Interview with A. C. Thompson

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I can never get enough of history documentaries, especially anything put together by Ken Burns. My wife and I are both movie junkies, especially action, sci-fi, or noir films from the '40s and '50s. I'm a bit of a retro gaming nerd, and even though space is limited in the fifth wheel we live in, I actually have three old consoles, an Atari 2600, an Atari 7800, and an original Nintendo Entertainment System, complete with the required CRT TV. What's the point in playing these thirty plus year old games if you don't have scanlines on the screen? I also like doing touristy things, like checking out small town mom and pop souvenir shops or antique malls, going on scenic drives to the middle of nowhere, and taking hundreds of photographs on mountain hikes.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I've discovered tons of great indie authors through groups I've joined on Goodreads. I like reading relatively unknown writers, and I think it's wonderful how many new authors are breaking out now, thanks to the revolution that ebooks represent. That kind of success was unheard of even a few years ago.
What is your writing process?
I try not to steer where my writing heads off to. Whether I'm writing a new poem, or working on my first novel, I'm usually just along for the ride. It's like I'm sitting back and watching it happen as a spectator.

I can't write from outlines or brainstorming graphs, because once I start writing, I go off somewhere completely different from the plan I dreamed up in my head before sitting down to the keyboard. I tend to write in short bursts, usually an hour and a half or less.

Since I'm a lover of all things vintage, the vast majority of my writing is done on an Alphasmart 3000 word processing keyboard. I think those were discontinued in 2000, but I love writing on mine because it has zero internet capability, which keeps notifications out of the distraction loop. The screen only shows four lines of text at a time, so it sucks for editing. This forces me to keep cruising along, since any reasonable editing has to be done later after I transfer the day's writing to my laptop. I can also take it to the laundromat without worrying about dropping my laptop or having the battery go dead right in the middle of a great battle scene.

My poems generally stand as first written, and I only change a few words before they're finalized. When I'm writing fiction, I'll let three or four days worth of writing stack up, and then I'll go through and do slight rewrites. Usually this consists of cutting several words or phrases out to streamline the story. Later, my wife will read a few chapters at a time, and if she catches anything, I'll go back and fix it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember what the first story I ever read was, because I was already reading when I was only three. I think the first story I read that left a lasting impression was Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I was probably like eight or nine years old, and I couldn't believe it when Little Dan got injured by the mountain lion. I remember being upset at the author for killing the dog like that. It took me a while to get over that enough so I could finish reading the book.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is a tough one to answer, because I've read so many great books, but I'll see if I can boil it down to a top five. I hope you can find it within yourself to forgive me if I happen to cheat a bit!

1) Think Differently Live Differently by Bob Hamp, because this book did more to change my outlook on God and everything in the world around me than any other book I've ever read, apart from the Bible. It caused me to question and change how I look at and react to everything and everyone in my life.

2) The Green Mile by Stephen King. Not only is this a killer example of storytelling by arguably the best artist in the craft, I read it when it first came out a few chapters at a time. As each book was released, I'd head down to the local bookstore to get it, taking it home where I'd inevitably read it from cover to cover in one sitting. This forced me to wait anxiously for the next part of the story to be released. It was great fun to read it that way, and I think anyone who has the entire story in their hands from the beginning misses out on the tension being forced to wait created.

3) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I'm going to cheat a bit on this one, and include the series as a whole, with the exception of Saint Odd, because somehow I still haven't read that installment. The whole world that Koontz created here is believable in a strangely unbelievable way. I found myself sympathizing with Odd more deeply than I generally do when reading fiction, and every single book was a page turner that I finished in two or three days.

4) It by Stephen King. Yes, King makes it into my top five twice. Did I mention earlier that he's a master of the craft? I read this one for the first time when I was probably twelve or thirteen years old, and it scared the crap out of me. I like to think it's because I grew up in a small town, and I wasn't much older than most of the characters, although I'm sure it would have had the same effect on me even if that hadn't been the case!

5) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Yes, I'm cheating again on this one, but if you haven't read Tolkein, you're missing out. His characters are all amazing, even the ones that make you think, "Would someone please kill this guy already?" His setting descriptions are hard to top in any genre of fiction by any writer. And who doesn't love the Elvish language??
What do you read for pleasure?
Since I'm a history nerd, I love biographies and historical memoirs, especially if they have anything to do with World War II. I've been trying for years to make it through the entire library of Dean Koontz's writings, although I'm not fully convinced I'll ever make it! That guy cranks out quality material so fast it's pretty much impossible to keep up with him. It must have something to do with those ten hour work days. How he does that, I don't understand. The man is a writing machine.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
The only dedicated e-reader device I've ever owned is a Nook Simple Touch. The battery went belly up on me a while back, so I need to either break down and replace the whole thing or slap a new battery in it one of these days. I like it because I can't stand reading for long sessions on backlit screens. I blame aging eyes. Mostly.
Describe your desk
I think I break all the traditional rules in this area. I don't have a desk at all. Most of my writing is done sitting in my recliner or kicked back on an uncomfortable bench at the laundromat. I've also been known to write sitting in a lawn chair under the awning of my RV. You just may see me pounding the keys in the waiting area of the local nail salon while my wife gets a manicure!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the small West Texas town of Dumas, which had just under 14,000 people when I lived there. I was fortunate enough to live in the same town where I was born for just over eighteen years. I'm not sure how much this has directly influenced my writing, other than the fact that a few characters may someday have a slight down-home drawl when they speak. You and I will just have to hang out for a while to see if they materialize or not!
When did you first start writing?
I didn't write seriously until the fall of 2016, when I discovered I had a knack for poetry. I've been writing book reviews for quite a while, though, and when my friends would read them, the response tended to be, "When are you going to write a book of your own?" Finally, after hearing that exact question from enough people, I started wondering myself why I hadn't written anything for public consumption. Now I've got my first collection of poetry out, and I'm about 30,000 words into my first novel.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I first started researching online how to get published, most of what I found seemed like scams. Stuff like, "Send us $X.XX, and your manuscript, and we'll publish your book." Or, "Join our newsletter group today for only $X.XX/month, and we'll share our publishing secrets with you, so you can get exclusive information not available ANYWHERE else." Finally, I stumbled on Smashwords. I honestly don't even remember how I first found it. The more I read on the site here, the more I thought to myself, "I can do this!" Now, here I am.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think it's got to be getting my thoughts down and sharing them with others. Then having them tell me, "Wow. That was really great!" after they read something I've written. I honestly didn't think anyone would like what I had to say. Thankfully, my wife is very supportive, and she finally talked me into sharing my poetry. She's definitely my biggest advocate, cheerleader, and best friend!
Published 2017-07-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Always Enough Air
Price: Free! Words: 7,860. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
Are you drowning in life, longing for the time when you weren't worried, when peace reigned supreme? Ever wanted to live the gypsy life, where it's easy to pull up stakes and roll down the road to meet new friends and neighbors? Do you daydream about that first kiss, relishing those emotions? My hope is that these poems will spark old memories, helping you catch your breath and breathe easy again.