Sunday, October 4, 2015

THE GAL'S 31 DAYS OF HORROR: AMONG THE STACKS: Lee Thompson


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Lee.  Welcome!!.  I'm glad you can join us today.  Thanks so much for being part of The Gal's 31 Days of Horror.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lee Thompson:
Thanks for the interview, Meghan.  I've been writing for ten years.  I had a wild and crazy time growing up and have a great family.  Reading is my favorite pastime. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Lee Thompson:
I'd rather not share things people don't know about me.  Those are for my friends, people worth opening up to because they've already proven some kind of loyalty, interest, and common ground.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Lee Thompson:
Louis L'Amour.  I don't remember which novel.  I believe it was The Walking Drum.  Or maybe one of the Sackett novels.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Lee Thompson:
I just finished Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison.  Three awesome novellas, all epic in scope.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Lee Thompson:
I was songwriting, coming up with narrative songs.  They grew too big for that format and I found myself writing a novel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Lee Thompson:
No.  I can write anywhere.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Lee Thompson:
I'm a big believer in brainstorming.  I want to know the characters and the major arcs of the story well before I begin writing it, so that every scene is extremely important in characterization and driving the story forward.  I couldn't write without brainstorming some beforehand.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Lee Thompson:
Writing is easy.  It's waiting for responses from publishers that are rough, for me at least.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Lee Thompson:
Grendel by John Gardener, The End of Everything by Megan Abbott, A Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli, The Charlie Parker series by John ConnollyThe Night We Buried Road Dog by Jack Cady, a ton of stuff by John D. MacDonaldPeter StraubClive Barker, and too man others to list.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Lee Thompson:
Engaging characters with a lot to gain and even more to lose.  Life is a tragedy when you realize we're going to die at the end of our story.  But it's those tender, special moments that give us hope we can carry the best moments with us into the afterlife.  I think every good story has the longing for human connection, true connection, not some bullshit lip service.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Lee Thompson:
I think many of the stories I love most are in need of understanding.  I think we all need that to some extent in our lives, and I feel for them.  The loneliness we all face, how we can know someone for decades and not really know them, and have them not really know us, is heartbreaking and disturbing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Lee Thompson:
That's a tough question.  I've written a lot of characters (at least ten major characters in the Division Mythos) who have some part of me in them, whether they're exaggerations of my biggest fears or wish fulfillment about how I wish I could be, how I am in my heart of hearts.
            All of my characters want justice in some form or another, all of them want truth, even if it might kill them socially or psychologically or professionally.  They want to see the world as it is, not just as how they perceive it, and they want to bring peace to others, which is no easy task.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Lee Thompson:
My publisher (DarkFuse) asks for cover ideas after they accept a book.  I usually ask my beta readers for their opinions.  I'm very pleased with the covers to my books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Lee Thompson:
That I am always lacking in some area and that something is always sacrificed during creation.  We can only do what we can at that point in our career, although it's extremely necessary to stretch our wings, push ourselves in ways we hadn't imagined before.  I've learned too that many books are derivative, gleaned from stories we love, things that have shaken us a long time ago and haven't released us since.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Lee Thompson:
Several scenes in my novel BROKEN BOY SOLDIERS just leveled me.  I was depressed for days after writing them.  And the climax to my newest release, THE LESSER PEOPLE, gives me nightmares, mostly because I hated my father for so long and it's a brutal ending, the whole book all about fathers and sons, about siblings, about doing what is right in the face of tremendous pressure.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Lee Thompson:
I've been labeled a Horror writer since I started, but I don't think in terms of genre.  The characters are my main concern.  I believe there is a lot of empathy in my work, which comes from just living and learning and wanting to be a better human being, even though I'm a rotten shit way too often.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is a book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Lee Thompson:
I love book titles.  I have pages of possible book titles written down in a notebook.  Many of mine come from sentences in novels by my favorite writers.  My latest Crime/Coming of Age novel, The Lesser People, came easily because it is how the whites in Mississippi viewed the blacks back in the day, and they ostracized other whites who didn't view a black man or woman as anything more than simple minded children.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Lee Thompson:
I'm a novel writer.  I've written a couple dozen short stories, but in the last five years I've written just as many novels and novellas.  I love room for conflict and the rise and fall of the dramatic form.  If I could only write one, I'd never write another short story again.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Lee Thompson:
I write for people who are not afraid to admit we're all fucked up, that we sometimes have horrible fantasies, that we sometimes wish the worst on ourselves and others.  And we are in conflict with ourselves, because we also want the best for the people we love, and we want the best for ourselves.  I think we're all kinds of complicated.
            It's the rare seconds our lives pivot into life changing moments that interest me.  I've had a few of them, and so have most of the people I care about.  The rest is just a build up to that.  We have so much to learn, so much to teach, and we're so unprepared for it.
            We learn as we go, sometimes with devastating consequences.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Lee Thompson:
I have a few books coming out.  The Lesser People in October 2015.  And DarkFuse is releasing AFTER THE FOG CLEARS in January 2016.  Plus Shock Totem Publications will have my long novella SHINE YOUR LIGHT ON ME in your hands sometime in the near future.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Lee Thompson:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Lee.  It was great having you.  Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Lee Thompson:
Thanks for buying my work and talking about it.  I know I'm not easy to read sometimes, but I appreciate those who give my work a shot.  And thanks for the interview.  I enjoyed it very much!


About the author:
Lee Thomspon is the bestselling author of the suspense novels A Beautiful Madness (August 2014), It's Only Death (January 2015), and With Fury in Hand (May 2015).  The dominating threads weaved throughout his work are love, loss, and learning how to live again.  A firm believer in the enduring power of the human spirit, Lee believes that stories, no matter their format, set us on the path of transformation.  Visit Lee's website to discover more.

About the books:

A Beautiful Madness
Genre: Horror, Crime, Noir
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication date: 8.5.2014
Pages: 281

A Texas Senator and his wife go missing...  On the same day, their son is slaughtered by an enigmatic killer on the lawn of ex-Governor Edward Wood's residence.  Sammy, Wood's drug dealing son, suspects his father of the crime.  After all, his old man snapped once before and crippled his wife with a lead pipe.  But there's something more to these events...something deeper and festering just beneath the surface...
            In direct opposition to Homicide Detective Jim Thompson, Sammy begins an investigation of his own, searching for the truth in a labyrinth of lies, deception, depravity and violence that drags him deeper into darkness and mayhem with each step.  And in doing so, brings them all into the sights of an elusive and horrifying killer who may not be what he seems.
            A brutal killer on a rampage of carnage...a hardened detective on the brink...an antihero from the shadows...a terrifying mystery that could destroy them all...

It's Only Death
Genre: Horror, Crime, Noir, Murder
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication date: 1.20.2015
Pages: 142

Six years ago, James blew town after killing his cop-father in a bank job gone bad.  When his sister informs him that their mother's health is fading fast, he returns home, wanting to make peace with her before she passes.
            But James quickly finds there is little peace left for him at his childhood home.
            His father's old partner has been biding his time, waiting for a chance at retribution, and finally discovers James is back.  But he's only one of the many shady characters James must face if he is to survive the next few days.
            Not only must James survive his return, he must also face the devastation he left behind, the shattered pieces of what remained of his life before he was forced to run.
            Now his days on the run are over.
            Upon the edge of reckoning, James's past comes full circle to the final showdown with his personal demons and the devils that are closing in.
            It's Only Death is an explosive, gritty tale of urban crime and one man's descent into the nightmares in the darkest recesses of our society.

With Fury in Hand
Genre: Horror, Crime, Noir
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication date: 5.19.2015
Pages: 101

Over the next seventeen hours, on the unforgiving streets of Flint, Michigan, five people with troubled pasts and uncertain futures will collide in a devastating chain of intertwining events.
            Through the eyes of a homeless orphan, a banking executive with disturbing fantasies, an adulterous wife, a young prostitute with a stash of money, and a man trying to leave his criminal days behind, you will witness their plan and feel their loss.
            Redemption requires forgiveness, but fury serves no master.

The Lesser People
Genre: Horror, Psychological Thriller, Crime
Publication date: 10.8.2015
Pages: 196

On a snowy Detroit night, Elijah Irons, now an old man, tells a black nurse a haunting story from the darkest summer of his childhood in Forksville, Mississippi.  He shares his experience with the rising racial tensions in their community and the discord within their own home since Eli, like his father Hank, think of Negroes as ordinary people, while the rest of the community think of them as The Lesser People.
            He shares how his father arrests Uncle Tommy for stealing Army rifles and selling them to the KKK, and why he walks free since Eli's grandpa is the mayor.  He talks about Isaiah - a blind black boy, and servant  of a local preacher - who Eli finds murdered on a river bank, and how that boy had sung the blues until people robbed him of his innocence and his future.
            After the police investigate and brush Isaiah's murder aside, blaming a transient for the crime, Eli's father decides to make a stand against his father and the town.  But things go severely wrong.  Other than Preacher, everyone wants Eli's family to get out of town.  Elijah's father refuses to go anywhere.  The consequences of his decisions, coupled with the desperate move his sons make, produce a mountain of heartache, grief and sorrow for his family, but they also produce unlikely heroes.
            The Lesser People is a poignant, brutal, and touching story about how our decisions, and those of others, haunt us.  It explores family and social conditioning, and how we exorcise our demons - often too late - in our struggle to become more human.

2 comments:

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

Thanks again for the interview, Meghan!

Meghan H said...

You are very welcome, Lee :)