AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Tom Fugate author of Port in a Desert Storm

Tom Fugate is a 1978 graduate of Virginia Tech.  Born in the baby boom (1956) he still lives in his hometown of Hiltons, Virginia.   He has worked in radio, television news, the printing industry and in computer support.  Port in a Desert Storm is the fourth book in the memoirs of Lee Thomas.  Mr. Fugate has never worked for any government agency, but he did grow up reading a lot of spy novels.



About the Book:

July of 1990. The world is once again a dangerous place. The powder keg that is the middle east is once again ready to explode. The small oil rich country of
Kuwait has been invaded by the forces of the Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. The world is on the brink of war as a coalition is formed and preparations are made. Lee Thomas is once again right in the middle of the situation even before it starts. Sometimes your dreams can turn out to be nightmares, or even worse they can turn out to be reality. From Washington, DC to MI6 Headquarters in London England and then to the hotbed of the Middle East Lee is once again a witness and participant to history.


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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

The genesis of this book, Port in a Desert Storm, goes back to the late 1970s.  I had started a book in high school and never finished it. It was pretty bad.  In college, I had the thought about how funny it would be to write something about James Bond’s illegitimate son filling out an application for the CIA as James Bond.  I knew that this would get me sued but it gave me a thought. Lee, he had no name then, was in bed with the girl, a situation familiar to all fans of Bond movies.  He was thinking about the last few months and everything that had happened to him.  She was half asleep and snuggled close.  She said, “That was nice I hope I’m not pregnant.”  Lee thought to himself, “Damn, no one ever said that to James Bond.”  After that I had to write a story to get to use that great line.  Since then Lee Thomas has led me along several story lines and through four novels (Spy Dreams, Sand Trap, Cigarettes for Two and now Port in a Desert Storm).

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I don’t find it hard, but it is not necessarily easy.  The difficult part for me is to figure out where the story is going.  Once the story line begins to come together the rest is just details and the characters sometimes fill those things in.  My advice to someone else is to write.  Write things you would like to read and do not try to write like someone else.  If you don’t like it no one else will.  I went back and read something from one of my earlier books.  It was something that I did not remember the details of.  I remembered the basic story line but when I read that it was like I was reading someone else’s work.  I actually thought to myself. “Damn this is good stuff.”  Don’t try too hard to be great.  Just try and tell a good story.  Spin a good yarn.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I wrote my first book in the days when self-publishing was called vanity publishing.  It was either find a publisher, which is not easy, or paying someone for “x” number of books. I did not find a publisher and I could not afford vanity publishing.  Then technology changed everything and I can have books available around the world for little cost to myself.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Not much.  Well maybe the tedium of formatting, proofing and such.  Overall I found it a pleasant experience once I sat down and finished writing the damn book.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Currently I am working on another Lee Thomas novel called “unFriendly Persuasion”.  I have ideas for a few more in this series.  I also plan to spin a couple of the characters from the series into books of their own. Then there is a mystery I am working on and a time paradox sci-fi novel.  My long-term project is a fantasy novel that began as a short story long ago. Eventually that one will surface.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

That it is all made up stuff.  I have had people ask me if I ever worked for the government.  That answer is no.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Maybe that there probably are people out there doing lots of things to keep us safe and keeping the veneer of civilization from wearing out.  That veneer of civilization is paper thin and the savage is just below it.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

The greatest gift you can give to a child is to help them find what they like to read.  They will go outward from there and open a universe of possibilities.

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