To begin, please introduce yourself to our audience. What is your name? Who are you? What books have you written? Etc.
My name is Thomas J Wolfenden, and I was born a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Joking aside, I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and am an honorably discharged veteran of the US Army. I’ve worked in several different jobs throughout my life, spending fifteen years in law enforcement and the private security field. I’ve worked as an automotive detailer, ambulance driver, a nuclear medicine delivery courier, a dairy barn cleaner, and most recently I’ve worked as a ballast regulator operator, a switchman, conductor and a locomotive engineer on the railroad. I’ve traveled extensively, through the United States and abroad, Europe, Central America, Australia and the South Pacific, and lived in several States, Pennsylvania, Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Idaho and Florida being a few places. I’ve written several OP-ED pieces for various local newspapers, and had up until recently, kept a political humor blog. I’m a Life/Endowment member of the National Rifle Association, Libertarian, American Patriot and a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I now spend my time between the United States and Australia, with his life partner, Catherine. I’ve penned two novels so far, One Man’s Island, that was released by Permuted Press in March of this year, and its sequel, One Man’s War, that’s tentatively scheduled for a January, 2015 release.
What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?
I’ve read voraciously from a very early age. I loved the written tale, and the ability of them to take me to places I’ve never been. That being said, I loved ghost and monster stories, so much so, that when I was 9 or 10, my friends in my Boy Scout troop would rather have me tell the campfire ghost stories, than my Scoutmaster. Even at that early age, I could spin a yarn quite well, and the other kids in my troop loved it. Adulthood and the real world took over for some time, and even though I wanted to someday write a novel, it wasn’t until my divorce in 2004 when I finally had the epiphany. I found myself penniless and homeless, living in my car in the middle of winter in West Virginia and feeling pretty damn sorry. I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps, remember my Army Ranger training and never give in, never give up. I was either going to finally write the novel or not, but if I didn’t do it, I’d better just do it, or stop telling myself ‘one day I’m going to write a novel.’ I was able to get my life together after that, I scraped up enough money after I’d found a job and a place to live, to buy a cheap, second hand desktop computer. It took me a while, and several moves over the country, and then to Australia, to finally be able to sit down and finish a work I started over ten years ago.
What is the first book you read that made you fall in love with literature?
The very first book I completely fell in love with was Robinson Crusoe. For some reason, I could identify with the abject loneliness, and from there, there was no holding back. I lived in the local branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia after that, reading everything I could.
What do you think is the most difficult part of being a writer? What is the most rewarding part?
The most difficult thing, I’m finding now, is finding the time to write. Between my full-time job on the railroad, and other obligations, and some health issues I’ve been dealing with, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find a spare moment or two to write. But I still write every day, even though it might only be a few paragraphs. The most rewarding think, for me at least, after I type “The End” is having my growing fan base tell me how much they loved my novel. And that, at the end of the day, is why I write. I write to tell a tale, and to entertain those who chose to read my stories.
What is your most recent work? What can audiences expect from this book or series?
My novel that’s just out now, One Man’s Island is a little different that most Post-Apocalyptic stories. There’s no deadly plague, World War, or Hoards of infected scrambling about. A star, several thousand light years away for earth, goes supernova, sending a deadly Gamma Ray burst and Electromagnetic Pulse towards earth. Taking several thousand years to get to the earth, no one knows it’s coming. When it hits, it kills 99.9% of the human population, leaving only scattered humans to pick up the pieces of a shattered world. The protagonist, Sergeant Major Tim Flannery, thinks he’s the only one left, for a while. He meets several people over a journey across the continent, and then an ocean, only to find that not all of the survivors have good intentions, or goodwill, in order to rebuild civilization. Tim is faced with the hardest decision in his life, to stop the last evil in the world, in hopes to give humanity one last chance to survive. One Man’s War, the sequel, picks up right where the first book leaves off, and continues the tale of most of the characters from the first book. It is quite a bit darker than the first story, as if killing off almost all of the Earth’s population isn’t dark enough!
What do you think are the most common misconceptions about writers?
I had to laugh at this question! As I said, I work full time as a railroad engineer, and when people find out I’m a published author, I’ll be asked “what are you doing working on the railroad then? If you’re an author, why are you working?” to which I reply, “I’m working on the railroad because I’m a writer.” What most people I met don’t understand is that only a very luck handful of authors can work at writing full time, and the rest of us schmucks have to go out into the real world and work in order to keep those little annoying things in life, like food, shelter, electricity.
Why did you decide to join Permuted Press?
When I first self published almost two years ago, I knew I had a pretty good book, but I didn’t have the skills to really hone and shape it into the fantastic story it is now. I was approached by Permuted shortly after I self-published, and offered a contract. They paired me up with a rock-star editor, Felicia Sullivan, who took my manuscript, and with fine tuning, turned it into the fantastic novel it is today. I’m forever in her dept for making a mediocre story into a really great novel. Permuted also assigned a fantastic artist to redo my cover art, and when I saw the first artwork, I was blown away. So with my story, and Permuted Press’ fantastic team, I think we all put together a real winner! I really couldn’t have done it without them!
What are your dreams for the future as a writer?
I’d really like to make enough money so I could write full time. I know the chances of me being fabulously rich are slim, but to be able to make enough money just to be able to write full-time would be reward enough.
Is there anything else that you would like for people to know about yourself and your work?
Besides One Man’s Island, and One Man’s War, I’m working on a black/dark humor police story for Permuted Press’ sister publishing house, Post Hill Press, and I have one more novel planned for Permuted, an Action/Military Adventure novel that takes place on a fictitious South Pacific Island Republic. There are a few more ideas for a horror story, and other things, but I’ve put them on the back burner for now.
Where can people find more information about you?
My facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thomas-J-Wolfenden/586907121373375?ref_type=bookmark
And my blog, which I’ve just recently restarted: http://rtsbridgeofsighs.blogspot.com.au/
Also, there’s my Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Wolfenden/e/B00AL8UTM0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0