Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Author Interview~ Thomas D. Wilson

Today is my pleasure to bring my readers an up and coming indie author, Thomas D. Wilson. He is the author of "Whisper" and his newest release, "No Rules of Engagement."

Thomas, thank you for stopping by the Murphey Saga. So tell us a few things about Thomas D. Wilson and your novels, and you know I'll have some questions for you. Shall we begin? Let's start with your latest novel, "No Rules of Engagement." This is totally different than your first novel. Both still fall in the science fiction genre although the first novel, "Whisper" deals more with Earth bound time travels where your new novel is Off-world.

1. What was your inspiration for writing "No Rules of Engagement"?
No Rules Of Engagement, grew as a story over ten years of thinking about a couple of premises.
One of my favorite books is "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card.  As a person who is obsessed with history, especially military history, two things about Ender's Game have always bothered me.
One is that Mr. Card was never in the service and just doesn't have the feeling of the military in his stories.  I am a veteran of the U.S. Army, ex-Tank crewman.

Secondly, a true military genius would not be able to be fooled, tricked or misguided.  Cards reasoning is that was the reason they used children to fight, because they would do what adults wouldn't.  I look to Alexander the Great as the prime example of a young military genius and what they would be capable of.

In No Rules Of Engagement (NROE) the young military genius is named Alexander Hawk.
Because of my passion for military history, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how the world would be different if man-kind never developed the fight or flight response.  If they were always the dominate species, with no predators, and they always worked together for the benefit of their species as a whole, communication, compromise, and cooperation, to develop win/win relationships with fellow tribes instead of war.

What would the world be like?
What technologies would not have been developed?
What would have been developed?
What problems would they have on the planet?
What would happen when that species meets a society like ours?  Or Worse!
From ten years of thinking about different aspects of these issues the story line developed for NROE.  It is a series of at least three books.  Each can be stand alone novel, each with the high intensity non-stop action and twisting plots or taken together as an epic story.

2. Where do you see yourself in five years as an author?
I wrote my first two books in 2010, published them both in 2011.  I will attempt to finish and publish two novels every year from here on out.  I realize this is a daunting goal and will require diligence and focus to constantly be working on some aspects of my books.
           I am currently working on the sequels to Whisper and NROE for 2012.
           2013 should be the third book in both series.
           2014 I hope to start a new series, which the proposed title of the first book will be “Stolen Gangs”, and possibly another Wiley Randolph Novel or to start another new series.
          By 2015 I am not exactly sure what I will be writing or working on.

Secondary goals include making or saving enough to Pay for Editing Services.  To be good enough on my Bamboo tablet to do professional looking cover art for each of my new books. To have learned about how to build and use Word Templates to better format my paperbacks. Most importantly to get to ten books (Novels), or One Million words published.  To have found my style and stride as a professional author before I start my best and the most challenging book series project I have.  “The Seventh Service of Jehovah”, a multi-genre intelligent historical/romance/action-adventure/fantasy series which will have narrow minded churches up in arms, it should inspire people to read the bible, check their history books, and question their everyday conceptions of reality, all within the realms of an epic saga that has been playing out since before written records of mankind's activities.  I have to wait until I have matured enough as a writer to do this series the justice it deserves; I am well on my way. Lastly, to stay at home and write full time but I doubt I will be at that point within five years.

3. Who inspires you?
James Rollins – for the pace and intensity of his work.
James Patterson – for his scary ruthless and demented bad guys.
Jack Higgins – with the detailed depth of his characters and the gentle soft twisting of plots filled with intrigue.
Jo Murphey (Yes, You!) – inspire me to write more poetically, thoughtfully, and that I may actually learn enough English skills that my books will only need proofing and minimal editing within a few years.  You have taught me the true value of Editing, and that it doesn’t actually kill you it just makes you wish you were dead while suffering through it.  Just Kidding. 

J.L.- Oh ha,ha,ha! Actually I'm flattered to be mentioned amongst the really awesome authors you named.

Lastly, everyday people, life, and true stories.  As Patrick O’Brian who based an epic sea series of novels off actual history of the British, French, and United States Navies actual ship logs, used to say that the best writers could not dream up stuff better than what actual people have done in the real world throughout time.

4. What is your fondest memory?
After my divorce and moving out leaving my daughter with my ex-wife, I didn’t care if I ever had another relationship with a woman again.  I got to visit my daughter once a week and every other weekend.  We were and are very close.  Back then I was going rollerblading with her at least once a week.  A friend of mine from work would come skating with us.  Soon a friend of his started coming also, and then his friends wife and her best friend started coming skating.

I met Tiffany rollerblading with my daughter.  She was the friend of the friend's wives best friend.  At the end of that year my friends were coming to the Christmas Party for my work and my friends wife could bring her best friend if she was invited to the party, so they arranged to have me invite Tiffany so she could come to the party.  She was the most beautiful girl, drop dead gorgeous, but sixteen years younger than me.  The chance that this girl would have anything to do with me was slim to none, but I got to see her once a week at the skating rink and ended up going to a Christmas Party with her.

I remember later being invited to my friends' house for pizza because it was Tiffany’s Birthday.  Later that evening at somebody else's house Tiffany and I ended up picking up after everybody else and doing the dishes together.  We were both guests and it was her Birthday party and we are cleaning up and do doing dishes.  We were just talking about this and that and working together.

It hit me that this is what a true relationship should be like with someone you care about, being able to work together, talk together, and just wanting to be together.  I started falling in love with Tiffany that evening!  Somewhere along the way lightening struck and God had mercy on me.  Tiffany fell in love with me too.  We got engaged three months later, and got married ten months after that.  Two new additions to the family, Garth (2), Hayden (4), and Tiffany and I have been married for seven truly wonderful and glorious years.
Fondest memory, doing dishes with Tiffany and realizing what true love should be like and that I loved her.  I am so glad I took the risk of falling in love and for once the guy gets the girl of his dreams, plus a hell of a lot more!  We have truly been a blessing to each other.

 Now that is totally awesome, Tom. Love conquers almost all as does families.

5. While "Whisper" has shades of science fiction, you took "No Rules of Engagement" into outer space. Was it difficult for you to create a whole new world?

Not for me it wasn’t.  Throughout NROE I actually created the Macktonic Worlds, there is Brunno’s world which you find out more about in the upcoming sequel, the Gators and their culture and existence, and the Fuzzies!  I grew up reading science fiction and watching Star Trek, and later Star Wars, so the space part wasn’t particularly challenging.  The difficult part has been the Storytelling.  Just enough information as needed so as to not give anything away, telling the right part at the right time.

The re-write of NROE required time tags throughout the book.  This feature, especially with the sequel, to keep track of what happens in what time and the chronological order of events throughout the books has become quite challenging.  Even with the time tags it may be difficult for some people to follow along and keep things straight in their head.  I have considered including an edited version of my time line for the books as an appendix to the sequel of NROE, omitting the stuff that happens in the third and final book.  One of the books reviewers mentioned some inconsistency in the beginning of NROE but I truly believe it was more of a case where they read so quickly to get done with books they are reviewing and not having a clear picture of when and where such and such actually happened.  I have a very detailed timeline to ensure my own accuracy, plan the action throughout all three books, and keep everything straight myself.

6. Tell us about Thomas Wilson

I work a lot, probably too much.  I try and savor the time I have with my daughter and two sons because they grow up way too fast.  I relish the times when I can just sit and talk with my wife, who I just enjoy being around.  I read for enjoyment.  Write as an escape and because it gives me the same enjoyment reading a really great book does, only it last for a couple of months.  I edit, correct, and read and re-read my stuff until it makes me sick because it must be done.  Honestly, my life is pretty boring; maybe that is why my books are so crazy.

7. Can you give us an excerpt of "No Rules of Engagement"?

Chapter One
The Last One
April 4, 2020   1640 ZULU  (Six and a half years before Mackton Two is overrun.)

Colonel Deke Harrbinger read the file on Alexander Hawk for the third time on his way to Sandpoint, Idaho.  Deke had thought he was finished with this.  His orders…collect the top ten children tested in foster homes, orphanages, and correctional facilities across the country.  It's my own fault.  I asked the techno nerds on the team to examine everything, and look for anomalies.  Who would have guessed the anomaly would be a hard case eight year old, named Alexander, would score higher than everybody and hit on every criteria the test scanned for.

Why in the hell is the Army collecting kids?  What is General Lancaster preparing for?

He’d flown all over the country for weeks - personally interviewing and collecting these kids.  Why in the hell was General Lancaster collecting these kids for anyhow?  Can I collect eleven?  The orders said ten and Alexander was two years younger than the rest.  Could they send one of the other kids packing?

Why didn't he finish the test?  It wasn’t timed.  All the others finished the test.  He only finished the first two pages.  Yet those two pages put him at the top of the list by a large margin.
Why has he been beating the shit out of other kids?  Why did he kill a kid last month at this correctional facility?  A lot of questions but he’d have the answers soon.

When Deke arrived at the facility he put Alexander’s file in his briefcase, pulled out one of the Presidential directives.  He turned to the Highway Patrolman who had spent the last two hours driving him from the Spokane airport to this facility.

“Wait here.”

“No way!  I was ordered to bring you out here and drop you off.  That's it!  We’re the State Highway Patrol, not a damned taxi service.”

Deke got out of the patrol car, walked around the car and rapped on the patrolman's window with his West Point graduation ring.  The patrolman rolled down the window.
Deke handed him the directive.  “I expect your ass to be here when I get out!  Don't believe me, call the number on the form.  This is Federal, we outrank State!”

As Deke walked into the building he reflected in all his years in the Army he had never heard of a Presidential directive until this bullshit assignment.  It was on White House letterhead with the presidential seal embossed through the paper and pretty much said anybody would give him whatever he asked for or he could have them fined, or imprisoned for obstructing national security, under articles of the Homeland Security Act.

Deke walked into the facility, located the commandants' office, walked past the protesting secretary and barged into the commandants' office.

“Hey, you can’t just go in there!”  The secretary’s voice followed him into the room.

The commandant looked up from the papers on his desk.  “Excuse me.  Can I help you?”

“I’m Colonel Harrbinger.” said Deke as he put his briefcase on the commandant's desk pushing stuff aside as he did so.  He removed another copy of the Presidential directive, and handed it to the commandant.  Deke closed his briefcase and turned to the secretary who had followed him into the office, who was trying to explain to the commandant how he had just walked straight in here without permission.

“Please excuse us.  This is official government business.”  He shooed her out of the office.

“Well, I never.”  She said as he shut the office door in her face.

The commandant read the directive as Deke walked over to the window behind the commandant's desk and spread the blinds to look out into the courtyard where a crowd of boys were playing.

“I am here to collect one of your boys, an Alexander Hawk.  Is he one of the boys in the yard?” Deke asked.

“Yes, he would be the one by himself staring at the ground.”

Deke realized he had answered without coming over to the window and observing the boys, yet there was one kid all by himself in the corner of the yard where there was no grass.  The kid was just standing in the dirt staring at the ground.

“What is he doing?”

“He has a fascination with ants.  Why are you, how’d you put it, collecting him?  Collecting him for what purpose?” the commandant asked.

"Why do you care?  He’s trouble.  He killed one of the other boys last month.  What is he to you?” Deke asked as he watched the boy.

“Excuse me!  He is one of my boys.  Yes, he has been difficult, but so are most of the boys we get.  I want to know what the Army wants with him?” the commandant asked.

“Difficult!  He killed one of your boys, less than a month ago.  He has a history of beating kids up so badly they end up in the hospital.  That piece of paper in your hand says you are going to do everything I ask you to do or by tonight you will end up in the big boys' version of this place.  You will get the boy for me and bring him here to your office.”

The commandant shifted nervously in his chair as Deke continued.

“While I have a private little chat with him you’ll gather up his records, all of them, and no copies.  When I am done speaking with him, I will take him with me, with all his records, and any personal effects the kids owns.  Go get him, now.”  Deke’s voice went up in volume as he talked so by the time he finished he was yelling.

The commandant left and moments later, Deke saw him walk across the courtyard and speak with Alexander.  They argued and then the commandant motioned to the window of his office.  Alexander stomped the ground and dust rose up around his feet.  He turned and stared at the window before he followed the commandant into the facility.

Deke retrieved his briefcase off the front of the desk and placed it front of him as he returned to behind the commandant’s desk.  He looked at the regular desk paraphernalia and with his arm and swiped everything: pictures, desk pad, telephone, calculator, and even the lap top computer off the right side of the desk onto the floor.  He set his briefcase down and removed his file on Alexander and placed it on the center of desk.  Closed his briefcase and placed it on the floor.  He sat down in the commandant's chair, leaned back with his hands behind his head and crossed his feet on top of the desk, while he mentally prepared himself for the upcoming interview.

The commandant entered with Alexander in tow.

“What the hell!” The commandant viewed his now empty desktop.

Deke swung his feet around the corner of the desk back to the floor as he sat straight up in the commandant's chair.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass about your shit!  Get the boy’s files, and shut the door on your way out!"

“Sit down, Alexander.”  Deke motioned to one of the chairs before the desk.  “I need you to answer some questions.”

Alexander plopped down in one of the two chairs seemly amused as he cocked his head checking out the contents of the commandant’s desk piled up on the floor.

Deke waited until the boy’s eyes fell on him, surveying and sizing him up.  He studied Alexander.  The file on the boy said he was eight, but he seemed much older than that.  Alexander had sandy colored hair, blue eyes, and had a medium-build; he had some muscle on his frame, but not what you would expect for a rowdy bruiser the way the file portrays him.  This kid didn’t look like a bad ass, but he didn’t look nerdy either.  He just looked average.

"So Slack Nuts finally did it!  People have been threatening to send me to a military school for years.  You don't want me; you can't handle me.  So you might as well just leave me here."

Deke smiled at the kid's defiant attitude, and raised his left eyebrow a notch.

"You're not from a military school?"

Deke saw understanding dawn on the kid's face, and turn to a questioningly look.

"It's the test.  You're here because of that messed up test they made everybody take."

It impressed Deke this kid had figured out in seconds what none of the other ten had.  This kid was very perceptive and smart.

"Why was the test, messed up, explain that?"

"They said it was a standardized national test.  First the questions were way too hard, and then some were worded funny.  They were looking for something besides intelligence and knowledge.  The funny questions required moral decisions, judgments, life and death stuff.  Who decides if things like that are right or wrong?  I didn’t feel like being that honest on some test.  I felt like it was an IQ test designed by a shrink."

"Is that why you didn't finish the test?"

"Yeah, I was trying to avoid you, apparently.  So how did you find me?  It couldn't have been from my test score.  I don't care what your game is, I'm not playing."

Deke laughed, "I'm not playing either.  What you did finish put you on top of ten others selected, and you're coming with me, whether you play or not.  I could care less."

For just a moment a worried look crossed Alexander’s face, but as soon as he noticed Deke saw it, his poker face returned.

"Why do you keep beating other kids up?"

Alexander leaned back in his chair, "Cause people screw with me."

"Why do you continue beating the kids when they are down?  Why do you hurt them so badly?"

"So I never have to fight them again.  You beat somebody bad enough they don't think about revenge, cause they're scared,” said Alexander as he started tapping the commandants stuff on the floor with his foot.

“Leave that shit alone,” Deke stared the kid straight in the eyes.  “Why did you kill that kid last month?”

Alexander straightened up in his chair and returned Deke’s stare, "Cause he screwed with me."

"No.  That's why you beat the kids up.  You crossed a line.  You killed another person.  I want you to tell me why?  I know the answer, but I want to hear it from you."  Pressed Deke as he leaned forward in the chair.

Alexander looked up to the ceiling, fidgeted slightly before regaining his composure, he leaned forward looking Deke straight in the eyes, "Because I didn't want to fight every kid in here.  If I hurt him, his friends might come after me; but if I killed him, they would all think twice before coming at me."

Deke liked the kid.  Straight to the point, no bullshit, and he was smart enough not to try lying.  Alexander hadn't insulted his intelligence or his rank.  He hadn't challenged Deke's authority …yet.  I would have to be on my guard not to insult his intelligence or lie to him, Deke thought.

"Do you have anything you need to take with you, personal effects?  You will not need to pack any clothes, but you might need a jacket."

"Just one thing and my jacket."

"What's the one thing?" Deke asked.

"Nun ya."  Alexander replied.

"What's that?"

Alexander grinned.  "Nun ya freaking business."

Deke reached to the floor and grabbed his briefcase.  Opened it and put Alexander's file inside it.  He rose and walked around the desk, after passing Alexander on his way to the door.  He smacked the kid in the head from behind hard enough to rock Alexander's head forward from the impact.

"That's one, smart ass.  You don't want to get to three.  Go and get your stuff, and get back here.  ASAP."

8. Where can my readers find this new novel and search for "Whisper?"
Barnes and Noble as an E-book for kindle for paperback
"No Rules of Engagement" is also available at and Goodreads dot com, and Smashwords dot com, Sony, Apple, and Kobo.

9. What's next?

Currently I am writing the sequels to both of my first two books.
The sequel to Whisper picks up right where the last book ends.  It is the continuation of the love story, but along the way you find out about Wiley's extraordinary training for a very specific purpose and what happened that kept him from realizing that purpose for the Navy.

The Sequel to "No Rules Of Engagement" picks up exactly where the first book leaves off.  For those who enjoyed NROE they are going to love the sequel.  Brunno's world gets a name, the Fuzzies and the Gators have an uncommon link, some new and scary bad guys, and a lot of jumping around through space and combat.  I promise there's never a dull moment.

10. If a reader wanted to stalk you how would they do this?

 website blog
Twitter      @StorytellerTDW
Google +    Thomas Wilson   Science Fiction Author

Thomas, I want to thank you for stopping by the Murphey Saga. I wish you all the best for your novels and their sequels.

For my readers, this novel is one of the few books I've given 5 out of 5 stars to. It is well thought out, action packed, and a terrific read (besides the few odds and ends of grammar errors). It is well worth the reading time.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

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