Thomas Hay was raised in Clinton, Mo. during the 50’s. Retired from TWA/American Airlines. He currently resides in Lake Waukomas, Mo. with his wife, Karen, along with some hyperactive squirrels, irritating geese and cranky old catfish.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Of course. Every writer will admit to this. Just don’t fret about it. It’s like riding a bike, you won’t forget how to write.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t expect to become wealthy selling your work. There are 10,000 stories published every month and it is easy to get lost in the maze.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
I changed the cover and revised the original story for “An Abduction Revelation”. I was told by a few well meaning readers that my original cover did not protray the story.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
Most of my life I dreamt to write. Unfortunately, I never found the time to fulfill that dream. After retiring from a thirty-nine year career with TWA/American Airlines, time was no longer an excuse. The subject became the obstacle. To get me motivated, my wife suggested I write my memoirs. “You have had an interesting and complicated life,” she commented. “It would make for a good story.”
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. After all, I am the only person who knows all my memories. When I pass, they will be lost forever. recording them would mean that I would live forever. An added bonus would be that my descendants would have a history book to learn where their idiocy originated.
I started writing my memories in a big paper notebook. After fifty pages with arrows pointing every which way and notes scribbled everywhere, I had a complete mess on my hands. Again, my wife came to the rescue. “Why don’t you get a computer?” Duh! Brilliant idea, honey! But then the computer and I had issues. Lots of issues! Until we finally came to an agreement that I take a class and learn a little more about it. We still had issues, but they can usually be resolved. It still took me two years to complete the memoir. Behold The Comeback Kid, The Memoirs of Thomas L. Hay was published in November 2011.
The process was both an invigorating whirlwind of self-enlightenment and an intense emotional trip. To jog my memory I used song titles. A song would remind me of a person, a place, or a time in my life. Example “Heartbreak Hotel,” when my first wife informed me that she wanted a divorce. When I looked at my life, I recognized that it was but a series of events, much like an assorted box of chocolates, never knowing what would come next. I choose the title ‘The Comeback Kid” because of the many peaks and valleys I had during my life’s journey. Somehow I had always found a way to comeback from the valleys.
After publishing my memoirs, it occurred to me that I could have mysterious phenomena buried within my subconscious. Shortly after our divorce, my first wife had claimed that we had been abducted by aliens during our short marriage. She divorced me because her spirit had persuaded her to become a vegetarian, fast, and abstain from sexual activity. This melted the memory blocks instilled by the aliens and exposed traumatic experiences that had been buried within her subconscious. I didn’t believe her. Like most people who claimed to be abductees, I assumed she had a fertile imagination or had a few loose marbles.
However, after writing my memoirs, I became tormented to investigate the probability of her claim. Since I could stand to lose a few pounds and age had diminished by sex drive, I adopted her ascetic lifestyle for awhile. O-M-G… I discovered another life. I had to rewrite my memoirs. Behold An Abduction Revelation The Comeback Kid Returns was published in October 2012, by Balboa Press, a Div. of Hay House.
Who are the abductors? Where did they come from? Where were they hiding? Did they even exist? The answers to all those questions and many more were revealed when my memory blocks melted. What I discovered will startle and torment your reality.
Determining the book genre gave me a headache. Is it a memoir or is it a science fiction story? I let the reader decide whether it is reality, a dream, a hallucination, or a fermentation of imagination gone wild. Perphaps my imaginations were hidden memories? I don’t try to convince the reader one way or the other. I let them determine what they want to believe. However, I did remind them what Albert Einstein once said about the mysterious “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand in awe, is as good as dead, his eyes are closed and he is a stranger unto himself.”
Both books are written in a rollicked conversational style. I used many idioms that we all use in our everyday discussions. Example “What in Sam Hill?” Everyone knows what it means, but what of the origin? Curiosity can ‘kill the cat’ and thanks to the Internet, those funny little phases became ‘clear as a bell’. I added an appendix in the second book to explain their origin. It was quite interesting how some came to be. You may be interested to see my website blog (www.thomaslhay.com) on ‘Idioms’.
Both books stand alone. The second book is not a sequel. The original memoir was written with the memory blocks instilled, while the revised memoir was written after the memory blocks were melted. Although there are some repetitiveness during the first few chapters, thereafter, the revised story takes a completely different direction. Buckle up, because you are in for one wild ride!
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
Always carry a note pad.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
Reviews are important to me. They tell me how my story is accepted. Those 4 and 5 star ratings can really boost the ego)
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
My autograph sessions can get very interesting. My readers can’t tell if I’m pulling their leg or when I’m serious. My second book really has them scratching their heads.
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
Yes and I wish I had an answer?
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
An Abduction Revelation is a story that explores a compelling blend between mysterious unknown entities and some seeming true events of the author. Is it reality, fiction, or did my imagination just go wild?
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
Yes, but I can’t tell you because it would be a spoiler. You know how authors hate spoilers.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
Now that questions answer is another spoiler….but I don’t try to convince the reader one way or the other. I do leave it up to the reader to determine.