What one piece of advice would you give to a beginning writer?

Start building your platform now, preferably before you tap the first computer key. Don’t compare yourself to any other writer. You are unique. Write what you know. Join a critique group—a local one preferably. There’s nothing like face to face critiquing.

  • Do you have any favorite inspirational quotes?

Several. One of my favorites is, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. ” John Wesley  Another one is, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Sir Winston Churchill. One other is, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford

  • What is your writing schedule like? Do you write only when inspired?

I a seat-of-the-pants writer. Not only when I’m inspired, but a lot of the time—yes. I usually mull something over in my mind until it just has to come out. At those times I can write for hours. I do spend a lot of the day writing blog articles, interviews, emails and if I have time, my novel.

  • Did your parents encourage your love for reading and/or writing? If not, where did encouragement come from?

No they didn’t. Even though my mother wrote articles that she tried to get published in Reader’s Digest and other magazines, she didn’t encourage me to read or write. At least I don’t remember this happening. My father was busy supporting a family of six and an alcoholic. I only remember seeing him read the city paper.

  • Do you like the promotional aspect of being a writer? What are your best promotional tools?

Yes, but it’s really difficult. I’ve was a financial planner for 25 years so I well experienced in marketing, but marketing myself and my novel is different.

  • How did you study the craft of writing?

I took one college creative writing course. In school I hated English and I didn’t like history. Now I’m haunted by the grammar and I love history. The actual writing seems to come very natural to me. I believe it’s a God-given talent.

  • Do you read books on the craft of writing? If so, what are your favorites and why?

Honestly? I buy them. I read until I find an idea that fits or I get bored. I may buy a book tomorrow, read a couple of chapters, put it down and not picked up for a year. Usually when I pick it up again it fascinates me.

  • Are you a plotter or a panster? Explain your writing process.

I’m a punster, I think. I usually write as if I am telling a story. I don’t think about show don’t tell. Later I go back and add dialogue. My local critique group really helped me with Night of the Cossack. When I first went to them with my manuscript, they liked the story, but they wanted to know how the protagonist got to where he was. What I thought was the beginning is in the middle of the book.

  • What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

I do chores around the house, help my wife in the garden, do some social things with family and friends (we have six kids and fourteen grandkids). I used to do a lot of macro photography, but I can’t get down as easily as I once did and when I do, it’s difficult to get up. I like going to flea market, garage sales, auctions and antique malls. I love to travel.

  • How did you get your first book published? How long did it take? Was this the first book you had written?

This is not your usual story. A friend for whom I did some website work asked me to help him with a site for a Christian independent publishing company he and his wife were starting. I didn’t think anything about it because I wasn’t ready for a publisher nor did I consider my novel a Christian story. In the process, I showed them my website and how I linked to my first chapter to see what people thought of it. They made note of this and read it when they went home. He call me and asked if they could read my manuscript. A few days later he asked if they could publish my novel.

  • Why do you write?

I have much to say about life and my experiences.

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To read more of Tom’s life and experiences, visit his blog at: http://tomblubaugh.net/

Click below to buy Tom’s book:

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2012 by in Author Interviews.

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