Tom Nixon: 'To budding and emerging authors: keep at it' @tnixon16 #authorinterview

Tom Nixon is an author and entrepreneur with writing credits to his name that span artistic genres. He has written multiple novels, two screenplays, several short stories, a children’s story, and has five music albums in his catalogue, for which he wrote both music and lyrics. He discovered his passion for writing and reading at an early age, going on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan. He resides in Michigan with his wife and children, along with a couple of the canine variety.

His latest book is the suspense novel, The Long Lost.



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?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Truth be told, The Long Lost, was 20 years in the making, and actually represents the culmination of four or five stories I had considered writing all those years. I made it my New Year’s resolution in 2017 to get back to writing, and I simply forced myself to do it. In fact, when I sat down to write the opening sentence, I wasn’t even sure what it meant, or where it would lead: “Everybody knows someone like Joel Thomas.” The simple act of writing that opening line forced me to write Joel’s backstory, and to make it interesting. What followed was a twisting, turning suspense novel that took elements from each of my four or five ideas that had built up in my mind during the 20 years that I put my writing career on hold.

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?

Writing my book was the easy part, in reality. I finished the entire manuscript in six weeks. Getting started was the hard part. For two decades, I was either too busy or too discouraged (from failed attempts at getting published) to dedicate time to writing. But 20 years of putting it off and finding excuses obviously built up some pent-up creative energy, because once I started, I couldn’t stop. I’ve been hearing from a lot of people, since publishing my novel, things like, “I’ve always wanted to write a book! What advice can you give me?” Simple. Get going. No excuses. Just start writing. Write that opening line. Finish the first chapter. Then go from there. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

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

I self-published to using the CreateSpace platform.

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

I was surprised how much work there was to be done after I finished my first draft. I had no idea how many rewrites I would force upon myself, or how many typos my editors would find (as someone who prides himself on typo-free writing). I would need to sweat details like cover art and photography, author’s bios, acknowledgements and dedications. I also needed to secure the rights to reprint song lyrics from two songs I had quoted in my story. The list goes on and on. It took me less than two months to write, but six more months after that to finish! When they say the devil is in the details, they must be talking about self-publishing!

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

Though I combined four or five story ideas into one in order to write The Long Lost, I have two or three other ideas that I’ve been noodling for a while. I’m going to give it another year, and see if I have the energy and inspiration to write my next book in 2019.

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

The main character, Joel Thomas, is named after my daughter. Well, allow me to clarify. My daughter, Jillian Louise, would have been named Joel Thomas had she been a boy. My wife and I didn’t know if were having a boy or girl until my daughter was born. But we had names picked out for both a boy and girl, just in case. I’m so blessed we had Jillian, and wouldn’t change it for the world. But now Joel Thomas has a sort of life of his own, too. (Before she was born, I told my wife that I liked the name Jillian so much that, if we had a boy, we’d have to get a dog and name her Jillian.)

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

My book had two agendas. On the one hand, I wanted to write a suspenseful page-turner in the mode of Harlan Coben, one of my favorite authors. On the other, I wanted to write something with some depth, some sentimentality, along the lines of John Irving (one of my other all-time favorites). So I endeavored to accomplish both at once. While the present-day storyline has no underlying message, the alternate timeline grapples with the challenges of growing old and growing apart from friends we make as our younger selves, and to whom we promise we’ll never stray from. In the end, life has the final say on that…but sometimes we make it too easy on life to get in the way of well-intentioned promises.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

To budding and emerging authors: keep at it. The act of writing should be its own reward, but may professional and personal rewards find their way to you as well. To readers: remember — and endeavor — to grow old slowly.

About the Book:

Author: Tom Nixon
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 418
Genre: Suspense

The sudden and strange disappearance of Joel Thomas brings together his ex-wife and best friend in a search for answers. As Mary and Jason seek out the truth, their quest consistently turns up more questions than clues. In another time, the story of a long-time group of college friends plays out across 30 years of history, revealing the highs and lows of a group that vowed to maintain their friendship until death. Is the answer to Joel’s mysterious departure found in a simple note sent to Mary, or is it locked somewhere back in time? Told in alternating voices and timelines, Nixon’s The Long Lost tells a story of both intrigue and suspense — along with sentimentality and introspection — as he examines the painful discoveries realized when childhood friends grow up...and grow apart.


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