Please welcome Michael Thompson, author of The Parchmen Preacher. I stayed up until 2 in the morning reading this book. Like Michael says it's a combination of cozy and suspense. It's set during a time when living was much simpler and I found that refreshing. Without further ado let's get on to the interview with Michael. Check out Michael's book on Amazon.com. It is on special now for $3.49.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in my mother’s own bed in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, Yazoo County, Mississippi. Four older brothers, no sisters. My best friend was my horse, Missy.
Graduated from Ole Miss. Married Tempe Adams. Military intelligence duty followed, and then graduate school—University of South Carolina, for a masters degree in mass communication. Founded Thompson & Company ad agency in 1977. It grew to 87 employees and two cities over thirty years, while we added three boys to our family. Tempe and I have been married for forty-four years. I sold the agency in 2011, anxious to write Christian novels full-time. DAVID—The Illustrated Novel, Volumes 1 & 2 were the first. (Vol 2 was awarded Best Graphic Novel of 2011 by the INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS, USA Book Awards). I also love to paint—oils and acrylics mostly. I’m a licensed large sailboat captain, having sailed to most all of the Caribbean Islands. I’m part of Kairos Prison Ministry, and recruit for Cuban door-to-door evangelism short-term mission trips.
2. Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.
Martha, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, Satan, and Jesus are key figures in this 1950s small town, good-versus-evil allegory of Christ’s ministry—The Parchman Preacher. This is the first in my Solo Ladies Bible Study series. It’s a cross genre of cozy mystery with a southern female amateur sleuth; comic relief in the midst of malevolent schemes, murder and suspense are prevalent themes. Underneath it all is an allegory of Christ’s ministry.
3. Why did you choose this particular genre?
It came to me in a dream. The morning after, I dropped the sci-fi novel I had been working on and began to write The Parchman Preacher. (True story!)
4. What was your journey to publication like?
Sort of like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress … like Christian’s search for the Celestial City, wrought with plenty of despondent sloughs and consternations along the way. In my case, it has culminated in no agents; finally, I settled on a “Pay for Play” publisher. Frankly, it was and still is a humbling journey. And an experience that brought reality front and center. There is a plethora—more like a glut—of writers, each seeking to promote their work to potential agents. The agents? They’re overwhelmed by the fifteen-queries-a-day routine. (My manuscript still hasn’t been read by a potential agent.) Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining. This is just the way it is in the publishing industry. It’s important to face reality. To face facts. And then, if you’re resilient enough, have enough perseverance and talent, and with work that can speak for itself, it might just find a home with an exuberant agent who’ll work to sign you up with a traditional publisher. I’m still searching for an agent. Even then, we authors will need to execute our platforms in order to reach that proverbial tipping point where some event, some endorsement, some article, some breakthrough, takes our work to a wider audience. Like all of us, Bunyans’s Christian needed many helpers along the way.
5. What is a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
Life of Pi, and several of Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series. Grafton is an excellent writer. Right now I’m reading a lot of cozy mystery series: Teri Blackstock, Stephanie Bond, Ellery Adams, Brandilyn Collins, et al.
6. What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside it?
The sequel to The Parchman Preacher. It’s a 75,051 word completed manuscript. It’s called The Parchman Redeemer. Not sure what you mean by a “little peek inside,” so let me just use an excerpt from one un-paid reviewer (ForeWord Clarion Reviews): “The Parchman Redeemer offers a tantalizing murder mystery filled with chilling explorations of hypocrisy, true faith, and small-town secrets. It’s about sin and redemption. It’s about the search for truth, in both the physical and spiritual realms. And it’s all wrapped up in a puzzle that keeps even skeptics on their toes. The writing is compelling with a plot that grows ever thicker and offers even ardent mystery fans delightfully unexpected twists and turns. The intrigue is well developed with well-placed clues and cliffhangers. The characters are multidimensional and fascinating. The faith themes are so masterfully woven in that those who aren’t religious should simply find the novel to be top-notch suspense.” ~~ Diane Gardner, ForeWord Clarion Reviews. The complete review, along with other unpaid reviews can be found on my web site—www.ParchmanPreacher.com.
7. What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Find an established author who’ll read your ms; ask them to introduce it to an agent who specializes in your genre. If that’s not possible, ask them the write a blurb for the back cover and self-publish the work through one of the “Pay for Play” off-shoots of the large traditional publishing houses. Take the book to writing conventions where agents are in attendance. Network. Keep writing. Keep promoting. Keep the faith.
8. Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?
Sign up with Media Bistro’s Master Novel Writing Courses. Also, James Scott Bell’s site has a wonderful little program called Knockout Novel. It’s almost as if he were there with you as you contemplate characters, plots, settings, etc. His little software program pushes you to make your writing better. There are other helpful sites. Search, and you shall find.
9. Is there anything you’d like to tell us we haven’t covered?
Buy Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat book. While it’s written mostly for screenplay writers, it’s an excellent little book that’ll help with ACT I, II, and III. Novels are very similar to movie scripts.
10. Please let us know where we can find you on the web.