Who is Thomas M. Kostigen?
Thomas M. Kostigen is coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Green Book. He writes the Ethics Monitor column for Dow Jones MarketWatch and the Better Planet column and blog for Discover magazine. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
10 Questions with Thomas M. Kostigen
1. Mr. Kostigen, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. Your debut thriller, Golden Dawn, came out today. Tell us a bit more about this work.
Golden Dawn is an international thriller that has Irish journalist Michael Shea, the main character, stumbling upon a plot to smuggle nuclear materials into Iran. Found out, he has to escape Iran into Turkey — and then beyond. A beautiful mystic shows him the way. She, too, knows something cataclysmic: an ancient, End Times prophecy. From there the world’s fate lies in their hands.
2. Who is journalist Michael Shea and how did you go about creating his character?
I travel frequently to very exotic and sometimes dangerous places. The people I encounter and the places and things I’ve seen, I believed, would lend themselves to colorful fiction writing. Once Michael Shea was born in my head after a trip to Belfast, the plot thickened, as they say, and soon enough a world started to take shape full of lives, love, danger, adventure and excitement. So it was the character, not the play, that got me going. Like most characters, I suspect, Michael Shea is an amalgam of many people.
3. How did your experience in journalism help you create such an elaborate story as Golden Dawn?
As fantastic as the plot of Golden Dawn might seem, much of the book is based on true events and facts; just look at the headlines today. Journalism is storytelling in its most basic form. And most journalists, whether they want to admit it or not, have a preconceived notion of what they’’d like their news story to be, and how it should read. Telling a story through fiction is similar except I didn’t have to get permission to write. By that I mean I didn’t need the fact or quotes to push the story forward; I just invented them.
4. Why do you write?
Writing is the only profession I have ever had. I have been a working journalist since before I graduated college. I look at the world, I think, differently than most people. And writing is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. As it is for many writers, what I do isn’t a choice, it’s who I am.
5. A word of advice for new writers?
Write. Don’t run around with an idea for a story. Don’t whine about how hard writing is. Write. Come up with a daily word count, or a quota and hit it. If you don’t, tell yourself that you’re a loser, or that you’re a quitter, or whatever you have to do to keep going at it, word after word, page after page, day after day. When you are finished, you can pat yourself on the back. Just finishing a book is a big accomplishment. That’s the carrot. But writing takes a lot of whacks.
6. What is your typical writing day?
As a journalist I have learned to write anywhere, anyhow, anytime. I put in my word count and usually call it a day. Of course, it’s preferable to write when it’s quiet, which for me means early mornings. I have tried to write late at night, but I am usually too looped by that time. Whenever I read these things about writers getting up at 4 am and writing straight through the day — every day: it’s bullshit. Unless they are writing the Oxford English Dictionary, they are lying—or they are mentally and/or physically impaired, causing them to write so slow. In that case, they get a pass. The rest…please. And while I am at it, all those rituals you read about are for pretenders, too. “I light a candle.” “I meditate.” For the love of god. Philip Roth said, “amateurs wait for inspiration; the rest of us just go to work.” That about nails it.
7. What are your favorite pastimes?
Besides drinking at my pub,I fight. Michael Shea and I share the same love of Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art. I also train at the gym. Fighting is about conditioning. On the lighter side of life, I like to travel for work and for pleasure. My life boils down to reading, writing, getting punched, getting drunk, and sitting on a plane–not necessarily in that order, but sometimes.
8. What other books are you working on at the moment?
I am a working journalist as well as a fiction writer, so I am always knee deep in writing projects. At the moment I am doing research for the sequel to Golden Dawn. I have an e-novella entitled Fatwa coming out in October, as well. I am writing another novella, a film script, a television script, and I have several magazine features and columns due.
9. What do you like to read and what are you reading now?
I like to mix up what I read. Of course I stay current in thriller genre. I am reading Gregg Hurwitz’s The Survivor at the moment, for example. I also read for subject matter. I just finished Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, which is about political Islam (and, well, so much more). And I read for style. I just picked up NW by Zadie Smith.
The Quincunx by Charles Palliser is perhaps my favorite book. Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan is another great one. Then I’d say in terms of classics: The Red and the Black by Stendhal, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (for structure), and The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles are the types of stories I like to get lost in.
10. What can readers expect to find in Golden Dawn?
It is what every one says about it: it’s fast paced. The story moves. And there is a whole lot of history in it, from where the Garden of Eden is located to what the oldest religious text known is and says. If you like factoids and references that make you go, “hmm,” you’ll like this book. The frightening thing is that much of what I wrote about is coming true.
Connect with the author by visiting these pages:
Website for Golden Dawn: www.goldendawnthriller.com
Facebook for Golden Dawn: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Golden-Dawn/328743697210273?fref=ts