On Being a Small Press Author – Iain S. Thomas

Running a small press is just like running a business with a group of employees – well almost. I don’t actually get to see them every day and we can’t gather around the water cooler to chat. Since we all see each other only virtually, I thought it might be nice to ‘introduce’ our authors to both each other and their readers via a series of short interviews. These interviews will run twice a week until December – it’s a neat way of finding out how similar authors can be, and yet so different.

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Today, I’m very glad to be hosting Iain Thomas, who co-creates the well loved and widely followed blog, I Wrote This For You. Their book of the same title, is one of our bestsellers. Many years ago, I found out about this blog from one of my cousins, and started following it. The poetic entries coupled with the haunting photography was one of my favorite stops in the virtual world. Boy, was I ever surprised when I heard from Iain when he was investigating publishing options. I’m glad they took a chance on me, and I on them, it’s been a great working relationship despite being hemispheres away. Iain’s solo novel, Intentional Dissonance, will be out on December 7, 2012.

1. The first book I can remember reading is: The Classics Illustrated version of Macbeth. Classics Illustrated was a series of comic books in the 70’s that my mom collected and gave to me when I was a child. Each one was a condensed version of a literary classic like The Three Musketeers or 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Macbeth was my favourite for some reason, even though I didn’t understand most of it. Probably because of the artwork. I’ve still got the original, it has my name written backwards across it because I knew which letters were in my name, just not in which direction they were supposed to go. After that, I hit the harder stuff, like Secret Seven and Famous Five.

2. The first book I ever wrote was: I wrote a book when I was 23 called Ignite as part of my then day job as a writer for a design studio, for a clothing company. It won the Grand Prix at the First Paper House Art Of Design Awards and a gold individual craft award for writing at the national advertising and design awards. I started writing prose when I was 13 or 14 I think.

3. An average day in my life goes like this: I don’t really have an average day in my life right now, I’ve recently moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town and right now my girlfriend and I are waiting to move into our new house. So we’re living out of suitcases at friends or in hotels, it feels like a cross between a holiday and being on the run from the law.

4. I found out about Central Avenue Publishing and decided to submit my book because we’d given up on finding a publisher because even after finding an agent to submit on our behalf, none of the bigger publishing houses seemed to understand what the hell it was about. Michelle at Central Avenue had heard about us before, was incredibly kind and straightforward with us and the entire process was painless, wonderful and some of the most fun we’ve had with the project.

5. The last book I read was: Guns, Germs And Steel.

6. In order for me to sit down and write, I need: Headphones, the right song and a closed door.

7. My ‘day job’ is: Creative director and head of interactive media for a large
communications/design/advertising studio, which I work for remotely.

8. I carve out time to write by: Waking up early or just making the time some other way.

9. In order to find time to write, I feel as though I sacrifice: I love writing and honestly, most of the time it’s what I’d rather be doing. So I don’t really feel like I sacrifice anything to do it.

10. I am currently working on: Intentional Dissonance, I Wrote This For You: Just the Words; Everything Is Disgusting; I Wrote This For You: Write Back; I Wrote This For You: Audio CD; and a heart attack.

11. The best piece of advice I ever got was: I can’t remember. But it’s a tie between: “If you don’t enjoy writing it, no one will enjoy reading it.” and “Write hot, edit cold.” My dad always says, “Do what you love.” and that’s been the overriding, guiding philosophy throughout my life.

12. The best piece of advice I would give is: The only rule of art is that the person engaging with what you’ve made must enjoy the experience. Everything else can be safely ignored.

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