B.J. Thompson, Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight

Two audio techs have solved the eighteen minute gap on Nixon Watergate Tape 342.

A Beast that slithers through the streets and halls of Washington DC wants to kill the truth, and two techs want to survive to Tell-All.

Who will get to the Finish-Line first?

The knowledge Ed and Harry possess traps them in a covert world, involving operations as far west as Nixon’s La Casa Pacifica in San Clemente, California, and as far east as the Virginia CIA Training Facility at Camp Peary, along the way finding themselves buried alive in a Deep Underground Military Base, meeting men of fame and fortune thought long since dead.

Will the men live long enough to reveal the verbatim Transcript of Tape 342 at the global Press Conference scheduled at The Washington Post? 

And if they do, what affect will it have on the survival of the Republic and the American People when such unthinkable secrets are unearthed?

The world will hear those words.
Lives will be sacrificed.
The Beast breathes for the very first time. 

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author B.J. Thompson whose book Eighteen Minutes to the Beast thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love thrillers and mysteries but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Thompson, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Thompson will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Thompson!

B.J. Thompson is a retired public relations liaison and currently a Calgary, Canada-based freelance editor and author of three literary/historical novels; No More Blood – Epilogue to the life of Truman Capote & In Cold Blood, Eighteen Minutes to the Beast – a Nixon Watergate Thriller, and Sessions – Predator vs. Shrink Who will survive?

The overriding theme in B. J.’s work concerns the process of death, whether it be death of an historical icon, an idea or an event, her works cover those final moments when ultimate truth plays the only role. B. J.’s preferred way to tell a tale is through the Non-Fiction Novel approach; whereby iconic people and/or milestone moments in the past are tweaked and warped ever so slightly to reveal an answer to a long-held mystery or a societal question.

B.J. grew up in the Lake Country District of southern Ontario, Canada. The only child to an RCMP Constable father and Industrial Accountant mother who grew up very Anglo-Saxon, very Northern Irish. Funeral wakes were a large part of Barbara’s life, starting at the tender age of three, so death—its meaning and role in life—took centre stage. With Barbara’s B. A. Degree in Language Arts and her subsequent career in Communications, once retired, writing, and  specifically on life’s final moments, was inevitable.

B.J. has done extensive travelling and now lives to swim, hike and fish in the Rocky Mountains, enjoy friends and family, leads an avant garde writers group likened on the 1920s Montparnasse style, and pen her tales on either side of Cocktail Hour.

Now, how wonderful does Thompson sound?! Thompson is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of Thompson’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and Thompson, I hope that you enjoy Thompson’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

Eighteen Minutes to the Beast, a Nixon Watergate political thriller, follows two audio techs as they finally reveal what was said on the infamous Tape 342, 18 1/2 minute gap. A Beast that slithers through the streets and halls of Washington DC wants to kill the truth while the two techs want to survive to tell all.  Will the men live long enough to reveal the long-buried words at a global press conference at The Washington Post? And if they do, what affect will it have on the survival of the Republic and the American People when such unthinkable secrets are unearthed?

I vividly remember watching the Senate Hearings on the Watergate scandal, and at that time as a young child, the complex web of conspiracy was overwhelming, but the mystery of that 18 minute gap stayed with me and hung like an enticing pall over the rest of my life. When technology could not decode, I decided creative license had to play a role, and with the decades knowledge I had gained on Nixon and on those times, I decided to “decode” the tape myself—a creative solution to one of 20th century’s greatest mysteries—and show how the actions of the past can and do have a serious effect on today’s political climate.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

There are three arrows every writer should keep in his quiver; a) don’t romanticize a writer’s life. It is not all cocktail parties where you’re dressed in smoking jacket and cravat, waxing lyrical to your adoring fans. It is countless hours of being alone with your thoughts and focusing hard on getting your ideas down properly on the printed page. Know that with any endeavour, your mom’s adage remains valid—”practice makes perfect.” So, in that vein, do not stop writing! Write anything, on everything, every day! Do not wait for a “muse” to inspire you, for your muse will only appear while you write, while you’re deep in that hard work; b) know there is no such thing as Writer’s Block, for such an ailment only occurs when you, yourself, have forgot to live life! Get out into the world, live a little, experience with all your senses what this globe has to offer, and then, I dare you not to rush home with a bundle full of wonderful story ideas! Only those who have stopped living, stop imagining; and c) before you publicly submit your work to anyone—ROL—Read Out Loud your finished work. And no, I don’t mean speed read or mumble to yourself. With purpose, read that work to someone else. Your senses will be further heightened by the mere stress of doing a reading, and it engages a second sense beyond sight, that of hearing, as well as the motor function for speech. The more engaged the senses, the better odds of uncovering gaffes that you stared at for months on the screen but never realized were there. No work should leave your desk until it is ROL’d, at least once. Yes, I know, you feel weird ROLing. Guess what? You’re a writer. By default, you’re already weird. Embrace your weirdness!

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?

Books are the only medium that truly give the Big Picture perspective on life. A person needs to be immersed into a world, or an issue if non-fiction, not merely held at a glance with tweets, sound-bites or short articles, if he wants to appreciate the full human experience. Books allow us to be transported, to shed our reality or our woes and experience life “on the other side.” I believe it’s what enhances our intelligence, our ability to empathize, to analyze, and to bathe in all the rainbow perspectives found in all humanity.

What is your writing process like?

Over the years, and with three full-length novels under my belt and a fourth in the hopper, my process has become fairly cemented. I’m a fan of recipe cards… actually hold-in-your-hand cards, not the virtual ones you find on programs like Scrivener. I jot down a single scene on a single card (the blank side, not the lined side, so my thoughts aren’t stymied by the lines), and have research information cards attached to that card, and one by one I flip each and write that scene until I type the words, The End. Unlike most writers, I have one full day of writing, the next day editing what I wrote, and I repeat that pattern until all the scene cards are flipped. So, when I type The End, I mean it. The book is done. I prefer real cards so I do not have to be tethered to a device all the time. I can take a card and go! Write anywhere, on any scene I choose. I don’t over plan the scenes. I write maybe one to five lines describing said. I allow for the insertion of creativity as I write, but I do not begin a full-length novel until I have close to 70-80% of the scenes down on those cards. My works are research heavy and my plots are fairly complex, so, for me, I have found no better method.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

As I referenced above, my works are research heavy, so before I hack out a single word, it can take from about a year on average, to seven years, of research for a single work. In No More Blood, I lived with Truman Capote’s vernacular, his perspective, and his actions/reactions for seven years. I will investigate news articles, video tape, audio tape, scientific data, and non-fiction/reference books. I will do in-person interviews when available. I will travel to locations to do field work. For my current work, AIR, I went so far as obtaining from a friend an actual 1940 “Bluejackets Bible,” the training manual every enlisted man received on joining the US Navy. I am currently a virtual Annapolis ensign-in-training! I inevitably sense when my research tank is at Full, and then I begin to write, and if I’ve judged correctly, my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts. If I’m writing as if I were slogging through Flanders Field mud, then I know… back to the research, I go. I will say I have completed close to 80% of the research before I type a single word.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

On my novel length works when I’m full-time into the writing, I pretty much write every second day and edit every second day. The work day, for me, usually is in the wee hours of the morning when the world around me is finally asleep. Each stint will last five to eight hours, and the odd night up to eleven. A colleague jokingly called me a Method Writer, a spoof on Method Acting, where I am so immersed in my fictional world that I’m no longer myself, that I’m merely floating through the real world, my mind overtaken by the character (s) and their world, until I type The End. It can be a damaging time for me. While writing Sessions, I lived with several sociopathic murderers inside my head—their demeanour, their words, their actions—so I was quite disturbed for some time. I gained weight, and I wasn’t in good health. The black bile that courses through their veins, for a time, stained mine.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I’m rather ashamed to admit I read more non-fiction than fiction, simply because I use as the main fodder for my creative ideas real life icons and/or events that existed in our world. But, having said that, there are a few fiction writers who have been at the top of my list for decades; Hemingway for his no-nonsense, journalistic prose style, F. Scott Fitzgerald for his superb societal take and genius use of symbolism in The Great Gatsby, and Herman Wouk, primarily for his two-part series, Winds of War and War and Remembrance, quite possibly THE definitive fictional work on WWII. As a Manson Family murders researcher since 1978, my hero author in terms of non-fiction crime accounts, well, no one surpasses the late Vincent Bugliosi with his iconic works, Helter Skelter, And the Sea Will Tell, and the definitive debunking of all conspiracy theories in his tome, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?

To be released on the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 2019, will be my fourth literary novel, AIR. It tells of six US Navy sailors who survived the initial attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, but are trapped below the sea in the capsized USS Oklahoma. In their attempts to survive, they realize that there can be worse things in life than death. It will be a modern-day literary homage to writer, James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity.

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Thompson! If you have liked what you have read about Thompson and are interested in learning more about Thompson and reading Thompson’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Eighteen Minutes to the Beast: Amazon U.S. – Amazon U.K. – Goodreads

B.J. Thompson: Website – Amazon Author Page – Facebook – Twitter – Blog

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