All About Being An Author
by Tom Mach
When people ask me “what’s it like to be an author?” I ask them “from what perspective”? That’s because if you’re an author and meet other authors, I think they tend to feel you’re just another competitor. Of course, if you’re a famous author (I’m talking about winners of the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize) they tend to treat you like a god—or so I’m told. The general non-writing public tends to consider authors celebrities. I know that because I’ve gone to book signings where people will approach me and say “So you’re actually an author? Wow!”
Frankly, I don’t feel comfortable being put on a pedestal. I’m like everyone else, the only difference being that I love to write. Of course, if you’re not about to give a talk before large crowds (like I did with my novel Sissy!) or are doing book signings of All Parts Together to throngs of people at the President Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois) the public for the most part doesn’t know who you are. I think that happens because the only place the public might see your face is on the back cover of your book and will recognize you if they stare at your photo on that book cover every day as they eat their cereal at breakfast. (If they do that, they need to get a life.)
To be an author is like being any kind of artist. It’s a lonesome profession, but I prefer it that way. You sit down with your own thoughts, digging through your own soul, and pouring your heart out on paper. You try not to think that you might be making a fool of yourself in the process. As you write, you close your mind to the faces of people who will hopefully read your book or the piles of money you will (or won’t) make. Instead you focus on your story and you carry that story with you everywhere—whether it’s at the breakfast table, at the pool where you’re doing twenty laps, at shopping (where your wife glares at you for not knowing what aisle to find peas, when all you’re doing is trying to find peace with your next scene.)
One of the problems I often encounter—and I don’t know if it’s true for other authors—is that sometimes I get so enmeshed with a character, I feel as if I AM that character. For instance, in my murder mystery An Innocent Murdered, I became the priest who was eventually murdered. I looked at things through his eyes and thought the way he thought—almost to the point where I felt I had to say Mass. Then there was Susan, the ex-nun in my story who was a virgin for 46 years and was troubled by guilt and shame when she approached her friend, Detective Matt Gunnison, for a favor—could he show her what it’s like to have sexual intercourse? I was that religious woman who was being stretched in two directions—to maintain her virginity or to satisfy her curiosity.
As far as picking out the genre to write, I never pay attention to what is selling, but I do focus on what I’m interested in at the time. My interests do shift from time to time. Currently, I’m quite fascinated by 19th century history and have written two novels about it—Sissy! and All Parts Together. But I have other strong interests as well. Since I tutor an elementary school, I love writing children’s stories. Out of that interest came Homer the Roamer. I am crazy about whodunit mysteries since they offer me a challenge, so I wrote An Innocent Murdered. Stories about the future interest me, and the result of that interest, along with my scientific background and Biblical research, was a techno-thriller called Advent. It’s almost impossible to stereotype me and it drives interviewers crazy. I think the trick is to know where your interests lie and what kind of books you enjoy reading. With me it’s just about everything. I think the only kind of book I could never write is a Harlequin romance. I tried reading one once and couldn’t get past the first chapter.
Father O’Fallon has been murdered, and police officer Jacinta Perez is arrested and charged. Detective Matt Gunnison, however, is not convinced and with the help of Susan, an ex-nun, he discovers a fascinating link between the priest’s death and the death of a child 25 years ago. Will Matt be able to solve both murders?
“No, I understand. Do you think Matt and I can have access to the former rectory? We’d like to look around.”
“Well, I guess not, but why in the world would you want to look around over there?”
Matt showed him his badge. “It’s part of an investigation we’re doing on the murder of that child.”
“By all means, check it out.” He opened a desk drawer and took out a key attached to a plastic tag. “Here, take this.”
Matt pocketed the key and was about to leave when the man stopped him.
“That place is haunted, you know,” the old man said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Mach wrote two successful historical novels, Sissy! and All Parts Together, both of which have won rave reviews and were listed among the 150 best Kansas books in 2011.Sissy! won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award while All Parts Together was a viable entrant for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Award. He also wrote a collection of short stories entitled Stories To Enjoy which received positive reviews. Tom’s other novels include: An Innocent Murdered, Advent, and Homer the Roamer.
His poetry collection, The Uni Verse, won the Nelson Poetry Book Award. In addition to several awards for his poetry, Writer’s Digest awarded him ninth place in a field of 3,000 entrants. His website is: www.TomMach.com He also has a popular blog for writers of both prose and verse at http://tommach.tumblr.com
Official Website: http://www.tommach.com/
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