Thank you so much Tina for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour!
JW: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Breakneck Point come from?
TOM: Yes, I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first ‘book’ at 14 which was a terrible plagiarised version of a novel I’d just read! Until I wrote Breakneck Point, I had always seen myself as a potential YA novelist. It was a friend who got me thinking when they asked me that as someone who’d been a CSI and then a police and crime journalist for twenty odd years, why had I never written a crime novel?
JW: Did you base Ally Dymond, the lead character in Breakneck Point on anyone?
TOM: No, she isn’t based on anyone, but I would say she shares a few qualities with one of my sisters including that strong sense of pursuing something because it is the right thing to do even though it could cost you.
JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of Ally Dymond if Breakneck Point was turned into a TV series or movie?
TOM: I think Eve Myles would make a great Ally Dymond.
JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?
TOM: I grew up in rural Devon in the 70s when television wasn’t on 24 hours a day and children’s programmes took up a small part of the schedule, so television was far less significant than it is now. Both my parents were huge readers and passed their love of books onto their children. I would look forward to the weekly mobile library visit with far more anticipation than any television programme. I loved Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books.
JW: Which book, that you read in 2022, has been your favourite?
TOM: I’ve read some great debuts this year, but the one that stands out for me is The Storytellers by Caron McKinlay (out in May) which I had early sight of. It’s a grab-you by-the-scruff-of-the-neck-and-not-let-you-go-kind-of-book about three women who find themselves in the afterlife where they must face the reckoning of the relationships they had when they were alive. It is a bold, dark, witty tale.
JW: Who do you most admire?
TOM: My grandmother. She was orphaned as a baby during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. She faced enormous hardship in her early life, but she survived it all and went on to create a family that she adored and meant the world to her. She had a steely spirit, but she was incredibly warm and generous, and she loved to laugh.
JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
TOM: My children, although it’s an ongoing project!
JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?
TOM: I’d like to visit The Globe on the opening night of A Midsummers Night’s Dream. I love Shakespeare and I’ve seen several versions of this play, but I’d love to see how it was originally produced and to experience the atmosphere of an Elizabethan theatre.
JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?
TOM: Greece. I spend a lot of time there and just love it.
JW: If you could invite 4 people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?
TOM: Robin Williams who I first saw in Mork and Mindy and just thought he was the funniest person I’d ever come across. A brilliantly inventive comedian, he’d keep us entertained, but he always struck me as a nice guy too. Charles Dickens because I’m endlessly fascinated by the era he was writing in and would want to know more about that thin veneer of Victorian prosperity and propriety that masked incredible poverty and deprivation. Elvis because I love live music and go as often as I can, but I was too young to see Elvis. I would ask him very nicely to sing Only Fools Fall in Love. Gerald Durrell because I adored My Family and Other Animals and he’d regale me with brilliant tales of growing up on Corfu which I first visited and fell in love with when I was ten years old.
JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
TOM: The best piece of advice I was ever given is “that it is better to do something than to regret not doing it.”
JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on??
TOM: I’m currently writing book 2 in the CSI Ally Dymond series. I’m also working on my grandmother’s memoir.
You can buy Breakneck Point HERE