This week I have the pleasure of hosting C. Kevin Thompson, a fellow OakTara author, on my blog.
Kevin, tell us a little bit about yourself before we chat about writing and your book.
I am an assistant principal at a high school in central Florida. This link will give you the skinny on my whereabouts during the day: Check Out Kevin’s Official Announcement From His Employer. That’s my day job.
At night, on weekends, during holidays and summers, I morph into a father, a husband, a grandfather, the lawn maintenance guy, the pool boy (although that job is no longer needed now that our pool has a leak. sigh…), and whenever I can squeeze it in…a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer deep down. Tried my hand at it in high school, but never got serious until I attended seminary. It wasn’t until then that I felt confident enough to write anything someone else might wish to read. Before attending seminary, my language skills were atrocious. My vocabulary was puny. My knowledge of the English language you could have fit on the head of a pin (with however many angels you feel can fit there, resting comfortably…plenty of room). My first term paper in college received a “D.” My professor wrote in the upper right-hand corner, “This is a gift.” I learned very quickly that trying to learn English while taking Beginning Hebrew and Elementary Greek (AT THE SAME TIME!) was not the preferred method. If I had not been in college following God’s call on my life, I think I would have dropped out right then and there. Now, look at me. Rambling on so.
Not that you have time for these…but what are your hobbies?
Hobbies? I don’t approach writing as a hobby. It’s a second job to me now. One I hope will become my day job. That would be a dream of mine. Writing full-time? Ahhh, I do believe I could become quite prolific. I play the drums in our church’s praise band. I’m self taught. Can’t read a lick of drum music, but let me listen to a song, and I can pick it up quick and make it my own. Growing up, I beat the proverbial snot out of a set of encyclopedias. My mother felt that to save the more cherished books in the home, they would get me a drum set. An acoustic set. Had it in my room. Man, they must have regretted that on those nights when I learned to play songs from Boston, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and the like. I was the one with the headphones on. That might explain why my mom always asked us to repeat things….just always chalked it up to old age…J/K. Now, I play an electronic Yamaha set. Awesome set.
My son plays the drums, too, and guitar, bass and practically every other instrument he can get his hands on so I know what you mean and completely sympathize with your mom. What else do you enjoy doing?
I also like to read. Read mostly for research on books I’m writing with occasional novels sprinkled in for pleasure reading. I also like to play NCAA Football on the Playstation or XBox. That I’m pretty good at. Not real good at the MW3-type games. On those, I’m the one who makes all the other players look really good.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
When I first started loving to read. I hated reading growing up. I was your typical boy. Reading was boring. However, I got turned on to a specific book one day after seeing the movie. I remember being at the beach with my mom and a friend of mine. We went to see Jaws. The next day, the weather was rainy so we went to a mall of sorts. There, in a stand, was the book. I picked it up, and my mom asked if I wanted it. I said, “Sure.” So, she bought it. I devoured that book (no pun intended). The science behind the book intrigued me enough to seriously consider becoming a marine biologist at one point in my life until I realized that you had to actually go out on boats. I get deathly ill when the waves are over a foot high. So, that pretty much settled that for me. It didn’t, though, turn me off to reading. I guess that’s why I like books by Michael Crichton, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and the like. This is what I tell students now. I hated to read, too. But look at me now. I got turned on to reading when I found something that interested me. That led to reading other things I never would have dreamed of reading, which led to thinking, “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let me write about that.”
Such an inspiration to your students! Why do you write the type of books that you do?
I felt there was a hole in Christian fiction for guys and gals out there like me who love the stuff Crichton and others write, but squirm when the wordly philosophies, even theologies, don’t jive with Christianity. And of course, the language, the human debauchery, real though it is, can be distasteful and get downright uncomfortable at times. There are ways of writing scenes and conveying the “nuances” with getting all hot and steamy or vulgar and crude.
So, I felt I could write a book on par with those but from a Christian perspective. One might call it a bit of an experiment. I saw it as a calling. It’s in God’s hands now. For His glory and honor.
This is exactly why I write pure romances, Kevin. I want to provide entertainment and something that makes my reader draw closer to the Lord without causing her to stumble. What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
Time. My job is very demanding and growing more so with each passing week, it seems. Waking at 4:30 AM, to work by 6:30-ish, and hardly ever home before 4:00 PM, makes it hard to sit up at the computer into the wee hours of the morning and produce anything anybody would want to read.
To overcome it, I have to get creative and make sacrifices. Block out chunks of time in parts of the day when I’m rested. That means usually weekends, holidays, and summers. I have to miss a trip to the store with my wife from time to time. I have to forego a TV show or movie. It’s hard to do at this stage in my life as I see more days behind me than ahead. But, having a published book helps with the motivational part.
Time! I totally agree… Has writing changed your life in any way?
Yes. To some degree. I was amazed what a difference it makes at writer’s conferences. That is where I’ve noticed the biggest change. And now that the book is actually out for people to see and purchase, that has changed my personal life some. It’s neat to have co-workers bring books to me for a signature. I’ll be attending a writer’s conference in March wherein I’ll be able to actually sell my own book in the same bookstore as Cecil Murphey, Mark Mynheir, Dan Walsh, Eva Marie Everson, Brian Davis…wow, never thought about it quite like that before…That is exciting!
I have to agree that being able to sell the story I’ve worked so hard on for so long and being asked for my autograph is very exciting! What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Romans 12:1-2 The apostle Paul was making such a profound statement in those two verses. He was saying in effect, “Okay, you Roman believers, now that we have just surveyed God’s plan of salvation from A-Z (“in view of God’s mercy,” i.e., the first 11 chapters), offer yourselves as a sacrifice. Not like the dead ones offered in the OT by the priests in the temple. Be a living sacrifice. This is holy and pleasing to God. A life of sacrifice modeled after our Lord Jesus. This is how you worship and serve your Creator. Don’t be like the world any longer which clamors after its own wants and desires. Instead, be transformed, like an ugly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, by making your minds new again based on God’s Word. Then, you will be able to know God’s will for your life.
How powerful is that?
That is very powerful! Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
“A Christmas Carol.” Charles Dickens. Such a small book in number of pages, but such a profound piece of literature. It’s amazing how the entire scene where Christ is referenced gets always left out of the movie versions. It has one of the most chilling phrases I’ve ever read. When the Ghost of Christmas Present confronts Scrooge and uses Ebenezer’s own words against him in reference to Tiny Tim…now that scene still gives me chills although I’ve read it and seen it a hundred times.
ES: “Will the boy live?”
GOCP: “I see a crutch without an owner…carefully preserved.”
ES: “Please say he will live.”
GOCP: “If the shadows of the future remained unchanged, the boy will die.”
ES: “Please, spirit. Say it isn’t so.”
GOCP: “Well, ‘if he is to die, then let him die, and decrease the surplus
ES: “You use my own words against me?”
GOCP: “Yes. And in the future, maybe you will hold your tongue until you know who the surplus population is. For it could be that in the sight of heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child.”
Wow! I hope to write like that some day.
That’s good stuff! Okay, now tell our readers something a little personal. What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
I have a friend who walked up behind me one evening in a Wal-mart. We were talking and waiting our turn in line. As I was having my items checked out by the cashier, he exclaims, “Hey, Kevin, did you ever get that check bouncing thing fixed?” I turned to him, knowing him for the prankster that he was, and said, “Yea, right.” I then look up at the cashier, whose eyes were like Buick hubcaps, and see the wheels turning in her head. “Oh great.” I spent the next couple of minutes assuring her I was good for the money.
So, you know what they say about paybacks, right? This same friend was in the hospital having gall bladder surgery. He could not get out of bed for like two days. So, the day after his surgery, I showed up to his room with a teddy bear and a huge balloon that read, “It’s a girl!” I placed it on the table at the far end of the room where I knew he could not reach it, visited for a little while, then left. We still talk….from time to time.
I love your sense of humor! You would fit in quite nicely around here… Okay, now is the time to tell us about the featured book.
The Serpent’s Grasp is a suspense thriller. If you like Michael Crichton, Preston & Child, Jeremy Robinson, and others like them, this book is for you. I tell people, “Think along the lines of a Crichton book with a Christian twist.”
Here’s the BCC:
Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband’s mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband’s office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever…and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.
Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.
Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn’s life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stand for.
If you want to know how serpents are born, check out my blog post on Bindings:
Birth of a Serpent by C. Kevin Thompson
You can also see the book trailer here.
Your book sounds right up my husband’s alley! Can you please give us the first page?
I’ll do one better. Well, actually, 39 better. How about the first 39 pages? Click on the hyperlink, and away you go!
Awesome! Thanks. (Readers, please make sure and click on the link and read the sneak peek!)
Where can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.ckevinthompson.com/– My Official Website
http://www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/– My Official Blog
I have a six-part series on my blog which tells the story of how I came to be published. It’s called “From Mere Musings to Post-Publication: A Journey.” I’m waiting to finish it because I’m barely into the “post-publication” part.
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you go to my website home page, the links are on the right-hand side of the page. And while you’re there, can you “like” my FB fan page?
Kevin, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and give my readers a glimpse into your world. I wish you much success!