Monday, 22 June 2009

Interview with author Tom Pawlik

*Featured book, Vanish - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414318936
*New release, Valley of the Shadow - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414326793


Today I'm interviewing author Tom Pawlik, author of Vanish and Valley of the Shadow.

How and when did you get your start in writing?

TP: I've always loved writing stories. I wrote my first book "The Way Back" in 1997 and shopped it around for several years before stumbling across the Christian Writers Guild website in 2003. I saw the ad for their "Operation First Novel Contest" and entered. I was pleasantly surprised to finish second that year. My finish attracted the attention of my agent, Les Stobbe who shopped that book around for the next 2 years. In the mean time, I had been working on my second book, VANISH, which I entered in the 2006 contest. This time, I won. That was the most thrilling event of my life! A life long dream come true. Tyndale published "Vanish" last summer and the sequel, "Valley of the Shadow" was released this month. They have expressed an interest in "The Way Back" but as it was a slightly different genre, wanted me to get established a little more as an author first.


Tell me about your first encounter with the genre.

TP: Growing up, I loved Sci-fi and fantasy. And still do. I sometimes felt guilty trying to reconcile my love for those genres with my Christian faith and Biblical doctrine. I have come to realize that these genres have a place in our lives and culture. And if we are going to be salt and light, we should seek to use this medium to communicate God's presence, His love and His judgment as well.


Who are your favourite authors?

TP: C.S. Lewis, Tolkein, Gordon R. Dickson, Asimov, Bradbury, Clifford Simak just to name a few.


How do you come up with ideas for your books?

TP: I sometimes get the germ for an idea from a weird dream. I think many writers use other authors as inspiration as well.

Do you plan the plot beforehand or let the story tell itself - and what is it like to go through the writing process?

TP: I'm still a novice so, yes, I start out by writing up a basic plot outline, but this is a very tedious process. Also, I find that many great ideas actually come up during the writing phase. I wrote on my website that writing a novel is like digging a sliver out of your finger with a large, rusty scissors. A lot of meticulous, self-inflicted pain. But it's worth every excruciating minute!


Do you write yourself into your characters?

TP: Yes sometimes, different aspects of my own personality may go into various characters as a starting point. For instance, Mitch Kent got his sarcasm from me. But then from there, I like to let them develop on their own. Sometimes they surprise you.


What research was required in writing your books?

TP: Not very much. I spoke to a few friends who had expertise in a specific area. (I can't say what or I might give some plot elements away).


How has your faith influenced the contents of your books?

TP: Tremendously. I don't think of myself as writing a parable, but I do want to communicate spiritual truths through the story. The key is obviously to let those truths evolve naturally from the story rather than compose a story around a particular truth or moral.


What is your opinion on the value of speculative fiction?

TP: Very high. I love it. I'm thrilled to see it becoming an increasingly popular genre within the Christian marketplace. It's nice also, to see it growing beyond the CBA marketplace into the general marketplace as well.


Check out these other bloggers for reviews of Tom's book and more:

Brandon Barr Justin Boyer Keanan Brand Karri Compton Amy Cruson CSFF Blog Tour Stacey Dale D. G. D. Davidson Jeff Draper April Erwin Karina Fabian Alex Field Beth Goddard Todd Michael Greene Ryan Heart Christopher Hopper Joleen Howell Becky Jesse Cris Jesse Julie Carol Keen Krystine Kercher Margaret Rebecca LuElla Miller Eve Nielsen Nissa John W. Otte John Ottinger Donita K. Paul Epic Rat Steve Rice Crista Richey Hanna Sandvig Chawna Schroeder James Somers Speculative Faith Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Fred Warren Phyllis Wheeler
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