Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Tam! I'm Dorothy Thompson from the Eastern Shore of Virginia and I am an author, the editor of The Writer's Life http://www.thewriterslife.net and CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours. When I'm not organizing book tours for my authors, I write paranormal romance fiction and non-fiction - from ghosties to relationship how-to to book promoting tips. My muse tends to be multi-dimensional. ;o)
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I have a WIP that I absolutely adore about three women approaching menopause and they set out on a cross-country trip together. As I was writing it, I always pictured myself in Celia's shoes. In fact, I will be in Celia's shoes this September when I actually do make a cross-country trip to visit my childhood home I've not seen for 45 years to donate one my books to Buena Vista Library and to be interviewed by the LA Times for doing so. In fact, I'm using this trip for more research in writing this WIP. Celia is more laid-back, but centered, not like her two friends who have talked her into this trip. She's a follower, not a leader, and sometimes I feel I'm that way, too. I'd rather have my authors in the limelight than myself; but, hopefully, I'll be able to get rid of that neurosis one day, lol. I always thought of myself as Shiolah, too, one of the leading ladies in my recent book, The Search for the Million $$$ Ghost. Shiolah is a lot like Celia, only she has this inner power to pick up on ghostie vibrations. She was such a fun character.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I love chick lit. Absolutely absolutely love it. And the reason why I say this is because I love the writing style. These women are hip, they don't take any bull and they usually go after what they want even if it takes a whole book to get there, lol. One of my favorites right now is A Piece of Normal by Sandi Kahn Shelton. It's more hen lit, than chick lit, and I identify right away with the characters. It's a hilarious read.
Who or what influences you when you write?
I may be odd when saying this, but I tend to get ideas from the strangest places. Take The Search for the Million $$$ Ghost. This book is written by Heide Kaminski, Pamela Lawniczak and myself over the Internet after we found out there was a real man searching for proof of the afterlife and he was willing to pay someone a million bucks if they could deliver that proof. Right away, a story started brewing. What if there were a group of women who met over the Internet who had enough spiritual guidance and ghostie know-how (like us) who could go to his mansion and find the ghost he was particularly looking for? The rest is history, I guess, but the surprising finale is what's going to make everyone sit up and go "whoa." I won't give it away, but yes, they do deliver that proof.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
LOL, typical writing day. I'm laughing because I've had to cut back on my writing while I have author tours going on, but the typical day is when I can finally turn my email off, turn my promoting sensors off, and kick back. It's usually late at night because that's when my muse finally wakes up. I tell her that if she would go to sleep at a decent time, that might help, but she doesn't listen to me.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I usually don't have writer's block because if Ms. Muse isn't awake, then I just work on other things until she does wake up. If I am in the middle of something that isn't working, I throw the leash on the dogs and go for a walk around the chicken houses out back. They are huge chicken houses and it's about a quarter of a mile, so it gives me plenty of time to think. What's bad about that is that I'll come up with the coolest scene and, of course, I have no pen or paper, so I have to rely on memorization which doesn't work sometimes. So, as we're running back to the house, I'm repeating it out loud over and over to keep it in my memory bank. When you're running three nuggets short of a Happy Meal, it takes work, but usually I can remember it when I get in the door. Then, I beeline to the computer, leaving the leashes hanging on the dog collars until I finish. Don't worry.they're used to it by now. ;o)
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
The Search for the Million $$$ Ghost as I mentioned above is the most recent. It's basically a tale of an eccentric millionaire's quest to find the spirit of his late wife, Sarah, who died tragically after a quarrel they had. He is in excruciating pain over his loss, so he goes on a television show and announces that he will give a million dollars to anyone who will come to his secluded mansion in the mountains of North Carolina for a week to find proof that spirits exist. What they don't know is that this spirit he is looking for is his dead wife, Sarah. He tells the television viewers that if they cannot find this proof in one week, then the deal is null and void. Six women who know each other only over the Internet decide to take him up on his offer. They were members of an online group where they talked about ghostie stuff, so they figured they were the best ones for the job. What they didn't expect was that the Hawthorne mansion had a few surprises they didn't count on that made even them rethink the whole mission. But, it's a neat little book because it delves into the question, "Do spirits exist or don't they?" In real life, there is a man looking for proof of ghosts and his name is Victor Zammit. I've had conversations with him and to this day, no one has ever proven without a shadow of a doubt that ghosts exist. However, our book does prove that theory in a fun way. If you'd like to see the book trailer, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOklaNgirZI and that'll give you an idea of what the book is about.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
My next book coming out with Zumaya Publications probably next year is a relationship book titled The Soul Mate Triangle: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Soul Mate Relationship. It's riding on the coattails of my anthology, Romancing the Soul, which is a collection of true soul mate stories from writers all over the world. Where Romancing the Soul gave you examples of the soul mate relationship, The Soul Mate Triangle gives you more facts into the phenomenon. And I say phenomenon because I really don't believe that people understand what all goes on and the reasons for it. Once they understand why a certain person has come into their lives on a certain level, it helps them to solve whatever it is needs solving within their relationships and within their own personal lives to reach their higher self.
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? In general and in you're writing career.
Oh, man, in five years, I hope to see myself in an RV and taking to the open road, selling my books at each stop as I tour the countryside. As for my writing career, I hope to have my hen lit published and possible a boomer title. A title sitting on a Barnes & Noble shelf sounds pretty good, too. ;o)
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
My perfect hero is one who can put himself in front of danger for others and not think of their own danger. A perfect example of this is those boys who held the door shut when that gunman shot all those students at VA Tech. Now, that's my example of a hero.
What do you do for inspiration?
Short distance or long distance? Short distance, I go on long, peaceful walks for inspiration. For long distance when I really need refueling, I head for the Smokies in Tennessee. Nothing beats that for inspiration.
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Ms. Muse hates deadlines, but Dorothy thrives on them. Even if Ms. Muse isn't cooperating, Dorothy will take things in her own hands and make sure something goes out when it's supposed to go out even if it means staying up all night to do it.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
This had to be back in 2001. Whew, long time ago. I had just learned how to use a computer and before you knew it, I was involved in writing groups, building my own website, starting my own zine, but I don't know if any of your readers remember Themestream, but that's when I fully got into the submitting thing. On Themestream, you would post your work and others would comment on them. There were hundreds upon hundreds of Themestreamers and that's, in fact, when I learn how to network. You comment on mine and I'll comment on yours. By the time everyone was done commenting, you had built up legions of friends. But it was their encouragement that really prompted me to submit articles, and then later book proposals. Even though they might have been commenting simply to get me to comment on their stuff, lol, those words of encouragement is what actually gave me the confidence to pursue it further.
What would you like to tell your readers?
Blog. I know that must be the craziest thing anyone's ever said when asked this, but I can't stress enough how important it is to have a blog and to keep it updated. If you go to my promo blog, Pump Up Your Book Promotion http://www.pumpupyouronlinebookpromotion.blogspot.com, you'll find a workshop there with nothing but blog promotion ideas. Even if you are not a writer, it's a perfect place to exercise those writing skills, not to mention build up a fan base.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I've always had trouble outlining a book because I am the type of person who begins with an idea and lets the story carry it where it wants to go. I need to channel my characters while I am writing for the story to really unfold. Outlining limits my creativity; although, I'm sure for those who do outline, it sure must save a lot of time. I do try to make character sketches, but I found that even then, it's a waste of time because the characters always take on lives I didn't see before. A lot of times, an idea will pop into my head and I just run with it. Before you know it, I've written a 75,000 word or so book and nine times out of ten, the idea isn't even the idea I started with in the first place. Fun when that happens!
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My first published work was a children's ebook titled No More Gooseberry Pie. It was published in 2001, about the same time I came up with the idea of doing the soul mate anthology, Romancing the Soul which was published in 2004.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I don't belong to any critique groups because I run an online writing group, The Writer's Life, and if we run into a snag, all we have to do is run it by any of them within the group. I guess you might say it's my built-in critique group, lol.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever got since I started in the business was to always believe in yourself. No matter what the critics said, no matter what anyone said, if you believe in something strong enough, it will happen in your favor.
The worst advice was write the book and let the publisher handle the promotion. I don't care if it's a NY publisher, the author must always take on the responsibility of making sure that book sells.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
If you had asked me this before the Internet and those wonderful search engines, I probably would have been honest and told you upfront I hate the research process. However, since finding out anything is available right under my fingertips, I rather enjoy the research process because it gives more depth to whatever it is that I'm writing. Take for example, The Search for the Million $$$ Ghost. That required quite a few emails to friends who were knowledgeable in spirit communication. And, being as the girls in the book make this trip to North Carolina, we had Heide studying the area to make sure everything was correct as far as what town they landed in and what towns they had to go to find the mansion, right down to what shops that were there in this particular time frame. Actually, the research process was fun as we could really get inside the characters and the setting as we were writing it.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
LOL, I think I've written everything under the sun. YA. Yeah, I'd love to write a YA ghostie book. You know, the kind I used to read when I was a young teenager haunted houses, ghosties, that sort of thing.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
Humor. I've written humor columns and I've written hen lit with a humor slant, but a strictly Erma Bombeckish-type of humor book would be something I'd die to write.