Inkpop Blog

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inkpopper of the Week: TomW

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on October 4, 2010

“I live in Perth, Western Australia. I’m long out of school. In fact, let’s just say I can remember the 1970’s. I have a wife, a 2 year old girl and a 14 year old cat. Up until a few years ago I tended to focus on short stories. I had one receive an Honourable Mention in the prestigious Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror book one year, but I’d still like to make the short list sometime. For the time being, novels are taking up most of my limited writing time and energy.”

The time and energy that Tom (aka TomW) expels when writing, however, has paid off marvellously here on inkpop. Two of his projects – The Heart of Magic and The Timekeeper: Nick of Time – have already received gold stars and outstanding reviews from the Editor’s; and his most recent effort, Terra Nova is quickly climbing the charts. Nevertheless, even with such success behind him, Tom is still reaching for the stars!

You are the author of two inkpop Top Pick novels – The Heart of Magic and The Timekeeper: Nick of Time. How does your success on inkpop make you feel about the future of your writing career?

TomW: One thing it told me is that my writing can connect with a teenage audience. Up until joining inkpop I had to rely on my own judgement, as well as adults in the industry, neither of which are quite the real thing.

Based upon the success of your previous two novels here on inkpop; what type of hopes/goals do you have for your newest project – Terra Nova?

TomW: I have no great hopes for Terra Nova. It has been published by a small company in an adult form. The version here is one I’ve revised to make it more ‘young adult’. It will sink or swim on its own merits, or on its ability to attract inkpoppers to take a look. So far it’s failing, which may be the theme as much as the writing (which still seems to be too adult).

Your works all take place in times other than the present and/or involve time travel, futuristic settings, or mythical worlds. Do you find that it is more difficult to write books wherein so much is made up; or do you feel that such settings give you more freedom, as they allow you to see the world as you’d like?

TomW: It’s a good question. The freedom to create your own societies, etc. is certainly enjoyable, but you still have to come up with some solid rules and limitations so the reader is able to suspend their disbelief. If, for example, you don’t make your magic have strict guidelines, the reader tends to be dissatisfied if the characters suddenly pull a ‘get-us-out-of-trouble’ spell at the appropriate moment. In The Timekeeper, Nick must use his time machine at the exact spot where he arrived in any particular ‘time zone’ or its ‘recharging’ time is an inconvenient twelve times as long before he can next use it.

All three of your inkpop projects fall into the science fiction/fantasy, adventure genres. Is this your favorite genre to write? Have you ever contemplated writing something completely different than these genres – why or why not?

TomW: One of my two current novels in progress is an experimental high-end literary work that’s completely different to all of my other stuff. It’s an enjoyable challenge, but probably not something I would do too often. The other one is standard stuff for me, about three kids on a distant planet who are the only people who can save the day when alien robots take over their community.

How do you combat writer’s block? Do you have any tips for beating out writer’s block that you’d like to share with us?

TomW: The only thing I’ve found that works is to have more than one project on the go. If one is not particular exciting or inspiring me, hopefully one of the others will. I also tend to write in scenes, rather than a linear fashion; then try to join them all up. I will often write the ending early in the piece, so I’ve got something concrete to ‘aim at’.

What do you think makes good writing?

TomW: For me, good writing depends on whether the author achieves what they have set out to do. I wouldn’t expect the same level of prose in a first person teen book as that in an adult literary novel. On the whole, however, I’m usually most impressed when a writer achieves his aim without me noticing how ‘clever’ he is being all the time.

What made you fall in love with writing?

TomW: I think reading Lord of the Rings did. I was amazed that mere words could transport me so completely into a whole new world. It’s probably this book that encouraged me to put more effort into trying to create stories, as well as influencing my genre of choice.

If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

TomW: I would probably have more leisure time! Seriously, I’m probably on my last great effort to ‘make it’. I’m at an age where my chances appear to be getting smaller every year.

Anything else you’d like to add?

TomW: I’ve been very impressed with the standard of teen writing on inkpop. When I first ‘arrived’ here, I did have a suspicion that it wasn’t fair for me to be competing with genuine teens, because I would be far too experienced. But I was wrong, not least because teens have a much better chance of getting an authentic teen voice in their writing. The majority of inkpoppers are far more advanced than I was at their age, and I’m jealous that they’ve got the opportunity to learn from fellow writers. When I was a teen, there was no Internet, and I was very much learning to write in isolation.

One last bit of wisdom from the old man… Never assume you know everything there is to learn about writing. Even now, I’m learning something new – a new technique or style of writing – every year. When you think you know it all, you’re wrong and you won’t continue to improve. This applies to any endeavour by the way, not just writing.

Pop, Pop, Pop! Rapid Fire Questions:

Chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes? Chocolate chip cookies.
What’s on your iPod? I don’t have an iPod… But off the top of my head let’s say Blue Monday by New Order, Even Better than the Real Thing by U2, Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day, Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes and Bohemian Like You by The Dandy Warhols.
Lucky number? 11.
Food you could eat everyday? An apple. It’s all I can stomach for breakfast most mornings.
Best place to curl up with a good book? In bed.

Over to you…who do you think should be the next inkpopper of the Week?

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

4 Responses to “inkpopper of the Week: TomW”

  1. The Beaver said

    FINALLY! This interview is long overdue for such a prominent figure on Inkpop. Great interview, Tom. 🙂

  2. Nella said

    Great review, Tom!

  3. TomW said

    Thanks for reading, guys.

  4. El Rustito Magnifico said

    Congrats on being IotW, mate. Nice interview.

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