Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Timothy L. Thompson, Living Portals: A Sci-Fi Short Story Collection

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Today we are interviewing Timothy L. Thompson about his science fiction collection of short stories, titled "Living Portals."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been a sci-fi fan as long as I remember, going back to seeing lost in space on TV when I was a kid at 3 to 4 years old.  I am a comic book geek at heart even though I haven’t read any in years. I’ve also been a fun, outdoor adventure guy, I’ve owned boats and dirt bike motorcycles as a kid and as an adult. 

Describe “Living Portals” for people unfamiliar with the collection.
Portals are a reasonably common sci-fi concept that doorways may appear which allow a person or persons to travel space, time and alternate realities in quick order. 

So, this is a collection of eight interrelated portal themed short stories about a scientifically minded adventure seeker named Tom Tedesco.  In fact, due to alternate dimensions and threats to the multiple earths in the portal system, we discover that the world(s) need multiple Tom Tedesco’s to come together in defense.

Who do you think would most appreciate this sci-fi short story collection?
Any good reader from 11 and up that likes a fun adventure story with a sci-fi, mystery backdrop.

One of the unique aspects of your writing is the throwback, 1950s adventure-magazine style to the writing. What attracted to you to this style of writing?
It’s how adventures form in my mind.  I’m always off day dreaming about some wild adventure and now I’m trying to put that into book form.

What do you like about the short story format compared to novels?
We live in a busy world where people don’t always have hours available to pore through a huge novel.  I like that my stories are designed to be readable in one sitting.  You still have a book and more stories if you finish one quickly, but you get a beginning, a middle and an end in each story.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Tom Tedesco.
Tom likes a challenge like living alone in an arctic environment or taking on a race of sub-humanoid species who threaten humans on another earth.  Each version of Tom in the alternate earths has a soulmate on his world and they are usually named Helga Howard.  While he should always find her, he doesn’t know this and so, it doesn’t always work out.  Tom’s scientific and engineering background helps him to grasp the nature of the portal system, but he needs Helga to help him understand the “why” of the portal system.
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Problem-solving and mystery are major components of Tom’s adventures. Did you set out to incorporate this into the stories? Or is it something that evolved naturally?
The problem-solving concept probably comes from my legal background as I was an attorney for 20 plus years.

Are there any sci-fi authors that have influenced your writing style? Do you draw inspiration for your work from outside writing?
Alan Moore, Orson Scott Card, Edgar Rice Burroughs

Yes, the Bible (great stories and truths in there) and the outdoors too.  It’s hard not to marvel at it when you stop and take a look.

In “Living Portals,” you do a great job of making new worlds with unique species come alive for the reader. Is world-building something you’ve always wanted to be a major part of your writing? Or did it evolve alongside your writing career?
No, that just happened when I started into the story.  I didn’t know that would erupt, but it did.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Melanie – from “Swamped” A smart and tough lady who guards the portals in the bayou.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
Churn out good stories and entertain people!

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Sci-fi author Timothy L. Thompson.
How have your readers responded to the collection so far?
It’s too early to tell as we just released it this week, but the early comments are very encouraging.  I had a neighbor who is a non-fiction writer in Christian themed books who chased me down the sidewalk to tell me how much he enjoyed the first two stories he’d read.  I did enjoy that.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
Not really, just maybe the tension of waiting for a response from the public.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Sequels of course!  Maybe a novel along the way too.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your sci-fi short story collection?
I hope they enjoy reading them.  If you have trouble following the multiple Tom Tedesco’s from around the multiple dimensions, here’s a little description that might help: 

An easy way to keep track of them is to think of them as:

1. Super Science Tom (from the Culling); 
2. Slightly older Tom (from Bury the Evidence and a limited role in the Culling); 
3. Single Tom (from Wolf's Blood and from Swamped and a brief appearance in All Wet).  
4. The lead protagonist in All Wet is a Tom Tedesco, but it's intentionally unclear which Tom this is yet and where this story is in his timeline.

An excerpt from "Living Portals":
We’d been gone for three days. We were back in an instant.  Half an arm lay wriggling in a pool of blood on the floor. 
“That was way, way too close!!” Helga screamed.  We both looked down at the severed arm writhing on the hardwood floor beneath us. Then she continued, “Couldn’t you keep him from chasing us in and losing his arm?” 
“I know how to get us through a portal, not how to stop someone who’s chasing us!” I squawked out as my voice cracked. 
Helga started blurting out random phrases, “I can’t look at that . . . did we make it . . . are we safe?” She was dancing pitter pat in little circles on the den floor as she randomly shrieked out each word and phrase. 
“Yes, we made it. We are safe now.” As blood started oozing out of the loose limb on the floor, I tried to flatten my voice to put on a false bravado, “I’ll clean it up.” I wasn’t sure if I was trying to be more reassuring for Helga or for myself as I went to the kitchen to get a black plastic garbage bag, but, “Where will I bury that thing?” and, “How can I destroy it?” kept rolling through my head. 
Helga had stepped out of the den, where we had reentered our home from the portal. As I passed her, I noticed the nice frame she still carried even at 48. Cycling class wasn’t wasted on her. “I’m going to put that arm in the garage, and I can clean up the blood with hydrogen peroxide,” I told her. “But then what . . .” My voice trailed off. 
I walked back into the den, where the cat was still peacefully sleeping on her favorite armchair, not having stirred from our reappearance at all.  
“You’d think after seven days we might get a welcome purr or a rub?” I mused.
Then I awkwardly scooped a still-twitching, severed arm into the thick, black plastic garbage bag from the kitchen.

More Information
Visit the author's website. 

Buy "Living Portals" for Kindle.

Buy "Living Portals" paperback version. 

Buy "Wolf's Blood" for Kindle.

Follow Timothy L. Thompson on Twitter.

Find the author on Facebook. 

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