Interview With Author Lorraine Thomson

Please introduce yourself and your books!

Thanks for inviting me to be interviewed. I live on the North West coast of Scotland. The scenery here is dramatic and even when you wake up to it every day, it still has the power to take your breath away. I currently have seven books published. Boyle’s Law, Boiling Point, and Erosion are crime thrillers while Each New Morn and The New Dark trilogy, published by Bastei Entertainment, are set in post-apocalyptic worlds. The New Dark is written by Lorraine Thomson, the others as LG Thomson. When I’m not writing, I’m often out rowing. This summer, along with four crewmates, I rowed 50 miles across open sea from Lewis in the Outer Hebrides to the mainland in a traditionally built wooden skiff. We were accompanied by dolphins, porpoise and at least one whale but conditions were rough, and we came close to aborting a couple of times. It took over 14 hours of constant rowing but was an incredible experience and one I’m sure I’ll write about more fully in time to come.

What is the real-life story behind your most recent book?

I’ve just finished writing a fictionalised account of the history of Isle Martin, covering the period 1631 – 1899. The island lies three miles north of Ullapool, where I live, and I was inspired to write it whilst on a walk there with a local archaeologist. Isle Martin may be small but with links to the Jacobite cause, the slave trade, a fearsome cholera epidemic, and international yacht racing, there is a fascinating story to be told. I couldn’t not write it! The Spaces Between tells the story of the island’s history through three real people who lived there, one of whom is buried only a short walk from where I live. Isle Martin is one of those places where you can feel the past. I’ve run a couple of writing retreats there and was very aware that I was sleeping under the same roof as some of the people I’ve written about.

How do you deal with creative block?

I used to feel very inadequate whenever I read about a writer who could produce five or even ten thousand words a day. The only time I’ve ever come close to that is a couple of occasions when I was steaming towards the end of a book. One glorious day, I realised that daily word counts didn’t matter a hoot, that I can’t churn words out like a machine and that the time I spend thinking about a book is just as much part of the creative process as the time spent physically writing. There are days when the words flow, days when they need to be coaxed out and days when writing a single sentence is a monumental achievement. I’ve now accepted that this is how it is for me. I wish I’d realised a long time ago as it would have saved me beating myself up so much. If I have a day when it’s not working, I step back and do something else. Go for a run, spend some time in the garden, walk the dog, go look at the sea, listen to music. Sometimes I might even tidy the house. I’ve been writing for long enough now that I know the words will come when they’re ready. I don’t call it writer’s block; I call it breathing space.

What are the best, worst and most surprising things you encounter during the entire process of completing your books?

Starting a new book is always exciting. Typically, I will have spent quite a bit of time thinking about it before writing anything (I thought about my current work-in-progress for seven years) so by the time I start, I’m raring to go. Every single time, the most surprising parts are when the magic happens and the story soars, or when that thing you wrote on page thirty-two as a casual aside suddenly takes on a deeper resonance fifty pages later. I often wonder if it’s all in there just waiting to be tapped. The worst bit happens not long after typing The End. Once the initial euphoria of finishing evaporates, it’s immediately replaced by bleak emptiness, a sort of melancholia. It’s horrible, but it passes after a day or two. Or three.

What are your plans for future books?

Having written a fictionalised account of real happenings, my current work-in-progress is non-fiction, but I won’t say anything else about that for the moment. I’ve also got plans for a fictional character who could feature in a series of thrillers and I’m planning an experimental fiction book, darkly comic in nature. Lots and lots of ideas. Would be great if I could churn out ten thousand words a day.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

My daughter got me into Twenty One Pilots and I’ve gone to see them with her three times now. We always queue early so we can be at the front in the pit. It’s crazy but the atmosphere and the experience is so great, it’s worth it. I love their music and the fact that we have this shared joy. What else… I like sharks, have done since I was a little kid. I hate mayonnaise and also custard. Can’t be in the same room as someone eating custard. The smell kills me. I can’t end the interview on that note, so I’ll tell you about my very fabulous and very part-time job as an usherette with the Screen Machine. This is a mobile cinema that tours around the Highlands and Islands. From the outside, it just looks like a big lorry, but inside it’s this amazing little cinema with a great sound system. I’m the stand-in when the regular usherette can’t make it, so I occasionally get paid to watch movies. Amazing.

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