While I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting today’s guest in person, I get a strong sense from some of his interview answers and bio information that we’d get along well. I hope you enjoy his interview and then take time to check out his books. And don’t forget to comment on this post to be entered to win Kevin’s giveaway!
What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?
The Ghost of Christmas Present from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. The scene where he and Scrooge are standing in the home of Bob Cratchit, watching the family eat their meager feast is one of the most powerful scenes in all of literature for me. When Scrooge asks the ghost if Tiny Tim will live, the ghost’s reply is masterfully done, especially when he uses Scrooge’s words against him.
“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
He sat very close to his father’s side upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him.
“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”
“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”
“No, no,” said Scrooge. “Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.”
“If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,” returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.
“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”
I often think that’s how Hell will be for those who do not know Christ, standing before God, having to listen to all their wicked cants replayed against them for all eternity while being instantly enlightened to all the opportunities they had to minister in the areas of what Marley called “the common welfare”: charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence. Yet, they chose to instead focus on the “dealings of their trade” at the expense of those less fortunate. I can think of no worse Hell than seeing how you could have helped someone and now have no way of ever changing your fortunes, or theirs, for all eternity. And to top it all off, you can’t go out and commit suicide because of your tremendous grief just so you can end all the suffering! Chilling, indeed!
It would be very heartbreaking to be endlessly faced with all our missed chances. That is a very powerful character choice. Now, let’s talk about your characters. What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?
The easiest to write has been Blake Meyer. Although I’m saved and he is not as of Book 5, he and I do think a lot alike when it comes to wrestling with the concept of justice and our U.S. system that calls itself a justice system but seems to be one in name only.
The hardest (and we’re talking being true to a character here) was Rachel Hamar in The Letters, mainly because she’s a woman. There were several times when my wife or my daughters would read a section of the manuscript and say, “Uh, no. She’d never say that.” So, we changed those based on their suggestions. A close second was Dr. Evelyn Sims from The Serpent’s Grasp for the same reasons. Because she was a scientist and thought more scientifically and analytically, it was a little easier to write her character, but not by much.
If we’re talking about hard to write because of what the character has been through (meaning, I really felt true sorrow for the character), then Arina Filipov from the Blake Meyer Thriller series is hands down the “winner.” If I had endured what she’s been through, I just might be a top-level assassin on a revenge tour too.
Wow! Arina sounds like a character I’d like to find out more about. Sounds like she has a lot of stories to tell. Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?
It’s a tie between Daniel and Paul. Daniel because he stood up in the midst of his enemies and became the reason why Magi from a thousand miles away came looking for the King of the Jews in Bethlehem all those centuries later. The Apostle Paul because he was so staunch in his stand for Christ. And he was a prolific writer of books we still read today!
Paul is also one of my favorites.
Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing, or are you as surprised by them as your readers?
It’s a mixture. I often call myself a Plotser. I am a plotter, but I also write by the seat of my pants too (as a “Pantser”). You obviously cannot have purpose in your writing if you don’t know where you begin and where you need to end. For me, that’s how I start. I know where I want to start, and I know where the story needs to end. I always have that much mapped out before I begin. However, the fun part for me is in the journey from Point A to Point B. And yes, along the way, characters develop quirks or phrases or do things that surprise me because it just fits so well into that part of the story and obviously was not foreseeable at the beginning.
I tend to call that a plantser, but I like plotser too. Now onto a fund question about you. If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?
Are we talking about being realistic or stretching the truth? Just a little, of course…Ha!
For me, I’d say either Dennis Quaid or Kenneth Branagh (although Kenneth would have to lose the British accent and die his hair). At least in their acting (don’t really know anything about them personally), in the films or TV shows I have watched, they always seem to be down to earth, caring, yet are manly enough to take care of business when needed. They’re not uber famous (what I mean is, they are not on everybody’s top five list of Who-would-you-like-to-be? actors), yet they do not seem to be bothered by it. And they can act! Much better than some of those top five actors, I might add.
Interesting choices. I enjoy both of them for different reasons. But we are authors not actors so I need to ask, who is your favorite author and why?
That’s a tough one. I’d have to say I don’t have one favorite over all others. I like Charles Dickens for his humanity. His concern for the downtrodden—obviously a hot topic for him coming from his own boot-blacking background as a kid—is always refreshing.
I like Michael Crichton for taking pressing scientific questions of the day and asking if we really should go there. Will anyone heed his cautionary tales? That’s my question. Did you know there are scientists trying to replicate dinosaurs as we speak? Maybe they should watch next year’s Jurassic World III before they continue.
I like Tom Clancy for his patriotic characters, who are more worried about being truthful than being anything else, including patriots.
I loved the Shetland series on BBC, so my oldest daughter went out and bought me all the Ann Cleeves books in that series for my birthday last year, so we’ll see how that goes. They’re next on my reading list (which keeps growing!). If Cleeves’s books are anything like the series, she’ll have to be added to this list of authors for sure.
One more question because inquiring minds want to know. Or at least, we will pretend they do! What is your go-to snack and drink combination when you’re writing?
It depends on the time of day. If it’s four in the morning, then it’s coffee. And then more coffee. And then more coffee. And then, on my way to work, more coffee.
If it’s later in the day, then it’s Coca-Cola, if we have any around. I’m a recovering Cokaholic. Anytime I can recover some, I usually do.
As for snacks, chips mostly. I love Late July’s lime tortilla chips. But unfortunately, I love many other kinds of chips too. Hence, my current physique (and yes, I know, the Coke doesn’t help either, so you can refrain from commenting in the comment section with comments about my drink choices J). In this, I defer to the sentiments of the priest in The Count of Monte Cristo, “I’m a Christian, not a saint.”
Chips and Coke are a lethal combination to the diet. Thank you for taking time to let us get to know you today.
Readers keep reading for a little more on where to connect with C. Kevin Thompson. And don’t forget the giveaway at the end of the post. All you have to do is leave your comment below to enter.
C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?
He is the author of the Selah Award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, and his Blake Meyer Thriller series, which includes Books 1-4 so far, with Book 5, A Pulse of Time, coming out Memorial Day 2020! And, his new standalone novel, The Letters, is now available!
Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.
Kevin’s Writer’s Blog: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson
BookBub: C. Kevin Thompson
THE GIVEAWAY: One lucky reader will win their choice of an e-book or paperback copy of The Letters. The drawing will take place and be announced on March 9th. Open to US residents, 18 and over. To enter comment below about your favorite answer from today’s interview or ask C. Kevin Thompson your own question. Here’s some more information on The Letters.
THE WORLD IS A CRAZY PLACE
WHEN THE LIVING ARE DEAD
AND THE DEAD ARE ALIVE.
Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December, 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.
In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.
Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?