Featured Friday! William P Thomson
I don’t think I can introduce William any better, or more thoroughly, than he has already done so, straight over to the man himself:
I have been invited, by Pete at Zealot Script, to participate, as an Author, in a Q&A session, and was happy to oblige the honour. However, prior to the Q&A proper, I thought it would help if I first penned my own Introduction. I’m sure some would observe, ‘typical of an Author!’
First, I think a warning would be appropriate, so …….
WARNING: Sorry about my photograph. Brad Pitt I ain’t! It was part of a promo for my first book, ‘Prometheus Ascending’ (2015). More of that anon To begin, a brief word on the last 55 years!
First that Introduction. If nothing else, it will put what follows into a form of context, which Q&A formats do not always do.
I was born at an early age.
Sorry about that, I’ve always wanted to use that line.
Now let’s get serious.
I’ve written one novel, one series under the collective title of ‘George’ and two collections of novellas and short stories, under the collective title of ‘Insanitus’ (Latin for Insanity).
Now a truth. All the above has been written over the past 55 years. Finally, all being put onto a Toshiba laptop. A complete set is now also with my publisher (AUSTIN MACAULEY). So, when I kick the bucket, they’re not lost.
Allow me to briefly explain the first novel and then the second ‘novel’.
‘’PROMETHEUS ASCENDNG’ (‘PROM’) (2015).
This was a faction work, purporting to be a written, eye-witness account of Man’s first attempt at a living human brain transplant. Days before it was published, a Neurosurgeon, working out of Russia, seemed to be telling the world that he was just about to do it, FOR REAL. Imagine our surprise and utter joy. Short lived, I’m afraid, as he soon began to temper his own PR. Then, he cut his losses, departed Russia and set up again – in China. He’s a genuine Italian Neurosurgeon by the name of Sergio Canavero. When such an attempt is made (and it will be), I think my book will sell a little faster.
Typical Author …. always living in hope, and spelling their title with a capital ‘A’. Oh, I nearly forgot. I landed myself a Jimmy Saville radio “Speakeasy” programme on the whole subject. Actually suggested it to the late, unlamented man.
This is, in fact, 14 individual stories, interlinked, so making the one novel and written for older children. I also employed the talents of an Illustrator, Finola Stack, who did a wonderful job. The sales are picking up slowly (I’m told it’s a matter of time and ‘traction’). The kids I’ve met love him. But just who is George? I have a friend of many years standing, and years ago she told me she’d a had a wonderful little Jack Russell for sixteen years. I said I’d write a story about him, and ended up writing 14! I gave the kids a warning on the Title page of the book: Nothing is what it seems. To understand that, you’ll have to read the book.
‘INSANITUS’ (2019) and ‘INSANTUS2’ (2020 – I hope)
At long last, in 2019 I’d got my act together with my short horror stories (my favourite genre). I’d written my first in 1971/72, for the old Capital Radio’s ‘Moment of Terror’ series. They went out Monday to Friday, between 11:55pm and Midnight. I got four of my stories on. Although my moment of fame had past, I kept such stories. And so it continued: along with writing ‘PROM’ and ‘George’, and also earning a commercial living and having a ball …. on a limited income. I did have some of the stories reproduced in a friend’s free magazine (‘NINE TO FIVE’) and broadcast on a popular radio station in Israel.
As to my pen-name, of which I had a few. I finally settled for WILLIAM P THOMSON, signing autograph (and not so many) simply as W PT. Someone said it sounded like the name of a successful banker. Mind you, I might have misheard the last word.
Finally, before I get to Pete Richmond’s Q&A, I think I should make a few comments on my favourite genre: HORROR.
‘GEORGE’ notwithstanding, most of my stories are of horror and the macabre. The question is ……
Imagination. If nothing else, I have that, and it was clear from an early age, and back in the early days, pretty much unbridled. Such being the case, I could and did write freestyle, sans any research, little of substance, totally absent of anything remotely profound or of a reality.
In time (I’m now 76) I became more disciplined in my approach and storylines; giving due respect to the genre and to the presentation of storylines.
And how do I view things now?
For me, the best way to present horror is for the story to have some basis in reality (most of the time!). In this, giving both time and respect to the subject and storyline of the moment.
Humour also has its place, to a point. Remember Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’?
Be circumspect in the actual horror that you write. When you’re into the truely ‘dark’ passages, DON’T HOLD BACK. (read ‘Blood’ in ‘Insanitus’)*. If you’re taking your reader to some dreadful summit of revelation, make sure they have something to “see” in their mind’s eye. Leave them gasping, not bereft, buggered and bewildered for lack of a climax to the moment. * ‘BLOOD’ is my example. I wrote it in Gothic style, and more than that, I told the story twice. First, in conventional, Police story style, giving it a certain humour. I was actually setting the reader up, hopefully making them reasonably happy and comfortable, then in the re-telling, turn them suddenly, savagely 180 degrees in another direction, into another style of presentation: dark, Gothic and sickeningly bloody. Hence the title. To know more, read it!
Hopefully, ‘Insanitus2’ will follow come the end of June, 2020. As stated, the common denominator to both is the first story in each, for different reasons.
As to a publisher, if you can find a good one (who will care, help, guide and encourage you), do so. Cherish them, as I do mine: AUSTIN MACAULEY.
I close this segment with a personal statement: the most important question for any writer of FICTION to ask the question:
‘What if ………?’
One last thing: BOO!!
And now over to Pete Richmond to do his David Frost bit.
Mister Richmond asks …..
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
Being alone in my mind, save for the company of my characters and plots; and the quietness that goes with it.
What made you start writing?
Telling stories to my dormitory mates at school. Much later, I wrote a few for the old Capital Radio ‘MOMENT ON TERROR’ (1971-72) series. The clue to my chosen genre is in the title; the word ‘Terror’.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
Shakespeare and Poe (along with the Actor Vincent Price, and his superb delivery of Poe’s text).
What is your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
Enjoy your writing. If not, do not an Author be!
What type of book do you like to read, and does this differ from the genre you prefer to work in?
My main reading was on the two professional subjects and professions I intended to work in; Acting and Counselling.
Which of your characters would you most like to spend time with?
The hero. In truth, once a story is done, I’m on to the next one.
Which book do you consider a must-read?
I don’t. Each to his or her own.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
The hardest editing I had to do was to simply scrap my first attempt at ‘Prometheus Ascending’. I’d gone in with the wrong approach, so had to start again. On a simpler level, with my short stories in ‘Insanitus’ and ‘Insanitus2’ (MS now with the publisher) was what stories to put in, which to leave out. After all, they’re all my “children”!
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
The one I’m writing at the time. When I write, I’m living both the story and the characters therein.
If you could pick on another Author to write your biography, who would it be?
I wouldn’t. Once I learnt I had been a “war baby”, and what that meant, I decided to live my own life, creating it as I went along, for better or worse. Simply put, I became a self-made adult.
Is there any conflict between what you want to write and what you think your readers will like?
With ‘Prometheus Ascending’ I pretty much knew as many would like/accept the storyline as others would hate it, be disgusted and offended by it. With ‘George’ (a book for older children), I was pretty sure both the kids and the parents would like it. With ‘Insanitus’ and ‘Insanitus2’, it’s all genre specific; you’re either into it or not.
What effect can a review have on you, if you’ve read them at all? Both good and bad?
Once writ, I move on. Seriously, though, who doesn’t like a good press (review)? But then they do say, any publicity is good publicity.
Can you sum up your life in ten words or less?
I’m doing it my way (thanks, Frankie, baby!). 5 words. OK?
What’s exciting about your next project?
Putting ‘Insanitus2’ together (for publication at the close of June, 2020). Again, it’s the first story that really gets me going: it’s about the ‘ETHREAL’ man (now you see him, now you don’t!). No, not the ‘Invisible Man’. Put it this way, how would you like to be a ‘Separate’? One who could bring out from himself, his own ‘ETHEREAL’ Self; the very energy that we all have, that allows our CORPOREAL bodies to move and function? As I noted, I simply ask the crucial first question: ‘What if?’
And finally, if you have (or would like) a quote to be remembered by, what is (would) it be?
LIVE! (your life). It’s the only one you have.
That’s all, folks, and that includes you, Pete. And thank you. Excellent questions.
Well, that was a great interview! Thanks for your time William.
You can check out WPT’s latest relasese, Insanitus, on Amazon:
And find out more about him over on Austin Macauley: