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Monday, March 25, 2019

An Interview with Thomas Fenske

Author's website


Why did you start fiction writing and what genre(s) do you like to write?

I aspired to write for many years but never knew how to start. I took a lot of creative writing in college (you could repeat it). I had a number of ideas bouncing around in my head for years and when I finally made the big push and worked one of them out, nobody was as surprised as I was to find out it was a mystery. I love the twists and turns but I like a good story too. It seems to tie it all together.

Why this/these genre(s)? What attracts you to them?

As I said, I love twists and turns. My goal is to surprise the readers while entertaining them. I like offbeat elements as well. Like ghosts. I love to work ghosts into the background role but occasionally they take action as well.

Generally speaking, what is the driving force behind your characters? Have any of your characters changed in a dramatic way from what you imagined at the start during the writing process?

I like to make my characters believable and I thrive on interactive dialogue. A reader favorite, local cafe owner Smidgeon Toll, started out in an incidental role when I first introduced her. Now she is on an equal footing with the "main" character, especially in my upcoming novel "Lucky Strike." She short and is very sweet with the customers. But don't cross her or she's liable to pull the forty-five out of her purse.

What do you find the most difficult in finishing a story and approximately how long does it take for you to write a story?

All of my novels, published, soon to be published, and rough drafts, have been National Novel Writing Month projects. So, for the rough draft, figure 30 days. I spent close to three years crafting my debut novel. I've smoothed the process down a lot and when I roll up my sleeves, I can manage the revision process in five or six months. That's working part-time. I've retired so I hope to shorten that considerably.

Are there other types of writing you do such as non-fiction, or short fiction?

I have done a bit of technical writing at work, but that's behind me. I do blog, so I guess you could say I do a little essay writing. I wish I blogged more, but I try to get at least a couple of good entries out every month. I used to write short fiction but haven't bothered with it since I turned the corner on novels. Most people don't understand that a good short story, I mean a really successful one in a literary sense, is much harder to pull off than a novel.

Has your writing affected you in any way and what would you recommend to someone wanting to start writing fiction?

I used to think it might be a path to financial success, but I've given up on those illusions. If it happens, it happens. I am content to get the voices out of my head and onto a finished work. The easy path to self-publishing has glutted the market. I have a small but growing core of very enthusiastic fans, and that gives me joy and encouragement. I still try, though, and push my books whenever the opportunity arises.
I'd recommend aspiring writers to not aspire, but to write! It isn't rocket science. A story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The characters talk. Let them carry the story for you. And don't allow yourself to be stuck hard to your plan. The story will tell you where it wants you to go; listen to it.
Excerpt The Fever

Thomas Fenske Blog
Author on Good Reads
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