Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interview with Thomas Winship

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Welcome all. Today I am thrilled to have another gentleman here on Picked by Poison.

Hello Thomas!
Welcome and thanks for being today “Pick” Let’s Fly!

Please share a little about yourself, your works and what got you into writing.

Thank you so much for hosting my Blog Tour today, Poison Rose! I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution and Væmpires: White Christmas. Both books are part of a new ongoing urban fantasy/dystopian vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t develop the urge to write until a decade or so ago. It began with a short story about a serial killer and now I’m writing about mutated vampires.

I live in New York (USA) about an hour north of New York City and I have far too many hobbies/collections to be healthy: music, movies, books, comic books, and even voices in my head.

Where did your interest in horror stem from?

I’ve always been drawn to horror, even when it scared the daylights out of me. When I was quite young, I used to sleepwalk. I would go into the living room, put the television on, and sit on the couch until I woke up or someone found me. This was back in the days before cable television was prevalent and one of the few things on late-night broadcast television was a horror program—Chiller Thriller or Creature Feature or something similar—so I would usually awaken to a movie featuring a monster of some type. If I was alone, I would finish it before going back to bed.

From those unusual seeds sprouted a true affinity for horror that I still retain. Thankfully, the nightmares stopped long

What gave you the idea for the evolved and superior vaempires? What makes them better than their vampire counterparts?

The idea came to me something in the early 2000’s—right around the time that the Blade and Underworld movies were in full swing. Although they were entertaining in their own right, I remember feeling as if they were yet another variation of the same old vampires stories. When I began thinking about what might make vampire stories interesting and fresh, the concept of having vampires evolve bubbled to the surface.

I won’t say that væmpires are better than their vampire counterparts—they’re different, certainly, and each væmpire is a bigger, stronger, faster version of its former self, but the jury is still out as to whether or not they are better as a whole.

Was making two different types of vampires hard considering the stereotypes that most fall into?

Yes, especially because neither of my vampires conforms to the usual stereotypes. Thanks to the consumption of synthetic blood, the vampires in my stories are very human-like, albeit with heightened abilities and senses. On the other hand, I strove to make my væmpires more than simply exact opposites of vampires. I tried to maintain a balance between making my creations mine while not turning them into something completely alien and unrecognizable to vampire fans. It’s a task I consistently struggle with, and I rely heavily on my editor and advance readers for feedback and guidance along the way.

Did the plot and characters work out as you wanted or did they shape the book as you were writing?

It may sound cliché, but the story really tells itself. Some parts of the novel are plotted in broad strokes, while others are outlined in great detail, yet none of it matters when the writing happens. Plot lines fall apart, characters do interesting and unexpected things, and I’m often left wondering who’s really in control of the bus.

Which character was the hardest to write and why?

Each character poses unique challenges. It was easy to make Vielyn the bad guy, but he needs to be bad enough to fear and hate while still giving readers reasons to wonder if he’s all bad. Daniel and Cassie have to be simultaneously believable as the teenagers they are and the leaders they’re forced into being.

Cassie, however, was probably the single hardest, so far. First of all, I’m a male writing about a female character, so I’m at a decided disadvantage there—just because I think I can accurately capture how a teenage vampire princess thinks and acts and feels doesn’t mean I can. Additionally, Cassie is a heroine. Young adult readers are quite familiar with strong female characters in fiction, but that is (sadly) a relatively recent trend. I grew up on books with predominately male heroes, so my thought processes still lean in that direction. For instance, when Cassie was captured, I found I was trying to figure out how Daniel was going to rescue her … and then I realized that Cassie didn’t need to be rescued. She was perfectly capable of freeing herself.

All in all, Cassie keeps me on my toes.

How do you write characters with feeling and helping the readers feel for them?

Wow! I don’t even know how to answer that, to be honest. If I had a degree in literature or writing I might be able to throw something coherent together, but I don’t.

The best that I can do is say that I try to make my characters authentic. Yes, it’s somewhat contradictory—they are fictional, after all—but I strive to make their emotions, their actions, and, most importantly, their interactions with one another have a real feeling of authenticity.

You love comic books – any favorite ones you collect?

Oh, I collect a lot of comics—way too many, although I’ve been cutting back a bit at a time. Currently, I collect:

  • Spiderman (most titles)
  • Batman (most titles)
  • JLA
  • Buffy
  • Anything Star Wars
  • Anything Wizard of Oz
  • Flash Gordon
  • Six Million Dollar Man
  • Witchblade
  • Fathom
  • Soulfire
  • Executive Assistant Iris
  • Lady Mechanika
  • Danger Girl
  • Anita Blake
  • Anything Stephen King
  • Anything horror/sci-fi movie related (Hellraiser, Terminator, Army of Darkness)
  • The Sonja titles
  • Spawn
  • Haunt
  • Magdalena
  • Darkness
  • The Zenescope titles

And finally my fun questions:

Plotter or pantser?

Early Bird or Night Creature?
Night Creature

Which Character are you most like?
Ray—always quick with a joke, but reliable in the end

White, Milk or Dark chocolate?
Dark Chocolate

Tea or other?
Diet Soda

Music or quiet while working?
Music, unless I’m stuck

Favorite place to sit and write?
My office

Computer or good old pen and paper?

Pick your poison (alcoholic drink of choice when going out)
I never drank as a youth, so I dislike the taste of alcohol—therefore, it has to be something with enough sugar in it to hide the alcohol. Smirnoff Ice, perhaps.

Thank you so much, Poison Rose, for this interview and for sharing some of my story with your fans at Picked By Poison. I truly appreciate it and I wish you continued success.

Excerpt 1

Daniel’s father would have the situation under control; he’d stop the killing. He was the captain of the guard. He trained for these situations. Hell, Daniel trained for these situations.

There was no answer for three seconds, four seconds, and a finger of fear formed in his stomach.
Five seconds.
Six seconds.
“Hello.” It was a whisper.
“Daniel, where are you? Tell me you’re not in the city.”
“I am. I’m coming, Dad.”
“No! Don’t come here.” Someone screamed in the background. “There are only a handful of us left.”
“What! How is that possible? Every guard in the city was there.”
“They tricked us, Daniel.” His father’s words were pained. “We were so blind. The væmpires are not only stronger and faster than we realized, but some of them have powers, Daniel.”
“I know, Dad. Some of them can Read memories in our blood.”
“I’m not talking about Reading, Daniel, I’m talking about other powers.”
“Other powers! What do you mean—”

“Shut up and listen! I haven’t got much time.” His father’s whisper was like a shout in his ear. “Some of them teleported. One created a wall of flames. One killed with a touch of her bare hand. And some of them, some changed shapes—they looked like people we knew, other guards, dignitaries, and then they reverted to their true forms before our eyes and attacked.” “How is that possible?” Daniel cried. “How is any of that possible?”

“How doesn’t matter, Daniel! What matters is that they are much more dangerous than we ever suspected. They killed King Brant, Queen Anne, the human president and the First Lady before we even realized we were under attack. It was a slaughter.” The words reverberated in Daniel’s mind. The king and queen are dead. Cassie’s parents are dead.
“What about Mom? She’s okay, right?”
No answer.
“She’s gone, Daniel. I couldn’t save her.”
“Listen to me, Daniel! Get out of the city!”
“No. I’m coming to help. I can—”
“Flee, Daniel. Now!” An explosion made his ear ring. He heard rubble hitting the floor and then labored breathing.
“Daniel.” His father’s voice was weak and thin. “Run. Once they know I’m dead, they’ll come for you. You’ll be the acting king.”
“Who cares about that?”
“The people do, Daniel.” The voice was so low it was almost imperceptible. “Vampires and humans just lost their leaders in one afternoon. The væmpires attacked at least a dozen major cities around the world, vampire and human cities. There’s no telling how many people will be killed before the world even realizes we’re at war, and there’s no telling how the humans will react to being attacked. You must bring this conflict to a peaceful conclusion before it’s too late.”

“Humans wouldn’t dare unleash atomics,” Daniel said, experiencing a wave of unease at the thought.
“There are no limits to what humans will dare,” his father whispered. “Never forget that. It’s their greatest strength and their deadliest weakness.”

Excerpt 2

Cassie was there, bloody and weary, with a look in her blue eyes that said she’d been to the depths of hell and fought her way back, but she was there and nothing else mattered.
The young lovers fell into each other’s arms and, for a brief time, were the only two people in the world. Words failed and thoughts escaped as they surrendered to the most basic of needs—the need to be held.
They broke apart, neither knowing how long they’d been that way, but both experiencing the same conflicting emotions. Given the circumstances, it hadn’t been long enough.
Given the circumstances, it had been too long.
“Cassie,” Daniel sighed, “I thought I’d lost you.”
“You almost did,” she said, and what he saw in her eyes—fear, pain, and something else he couldn’t identify—was so intense, his heart broke, releasing the flood of tears that had been threatening to come.

“I don’t …,” he started, suddenly a teenager again, “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had.”

And Cassie cried too, great big tears that pooled at the bottom of her blue eyes before flowing over her long lashes to run down her cheeks, the salty stream cutting a path through the blood and dirt coating her face. The sight of it was at once the most heart-stopping—and heart-wrenching—thing he’d ever seen.

He took her face in his hands, the tenderness in his touch feeling odd after all the death he’d dealt out that day, and kissed her, a long, lingering kiss that was unaffected by their crying or the taste of tears on their lips or the death littering the courtyard around them.

Eyes closed, Daniel breathed her in, this girl—no, this woman—who owned his heart. Her scent, as familiar as his own, was buried beneath a plethora of aromas. Many, including the stench of bloodsuckers, were unpleasant, but it still made his heart skip a beat.

When the kiss ended, he peered into her eyes and whispered, “Did I ever tell you that I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you?”

She smiled. “We’ve known each other since birth.”

“Okay,” he amended. “Since the first time I remember seeing you.”

“Then, yes,” she giggled, “you have told me on several occasions.”

Daniel realized that her giggle wasn’t incongruous with their current situation as much as it was in defiance of it. They were on borrowed time and they knew it.

“And have I told you that I’m going to love you forever?”

“You’ve done more than that,” she said.

Book One The Evolutionary War
By Thomas Winship

It is the morning of Princess Cassandra’s sixteenth birthday. Everyone’s attention is focused on the heir to the vampire throne. World leaders, the rich and famous, and VIPs from every corner of the globe have gathered in the nation’s capital to celebrate the momentous event.

Cassandra’s boyfriend, Daniel, is late for the party. He’s still outside the city when all hell breaks loose. What he believes is an act of terrorism proves to be a full-fledged revolution. Væmpires—former vampires who mutated into warm-blooded creatures with an insatiable hunger for cold blood—have launched coordinated attacks across the globe, with three goals: the eradication of humanity, the enslavement of vampires, and the ascension of væmpires as the dominant species on the planet.

The vampire and human leaders are killed. Cassandra is missing. Daniel is the acting king. Desperate to find the princess, Daniel and his friends fight their way across the besieged city. With the hopes of the free world resting on the shoulders of four vampire teenagers, væmpires unleash their secret weapons: a new breed of væmpire that is far deadlier than any ever seen before.

What can four teens do against an enemy that can shape-shift, fly, and walk through walls?

Books on
Books on Smashwords

About the Author

Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as an adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.

Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.

He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.

He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for an early 2012 release.

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With this tour there is also a giveaway. To enter please fill out the rafflecopter form. Winner will be chosen at the end of the tour, April 23rd.

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Thanks for dropping by and Good Lick


  1. Thank you so much, Poison Rose, for hosting my Blog Tour today!

    Tom Winship

  2. I love your site so I gave it an award come check it out! Krista you have a awesome site!