Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
Q1: Thanks for participating in our Authors.com Spotlight Interview series Tom! Please introduce yourself and your book to help our readers get to know you.
A: Hi! Thanks for having me! My name is Tom Berry and I write authentic historical fiction novels. I am married with five children ages 8 to 18. I write books I would enjoy reading - those that educate as well as entertain, while keeping chapters short and fast-paced.
My latest book Texas Freedom: Last Stand at the Alamo is my second published novel and explores the Texas Revolution, cutting through the haze of myths and legends surrounding the famous Battle of the Alamo in 1836.
Q2: Please explain how you came to be a writer, what inspired you to write your book(s) and how long it took.
A: I've been writing seriously for about ten years, though I have dabbled it in as long ago as high school and college. It all came from my love of reading! I wanted to write about an event in our country's history that many people recognize but don't know much about. The fact that all the Texas fighters were killed during the battle draws on the ultimate fight-to-the-death conflict. It also begs the question for the reader - would you have the courage and fortitude to do what they did? The project took two years to complete.
Q3: What did you enjoy most about creating this book?
A. I spent six months of careful research preparing for this book before I ever put pen to paper. I then traveled to San Antonio, Texas in March 2011 during the 175th anniversary of the famous battle to interview historians and experts. That weekend, there were over 200 re-enactors from all over the country, and I got to hold the period rifles and take pictures of all the different costumes - it was a wonderful experience and really helped bring the details to a whole new level.
Q4: What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any?
A. To write a book such as this requires a lot of organization. Keeping the characters, places, and timeline straight requires spreadsheets, volumes of books, and hundreds of pages of notes. Fortunately, I'm a very detail-oriented guy so it was fun for me!
Q5. How did you get published?
A. I was published by Booklocker.com. They selected my first novel, Lewis and Clark: Murder on the Natchez Trace in 2010 and that sold very well. They did a great job with it and I was very pleased. It was a natural fit when I ready to publish Texas Freedom.
Q6: Did you have any surprises or hiccups along the way during the book writing and/or publishing process?
A. I took a certain degree of personal knowledge of the Alamo into the project and spent six months learning more that I ever imagined I would uncover, creating back stories on dozens of mid-level and minor characters that really delivered an incredible level of authentication to the project.
Q7: What one thing did you wish you'd known before you started this project?
A. It was a story that really wrote itself, in one sense. The events of the revolution and the battle couldn't be rushed - it had to weave the story as it was meant to. I just wasn't prepared for the size and scope of the finished project. But it turned out wonderful and I wouldn't change a thing!
Q8: You're a fly on the wall when readers are discussing your book. What would you hope to hear them say about it?
A. I want the readers to appreciate the level of detail and authenticity I brought to the project, and I hope they come away having learned something about that period of history they never knew before. Even the more knowledgeable readers will come away having learned something they hadn't before. That's the prize for me!
Q9: Tell us one thing about you that most people don't know or would surprise them.
A. I love to write about different eras, especially those whose characters live among the elements, the great outdoors. While I love a good camping trip, most of my days are spent indoors on computers...very different than what many might think.
Q10: What single piece of advice would you give new authors?
A. Never give up on your dream! I've wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, but it was not in my stars to make a living out of it. But I made time in my life to keep reading and writing, pushed forward and have published two novels now...and there are many more to come!
Q11: Share a short summary of a typical day in your life with us please.
A. I have a day job working at a large company, then come home to a busy household with my wife and children. I coach baseball, soccer, and basketball, as well as run the local cub scout chapter for our town. I create websites for local area businesses and non-profit groups and spend as much time as God allows with my family!
Q12: Describe where you do most of your writing.
A. I write mostly at night at my desk at home when the kids are asleep - it's the only time of day I have to myself!
Q13: What's your motto or favorite quote you like to live by?
A. It's a short prayer. "Lord, nothing is going to happen today that You and I together can't handle." To me, it means if I work hard at my tasks, God will give me the strength to handle whatever comes.
Q14: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us in closing such as your website, an imminent book launch or what you're working on presently?
A. I have a history contest sponsored through my author website, www.thomas-berry.com. You can submit a character's name for selection in my next historical novel. It's totally free and I will pick the winner at random. The character will appear in my next book, along with the name of the person who submitted it. The winner will also receive a free signed copy of my book! The contest was held writing my first book, and the winning character appears in Texas Freedom. You can go online now and help me choose a character's name for my next one! Contest ends December 31, 2012.
Authors.com profile: http://www.authors.com/profile/ThomasBerry
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