His poetry collection, The Uni Verse, won the Nelson Poetry Book Award. In addition to several awards for his poetry, Writer’s Digest awarded him ninth place in a field of 3,000 entrants. His website is: www.TomMach.com He also has a popular blog for writers of both prose and verse at http://tommach.tumblr.com
Tom, I appreciate your devoting some time to us.
1. Could you tell us a little bit about you and your writing?
I’m a retired marketing research manager engaged in writing fiction and poetry full-time, although prior to my retirement I was also a magazine editor and wrote numerous articles for magazines and newspapers. Currently, I have written a collection of short stories (Stories to Enjoy), five novels (An Innocent Murdered, Advent, Sissy!, and All Parts Together), a children’s chapter book (Homer the Roamer), and a collection of poetry (The Uni Verse).
It wasn’t until I was 37 before I started writing articles for newspapers and magazines. I received rejections for a couple of months before I got my first break and published articles on a weekly basis through a newspaper syndicate in the South Bay in California. I went on to publish pieces in magazines and had written two novels and two nonfiction books that garnered me several agents but none were accepted by the New York publishing houses (although I received flattering rejection letters).
3.I've received some of those letters too! What are you working on now?
In the early part of 2012 I will be coming out with a historical novel dealing with 19th century politics called Angels at Sunset. Rather than tell you what it’s about here, I’d be happy to tell folks about it if they go to my website (www (DOT) TomMach (DOT) com) and press the “Contact Me” button. All I can say is that it’s been favorably reviewed by a major published author and the foreword to it was written by a direct descendant of a major historical figure.
4.As a history teacher, that sounds super interesting to me. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
I would say three things. First, write what you love and forget trying to write novels that are “hot” right now. I could never write a romance novel like a Harlequin because I would not enjoy reading such a book. Second, learn all you can about the craft of writing. The Writer and Writer’s Market are two excellent magazines that can help you. Read books that give you tips on writing and attend writing conferences. Third, sit down and actually write. Get rid of a defeatist attitude (“I can’t write…No one would read me…I’d be embarrassed being out there with my book.”) and don’t worry about rejections. You’ll get a ton of them—even famous authors received them. Don’t simply THINK about being a writer. BE one.
5.Good advice. Who are your favorite authors when you read for pleasure?
I love the classics, such as books by Dickens, Dostoevsky, Melville, Steinbeck, and others. I like contemporary authors too, like Grisham, Clancy, King, and Patterson.
Readers, I know you'll want to check Tom's work out, so here are his links.
Tom's going to share an excerpt from Stories To Enjoy, but first here's a little blurb about his work.
This unique collection of 16 short stories written by prize-winner Tom Mach includes stories such as "Real Characters," which is about a writer who gets his wish--that his characters come alive.... "Breakfast, Over Easy" makes you wonder about loyalty in the face of temptation.... "When Kansas Women Were Not Free" takes you to a time when women were less free than former males slaves.... "Son" make you think differently about compassion. One novelist describes STORIES TO ENJOY as "memorable and intriguing, with O. Henry twists that are sure to surprise and entertain."
And now for that excerpt. Tom, I loved it, and I'm not just being nice.
The professor focused his entire attention on what Ford’s Theater looked like back in April of 1865. He imagined himself to be John Wilkes Booth’s friend and stagehand—Edman Spangler. After a long while he felt himself growing exceedingly tired, and when he opened his eyes he found himself in the real Ford’s Theater. There was no one in the presidential box and Wilson, who now believed he was indeed Mr. Spangler, ran his hand over the balustrade.
“Spangler,” a voice called out to him from below, “are you still working on removing the partition of the box to make room for the President and General Grant?” It was John Wilkes Booth himself speaking to him!
Readers, Tom is giving away a $25 gift certificate to one lucky commenter. Follow the tour and comment often for a chance to win. Click the link below for the other tour stops. Tom, thanks so much for coming. Good luck with your book.