About the Book:
Imagine if you would, a story of greed and betrayal, intrigue and danger, war and destruction, the slaughter of the innocents on a biblical scale and the collapse of empire. And imagine at the centre of it all one little woman, brilliant but shy, victimized but resolute, and ultimately vindicated. What a story that would make! Well, you don't have to imagine it, because that is the Lise Meitner story. And I didn't have to invent any of it . . . it's all true.
About the Author:
Originally from England, Writer and Film-Maker, Tom now resides in Boston, Massachusetts.
Before turning his hand to fiction, Tom had a successful career as the CEO of a consulting company, conference speaker and writer of industry articles and business books. But determining that the business world lacked a sense of humor, Tom decided to hand in his jacket and tie and instead turned to the world of literature.
His novel, First Night, set in Boston during the New Year’s Eve festival, introduced the unlikely heroines, Alex and Jackie, and the ghost of a 17th century Puritan named Sarah Pemberton. First Night won an Honorable Mention in the Middle-Grade/Young Adult category, in the Writers Digest 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards.
The sequel to First Night, called the Elf of Luxembourg, was published in January, 2010. As with First Night, The Elf of Luxembourg is also a supernatural mystery, with a blend of humor and history that has become Tom’s trademark.
Following the publication of the Elf of Luxembourg, Tom turned to the medium of film to produce and direct the animated short, There be Monsters!, based on his short story of the same name.
Tom has also written the novel, Fission, based on his screenplay of the true story of scientist, Lisa Meitner, and the race for the atomic bomb. Fission the screenplay was named a finalist at the London Independent Film Festival. Prior to its publication in August, 2011, the novel was serialized for Tom’s Facebook fans.
Tom is now working on Book 3 of the Alex and Jackie Adventures, called Feathered: being a fairy tale, and he is researching the background material for the story, which will be set in Ireland.
1. Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
Fun, Rewarding, Surprising
2. What is your favorite genre of literature?
3. At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
While I was working on my third book.
4. What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – I must have read it a dozen times and the ending still gets to me. Does anyone else think that Sam is the real hero of L.O.T.R.?
5. How do you react to a bad review of your book?
As long as it does not misrepresent or misquote, I don’t mind too much. When I get a good review, I think, “Yes, I connected with this person.” When I get a bad review, I think, “I didn’t connect with this person; what were they looking for that I failed to provide?” Often a bad review comes about because the reviewer had certain expectations of the book which went unfulfilled. So I just think of it as a missed opportunity to connect with that person. But everyone is unique and the challenge for me is to keep reaching out in different ways and keep creating opportunities.
6. Are the names of the characters in your novels important? How and why?
Yes. For example, in the Alex and Jackie Adventures, Alex’s name is derived from the Greek legend of Cassandra, and prophecy and disbelief play a large part in her life, but Alex is usually the disbeliever. In THE ELF OF LUXEMBOURG, the name of Micatachia is derived from the Chibcha words, Micata (beautiful) and Chia (moon). Chibcha is now a dead language, so I am happy to help preserve a word or two of it. In FIRST NIGHT, I talk about the Inuit tradition of passing on the ‘name soul’ from the recently deceased to a new born. So in my work, the characters’ names are often integral to the plot.
7. Do you enjoy giving interviews?
Yes, you never know where it will lead. For example, I once gave an interview during a book tour in support of FIRST NIGHT, and a particular question led me to write the short story, THERE BE MONSTERS!, which led to my involvement in the animated film version of that story, which led to film festivals and red carpets and trips to Lost Angeles, which led to . . . and so on. It comes back to that word again, ‘opportunity’. As a story teller, I find that every encounter is ripe with possibility for a new story. It’s very exciting.
8. How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
I think there are echoes of my childhood in everything I write. In particular, my growing collection of short stories, TALES FROM THE GREEN DRAGON TAVERN, of which THERE BE MONSTERS! is one, are quite autobiographical, albeit hidden in an alternative, medieval fantasy setting. What I have most taken away from that period is a sense of gratitude to everyone who paved the way for me to achieve what I have. When I listen to the boasts of so-called ‘self-made’ people, I shake my head in disbelief. For my life is the product of the efforts of hundreds or thousands of unsung heroes. I think I write as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the heroes from my childhood.
9. What was the greatest thing you learned in school?
I went to a Catholic Christian Brothers school, which then (and now) seemed to me to be almost anti-Catholic in its methods. For example, we would study the world’s great religions except for Catholicism, as if the Brothers felt that was a conflict of interests. They practiced a sort of Socratic Method of critical thinking (which we would call cynicism) – For example, a teacher would bring in a newspaper and read the front page headline and story, and get us to examine it – who wrote it, does the writer or publisher have an agenda, etc. Everything had to be debated, reasoned and a consensus formed to accept or dismiss a conclusion – This applied across all subjects: math, history, science, art. I now rarely take things at face value – and (hint) my readers should not take my work at face value either.
10. Do you admire your own work?
style="background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent; border: 0pt none ! important;" />I’m happy with my work. And I’m happy to share it with others. If someone else likes it, that is icing on the cake, but it’s not the reason I write. And I’m happy with the eclectic nature of it all, which takes some people by surprise. If anything, I think my writing is a microcosm of my own personality – and I’m happy with who I am. Admiration is too strong and too vain a word.
11. Who else’s work do you admire?
Shakespeare, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, P.G. Wodehouse, Christopher Moore, Neal Stephenson, to name a few of the hundreds of authors who I admire. I am constantly adding names to the list.
Tom Weston’s work includes the fantasy based Alex and Jackie books, First Night and The Elf of Luxembourg. His latest project is Fission, a novel based on the true life story of scientist, Lise Meitner. Prior to its publication in 2011, Fission was serialized online for Tom’s fans. To find out more about Tom and his work, or to read more about Fission, please visit http://tom-weston.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/tom.weston.readers. A portion of all sales of Fission, no matter where purchased, go to the ‘Because I am a GiRL’ campaign by Plan, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children since 1937. Visit PlanUSA at http://www.planusa.org/content1619891 or get involved with your own national/regional Plan office.