Today I’d like to welcome Tom Kane to my virtual café. I’d say name your poison but after reading your bio I’m afraid it’ll be lethal.
Tom: Probably not as lethal as you would expect. I’m partial to a good dry Chablis if you want me to open up, otherwise coffee with cream… preferably Colombian. But don’t get me on the whisky, you’ll never shut me up until I fall asleep!
Sherri: I’m a whiskey gal myself. I love Kentucky Bourbon but I drink more coffee than whiskey.
Are you still an ex-pat in Cyprus or have you finally gone back home?
Tom: Still in Cyprus and I expect I may end up falling off my perch here. With the Pandemic still doing its thing airports are sort of opening up, but, well, who knows. Life is one long juggle and all my balls seem to have stayed in the air far too long.
Sherri: Doing research for this interview was definitely interesting. I’m not sure if I should approach with caution or dive right in. You have an eclectic list of books from serious historical to humor. I love both by the way. You even have a couple of “How Tos.” Tell me about the author Tom Kane.
Tom: Now you’re on dangerous ground. Tom Kane is three authors. A little boy of 8 who always wanted to write a book and tried, unsuccessfully. A man (kid) of 24 who wanted to write a book, bought an early personal computer to write his book, found nobody had invented the word processor, so learned to write software in order to create a word processor. The author was subsumed into a programmer and never saw the light of day again until about 12 years ago. I don’t know where Tom Kane the author went, but I’m glad he’s back… just in time if you ask me.
Sherri: How do you go from writing historical to humor?
Tom: Deep down inside me there is a comedian, striving to come out. I see humour in many things.
Yesterday I was in a hospital in Nicosia collecting drugs for someone, it took hours in multiple queues, but as I left a man in full surgical gown was wheeling a large bin on wheels full of misshapen blue bags tied at the top in red. Body parts?
He caught my eye and I his and I simply said, “Hi Victor,” as I walked past. His confusion was sublime. I always wondered what happened to Victor Frankenstein and now I know. Mary would have been proud of me.
But to answer the question (I did warn you about the whisky) I see humour in all things, even history that is somewhat dry to others offers a glimmer of humour.
Sherri: Have you always been a writer? When did you start writing seriously?
Tom: As I mentioned earlier, I only managed to take writing seriously about 12 years ago and it’s a big regret in my life. I was a journo for a PC magazine for a while, writing about business software, but that was soul destroying for a seriously silly writer like me.
Sherri: Two of your books feature World War 2, one was heavily influenced by your father but when I read the title, I thought at first it was a paranormal. How has that book done in the historical market and has there been any confusion? What is the importance of a title and marketing a book?
Tom: When I wrote Operation Werwolf I was somewhat naive about both book titles and genre. I knew nothing of paranormal books and Werwolf refers to the young kids and old men Himmler glued together to create a ramshackle partisan force to repel the allies from Germany.
However, it only caused two people to return their books. But it did prove another point because sales went okay, a couple of hundred, and so the vast majority of people who bought it actually read the blurb, but two didn’t. Point proven? There are more intelligent people in the world than dimwits.
Sherri: You are active on social media, how do you feel books and reading are perceived and promoted differently in the US versus Europe?
Tom: I have a love hate relationship with Twitter and Facebook, particularly Facebook. But it is what it is and we have to use these as tools to showcase ourselves. But the difference between US showcasing and UK showcasing is stark and very much the way we perceive each other. US is in your face and anything goes, whereas UK is more reserved, bordering on deference sometimes. As for Europe, I can only go on what I know of Cyprus, which is even more reserved than the UK and quite gentile… that is until you get into politics and then all hell breaks loose and there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth from all corners of the globe.
Sherri: With your list of books, what are some tips you would give new authors on publishing and marketing. What five things are the most important?
Tom: 1) Build an author platform that includes social media and a blog. Writing a blog will hone your writing skills if you write generalized stuff as I do, from short stories to reviews of other people’s work.
2) Build your brand. Make your name something to be remembered. If people recognize your brand as being something worthy of paying attention to, you will do okay. It’s a big pond with some very large fish, don’t sink to the bottom and end up covered in silt, to be forgotten about.
3) Read more, and read varied books. Not just fiction. Anything and everything. You need a broad scope and depth of knowledge. Knowledge is power, fill your head with knowledge.
4) Never give up. Grit your teeth, get up at 4am, drink gallons of coffee, ignore family and friends, dedicate yourself to your writing.
5) This is the hard part. Believe in yourself. Don’t doubt yourself. You need an iron resolve even to be mediocre. And I’ll give you another snippet of advice for free.
6) Do not trust family and friends to read your work and believe what they tell you. It takes a very special family member of friend to tell you the truth. 9 times out of 10 they can’t help themselves and they lie. “Oh yes, I enjoyed that.” Sorry, no, you probably didn’t. Get reviews from paying members of the public or via places like Goodreads, but only from strangers. People who will tell you the truth.
Sherri: What advice do you wish you’d had as a new author?
Tom: One of my family told me I would never make money as a computer programmer and the same one said I would never be able to write a book. WRONG! That ‘advice’ spurred me on, but you may not have the luxury of a family member full of his own BS.
Be honest with yourself. It is bloody hard being a writer, even an unsuccessful writer has to work at it. A successful writer has it even harder because your next book has to be better than the last. Be brutally honest and ask yourself, can I do this?
Sherri: What writing project are you working on now?
Tom: My Brittle trilogy. The Brittle Sea is published, the second book The Brittle Land is ongoing as is the third, The Brittle Sky. It’s a family saga that is taking a lot of brainpower to keep all the characters in place and stop them wandering off for coffee breaks or taking a dump. Families are hard to discipline!
Sherri: What do you wish you’d done differently when you published your first book?
Tom: Paid more attention to the cover. It will attract people or it will make them wrinkle their noses and walk on by. Pay attention to what it is you are trying to sell.
Sherri: How do you feel your writing has grown? What has been the biggest change in your writing?
Tom: I’m a lot more relaxed with my writing. With that relaxation I find the storylines are flowing better. But with that comes more and more ideas. I have about 10 works in progress and another 120 ideas in the pipeline, time’s running out!
Sherri: What would you like readers to know about you as a person?
Tom: I’m human. I have all the good and bad traits any human has. All of my being, good and bad, goes into my writing in the hope that as you read my work, you may just see a glimmer of me from the corner of your eye.
Sherri: Have you published a new book recently?
Tom: Yes, The Brittle Sea has been out about a month and it’s a very slow process building traction. But, I have some good reviews (don’t get me started on Amazon refusing reviews) and good feedback from readers who I have sent copies to, so I’m hoping this Christmas may prove a good Christmas for me. Who knows… by the way, any whisky left?
Sherri: Tom, thank you for stopping by my Creekside Café. If I ever win the lottery, we will do this for real. If y’all enjoyed our chat follow Tom Kane through his social media and check out his books, he is sure to have something to interest you. Thank you again Tom, I look forward to seeing you on Twitter.
The Brittle Sea: – http://mybook.to/BrittleSea-eBook
A Pat on his Back: – http://mybook.to/PatonhisBack
Operation Werwolf: – http://mybook.to/OpWerwolf
The Demon Murders:- http://mybook.to/DemonMurders
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Amazon Author Page: – amazon.com/author/thetomkanecollection
I was born in the corner of the living room, behind the TV, so my father said. That set the tone for the rest of my oddball life.
What is officially known about my birth is that it took place in England. My love of writing was borne from a need to create worlds I wanted to read about, so in some ways writing feeds my egomania.
MOTTO: A Word Can Change a Mind. A Sentence Can Change a Life. A Book Can Change the World. © Tom Kane 2020