Interview with Thomas Scott, Author of Wayward Strangers

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What’s the story behind the story?

Wayward Strangers is fiction, but it comes from fact, specifically a young man from my own distant past, and what life was like for him during the time just before and during World War 2. Wayward Strangers is a story of courage, heroism, love, and one man’s relentless will to do whatever it takes to survive.

What inspired you to write Wayward Strangers?

Wayward Strangers started out as a short story I published some time ago (under a different title) and I always felt that there was much more about Jack Bellows that needed to be explored. The result is this novel, one that looks at the challenges Jack faces as he moves into adulthood during one of our country’s most perilous times. It’s historical literary fiction, layered with suspense, action, and a climactic ending I think readers will really enjoy. It is also the first book of the Jack Bellows trilogy, and if that isn’t enough, readers will discover in future books that Jack Bellows and Virgil Jones (from my Virgil Jones Mystery Thriller & Suspense series) are tightly connected.  

If Wayward Strangers is turned into a movie, who would you pick to play Jack Bellows?

I think I’d have to go with Ellar Coltrane. He’s already done some fantastic work, and he has a very unique look, almost as if he was born in the era of when the book takes place. He’d be a perfect fit.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

James Lee Burke’s Another Kind of Eden, along with George Saunders’ book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. 

What book should be required reading for all humans?

Come of Age – A Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble by Stephen Jenkinson, along with his other book, entitled, Die Wise. Also, Be Here Now by Ram Dass.  

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The magical, mysterious process that happens when my characters speak to me and lead me through the story I’m writing. I never outline in advance. I sit in the chair and write what I’m told to write by the characters in the novels. It’s really very odd and beautiful all at the same time.  

What’s your least favorite thing about it?

The obligations and commitments that go along with the process. It’s a business, and you have to wear more than one hat every day. If I could just write and ignore everything else, I think I’d have the best job in the world. Except there are accountants, and advisors, and managers, and publicity and marketing people to deal with…and because I’m a big part of that over-arching process, it takes a great deal of my time. That said, I’m also among the fortunate few who actually make their living by writing, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. But still…  

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t quit…ever. That, along with something my father-in-law once said to me. We were working on a project together, and he said, “If you’re going to do something, you may as well go ahead and do it right.” So I never quit, and I always try my best to do it right.  

Thomas Scott is the author of the new book Wayward Strangers

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