Happy Friday. Today I have the pleasure of having Thea Atkinson on my blog. Thea is the author of several e-books all of which are available on Amazon.

 JET: Can you tell us a little about your latest book, Anomaly, which came out last November?

 Thea: Anomaly was an exercise in exploration for me. I’ve long been thinking about prejudice and bias and the need to label things in our world. I never really thought I would write a book about it until I sat on a seminar given by our regional LGBTQ organization. During this three hour session, I started thinking about things in ways I never had before. It sounds almost silly, but I never gave any thought to what gender might actually mean. I never thought about how difficult it might be for a person to fill out gender on a form of two choices when they might be very different from what they obviously looked like. I never considered how difficult restroom choice might be. I just always assumed that prejudice ran along the lines of heterosexual to homosexual, Caucasian to African Canadian, Christian to Muslim etc. but the seminar made me begin thinking of things in very different ways. It made me begin to realize that bias lies everywhere, even in the special communities. Thinking about how prevalent it really is made me explore the life of a person very different from my own sensibilities. I think I gained a lot of a spiritual perspective from writing Anomaly even though it is very far away from a spiritual level. In fact, there are some downright deviant things within.

 JET: What drew you to psychological thrillers?

 Thea: If I had to answer this one honestly, I think I would have to say that I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to know why people do the things they do. I’ve always wanted to know what made people think. As a young adult, I had a friend succeed in a suicide attempt just hours after I had spoken to him. He certainly didn’t seem unhappy. It always bothered me to think that he must have been suffering and had told no one, and I always wondered how badly he must have really felt to actually attempt something that goes so against our ingrained sense of self-preservation. I’ve always been attracted to tragedy in that way, but for me it’s also about what it would take to bring the light back to the darkness. So every one of my novels is really a study into human nature for me. Whether or not I do it well is another story.

 JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

 Thea: I’m not sure I can answer that adequately. I find everything challenging. Straight from the daily writing — which I love but have to dedicate myself to — to the editing process, which excites me but frustrates me too, to the submission process. Then there is the worry about people purchasing. Then there is the worry about people reading and enjoying. Then there is the worry of what you will write next. And yet I keep coming back. So I guess the most challenging thing for me is to actually work at improving the basic writing skills. That never stops. I’m always learning. I’m a much better writer today than I was three novels ago, but that also means that I understand exactly how much work goes into writing and publishing. And so the challenge is a daily one: to improve, to persevere, to improve again.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Thea: Every little success no matter how small becomes my favorite moment of the moment. I received an e-mail from a reader three days ago who told me she had read one of my novels and that it really resonated with her. That became my favorite moment. Then today, I had someone tell me that I write like Annie Proulx. That became my favorite moment. It will be hard to top that one, though.

 JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

 Thea: I pretty much only read Stephen King and Robin Cook and Anne Rice when I was young, except for Zane Grey and Jack London, so I could never say any one author would have influenced me more than another I read a lot. I always did. Every single writer, even the ones I don’t enjoy who I doubt spend a lot of time at their craft, influences my writing in some way.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Thea: I was 12. I submitted a story to a Canadian show that acted out submissions with puppets. It was called pencil box and I know no one remembers it, but that was the first rejection letter I ever received, and so that was the first time I decided to actually take the plunge. I kept the letter for years, and I think I still had it when I got married and moved out of the house.

 JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

 Thea: I’m pretty straightforward with my research. I can’t say I’ve done anything crazy, unfortunately. I’d have to say the most interesting thing I discovered was how to get the harmful chemical out of certain prescription medications so that you can take huge quantities without harming your liver. Don’t ask why I needed to know that.

 JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written – which one is your favorite? Why?

 Thea: I’m pretty proud of Anomaly even though it’s a difficult read for many people. It can be dark and deviant in some places but I think it is very authentic. I’m pleased with the character of J because he taught me so many things, not the least of which was acceptance. I’m probably showing my bias here, but I think if a reader can get a few chapters in they will come to love him as much as I do.

 JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

 Thea: Write everyday. Read a variety of genres. Don’t be afraid to try something new, but don’t be afraid to change it if it doesn’t work. When you become successful, always open the door for someone else.

JET: All right – now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with Paper or Plastic?

 Thea: Cloth

 JET: Steak or Tofu?

 Thea: Chicken

 JET: Beach or Mountains?

 Thea: Beach. I live near the water and couldn’t live without it

 JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

 Thea: Rock-n-roll, baby

 JET: Leather or Lace?

 Thea: Leather

 JET: Angels or Demons?

 Thea: Both. I think they show true duality

 JET: Paper or Digital?

 Thea: Digital

 JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

 Thea: Cheese

 JET: Twilight or True Blood?

Thea: Trueblood

 JET: Coffee or Tea?

 Thea: Tea always except for that 1 cup of coffee a day

 JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you’re working on now? What’s next?

 Thea: I just finished the opening novella to a planned series that involves a girl with very real powers and the complexity of various incarnations

 JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Thea Atkinson and her work at http://theaatkinson.wordpress.com

Next week, I’ve got David Lender dishing it up about his release, Trojan Horse. Swing in and say hello!

 Until then,

 Ciao

 JET

Advertisements