Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is L.E. Thomas. I am the author of several books in the Star Runners Universe. I would describe the books as light sci-fi or space fantasy designed to be easy, quick, and fun reads.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
I have always been a gamer dreaming of having the chance to have adventures for real. I believe that’s where it all started. The earliest creation of the Star Runners Universe began when I was around 13 and wanted to design a role-playing game with my friend. Much later in life, I was a mentor with an organization similar to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. My 12-year-old mentee did not enjoy reading, which was a huge aspect of my life when I was his age. I asked him if he would read a book if I wrote one for him. That conversation was the beginning of the modern version of Star Runners. It has been a fantastic experience since I never thought anyone would read it but him.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Hiking and traveling inspire me more than anything else, followed closely by reading.
How do you deal with creative block?
I have never experienced a creative block. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true. I write almost every day knowing I will later have to edit. My major obstacles are usually finding time to edit, which is always more time-consuming.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
My biggest mistake I can ever make in a book is to leave the reader with the impression they did not get a complete novel. I would hate for someone to feel as if I’m stringing them along to get them to buy the next book. I also want each entry to be a complete story. While my books in the Star Runners Universe are connected, I strive to always have each novel stand on its own as a full experience.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I would say the worst mistake would be to force a title or cover you are not happy with it. The cover is going to be out there for the world to judge. If a little voice in your head is providing the slightest hesitation, listen to it.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you, and how do you deal with them?
Other than my beta readers and ARC team, I no longer read reviews. I do not find that to be a very productive use of my time. However, I always respect a reader if they take the time to send me an email with criticism. I feel honored to receive emails and respond to every one of them.
How has your creation process improved over time?
When I sit down to write, I start quicker than I once did long ago. I remember staring at a blank page a lot more when I was 20 than I do now. I can crank out the first draft much faster these days, but I edit much slower. Strange I hadn’t thought of that until you just asked that question.
What were the best, worst, and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best and most surprising aspect of completing my books has been discovering people are reading the novels! Since I wrote the first book for one young man and people close to me, I was blown away the first time I received an email from someone on the other side of the planet. The worst thing I encountered was losing half the manuscript for the second book in the series to a crashed computer. The less said about that experience, the better.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two, and how?
Of course, I want to make the readers happy. However, I am still telling the initial story I set out to create when I first started. There have been fantastic and unplanned diversions in my novels, but the primary story arc has been the same. Even if some readers may not like where the story goes, I have to stay true to my original tale and go with it. The one exception is that I try to keep the books as clean as possible. I have had several readers write to me to say they read the books to or with their young children. If a first draft has situations or language heavier than a 1980s PG movie, I try to tone it down in the edit.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Wow, how much time do you have? I am an incredibly emotional writer. Music plays into my writing experience, giving me chills and bringing the tears. It’s embarrassing but true. If it’s a difficult scene to write and I know it’s coming, I will crank up the appropriate music and start typing. I don’t believe you can create without having some emotional component, but that might just be me.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
If you are a creative, make time to create. Find the time in your life, whether it’s before everyone wakes up or after they’re asleep. Use music or atmospheric sounds to push out the rest of the world and start writing.
What are your plans for future books?
I have just finished the first draft of the sixth book in the primary Star Runners storyline. The next manuscript I start writing will be the seventh and final book in the series that I have planned. Regarding future publications, I also have a completed trilogy in the Star Runners Universe that is almost ready to go. I hope to have all of the scheduled books in the Star Runners Universe published by the end of 2020. After that, who knows? I can tell you I do not plan on retiring any time soon.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
Someone recently told me I have a lot of “weird mileage.” For example, I have had many odd experiences as a journalist, from randomly flying with a pilot in a 1937 Piper Cub to spending the night and day working on a shrimp boat off the coast of Georgia.