Interview with Promising Beginnings Contest Winner: Tom Threadgill
One of the winners of my sixth annual Promising Beginnings Writing Contest is Tom Threadgill, for his fiction work One for Sorrow. Tom won a full scholarship to the 2018 Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference.
Tom Threadgill turned his love of a good tale into a full-time profession. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. When not writing, he teaches, edits, and mentors others in the art of storytelling. In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in rural western Tennessee and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com. His debut novel, Coming of Winter, will be released in July 2018 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Here is the synopsis for One for Sorrow:
Police detective Amara Alvarez grows suspicious of an incident that occurred three years earlier. A collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to carnage on an unimaginable scale. Now she fears all may not be as it appears. One of the children may still be alive, and if he is, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie. Amara must convince others, and herself, that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. With time running out, she puts her own life on the line to discover the truth. Is the child alive, and if so, can she bring him home?
I hope you enjoy Tom’s interview as much as I did!
Tell us about why you chose to enter the contest?
The Mount Hermon conference has been on my bucket list for a few years, and the contest was an opportunity to make my wish a reality. Since we’ll have to fly (my wife will be coming too as a non-conferee), the cost has always been a little beyond our reach. Kathy’s generosity has made it possible for this to be the year we finally get to attend.
Why are you excited about attending the conference you won a scholarship to?
The chance to network with and learn from other authors and editors is always exciting. Writing can be such a solitary experience, but being with people who understand the highs and lows of being an author is refreshing. Doing so in an environment as unique as Mount Hermon’s makes it even more special.
What do you love most about being a writer?
Writing “The End.” Actually, watching your characters develop as you move through the story is always fun for me. I’m definitely an organic writer (pantser, if you prefer), though I have started plotting just a bit. I love when I’m writing a scene and one of my characters refuses to play along with my plans.
What inspired you to write?
I actually had no desire to write a novel, but decided that I’d write one as a gift for my wife on our 30th wedding anniversary. Fortunately, that book never got beyond a few chapters. When I say it was bad, I’m being generous.
After that experience, I decided that writing wasn’t as easy as I thought. I saw it as a challenge to write something that people would like, so I began reading books on the craft, getting involved in some critique groups, and attending a few conferences.
I write thrillers and though my books are not targeted specifically toward Christian readers, as a Christian author, the additional challenge was to write without using the sex and profanity so common in the genre. After a couple of years, I finally finished my first book and decided I couldn’t stop there.
Share one of your most rewarding moments connected to your writing.
I recently signed a contract for a three-book deal, so that’s pretty exciting. I also take what I’ve learned and do some editing work for others. It’s extremely rewarding for me to see another author have that “aha!” moment when they grasp things like deeper POV or the power of conflict.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I really enjoy woodworking. I find the process of turning wood into usable objects to be relaxing. I’m still a novice, but haven’t lost any fingers yet. I also enjoy riding with my wife on our Harley, especially on rural back roads or trips to the Smoky Mountains.
What interesting jobs have you had?
I worked for a package delivery company for nearly thirty years and lived all over the southeast (Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, Evansville, St. Louis, and Dallas). I was downsized right before the economy tanked a few years ago, and that turned out to be a real blessing for many reasons, though it certainly didn’t seem like it at the time. God was faithful (as He always is). Currently, I’m working full-time as an author and editor.
What aspect of yourself and your life is most reflected in your writing?
I think my humor comes through in some of my characters, as does my lack of patience with some situations. When writing in deep POV, it’s hard not to put your own thoughts into your character’s minds, so there’s a sarcastic edge to some of them. I also recognize my wife in some of my characters. (Only the good stuff, babe. I swear.)
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Skip friends and family. Find a mentor or critique group who will provide honest (painful) feedback, then be willing to listen and learn from them.