Scarberryfields: Can you tell us a little about your nationality?
Thomm: I am American. My background is English, Irish, German, and Dutch, but I don’t have much of a connection with my roots (aside from my mother insisting to this day that I resemble my deceased German grandmother, whom she felt looked like wrinkled kewpie dolls, so I am not sure this is a compliment).
Scarberryfields: When you finish writing a story, do you miss the characters?
Thomm: Most of my stories take place within the same reality, so I don’t ever feel they are gone. Even character I have killed off can reappear through flashbacks, so they aren’t far.
Scarberryfields: While writing, if you need help with punctuation, grammar, etcetera, where do you turn?
Thomm: Mostly to myself. I worked as a proofreader for an educational publisher for the better part of a year, which was tedious but drilled grammar rules into me more thoroughly than all the schooling I had received before. I tend to covert the document over into something I can read on my Kindle and do a final pass there, since it seems to hit a different part of my brain than what I rely upon while writing.
I have a few beta readers and one, my girlfriend’s uncle, is even better than I am at catching these mistakes. I am sure to incorporate Uncle Bruce into anything I am about to submit to my publisher.
Scarberryfields: With the number of hours spent writing, do family members support you or complain about the time spent away from them?
Thomm: My girlfriend is the only family member affected right now and she does not seem to mind too much. She is also a creative type, an artist who runs a successful Etsy shop and who is involved in the local artistic community, so we have come up with our “work hour”. I retire to a tiny closet with my notebook computer and she makes an absolute mess of our living room floor as she makes her crafts.
It’s a good system, except for when guests drop by before we can clean up.
Scarberryfields: For research sake, do you travel to any of the places you mention in your books?
Thomm: Most of my books take place within an hour or so of where I live. My last book, Artificial Gods, mostly takes place in Pine Bush, New York. I went to several UFO support group meeting there while brainstorming and ironing out details, including sky watches where some members labeled airplanes as cloaked alien spaceships. I have twice attended the annual Pine Bush UFO Festival that ended up featured in the novel. I must admit, doing such in-depth (and somewhat undercover) research made for a far stranger book than I originally intended.
Scarberryfields: When you’re writing, do you shut-off all social networks?
Thomm: Actually, no. I sometimes need these micro-distractions, so I will go on Omegle to have random chats about writing whenever I am slightly stuck. It helps to remind me why I write – to tell my fans the sort of stories I would want to read – and publicizes my books, as well as helping to me untangle knots by explaining them to people who are otherwise ignorant of my work.
Scarberryfields: Did you use any family members as Beta readers for your stories?
Thomm: I have tried. Most of them are curiously unwilling to drop everything they are doing to push through my work-in-progress in a week. I send it to them anyway and hope for the best.
My most consistent beta readers right now are my girlfriend and her uncle. Aside from that, I may occasionally hear from friends and family members months after I have made revisions.
Scarberryfields: Do you feel social networking is a good tool for marketing your books?
Thomm: I would like to believe that. I see quite a number of people sharing their friends' self-published works, but they clam up when confronted with a book that isn't the literary underdog (though I feel any book that isn’t on the shelves at Barnes & Noble is fighting to be seen). So, I believe it can be a good marketing tool, but it has yet to bear much fruit for me.
Scarberryfields: What is the last book called that you completed and published?
Thomm: Artificial Gods, which came out in late January from Double Dragon Publishing.
Scarberryfields: Where can readers go to find your books?
Thomm: From my publisher: http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/eAuthor.php?Name=Thomm%20Quackenbush
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/artificial-gods-thomm-quackenbush/1114286916?ean=9781771150576
Or from my site, with audio and ebook extras: http://xenex.org/writing/novel.php
All are available to be requested from most book stores.
I also have a Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ThommQuackenbush
And Tumblr: http://thommquackenbush.tumblr.com