An interview with Thomas J Torrington
Welcome to an indie author, a place where you can find self-published (indie) authors and authors-to-be.
We host interviews and conversations threads, providing a place where you can learn from, be inspired by, and make friends with fellow writers going down the ‘indie’ route.
Today’s interview is with Thomas J. Torrington.
First, some key facts about Thomas:
🌏 Maine, USA
🕰 Initially went the indie route due to time constraints
📖 He wrote Evergreen to teach & guide his 2 young children
🖊 Wrote 1st novel draft in 4 months, writing an hour a day
⛳️ For the first 20 years of his adult life, he worked as a golf teaching professional
Now, let’s dive right in…
Hi there! Can you tell us where in the world you currently reside?
I live in the writing-friendly and wondrous state of Maine in the United States of America. It’s that too often forgotten state in the top right.
When did you first realise that you enjoyed writing?
Wow, I don’t know that I can even say I “enjoy” writing. I’ve always had some skill with arranging words. What I’ve always enjoyed is story-telling. Making up tales and sharing them has always been something that’s brought me joy. Writing was just a natural medium for me to share my stories.
That’s very honest of you, and I suspect that many will be able to relate with these sentiments!
What was the earliest thing you wrote which felt meaningful, or has otherwise been memorable? Can you tell us a little about it?
I wrote an essay my Freshman year of high school that received a “D.” My teacher was great and provided amazing feedback for me to improve. I had always been a straight-A student, and that paper was a wake-up call for me that not everything in life was going to come easily. Over the year, I worked on my writing, implementing my teacher’s suggestions. I have to credit that teacher, Mr. Lincoln, with driving my desire to become an “adequate” writer.
Wow, what a great story. Perhaps if you hadn’t received that ‘D’, you might not be where you are with you writing today…
Moving on to self-publishing now, why did you choose to go down the ‘indie’ route?
Honestly, I went the indie route initially due to time constraints. I had a novel completed for which there was a demand to buy for Christmas in 2017. The only way it was going to be available for the holiday season was to self-publish it.
Have you ever used a publisher?
No, ever since that first book, I have always self-published. I like the degree of control it affords me over every aspect of the publication. That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider more traditional publishing in the future, but it would have to be the right situation.
What ‘themes’ have you written about in your fiction so far?
I’ve written a great deal about overcoming struggle, be it personal or external. I like to integrate archetypal themes of good and evil, love, friendship, human vs. nature--things like that.
Oh, that sounds interesting, I like it. Now let’s get into your novels. What was the first book you wrote?
My first novel was EVERGREEN.
And what was the inspiration behind it?
I had a story in mind for a long time, but my inspiration when I finally sat down to seriously do some writing was to craft a story that would be something to pass on to my children. I asked myself what I would want them to learn if I wasn’t around to teach it to them. I took all of those life lessons and wrote them into the story that became EVERGREEN.
Could you talk to us about your experience writing this first book? What was your process from start-to-finish?
Like I said, I had the idea for a long time. In fact, I’d written a little here and there for over ten years. When I finally got serious, I forced myself to make an hour a day to write. Doing so, I finished the rough draft in under four months. The editing and revisions took a little over five months.
When/where do you tend to get your best writing done?
I think I get my best writing done between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when I’m most alert. If I’m tired, I can get words down, but they’re going to need far more revision post-draft.
That makes sense - and it sounds like you understand yourself well. Of course, writing isn’t the only thing you do. How do you balance your writing with other life commitments?
That’s the trick, isn’t it? I haven’t been doing as well of late, either. For me, I have to be a little bit selfish and maybe even mean. It requires a quiet time and place, which forces me to shut my family out for a stretch of time. I’m fortunate to have an understanding wife.
I feel like more of us need to embrace that word “selfish”, and also re-frame it to see it as a good, necessary thing. Can I ask you about your ‘day job’?
I drive a school bus for my hometown. It actually functions well to afford me writing time in the middle of the day. I have several hours between morning and afternoon routes free.
How do you market your books?
I throw physical copies at people on the street and yell, “read my book.” Ha! No, I do some marketing on Twitter and utilize Amazon AMS advertising. Other than that, I rely a lot on word of mouth and local events such as library talks and book fairs. Marketing is definitely my weakness.
For those who might not be aware, how does one go about getting involved with talks and fairs? Can anyone do these, or are there certain requirements they have?
The internet is a great resource for finding out what’s going on in your area. From there, the best approach is just to ask if/how you might be able to be involved. It may require giving away a copy of a book for someone to get to know your writing, but often I find places are in search of writers to talk. I figure the worst anyone can say is, “no,” so I’m willing to take the risk of putting myself out there.
What stories do you like to read yourself? Do you have any favourite genres?
I love stories with deep themes. I’m partial to classic literature for that reason. While I find enjoyment in entertaining stories, I find myself returning to the stories that have stood the test of time. I think we are embedded in those stories in a way that speaks strongly to me.
How about favourite books and authors?
There are a ton of talented authors I’ve met on Twitter whose books I’ve loved: Carol Beth Anderson, Dawn Hosmer, and Shawn Burgess just to name a few. As for more “well-known” authors, I love Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck, Carver, and Richard Adams.
That’s a nice variety. I see some familiar names there, too, I am actually fortunate to have interviewed Carol recently (here).
I saw that. Great interview and she’s such a wonderful person and a great supporter of indie authors--as well as someone I consider a good friend from the Writing Community.
Back to yourself, are there any books that you’re currently working on or planning for the future?
I have more ideas than time. The story I’m currently struggling to work on is a multi-generational family epic. It covers four generations of two families intertwined by one fateful event. The working title is THE FOG LINGERS.
I can relate to having more ideas than time! Oh wow, that sounds quite complex and very interesting indeed. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that one.
It’s been great to talk to you about all of this. Now aside from your writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I spend as much time as I can with my family. We enjoy being outdoors, skiing, camping, swimming, boating, and golfing.
That sounds lovely. Before I let you go, where can we find you online (website & social media), & where can we purchase your books?
You can find me at my website, https://thomasjtorrington.com/, or on Twitter @tjtorrington. All of my books are available on Amazon at https://amazon.com/author/thomasjtorrington
Great. And, lastly, is there anything else more that you’d like to share with us?
I’d just like to thank you for reaching out to me for this interview and for sharing a little about me with everyone. Thanks!
It’s been a pleasure! Thanks so much for taking part, Thomas.