Monday, 7 November 2016
The Lowdown with... Tade Thompson
1. Tell us three things about yourself.
-In Wimbledon, during the hot summer of 1976, I got sunburnt for the first and only time. I also kissed a girl on the playground for the first and only time.
-I am a lapsed martial artist with training in Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and hapkido.
-In the Star Wars franchise I only like A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The rest leaves me cold.
2. What was the first thing you had published?
My first accepted story was a short piece of general fiction called 'Foster's Run' in a defunct magazine called Carillion, paid in contributors copies. This would have been maybe 2002. My first paid story was in another defunct online venue, Neverary, in 2003, for a slipstream story called 'Sidetracked'. I received the princely sum of five bucks American I think. My lesson from this sale was always look at the edits. I did not, and the published story did not reflect my vision, but that's entirely my fault and not the editor's. My first semi-pro sale was to Ideomancer (now defunct! I had nothing to do with this, I swear. I realise this is making me seem like a serial destroyer of venues that buy my fiction). I sold a story called 'The McMahon Institute for Unquiet Minds'. This was 2005 and my first reviewed story-basically, Tangent Online liked it, which felt good.
Agh! Okay, I'm one of those people who is never happy with work that I've published. The moment it's gone I think of a hundred things I could have done differently. It's a tie. I guess I'm most proud of my sci-fi novel ROSEWATER (Apex Books, 2016) which I think said exactly what I wanted it to say, and my horror novella GNAW (Solaris, 2016) which is a ghost story that I researched to the point of death. They're both coming out later this year and who knows how they'll be received?
4. …and which makes you cringe?
The story 'Sidetracked' that I mentioned above. I'm kinda glad the webzine no longer exists (sorry, Lon!) The edits included adding bowler hats and unrealistic dialogue. I hated it.
5. What’s a normal writing day like?
I wake up early and write new material for an hour. I write longhand with a gel ink pen in a nondescript notebook. In the evening when my family's gone to sleep I transcribe the morning's work, then I revise some older writing (I have dates on a calendar for draft revision). Then I read for two hours, beta-reading or fiction, then non-fiction. I rarely go to bed before midnight. I time-box, using a modified Pomodoro. This routine is not inflexible. Sometimes I get engrossed in one particular thing (usually a good book, or art or something).
6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
Short stories: Slip Road, The Monkey House, 'One Hundred And Twenty Days Of Sunlight' In the African Monsters Anthology. There is, of course, my debut alt history crime novel MAKING WOLF which won the Golden Tentacle Award at the Kitschies.
7. What are you working on now?
Two things: A novella called 'The Murders of Molly Southbourne' which is...dark speculative fiction. This is in the revision stage and I hope to have news regarding a market soon. The second thing is a contemporary fantasy novel called LABOURS which is basically the 12 labours of Heracles meets The Warriors and it's kicking my arse. My first drafts usually go in starts and stops, with much wastage. No change here. I hoped to be further along by now, but getting it right is more important than speed.