Saturday, 10 October 2015

Author Spotlight - Thomas Laird.

Lilian's Book Blog is pleased to bring you an interview with an exciting Author, Thomas Laird who has given us some in-depth information pertaining to his life and work.  I would just like to thank Thomas for taking the time out of his busy schedule to take part in our Author Spotlight.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

About me: Thomas Laird was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1947. I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and lived there and was educated in the public schools, and then went to Northern Illinois University, where I received a BA in English. I taught in the Chicago schools for a year and a half and then moved to central Illinois, where I have lived and taught for 42 years. I received my MA in English from Bradley University in 2010 and taught Composition at Bradley for 4 years. I'm married with three grown children, two of them also teachers.

 I began writing seriously in 1976 and had a short story published in the PACIFIC SUN LITERARY QUARTERLY. Since then I've published numerous stories in literary quarterlies. In 1994, my collection of stories, BLUE COLLAR & OTHER STORIES, was published in Thomaston, Maine, by the Dan River Press--it went through two editions. The big break occurred in 2001 when Constable & Robinson published my first novel--CUTTER. It was co-published by Carroll & Graf in New York, as were SEASON OF THE ASSASSIN (2003) and BLACK DOG (2004). The books were translated into Czech and Dutch, as well. The Czech Republic (Domino) published VOICES OF THE DEAD in 2006. Parkgate Press in Virginia published THE UNDERGROUND DETECTIVE (2012) and DESERT STORM HEART (2013). New publications will be in ebook before the first of the year, and the following are from Endeavour Press in the UK: THE LONG MIDNIGHT, MY BROTHER'S KEEPER, HEALER, and ebook versions of CUTTER, SEASON OF THE ASSASSIN, and BLACK DOG. Parkgate Press in the US will do THE DANCER IN AUTUMN on November 14, 2015 (a baseball book. All the others were crime novels).

Tell us about your latest book/series.  If yours is a series please tell us the order they should be read in.

The latest novel in my Jimmy Parisi crime series is THE LAST SLEEP. It's now with my agent in California. He also has the book before it--IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT, and that book is with several publishers in the US and the UK.

I'll be doing another Parisi crime novel next summer that relates fictionally to the Drew Peterson murders here in the US, about a cop who murdered his wives and almost got away with it.

What inspires your writing?

Great writing has always inspired me to be a writer. My mother bought me inexpensive hardbacks from the dime store when I was a child, and I've been hooked on books ever since.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I've taught writing and literature in Chicago and here in Peoria, Illinois, for about 45 years, and it pays the bills.

How hard was it to get your first book published?

It took me until 1994 to see my first collection of stories, BLUE COLLAR & OTHER STORIES, in print,  and it wasn't until 2001 that CUTTER appeared in London and New York--and I had been writing since 1976. It's extremely difficult to get published in what is now a mass industry primarily devoted to profit and little else.

Did you find it hard to think of names for your characters or did they just pop into your head?

Names for characters have never been difficult for me. It is all about gut instinct--they sound right or they don't.

Do you prefer stand-alone or series?

I have published both series and stand-alone crime novels, but Jimmy Parisi is my stand up guy. I know him the best of all my characters, and I keep going back to him. He's my main man.

Do you read the genre you write about or do you prefer something different?

Yes, I read genre--crime fiction. But I think great crime fiction, like Chandler and James Lee Burke, transcends the 'type' into literature. Like Fitzgerald, I try to shoot for the moon.

Now tell us about your absolute favorite book that you have read, and why it is special to you.

My absolute favorite book is legion. But my current fave is ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr. It won the Pulitzer, but it SHOULD have won the National Book Award, as well.

How to you get your books to the attention of the public?

Right now I'm relying on electronic media to gain attention for my books, but I was reviewed favorably in the WASHINGTON POST, the CHICAGO SUN TIMES, PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, LIBRARY JOURNAL, THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, and CRIME TIME.

Do you have a street team or the likes?  If so would you like to share the link so our readers may consider joining?

.I have a literary agent working with two of my novels, at the moment.

Thank you once again, Thomas, for joining us, if any of you awesome readers would like to view some of the Author's work then here are the links to some of his terrific works.

THE RUIN OF SOULS was published in April 2015 in ebooks by Ecanus Publishing, and it will be available in paperback from Amazon in October/November 2015.