Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Award-winning author Tom Swyers. He writes Fiction, Literary Humor, Psychological, Humor & Satire novels.
Fiction, Literary Humor, Psychological, Humor & Satire
Tom Swyers Author
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Award-winning author Tom Swyers first had an audience on the edge of their seat (and the girls giggling) when his play, "The Great Train Robbery," made its debut in the seventh grade.
After high school, he worked his way through some of the best colleges in the country. Employed in a variety of jobs ranging from a late-night convenience store clerk to a fine jewelry salesperson, Tom eventually graduated from college and then worked his way through law school in the caverns of Wall Street.
Since then, he's studied at the New York State Summer Writer's Institute at Skidmore College. He's also a member of both the Authors Guild and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.
Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart and raised a family. With that came baseball, but that's another story ("Saving Babe Ruth"). Tom is also an award-winning youth sports advocate.
When he isn't writing or reading, Tom is usually running (literally) away from trouble on the back roads of Upstate, New York where he lives with his family and two cats (really two dogs working undercover).
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
First things first. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called The Killdeer Connection. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I hope to have The Killdeer Connection out by the end of 2016. I’m really excited about it.
Struggling lawyer David Thompson returns from Saving Babe Ruth and is in a race to save himself and his family. When his expert witness is murdered, his personal injury case against big oil’s frackers blows up. When the expert leaves him everything in his will, he becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Unless he finds the real killer, he’s going to get railroaded for the crime and rot in prison.
Entangled in an underworld of fracking and big oil, David is thrown on a riveting thrill ride to unravel the clues left by his expert to hunt down his killer. But David soon discovers that the killer is after him and the hunter has become the hunted.
It’s a legal thriller, an adventure, and a mystery all wrapped up into one.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
I enjoy Twitter and it helps me connect with folks. I’ve met a lot of people through social media like Facebook and I think its essential part of an author’s “platform.” I’m not sure how much it’s carried over to my writing success, but I enjoy it.
For example, I participate in a few local facebook groups and post stuff about my hometown and the region where I grew up. It helps to define me as a writer. We are all products of our backgrounds and experiences and it’s a good thing to reflect on those things every so often.
Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I have recently spoken at Albany Institute of History and Art, The Norman Rockwell Museum, and Binghamton University. I don’t have anything planned currently because I’m spending so much time working to get The Killdeer Connection published.
The best way to keep up with me is to join my readers group at this link:
I enjoyed the YouTube clip for Saving Babe Ruth. (See link below.) Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success?
I don’t know how much impact the video has had on the book’s success. I’m not sure that the video has been viewed that much. There are a few videos and this is the one folks should watch:
Saving Babe Ruth is an intricate, well researched work that still contains an unsolved, real-life mystery. I thought someone might have figured it out already, but it hasn’t happened. Maybe I should start offering clues and run a contest. You know, solve the mystery and win $5,000.
What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I belong to a few writers groups on Facebook. We help each other with the marketing aspect mostly. That aspect of the business is ever changing. What worked a few months ago might not be working well today. Things change that fast and you have to try and keep up. In order to be a “successful” author today, I think you have to both be a good writer and a good marketer. Depending how you define success, marketing might be a more important skill than your skill as a writer.
How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books?
I wrote Saving Babe Ruth on Microsoft Word. It was tough keeping track of everything. I’m writing. The Killdeer Connection using software by Scrivener. Now life as a writer is much better!
It took me four years to write Saving Babe Ruth. I’ve written The Killdeer Connection in less than a year. I attribute part of my increased speed to the new software.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
Yes, I have a readers group. It’s grown organically through my website and through social media. Here’s the link again:
It’s always a challenge for any author to find readers, but it’s a real challenge for independent authors who don’t have the support of one of the big publishing houses.
You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to your readers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?
Thank you. The primary goal of my blog is to connect with readers by sharing information that might be of interest.
When I’m intensely involved with writing a book, my presence on social media and on my blog slip. There’s never enough time in the day to do all that you supposed to do. If I did all that I was supposed to do on social media and my blog, there would be no time to write novels.
As a writer, you really need to prioritize and to select services carefully. You’re constantly being told you need to do this or that and there’s a huge industry that sells services to writers. I have to believe that unless you are a brand name author, there seems to be more money to be made in selling services to writers than is actually made in selling books.
My email is my top priority. I personally answer all emails that are sent to me and I enjoy corresponding with folks. If someone takes the time to write, I’m going to take the time to write back.
People can reach me at swyerstom@gmail,com
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
I sought professional reviews for Saving Babe Ruth and received them. They were universally positive. The book won two Benjamin Franklin Book Awards last year in addition to other awards.
My reading audience has been more than generous in providing reviews. I encourage and appreciate feedback. More than anything, I appreciate their support because I’m nothing as a writer without the generosity of readers. I’d gladly give up all the awards and professional reviews to connect with more readers.
Having coached youth sports for over thirty years myself, I have many stories I could tell. With young men ranging from a former NFL player who sat on the bench because he couldn’t hit to a very good outfielder who wound up on the FBI most-wanted list. How did you have the fortitude to write the story? Do you plan on writing more about your experiences with sports?
It sounds like you have some interesting stories to tell!
My fortitude was found in the support of my family and in buying a lot of insurance.
When one of the nation’s supposed top sports agents threatened to sue me over the book, it made life interesting.
When a town came to a standstill over the book and decided to have a public hearing over it that was covered by the television and print media, life became surreal.
It’s not often that literature has that kind of impact, especially today.
In Saving Babe Ruth, I had something to say and I was driven by a sense of justice to convey those thoughts and emotions in a novel. The story seems to resonate with people. They seem to identify with it. Saving Babe Ruth continues to have an impact nationwide as people become aware of it.
I don’t have any current plans to write more about sports, though The Killdeer Connection has a few baseball references. My current interest is to write in the thriller genre, more specifically the legal thriller genre. I’ve been a lawyer for a number of years and I’m currently serving as a judge so I hope the sum total of those experiences will make The Killdeer Connection a great read.
Author's Book List
Saving Babe Ruth
When Civil War buff and burned-out lawyer David Thompson fights to save a kids' baseball league, he's launched on a thrill ride that threatens his family, his team, and his life. Captivating characters lead double lives and keep secrets in this award-winning page-turner based on a true story.
A cast of shady adults and the high school baseball coaches hate David for trying to save it. They'll do anything to wreck the league so that their elite travel teams can take over its beautiful ball field, even if it means going after David and his family.
The harder David battles to save the league, the worse things get. He's in way over his head and he's also stuck in a family catch-22. If he surrenders, he might lose his son's love along with his own self-respect to say nothing of losing baseball for the sandlot kids in town. Yet if he doesn't back down, he'll lose his marriage and his son will lose any chance to play on the high school team.
To make things right, underdog David Thompson needs to know when to fold and when to fight. He's being pushed and shoved to his breaking point and only one thing is for sure: If he snaps, he's not planning on taking prisoners.
David is on an emotional roller coaster and he can't get off. He's fighting his own civil war as he struggles to make a difference in the town he cherishes without bringing harm to the family he loves.
Saving Babe Ruth
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