06 March, 2013

#AuthorInterview & #Excerpt : The Clearing by Thomas Rydder


I’m married to a beautiful woman who shows me the glorious side of life on a daily basis, have a 15-year-old son who manages to be an athlete, socialite, and an honor role student all at once, and own two dogs and two cats who are all mischievious and precious at the same time. 
In my spare time, I also enjoy fishing, reading, genealogy, sight-seeing through Charleston, the beach, and watching my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.
'The Clearing' is my Debut Novel.



Tell us a little bit about the everyday ‘Thomas Rydder’ – what is he like when he is not writing.
He's a guy who's had what could be called a tumultuous life. Never boring, but sometimes a bit more dramatic that he'd have liked. Now that life has settled down significantly, he's content to enjoy  evenings at home (or out) with his beautiful wife, spoil his cats and dogs, sip a rum and coke, enjoy a good cigar, do a little volunteer work at the feral cat refuge...and slip in some fishing from time to time. Oh... and write, always remember that :)

When did you first realize that you wanted to write? What was your first attempt like?
I kinda tripped over writing. I was poking around for something to do in my spare time. See, I've always like creating stuff. I sang in a group way back when, played the trumpet in the Marines for awhile, even did some genealogy of a couple limbs on my family tree. So, I was seeking another way to express myself. Now, there are a few ex-high schoolers that owe their English comp grades to me, and my wife knew that. So, she suggested I try writing. I joined a little site called Hubpages - quite a nice place for aspiring authors, by the way - and started giving it a go. Wrote a short story that got some good feedback, then started another. For some reason, it just kept growing, and last Friday, it launched as "The Clearing." How's that?

What was the inspiration for The Clearing? 
This is going to sound odd, but I have no idea. This isn't exactly something I'd recommend to anyone – and since reading up on the “do's” and “don'ts” of writing, I now realize that it was very risky – but I just started writing. I've always loved the supernatural, so it wasn't difficult what I wanted to write about. After awhile it turned into a book. No outlines, no character sketching, none of that. Looking back on it, it's amazing the thing even got published...

Tell us a little about the book, and where its available.
"The Clearing" takes place in a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania. Through a series of grisly events, the residents come to realize they have some unwanted - and very dangerous - visitors. (The full moon on the cover might give potential readers a hint as to what kind of visitors.”)  They have to rid their peaceful little burg of these new arrivals – and prevent one of their own from becoming one.

It's available both in Kindle format, and also paperback at: 
Kindle
Paperback on Amazon
Paperback on Smashwords

How would you introduce the protagonist to your prospective readers?
Sheriff Frank Cutlip. He's lived his entire life in an orderly fashion, and is a career Marine. Now that he's retired and living back in his home stomping grounds, he just wants to be the sheriff, give out some tickets, and enjoy a quiet life. It doesn't exactly turn out like that.

Is there a personal quirk that you have given to one of your characters? If yes, then what is it and who did you give it to?
There are a few of them that have quirks, but I think my favorite is farmer Dan Wigand. He's a big fellow, has a huge heart, but he's also very headstrong and loud, and he tends to take over a situation that he's involved in.

Does any of your personal favourite authors influence your style of writing? If yes, then who and how?
Dean Koontz, without a doubt. He's a master at picture painting, in bringing the reader into the scene so it seems you are standing on that street corner - or watching that fang-dripping, snarling beast creep toward you. He's unparalleled, as far as I'm concerned.

Time for Top 3:
Books : The Watchers, all of The Rook Series, and Shogun
Authors : Dean Koontz,  Graham Masterson,  and  James Clavell
Actors: Jack Nicholson,  Clint Eastwood, and  Anthony Hopkins
Artists (Music/Art) :  Luciano Pavarotti, ZZ Top, and Sting
Things on your Bucket List :
#1 Hands down: vacationing in Australia with Denise
#2 Going on a ghost hunt with the Sci Fi Channel's “Ghost Adventures” crew
#3 Doing a multi-state trip over the course of a few months on the back of a Harley Electra Glide

What is the one thing that you wish that every reader would take away from your novel?
Heroes are everywhere. They don't always wear capes, they are just as afraid as anyone else, and there's no pictures next to the term “hero” in the dictionary. Being a hero just means conquering your fear and refusing to give up.

Anything else that you would like to tell to the readers, both who have read and are about to pick up a copy?
I think what I like best about the story is there aren't any heroes in it that are familiar with guerrilla tactics and martial arts, or ripped with muscles. As my publisher said, it's "Ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances." Here's an excerpt:

An eerie howl split the night air. It seemed to go on forever, rising in pitch and holding, before slowly falling off. Beth felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, and Lizzie stood frozen, staring up into the hills. Beth had completed her graduate work in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico, and had heard her share of coyotes yelping.
This wasn’t a coyote.
The howl was stronger—almost demanding—and lacked the mournful tone of a coyote’s lament. Flapjack whined then sprang up to pace back and forth, hunching his shoulders and sniffing ceaselessly. Another howl burst forth, this one closer.
Keeping her eyes on the dog, Beth commanded, “Honey, go inside. Everything is fine, but I think you should go in for a minute.” A third howl cut off any protest the youngster might have made, and the slamming screen door was evidence of her compliance. Turning her attention back to the woods line, Beth considered the agitated canine. “Come on, boy. Let’s go inside. We got enough bugs tonight, anyway.”
Suddenly, a faint rustling came from just inside the trees, and as her eyes snapped toward the sound, she could swear she saw a shadow flitting by an opening. Flapjack’s whimpering elevated and he was now standing with ears up. Suddenly, he bounded forward and cleared the fence in one leap. Beth scarcely had time to scream “Flapjack!” before he disappeared into the blackness of the forest.


After twenty years in the Marine Corps, Major Frank Cutlip comes home to the quiet hills of his beloved Pennsylvania to take up a new life as the sheriff of Allegheny County.
Professor Beth Lowe took up a post at Paxton University because she became enamored with western Pennsylvania’s charms, a more enduring love than she thought she would ever feel for a man.
When Beth’s dog is savaged by wolves, their peaceful lives are shattered, and their fates entwined. On the brink of death, the dog not only survives but grows larger… and more vicious. A thousand-year cycle of carnage is reaching its climax once more, and the peaceful wooded hills will soon be smeared with blood. 
Sheriff Cutlip leads his community in a hunt for the hidden terror, but then his own brother is bitten, his blood corrupted by the ancient evil. The sheriff must confront terrible choices, and he can’t do so alone
The Clearing — a novel of ordinary people thrown together in extraordinary circumstances.


5 Little known Facts about the Book/Characters/Influences while writing the book
It's set in a version of my home town of Apollo, Pennsylvania
Every character in the book shares either a first or last name with someone I grew up around.
My little home town has exactly the same number of policemen as the book has. And one less patrol car.
I studied quite a number of lycanthropy legends in order to fashion the plot. I also sprinkled some of those facts as information one character shares with another while also performing research.
Sheriff Frank Wigand is an ex-Marine (no such thing, actually) because I am, too.

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33 comments:

  1. Hi Thomas
    I love your definition of what a hero is. And, I really liked The Clearing. Have fun on the tour!
    Edenmary

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  2. Hi Debdatta -
    Very nice interview :)
    Edenmary

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  3. Thank you so much, Edenmary...how did I know you'd be first? :)

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  4. This book sounds like just what I need. Nothing better than a good scare!

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    1. Thanks for saying so, Eelina..and for stopping by :)
      Do you have a blog? I'd love to check it out...

      Regards,
      Thomas

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    2. Eelina, you're too kind...thanks so much. Do you have a blog? I'd love to connect...

      Thomas

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  5. Usually werewolves don't interest me, it's a theme that has pretty well been done to death. Your writing though has an uneasy edge to it that makes the reader suspend disbelief and forget that she knows it's werewolves out there.
    I'm a fan of Dean Koontz too.
    Jane

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    1. Wow...that's a beautiful compliment, Jane. To know that I carried you past your misgivings is enough, but to be mentioned in the same breath with Dean Koontz makes me dizzy. Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Thomas

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  6. I enjoyed the interview. :-) I always wonder how certain people come to be writers, the paths are as varied as the authors. Thanks for sharing some of your journey with us.

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    1. Thank YOU, J.M....and you're right. I've talked with quite a number of writers, and it never ceases to amaze me how different they are, but in this one instance, so much alike.

      Thanks for stopping by...

      Thomas

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  7. Great interview! Added TBR and can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jenna! I can't wait to HAVE you read it :)

      Thomas

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  8. This book sounds very interesting. I'm going to download it now. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you very much, Nancy...I'm honored :)

      Thomas

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  9. I've never been to your little town in Pennsylvania, but if it's as creepy as you portray it, I'd love to visit. Sounds like you have a winning story.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa...it's very quaint and humble...not Mayberry, but with much of the same qualities..everyone knows everyone, nothing changes much. A great place to grow up.
      Thanks so much for stopping by :)

      Thomas

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  10. Great interview!!! Thank you for sharing :-)

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    1. Thanks for saying so, Kelly, and I appreciate you stopping by :)

      Thomas

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  11. Hey, Thomas. I am a huge fan of James Clavell and also a huge fan of paranormal fantasy so I can not wait to see how 'The Clearing' turns out. Also, I love that your heros are ordinary people pushed into it rather than already being kickass ninja types.

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  12. Hey Karen....in my book, Clavell is the best epic writer around. I watched the mini-series "Shogun", which was excellent, but didn't come close to the book.
    I'm glad you stopped by...take care!

    Thomas

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  13. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!
    Please stop by my blog when you can!
    Thanks, have a wonderful Wednesday!
    http://waynelmurphy.blogspot.com/

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  14. Well...I'm somewhere I didn't even know I was. I'm going to have to check that out. Thanks Wayne, I appreciate you stopping by, and your kind words. Take care!

    Thomas

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  15. Great stuff Thomas. I love your interview, especially what you say about heroes. So true. The Clearing looks very exciting and I look forward to reading it. Have fun on your tour and congratulations on your debut novel!

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    1. Thanks Robert...you're very kind. I don't think heroes are supermen. They're simply folks that recognize a need and have the resolve to overcome their fear, in order to do what needs to be done.
      I'm very excited about "The Clearing". It's my debut, so I had a lot of consternation about how it would be received. Now that it's starting to get some positive reviews, I'm growing ever more hopeful - particularly since a sequel is already planned.
      I appreciate you coming by!

      Thomas

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  16. i lived in pennsylvania back in the late 90's. i loved it. i would be interested in reading about some freaky stuff from that state!

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  17. I have to admit my approach to writing is the same as yours. I can't be doing with plans and sketches. My characters live inside my head,each with their own personality and quirks. I just take them through their adventures, usually with them prodding and prompting me along. I enjoyed your excerpt, a very delicate hand.

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  18. Wonderful interview, Thomas. Wow, singing, trumpet playing, writer - jack of all trades! Be on the team of Ghost Adventures - awesome! Your book sounds fabulous Thomas and I plan on getting it. Good luck and make a million on it

    Penny Estelle

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  19. Your book looks great! Great interview as well! :)

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  20. Your book sounds really good! I enjoyed the interview also!

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  21. Loved your definition of a hero, Thomas. I also love the spooky supernatural element of the book and your "visitors" rank among my favorite paranormal creatures if I'm reading correctly. Congrats. Sounds like a great book! You're already on my TBR list!

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  22. Great interview Debdatta & great to get to know you better Thomas. I love the idea that heroes are everywhere. A simple random act of kindness can make someone a hero in another's eyes. Best of luck.

    Paul R. Hewlett

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  23. Hey what happened to my comment? Did I do it wrong? LOL

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