This week Write On! talks to author Tom Kernot. Tom is a recently self-published author who writes thrillers inspired by his experiences in work and travel. Having lived all over south London and spent two years in Tanzania, he is currently living in Jordan with his wife and two-year-old son. Away from writing, he enjoys working in sales for start-up businesses.
WO: How would you describe your writing to someone new to it?
TK: I aim to write adventurous ‘beach-read’ thrillers which rattle along at a pace and whisk you away to exotic places.
WO: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book The Sunlight Race?
TK: The Sunlight Race is a thriller set between London and Zanzibar, inspired by the time I spent living in Tanzania and visiting Zanzibar. The story imagines what could happen if someone traumatised by their experience as a contestant on reality TV decided to exact revenge on the industry by carrying out a terrorist attack on a show.
Ben, the hero of the story, is plagued by his own personal tragedy. In a bid to get him out of his rut, the team at his restaurant nominate him for ‘The Sunlight Race’, a hit one-day adventure reality TV show, this time being held in Zanzibar. Unfortunately, this show happens to be the one chosen as a target. Only when it’s too late, do the contestants discover what has been planned and Ben and his race partner Anna have to find a way to survive in impossible circumstances.
WO: What inspired you to write in the first place, and what inspires you now?
TK: Zanzibar is a sensational place to visit for a whole variety of experiences and I was keen to write a piece of fiction showcasing what the island has to offer. The original plot concept was very different, but over multiple drafts, it moved in the direction of the thriller that is the final version. Moving onto subsequent books, what motivates me is entertaining readers and the creative challenge and work discipline of generating, writing and editing stories.
WO: The current issue of Write On! explores the theme of ‘A Kaleidoscope Of Colours’. Can you tell us a bit about how you manage to adapt your writing life around personal life? In the recent situation, what have you changed or learned?
TK: I split my time at home between three main activities: writing, working in sales and looking after our two-year-old son. For writing, I need focused blocks of time and do that in the morning when my son is at nursery (nurseries have been open in Jordan for some time now, following the initial lockdown). For sales, I do that in shorter bursts in the afternoon, juggling childcare with my wife. What I’ve learned from the current circumstances has been the reality check around the amount of time I used to spend commuting. This has been traded for additional family time and, in future, I would aim to work with businesses that are fully supportive of remote working, regardless of COVID.
WO: What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
TK: Write your first draft like the wind and change nothing at all as you go. Set yourself a very tight deadline and care only about getting it done. Don’t worry about anything being wrong. The first draft’s purpose is to give you something from which to create the second draft, in which your book will really start to take shape.
WO: Can you tell us anything about future projects?
TK: I am currently working on the sequel, Sunlight In Jordan, which showcases the best of what Jordan has to offer, wrapped up in a tense thriller in which Ben is a contestant on the next instalment of the ‘Sunlight’ reality TV show. I am targeting release in early 2021.
WO: Lastly, if you could choose one fictional animal/creature to be a pet or companion, who would it be and why?
TK: I’d choose the cat in The Cat In The Hat, one of my toddler’s favourite shows on Netflix. The cat sees adventure in everything!
Alternatively, if you would like a free pdf copy, please email Tom at email@example.com
Connect with Tom on Twitter: @TomKernot
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Write your first draft like the wind and change nothing at all as you go. Set yourself a very tight deadline and care only about getting it done.