As a follow up to last week's author spotlight, I am very grateful to say that American fantasy and non-fiction author Thomas M. Kane has very kindly agreed to speak to us here at pjbermanbooks.com!
PB: So, Tom, welcome to pjbermanbooks.com. Tell us a bit about your background.
TK: I grew up in the woods of Maine, in the US. In the early 1990s, I wrote supplements for role-playing games, notably AD&D, Shadowrun, Ars Magica and Cyberpunk. I then moved to the UK and spent eighteen years teaching strategic studies and international relations at the University of Hull. In 2016-17, I returned to Maine, and to writing.
PB: What made you decide to become an author?
TK: Lots of things set the stage for my decision. Having wonderful parents who appreciated writing was the most important factor at all. But nothing external prompted my final decision. One day, an adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I answered “a writer” and realized that it was true.
PB: When did you first start writing?
TK: Do handwritten storybooks with crayon illustrations count? When I was six or seven, I published a poem about dinosaurs in Jack and Jill.
PB: What was the first story that you can remember writing?
TK: The key word is “remember.” At perhaps twelve or thirteen, I wrote a story about a UFO sighting. At the climax of the story, it was revealed that the MC was a Martian, and the UFO was a probe sent from earth. That wasn’t the first story I ever wrote, but it is the first one which I can still recount.
PB: Tell us about your upcoming novel, The Witches of Crannock Dale.
TK: When an enemy army threatens eleven-year old Mara’s home, she makes up her mind to save her family, one way or another. But when the knights protecting her village arrest her favorite aunt for witchcraft, she discovers that the difference between friend and foe may not be as obvious as she once thought.
This is a story of war and espionage, set in a low fantasy world. It is also about a child getting to know her mother and father in a new way.
I plan to release Witches in October 2019. For updates, watch my Facebook page @thomasmkaneauthor or follow me on Twitter at thomasmkane11.
Witches is Book I of the Mara Chronicles series. Later novels will follow Mara’s adventures from her teenage years to her fifties, as the conflicts shaking her world become increasingly perilous.
PB: What inspires you?
TK: My characters’ perspectives on things that are important to them.
PB: Of all your achievements, which are you most proud of?
TK: Making friends with a very shy cat named Gracie.
PB: What is your favorite fiction genre and why?
TK: Fantasy. The most important reason why I like fantasy worlds is that I feel at home in them. This is partially a matter of personal taste, but I think it also reflects the fact that many of the most influential fantasy writers (Tolkien, Le Guin) have written eloquently about such themes as friendship, kindness, everyday comforts and earthy good sense. The world needs more of that.
PB: What are your long-term ambitions career-wise?
TK: I am planning four books in the Mara Chronicles series. A fifth novel set in the same world, Sleep of Reason, explores what happens when a serving-girl makes a breakthrough discovery about magic. After that, I’m planning one or more books centered on a secondary character from Mara’s story, the spy-hunter Euclid Fisher. Farther down the line, I’m planning a near-future novel about an American intelligence contractor stranded in Britain during the outbreak of a third world war. After that may come a contemporary fantasy about a sorceress who decides to take the fate of twenty-first century earth into her hands.
And at some point, I hope to come back to Mara’s world again. It will always have a special place in my heart.
PB: If you weren’t an author, what career would you be in?
TK: When I was sixteen, I planned to become a pharmacist. I even studied chemistry at university. I met a great writer friend that way. Her name is Louy Castonguay – she writes fantastic mysteries.
PB: If you could meet any character from your work, who would you meet, and what would you say to them?
TK: If I could meet a character from Witches of Crannock Dale, it might be Mara's aunt Lila. I'd ask her how she got interested in the goddess Nurneth, and perhaps also why she ever thought marrying Tate Crannock was a good idea.
PB: What’s the next target for you?
TK: My most immediate target is to release The Witches of Crannock Dale. Meanwhile, I am about ¾ of the way through writing the second book in Mara’s series, tentatively titled The Rebels of Caer City. I hope to bring it out about three months after Witches.
PB: And finally, tell us a random fact about yourself.
TK: I have flown over an erupting volcano in a helicopter.
Well, thank you so much Tom for speaking to us today. Just to remind you all, Tom's upcoming novel, The Witches of Crannock Dale, will be out in October, and will be available on Amazon.
In the meantime, you can find out more about Tom and his work here:
Facebook: Thomas Kane Author Page
Official Website: www.thomaskane.com
Goodreads: Thomas Kane Goodreads Page