Friday, May 6, 2011

My Friend Thomas - Interivew & Giveaway

Today we're bringing you a different kind of book, and talking with its author about it. Ready for a scare? ;-) Give a big, hearty welcome to Thomas Smith, and leave a comment with email address below for a chance to win his Christian horror novel, Something Stirs. (Which isn't about coffee, by the way.)


About Something Stirs

Some houses are only haunted … this one is worse.

Ben Chalmers is a successful novelist. His wife, Rachel, is a fledgling artist with a promising career, and their daughter Stacy is the joy of their life. His novels have made enough money for him to provide a dream home for his family.  But there is a force at work in their lives. A dark, chilling, ruthless force that has become part of the very fabric of their new home.

A malevolent entity becomes trapped in the wood and stone of the house and it will do whatever it takes, to find a way to complete its bloody transference to our world.

Local Sheriff, Elizabeth Cantrell, and former pastor-turned-cabinetmaker, Jim Perry are drawn into the family’s life as the entity manipulates the house with devastating results.  And it won’t stop until it gets what it wants. Even if it costs them their faith, their sanity, and their lives.


About Thomas

Thomas is award winning writer, newspaper reporter, TV news producer, playwright and essayist. He writes The Writing Life column for The Christian Communicator magazine and was named the American Christian Writers Association Writer of the Year in 2004, 2005, and again in 2006. He is a regular faculty member at American Christian Writers Association conferences and also teaches at other writers’ conferences. He was on the writing team (with Rick Warren Rob Bell, Chuck Colson, Lee Strobel, and Ravi Zacharias) responsible for Zondervan's New Men's Devotional Bible.


What's your latest book?

My novel, Something Stirs, is scheduled to be released early this summer from Sonfire Media. It’s a Christian horror novel. I started out calling it supernatural suspense, but I have to be honest … it is what it is.

Can't say as I've read many Christian horrors (and only a few supernatural thrillers), but I'm in favor of them! What was the hardest part to write?

Tippy’s death was the hardest to write. I can’t say much more than that without giving away an event that really starts things rolling, but that was one tough scene to write. In fact, I had to go back and tweak it again in the second round of edits and it was just as hard the second time. Poor Tippy.

Is there a theme to this book?

There are actually multiple themes. One has to do with how God can heal our brokenness and restore us to what He originally intended if we open ourselves up to Him. Another theme is less spiritual but just as valid. Our choices carry consequences.

They do, at that. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

I really like writing what is finally being called Christian horror. Some folks still call it supernatural suspense, but regardless of what you call it, I like the challenge of making people suspend their disbelief long enough to get caught up in the story to the point they flinch when the characters flinch.

As far as reading, I real a wide range of stuff. Horror, suspense, biographies, cowboy poetry, theology and just about anything dealing with Christmas.

Nice. What are you reading right now—and what do you want to read next?

Currently I’m reading Dean Koontz’s What the Night Knows. After I finish that one I am going to read The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.

Gotta love Samuel Clemens. =) Other than the Bible, what's your favorite of all the books you've ever read?

When the Water Smokes by Bob Simpson

What's one of the oddest or most interesting things someone has ever said about you?

I was introduced at a writer’s conference once with this line: “He’s the only writer you’ll ever meet who worked on projects with Stephen King and Rev. Rick Warren at the same time.”

LOL. That's quite a badge of honor! What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

This is pretty much my dream office. My wife has her computer and reference books set up on one end and I work from a desk my father gave me on the other end of the office. I am surrounded by reference books, other assorted books, geodes (no special reason other than I think they are neat), various toys, jars of gems we have mined on various gem mining trips, a nativity scene, a poster signed by astronaut Alan Bean, a Batman poster, lots of photos from various trips to the Caribbean and Alaska, a printer/fax/copier, laser printer, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and a singing monkey that my mother gave me for Christmas this past year. There is also a picture of me shaking hands with Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden. Lunch with him was my wife’s anniversary gift to me a few years back

Sounds cool! Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

I always have a copy of Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide and The Writer’s Digest Writer’s Market Guide (the online portion is one of the main tabs on my browser) on hand.

Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?

Spending time with my family. Particularly, traveling with my wife. She has the opportunity to speak all over the country on the subject of treating inpatient Diabetes, and I often get to go with her. But writing takes up the biggest part of my time. I also play lead guitar with our church praise band.

If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving or gifts to charities allowed!)

A Gallagher acoustic guitar and a cruise through the Panama Canal (my wife really wants to go there).

Any funny family stories about living with a writer?

A couple of years ago my wife and I took my parents to Myrtle Beach, SC to see a couple of Christmas shows and do some Christmas shopping. At one point we went into a bookstore in the mall and I saw their A Cup of Comfort for Christmas display. It was placed prominently in the store, and since I was one of the contributors, I asked to see the manager as we were checking out. She showed up, looking a little apprehensive.

“Is there a problem?” she asked, still apprehensive.

I told her there was no problem. Quite the contrary. Their display was so nice I wanted to thank them for the placement because I was one of the contributors and it was really nice to see such a well done display.

She asked which story I wrote, and when I told her, she said, “You won’t believe this, but I just cried when I read that. Do you still have the shirt?” At that point I knew she really had read the story.

Before I could respond, she asked if I would be willing to sign about a dozen copies. Would that be an imposition?

I told her it would be my pleasure. She led me to a chair behind the counter, asked my mother if she would like some coffee, got her a chair and brought the books over. Then she told the people in line that I was there and would be doing an impromptu book signing.

When we left about 20 minutes later, my mother stopped about thirty feet from the store, took me by the elbow and said, “That was really something. Wow.” And before we got to the car she was on her cell phone telling one of her sisters, “I’ll bet you didn’t know your nephew was a celebrity.”

Mama, if you’re seeing this, I didn’t know it either.

What are you writing right now?

The answer to this question.

LOL. Is there another author who has greatly influenced your writing?

Charles L. Grant. Charlie was my literary hero when I was about 15. I always thought it would be a real thrill just to have him autograph a book. Ten years later, through a really odd set of circumstances, I met him, got to know him, and over the years he became my mentor and one of my dearest friends. He had a way with language that bordered on the poetic.

He wrote over 100 books, 200 short stories, edited a number of award winning anthologies (including the Shadows series), and won the Nebula Awards for "A Crowd of Shadows" and "A Glow of Candles, a Unicorn's Eye." He also received 3 World Fantasy Awards, the British Fantasy Society's Special Award for life achievement, Horror Writers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and the World Horror Convention's Grandmaster Award.

Before he died (September of 2006), I was asked to write a tribute for a specialty anthology titled, Quietly Now: A Tribute to Charles L. Grant. It featured writers like Stephen King, Peter Straub, Craig Shaw Gardner, Joe R. Lansdale, and other famous-type folks. In a way I felt things had come full circle. The student was able to give a little something back to the teacher.

That's so touching--and cool! What an honor to be included in a project like that.


Thanks so much for visiting, Thomas, and giving the readers a little something out of the ordinary! Readers, check out Thomas online at the following:

Something Stirs will be available (or available for ordering) in your local book store. Or, once the book’s site goes live, additional purchasing links will be on

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Chance of winning depends on number of entries. Contest ends 6/10/11. Winner will have two weeks to claim prize.


  1. Much success to a dear, old friend... well, not THAT old! It's great to see where you have landed, my friend!
    -MaryAnn Davis Powell (

  2. Tommy, You are so amazingly talented! I can't wait to read your book!
    Pat Anderson -

  3. This sounds like an amazing book. I can't wait to read it!

    christianworship [at] live [dot] com