Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Q & A with C. Kevin Thompson about his newest novel 30 Days Hath Revenge

When did the idea for a series of Blake Meyer Thrillers begin to form?
I was having a conversation with my wife about a subject pertaining to our jobs (we are both in education), and the issue of absenteeism came up pertaining to students were considered “homeless” (McKinney-Vento Act). The MVA was originally designed to help people who lost their homes (fire, evicted, parent lost job and family lost house). However, over time, as with so many laws and Acts, the MVA is being used an abused by teenagers who are tired of being told what to do by their parents. So, they move out of their homes (or get kicked out by Mom or Dad), move in with a friend’s family, and are thus “homeless.” They get all the rights and privileges therein, including not being held accountable for their attendance to school. Of course, the smart kids figured out that I can come one or two days a week, pass all the tests, get the homework assignments from friends, turn those in when I return (because you get up to five days to make up work when you have excused absences…which a “homeless” student does), and pass the class with minimal attendance. All this while the student who does the right thing has to attend five days a week. Welcome to America.

This conversation led me to think about students who are ESOL, and as a result have certain protections built-in due to their inability to understand many things because English is a second language. One thing led to another, and my writer’s mind started to percolate, asking, “What if these laws and situations were used against us? How would I use them if I was a terrorist?”

That became the impetus behind Book 1 of the Blake Meyer Series. Scary, huh?

How did you develop the characters and locations of action in 30 Days Hath Revenge?  I find it so interesting that action is taking place at three different places
The first chapter was actually a dramatization of an actual event…except for the whole terrorist part…or was some person or organization responsible for that incident in real life??? Hmmm. They also reference another incident that took place in India in 2002. That too was pulled straight from a headline. I just changed the dates to fit the story, but the locations and incidents are real. I just embellished them a little. Writer’s prerogative.

 The other locations were born out of necessity, I guess. Based on the storyline and the research done, there needed to be locations used that seemed plausible. So, depending on the part of the story at the time, you have the location: DR of Congo, Mexico, New Mexico, Texas, Russia, Ukraine, China, and the Los Angeles area are all pertinent to the story. As for Jacksonville, I wanted to take the main character (Blake Meyer) out of the usual locations like New York, Chicago, L.A., etc. What a lot of people don’t know is that Jacksonville is one of the largest populated metropolitan areas in the country (13th largest). So, it seemed plausible to use it as the focal point; although, Blake is not going to be staying nearby as readers will find out in Books 2 and beyond. 

What are your long term plans for the series?
The series is “mapped out” for six books. However, being the organic writer that I am, it could stretch out a little. We’ll see. There are some other things in the works with this series as well (and “that’s all I’m gonna say about that”). If anything materializes from it, my fans will be the first to know. So, if you haven’t stopped by and “liked” my FB author fan page, be sure to do so!

C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page

Are you currently working on the sequel or another project?
As a follow-up to the previous question, I already have the seminal ideas planted for the next Blake Meyer series after this one. It will involve one of the characters introduced in this first series (Julee Scarfano). However, I haven’t figured out yet if that will be a series, or will be a series of stand alones.

As for this series, I am presently working on Book 2 of the Blake Meyer Thrillers entitled Triple Time. I can’t really explain much about the title because that would give away too much of Book 1 for those who haven’t read it yet. Suffice it to say, all the titles will revolve around some aspect of “time,” and the series will take place within 30 days, hence the title for Book 1.

Was there a specific event or time when you decided to put more time in writing? 
When I contracted with my publisher. That’s when it became real to me. Prior to that time, I wrote when I had time, which was usually over Christmas break, weekends, other holidays, and summer break. However, when the manuscript for The Serpent’s Grasp got accepted, that’s when I began scheduling my writing in a more regimented fashion. I now take blank calendars, block out days I know I can’t write, calculate the remaining days, and divide that number into 100,000 words. Then, I start writing down the total number of words I should have completed each day I can write. This helps me stay on track better.

I noticed this novel is dedicated to your Dad, can you share anything about him that really touched your heart influencing who you are today?
My dad was a hard worker and a good provider. By the time I was born (I’m the baby of the family), they had already moved from the Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois, where my dad was on the police force, to Florida. He started a company shortly thereafter, and ran that with his original partner for years. So, I’d have to say his work ethic.

I also had the privilege of seeing my dad accept Christ after he was diagnosed with cancer. He died a little over a month later. That’s why I wrote that we’d have eternity to talk about it in the dedication. I was saved when I was 18. I was already out of the house, married, and owned my own home by then. Because I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, I never got to talk about spiritual things with my dad. That’s why I wrote what I wrote.

What spurs your creative writing?
My desire to tell a story that makes the reader think. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t tell parables for entertainment’s sake or to be pleasurable. He told parables to make a point, get people to think. Eternity weighs in the balance. I see my writing as my mission. To paint the picture with as much truth as possible so as to be as realistic as possible, even the more far out ideas. My books have an overall theme that steers the book or series. For The Serpent’s Grasp, it was the concept of truth. What is Truth? In 30 Days Hath Revenge, it is the concept of peace. What is True Peace?

I had some people tell me that the storyline for The Serpent’s Grasp was very Sci-fi-ish. Translation? I was all wet. Too far-fetched. “They couldn’t believe it.” I say to them, “That’s because you haven’t done your research.” I’ll bet they think Star Trek’s transporter technology is far-fetched, too. Little do they know… Corporations like Fuji have been working on it for years now. Oh, and by the way, next time you see Captain Picard tapping away on a report, think of your iPad, just smaller. Or, did you see the report on the news a few days ago about the nano-technology that is being created at Harvard University wherein tiny nano-robots are being sent in to destroy cancer cells on a molecular level? Hmmm. I saw it on CBS News when I was flipping channels. Resistance is futile. Do your homework.

Do you do anything outside of being an author?
I am an assistant principal at a middle school, which takes up a great deal of time. When I’m not there or writing, I spend time with my family. We have three daughters, two sons-in law, and five grandchildren, all under the age of 8. Four under the age of 4. They are a blast! We get together as much as we can and truly enjoy each other’s company. I also play the drums in our church’s praise team as well as fill the pulpit for our pastor from time to time. We just started recording our services for those who miss as well as those who just may stumble upon our site. The music portion is still a work in progress as we try to get the sound of the actual worship duplicated on the web. No small feat. The drums you hear are me banging away, making a joyful noise. I also preached on June 16 (The Birth of The King). It’s the last message on Matthew 1, but I think you can still find it uplifting. You can catch it all @!WORD/crob  

Can you tell us about your family?  What encouragement do you receive at home?
Besides what I already told you above, my family is awesome. They are very supportive of my writing, and are willing to help out any way they can. If all the writing stopped, and I had to give it up, that would be okay. So long as I have them, life is good. They are a creative bunch, too.

Who are some of your favorite authors, genres or series that you like to follow whether in novels, movies or television?
Authors: Arthur Conan Doyle, Michael Crichton, Charles Dickens, Steven James, to name a few.
Novels: A Christmas Carol is my favorite. Sherlock Holmes (anything to do with this character), Timeline (the movie did not do the book justice), and I’m beginning to work through the Patrick Bowers series by Steven James. I read The Pawn, then he came out with Opening Moves, so I went back and am reading that as we speak, thinking I’d like to read them in chrono-order (although he just announced there might be another one stuck in between these two…hmmm…should I wait, read that, then move on to The Rook? Decisions, decisions.
TV & Movies:  Jurassic Park (all 3), 24 (Yeah! They’re making another season!), Sherlock Holmes (Downey and Cumberbatch as well as all the others), Star Trek, Gladiator, Taken, Bourne trilogy, It’s a Wonderful Life, and a bunch more. Too many to list here.

When can we expect the sequel to be published and available for your readers?
The plan is to have Triple Time out in Early 2014. There might be some things coming down the pike that may alter that as well, but that is the plan…for now…

Finally, are there some words of encouragement or advice you would like to share?
I don’t know how much your readers have noticed, but the rise in “apocalyptic” literature and on-screen material has risen dramatically over the last few years. In the late 1800’s, many things written were “utopian” in nature. Even into the 1900’s, Utopia was viewed as possible in this life, especially as inventions kept flying off the assembly lines, making our lives “easier.” Things started to change after the World Wars (understandably so). We started to go from “utopian” to “dystopian” thinking. Not that dystopian lit never surfaced prior to that time. It’s always been around. I think of Voltaire, H.G. Wells, even the Epic of Gilgamesh, for that matter. Point is, the amount has escalated. It’s as if the world “feels” something isn’t right, but they can’t put their finger on it. They know the end is near, but they don’t know what that “end” will look like.

Before Jesus was born, many writers of the times said “the people” sensed a major historical event was on the horizon. This “sense” began 50-60 years before the birth of Christ.

It seems the world knows, too. Paul said that in Romans 1. Even the world groans. Sin has taken its toll. The Earth’s axis is wobbly. The ozone layer is getting thinner (I cover this science in The Serpent’s Grasp, by the way…I had a home school mom say this book was now required reading for science class…pretty cool, huh?). The weather is becoming more violent and unpredictable. Earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, famine in various places seem to be the common fare of the day.

The End is near. For those who do not know Christ, that can be a scary thought. And I see it all the time. People are getting angrier with everyday life. People hate their jobs more than ever before. People hate governments more than ever before. And unfortunately, people hate other people more than ever before, too. Race, religion, nationality…all these subjects need is a small spark, and the whole thing ignites into chaos.

For those of who do know Christ, our lights should shine brighter and brighter in a world growing darker by the day. Our hope should become more and more inviting in a world with a waning optimism in the utopian ideal. Our joy should be more and more appealing in a world of souls that can’t get happy about anything unless they can kill an infidel, get drunk, or get high. Our peace should resonate with folks who search for peace, cry for peace, trust in their governments to bring peace, but only find war, upheaval, and uncertainty. And most importantly, our love should reign supreme in a world that knows little of this kind of self-sacrificial giving.

Let your light so shine before men, that they see your good deeds, and praise your Father, who is in Heaven. Amen.

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