Writer Tom Blubaugh has done many interviews. The Internet is filled with interviews where people have asked him the same questions over and over again. I have already interviewed Tom, back when I was starting out. I’ve always wanted to re-interview him. He is one of those guys who really fascinates me… He doesn’t waste words… Doesn’t waste time… He is a talented writer, but also a talented businessman and a guy who runs charities, has achieved great things and has helped out his fellow men and women. I like him and I won’t deny it. I will, however, try to stay neutral for this interview… As neutral as I can be with Tom, anyway…
Q) Hi, Tom– so how are things going book wise? How is the mighty Cossack doing?
A) It’s interesting, Nick. I thought I had gotten to the point of product expiration, but sales have starting moving up again.
Q) Moving up? What’s caused this renewed interest? Have you found a new following? What’s the secret… Or is it going to remain your secret?
A) It’s no secret. It’s continuing to build a brand and a platform. I’m learning all the time.
Q) You’ve held off writing a second book. Are you determined to make Night of the Cossack a hit before you go to work again?
A) Good question. I have a strong enough following, but I’ve been involved in marketing and helping others that I’ve crowded my writing out of my life. I’m correcting this now.
Q) If you were asked honestly by a newbie writer “do books make lots of money?” what would your answer be?
A) I think on a percentage basis that few writers make substantial income from their writing. You have to have a tremendous platform. John Grisham used to sell books out of the trunk of his car. Zane Grey self-published a novel because he couldn’t get a publishing house to publish it for him. Both of these famous writers spent a great deal of time building their platform. I don’t know how many books they wrote before they became well known. Most writers I know make more money speaking than they do from book sales.
Q) You had a very successful career as a financial advisor before you became a writer. Have you been able to transfer your skills over into the publishing work?
A) Some. I thought I knew a lot about marketing, but in reality I was selling a product that already had a brand name. My marketing was finding people who would listen to me long enough to see the value of that product. From there it was word-of-mouth. What I have transferred to my publishing work is self-motivation, tenacity, planning and hard work.
Q) You seem to enjoy the marketing aspect of the book-selling process, and it makes me wonder if you are determined to have a bestseller? Do you believe you are determined?
A) I’d love to have a best selling book, but am I determined? No. I believe in doing my best at whatever I do. I think my novel has a lot to say about decision making, dealing with change, accepting situations and relationships. If I have a dream about my novel, it’s to see it in the homeschool arena where parents are discussing it with their children.
Q) Really? Well, I’m sure it will get there! Tell me about the writing process for you? How do you like to write? At night? During the day? With music? What gets you creative?
A) I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I don’t outline my story. I don’t write everyday–at least not on a particular story. I have to be in the mood to write. Since I’m technically retired and our children are grown, I don’t have a time issue. It still seems to fly by, but it’s doing what I want to do. I love music, but I don’t listen to it while writing–or if I do, it’s down low as background. I stay creative, but getting the thought into a written form that makes sense is sometimes a challenge. Sometimes I sit down at my computer, lean back, close my eyes and start typing until a picture forms.
Q) Have you ever suffered with writer’s block or does the picture visualisation technique solve that?
A) I have writer’s block all the time, but not on every topic. I write blog articles, do interviews, write short stories, devotionals and other writings. If I have writer’s block on a novel, I just don’t write. When a scene starts showing up, I start writing again.
Q) You know, Tom, you are a guy who fascinates me. I think someone has to prove their worth to you before you take to them. Is that something you are aware of?
A) I think I look for people who aren’t about “me, me, me.” I’m a deep thinker. I can talk about the weather for about two minutes. I’m not a big sports fan nor a fisherman nor hunter. I can sit for hours and look at the Hubble Telescope images from deep space. When I meet someone who talks with some depth, I’m willing to give my time.
Q) I guess what drew me to you was our mutual music taste. I also liked that you didn’t judge me by my age, and you gave me worthwhile advice. I instantly had a lot of respect for you.
A) Thank you. We do have a mutual like for Rock n Roll music. Most young people I know look at me funny when I talk about the beginning of Rock n Roll. I was fifteen when Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison came along.
Q) Yes, I was a complete outcast to my generation. Elvis is still big, but Jerry Lee, Little Richard–those guys were it and a lot of guys my age don’t understand how great they are. Did you ever hear Little Richard’s gospel album?
A) No. I heard he had a spiritual experience somewhere along the way, but I haven’t heard it. I may have to Google it and see how he can really sing. Not that he doesn’t on his hits, but I’m sure it’s different.
Q) It’s pretty good–it was called ‘It’s Real.’ I love gospel music. You take your faith very seriously, correct?
A) I do. Actually it’s my relationship with Jesus Christ that I cherish. I was a pretty rowdy guy until He entered my life when I was twenty-eight.
Q) What led to His arrival into your life?
A) I could get pretty deep with this, but the short story is–I was going through a divorce and having a hard time grasping what life was really about. A minister, who had befriended me a few months earlier, helped me figure things out.
Q) You turned your life around with the help of a minister?
A) I did. He became like a father to me. He was killed in a small plane crash about eight years later. I still miss him.
Q) I am sorry about that, Tom. I think we find mentors all along the journey of life. Let me ask you, what do you like to do outside of writing?
A) I used to do a lot of macro photography, but I can’t get down on the ground anymore–well, I can fall down, but I can’t fall up (laughs). I’m a movie nut. Of course I read. Horse shoes has always been a favorite game. And, I love to hang out with my best friend, Barbara. We’ve been together for fifteen years and were friends twelve years and dated for six years before we got married. She’s my best buddy.
Q) I know the feeling! Lori is mine, too! Hey, talking about movies, what are your favourite movies?
A) I’m a hopeless romantic. I don’t know about my favorite–there are so many I like. A few of them are Message in a Bottle, For the Greater Glory, Glory, The Man from Snowy River. Movies that have a good story, especially real stories from history.
Q) Okay, one final question! What makes a great book? What is the key ingredient?
A) I like a book that I have to think about. I don’t want to know where the author is going all the time. I like twists and turns and surprise endings.
Q) Thank you for being so candid with me, Tom. This has been one of my favourite interviews.
A) Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it as well.
Night of the Cossack is available now and is a book you will miss out on if you don’t read it… Click over to Hot Books to read a synopsis and Tom’s bio. Trust me, it’s a gas, a ring-a-ding ding, a breeze.