Huw Thomas is an unusual character for an author, not only is he a prolific writer but he exercises too – I love the fact that he rode 10,000 miles on a tandem with his wife to raise money for Shelterbox; well done Huw, that’s an amazing achievement. In addition to this interview he’s doing a lot of work raising more money for Shelterbox with a competition linked to the book; you can find out more on his blog here: http://hdthomas.wordpress.com/other-projects/competition-unlock-the-vault/
The Vault is a rich novel that has many different layers across three story strands and all beautifully woven together into a seamless whole. We meet a variety of characters along the way including Adam, the key protagonist. Huw’s characters come to life in the story he weaves, and I found it easy to visualise all of them and the situations they found themselves in.
The story is set in an archetypal English town and the plot weaves together petty rivalries, bullying and first love against a background of murder and crime solving. Perfect to keep you hooked whilst on holiday or needing a break from the every day.
The Huw Thomas Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
That I’m an author. I’ve been a writer for the best part of four decades now – and published and in print since 2006 – but I’m not very good at telling people.
I suppose it’s probably because it’s not my full-time job and I’m worried they’ll be disappointed (and so will I be) when they’ve not heard of any of my books.
I’ve got several part time jobs (teacher, gardener and newspaper sub-editor) and I tell people different things depending on the situation. But I’m generally too shy to tell them I’m a writer. Maybe when I sell enough books to be a full-time writer I’ll announce the fact to the world with pride!
(I see this kind of interview as a type of therapy.)
Are the names of your characters important to you?
Crucial! I spend a lot of time on names, they can say a lot about the character. Some names just come, others are more elusive. The protagonist of one of my novels changed his name about five times until I was finally happy with what he was called.
How did you choose a title for your book?
It varies. The easiest one was for The Tale Of Findo Gask. I was driving through Scotland and saw a road sign to a tiny village called Findo Gask. I loved the name and knew it had to be the name of a character. There was something a bit Dickensian about the name and I knew I had to write his story.
Findo is a young boy who grows up in very bad circumstances. He becomes thief as a way to survive and the novel is about what he does and the reasons for his actions. At the very beginning, I thought about writing a play, with Findo on trial and having to explain his actions and their justification. The basic concept didn’t change though.
Have you ever written naked?
Not that I remember but I wouldn’t rule it out. On the other hand, while I’ve got nothing against being naked, my desk chair has a kind of plastic, imitation leather cover – might get a bit sweaty!
How do you remain sane while working?
Not sure I am. There are too many people and worlds in my head. Seems normal to me but I don’t think most people are the same. Maybe it’s them who are crazy – they’re certainly missing out on a lot of fun.
What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?
Taking a year off to ride a tandem bike 10,000 miles! I’ve done a lot of travelling but that was an experience that would be hard to beat.
In 2010, my wife Carolyn and I decided to ride across 10 countries in aid of the disaster relief charity ShelterBox. We raised nearly £50,000, met all kinds of fascinating people and only got hit by a truck once.
Are you jealous of other writers?
Frequently. I spent decades sending novels to agents and publishers and getting back standard rejection letters that gave you no idea whether they’d even looked at what you’d sent. Then I’d pick up a published book from a shop or library and think ‘I can write better than this’.
I’d get really upset when I realised other people were getting paid for books that really weren’t that good. Luckily, though, electronic publishing has levelled the playing field to some extent and given authors more independence.
However, I also get very jealous – and despondent – when I read something absolutely fantastic and think ‘that’s way out of my league, I wish I could write a fraction that well’!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Lots of different places. As I mentioned, Findo Gask was sparked off by a road sign. I’ve also written a paranormal thriller called Thin Ice that was inspired by a dream I had where my wife no longer knew me!
Sometimes it can be just a good phrase or an idea for a situation that starts me off. After that, the ideas come from somewhere within my subconscious. My best writing is the stuff that simply flows without me having to think about it.
I have no idea how my brain works but it produces all kinds of weird stuff. Luckily, some of it works.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
Don’t get caught.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
Coffee to get the cylinders firing in the morning. Tea in the afternoon and then beer, wine or a good malt whisky… or a brandy later in the day.
Unfortunately, though, the alcohol does have to be in limited quantities. I think that a drop of booze is good to get the synapses firing and help you relax but too much doesn’t make you profound or extra witty.
If you could commit the perfect murder where would you hide the body?
Feeding it to pigs is supposed to be a good way of removing evidence – does that count as hiding? Otherwise… a graveyard?
Where can you find out more about Huw and his books?
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/