Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Benjamin Thomas, I write from New England when I’m not distracting myself by being at the beach or hiking. My debut novel, Jack Be Quick is available from Owl Hollow Press. Jack is a medical thriller that follows an injured paramedic as he struggles with an opioid addiction and finding a killer who is attempting to recreate the Ripper murders.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
For short stories it’s a variety of things from music to overheard conversations where as Jack Be Quick was inspired by the 1888 murders in Whitechapel, London, and the people’s ongoing obsession with Jack the Ripper.
How do you deal with creative block?
I’ve been pretty fortunate that creative block hasn’t really been an issue, however finishing a project has. I guess that’s some form of creative block, though I’ve always attributed it to getting wrapped into another project before I’ve finished the last one.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Aside from spelling and grammar which are bound to happen in even the most edited works, I would say continuity. Whether it be timeline or character actions or appearances, making sure things are continuous–unless the plot of the novel revolves around them not being–is the most important thing.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I was really fortunate with Jack that my editor liked the title. Then, I was even more fortunate when given the opportunity to weigh in on the book’s cover, which I understand isn’t always the case. In truth Owl Hollow Press did a lot for me as a writer and always took my opinion to heart. I think the most important thing though is to recognize input from experts in marketing and publicity. Their advice probably persuaded my decision on the cover but at least it was there!
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I’ll never forget my editor emailing me when we had the first one-star review for Jack. I wasn’t really sure how to react or what it was going to say so I was a bit nervous, but after reading it I realized that’s what being a reader is: critiquing and criticizing work. Personally, I deal with bad reviews by looking up my favorite novels and reading one-star reviews for them. It helps me remember that no matter what you do not everyone is going to like it and that’s perfectly okay.
How has your creation process improved over time?
Oh, it’s still a mess. If I could get myself to outline it would be so much easier, but yeah, that just has not happened yet.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
This is a good question. Best? Just the enjoyment of writing. It’s fun. It’s what I like to do, and seeing it turn into something was one of the coolest things. The worst? Impostor syndrome. People ask me about the book whether at readings or just in general and I always think they’re just being polite, no one wants to hear you talk about it. So convincing myself people are genuinely interested is the hardest part, but that’s a personal issue I guess. Surprising? That I couldn’t and still can’t spell nausea without looking it up. I mean you think it would be ingrained at some point.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
All of them.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Music and nature. Never usually at the same time. But those two things are what spark the majority of stories or novel ideas.
What are your plans for future books?
I have a couple ideas in the works and one rough draft nearing completion. Since Jack, I completed and subbed another horror/thriller but after a few extensive reviews and conversations we decided to scrub it, at least for now. It’s interesting, when I first started writing it was all science fiction or horror and that then fell into thrillers, and now recently it’s been a lot of contemporary stuff. I guess tastes change, right?
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I prefer movies to television. Love laying in the grass and just looking up. And the phrase game changer makes me cringe harder than anything.