Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Science fiction buffs, today I am happy to welcome a fellow educator and OakTara author, Kevin Thompson, who hails from sunny Florida.  He's written his first sci fi book, THE SERPENT'S GRASP, which was just released in January, and he's going to tell us about that in a moment.  Welcome, Kevin--tell us a little about yourself.

With Ramona Tucker,
Editorial Director, Oaktara
I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Cindy, for over 30 years now. I live in Central Florida, actually in the same house where I was raised since I was three (I was born in a different house in town that has since been torn down). I graduated high school “Summa Cum Later” as I wasn’t the world’s best student (and we’ll just leave it at that). I now have a B.A. in Bible from Houghton College (Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies from Wesley Biblical Seminary (Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University (Wheeling, IL – Tampa, FL Campus). Not bad for a kid who finished 87th out of 200 something. Just goes to show that not everyone blooms when they walk across the stage, shake the hand of the principal, and receive that high school diploma.

I like your candid approach, Kevin.  My own husband, Clark, didn't enjoy school, either.  In fact, he never planned on going to college--ever.  Ten years after high school, the Lord had other plans for him, and now he's a teacher with more than thirty years of experience!
I also play the drums (self-taught) in our Church’s Praise Band. I speak in churches on occasion, and hope to do more of that as the book catches on (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).

Perhaps someone out there will pick up on your hint.  I'll help you along:  KEVIN IS AVAILABLE TO SPEAK IN CHURCHES. 

Anything the average reader wouldn't know about you?
That I am a slow reader. That’s probably why I hated reading as a kid. Even as I entered middle school, I hated to read. Then, one day, on a trip to Daytona Beach, my mom bought me a copy of the book JAWS. I devoured that book (no pun intended). That is what led me to write what I wrote in the books I donated to the high school library where I work:  This is what happens when a kid who hates to read gets turned on to a specific genre. Now look at me, reading all the time, writing books and articles. It’s amazing, really.

That is fantastic!  I've had students who disliked reading, but eventually found out what they had been missing. 

I envy people who tell me, “I read your book in a day!” I know it’s a good thing that they couldn’t put it down, mind you. No complaints here. But a day? Really? I just can’t fathom that. Even if I stop the world, I can’t read a book in a day.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?
Spending time with family. Reading. Playing the drums in our Praise Band at Church. Going to the beach and camping out there in a condo or some nice hotel. Watching College Football. Going out to eat with family. Or just going out to eat. J

Since you disliked reading, when did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
That’s a hard question answer. I’ve always had a predilection for writing. But I never got serious about it until I was in seminary. I was told I was a good writer and had a professor help me get my first article published. After that, I had several articles published in various publications and newspapers. However, I didn’t sit down to write my first novel until the mid-‘90s.

Have you written other books besides the featured one?  If so, what are their titles?
I have one published thus far, THE SERPENT'S GRASP. It was just released Jan. 30, 2012! THE SERPENT'S GRASP is a science thriller. Think along the lines of something by authors Michael Crichton or Douglas Preston but with a Christian twist.

I am being contracted to write another novel (name to be determined as I have only had about six names so far and am satisfied with none of them) which is designed to be the first in a series of probably 4-6 books (not sure yet, although I have the first 3 mapped out). This work is scheduled for release this fall. So, I’ll have two books out in one year! It’s exciting!

That is exciting, and congratulations!  Hopefully, you'll find yourself extremely busy going to book signings, speaking engagements, and so on.  

I'm sure readers would like to know the answer to this next question:  why do you write the type of books that you do?
I enjoy thrillers. I also noticed that there are not very many intense thrillers in the Christian market. There’s a few, but not many. So, people like me have to cross-over into secular fiction to find what we are looking for. The problem with crossing over is the language and the worldviews. So, my first book, THE SERPENT'S GRASP, and the ones to come are my attempt at filling what I see as a huge hole in the Christian market.

 Also, you’re often told to write what you know. I’ve often said you also should write what you like to read. If I tried to write historical romances set in the 1800s, I could probably make more money and be in the headlines sooner, but I’d probably jump off a cliff as a result. That genre is just not my cup of tea.

Oh no--no jumping off of cliffs--but I know exactly what you mean.  I would probably join you on that cliff if forced to write such--definitely not my cup of tea, either.  I greatly admire those who can write those "historical romances set in the 1800s," however!

Sometimes writing can be really difficult, especially if one already has a full-time career, like you.  What was your greatest obstacle in writing, and how did you rise above it?
Time. As an assistant principal at a high school, my days (and often my nights covering sporting events and other evening events) are booked. Couple this with family, church, and fun stuff like mowing and raking the lawn (do you hear the sarcasm?), it leaves little time for writing like I desire to have. So, I have to steal it when I can. Late nights. Weekends. Holidays (I’m writing this on Spring Break, BTW).

As an educator myself, I really know what you are talking about regarding the time issue.  Since I am teaching online now, I can pretty much choose my own hours--a great blessing for a writer, believe me! 

Along those lines, and with everything else you are involved in, how has writing changed your life?
It hasn’t changed it a great deal . . . yet. I notice the change the most at writer’s conferences. Once you become a published author with a reputable company, then you are viewed differently. I believe it is because you persevered. There are a lot of people out there who want to write, and even many who have completed a manuscript. But that’s where it ends. So, to get published means to those in the business that you took the time and made the effort to get noticed and published. So, that means a lot to me.

As for everyday life, it is neat to have people come up to you and say, “I didn’t know you had a book published?” or “Congratulations on your book!” Those comments means a lot, too.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Romans 12:1-2.  I believe the Apostle Paul wraps up in two verses what God wants from all of us. 

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?
Favorite song: Forever by PFR. Love it!

Favorite movie: Hopscotch with Walter Matthau. If you can get past Ned Beatty’s mouth, it’s a fun movie. Actually better than the novel by Brian Garfield that it was based upon.

Since you now like to read (laughs), who is your favorite author?
That’s a tough one. I’m the kind of person who has this book from this author and that book from that author. To say I have a favorite author would be selling me short.

Fair enough.  It is so hard to pick just one, anyway!

Since I personally love to travel, I'm always interested in hearing about where others have been.  What are some interesting places you’ve lived/visited? 
Besides Central Florida, lived in Western New York (Belfast and Caneadea), Jackson, MS; Fort Worth, TX (actually Watauga, a suburb); and Des Moines, IA.

Visited many great places in the States, but I’ve never been west of I-35  which runs from Des Moines, IA to the Dallas, TX area. I did go to Europe when I was 13. I wasn’t old enough to appreciate all I saw, though. Oh, how I’d love to get that trip back. We visited 7 countries in 14 days: England, Holland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy (NOT in that order, BTW).

What’s one zany thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not sure this qualifies as zany. But, it is crazy when I think about it long enough. I was 18 and scuba diving one day about 70-feet down with a group of divers. I shot a fish with my pole-spear and put it in my goodie bag. While I was checking out a reef, looking for lobster, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and saw a ten-foot tiger shark gliding along the top of the reef. I immediately thought about the bleeding fish in my goodie bag, which happened to be right next to my thigh. I backed into the reef and watched the shark glide out of sight. Now, there I was, with a bleeding fish floating next to me, and a shark twice as long as I was roaming around out there out of sight. Needless to say, that was the last time I went scuba-diving. I now get my fish in the frozen section at the grocery store. Safer that way.

I can't say that I blame you, Kevin!  I'm glad you're still with us so that you can tell us about your book.
My book, described below, leaves the reader asking the “What If?” questions:

·       What if what Evelyn Sims, the main protagonist, says about global warming is true?

·       What if the science behind the book is accurate?

·       What if creationists are on to something after all?

·       What if Dr. Harry Landover “testimony” about his path to salvation is the path we all should take?

Here’s the BCC:

THE SERPENT’S GRASP by C. Kevin Thompson

Something ominous lurks under the waters . . . 

Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband’s mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband’s office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever . . . and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.
Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.
Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn’s life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stands for.
An action-drenched scientific suspense-thriller that’s as relevant as today’s headlines.

 Now that's an attention-grabbing story!  I am certain that lots of people will be reading this book.
Here is your golden opportunity:  what would you wish to say to your readers?
If you’ve read the book and liked it, please “Join the Battle” at my website (it is also in the back of the book) @ http://www.ckevinthompson.com/battling-the-serpents-grasp and help out in any way you can. Word of mouth is the best advertisement! And thanks in advance for your support!

If you have not read it yet, what are you waiting for? J You won’t be disappointed. I’ve had nothing but great reviews thus far. And, of course, once you’ve read it, Join the Battle, too!
Give us your links so readers can find you on the internet.
You can find me in the following locations:

 Anything else that you’d like to add?
If you’re intrigued by the science of THE SERPENT'S GRASP, then check out the bibliography in the back of the book and also visit my webpage called In the News, where I highlight articles that are brought to my attention which pertain to the topic of the book.

Believe me, I didn’t dream all this stuff up. J

This book shows us the inner workings of your mind, Kevin.  Apparently, you won't be jumping off any cliffs, thankfully.  Enjoyed having you today, and may God continue to bless your writing!

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