I would like to welcome Sean K. Thompson, author of Timecross’d: A Love Story Out of
Time, to Coffee Time Romance. Thank you Sean for taking time out your tremendously
busy schedule to chat with me.
SEAN – Thank you, Karenne. It’s completely my pleasure. I just brewed a fresh pot
coffee and the night is young.
Where do you find the time to sleep? At this moment, you are working on two books,
working on the film version of Timecross’d, producing and directing a major Houston
stage show, and playing in a band. Plus you have a career and a family. How do you
schedule your life around your writing? Do you have a strict schedule or do you write
when the mood strikes you?
SEAN – Let’s see if I can answer these in order. I’m fortunate that I inherited the
insomnia gene – plus the ability to take coffee intravenously – so I’m able to juggle the
daytime life, then once everyone’s tucked in I can come downstairs and write for a few
hours. As for taking on all the extracurricular things, I can’t help myself. I love being
involved in the arts scenes and performing. I’m very fortunate that my city has a strong
performing arts base so there are plenty of opportunities for me to keep busy and keep
the creative juices flowing. On the down side, sometimes I’ll find myself involved in a
half-dozen projects simultaneously and suddenly remember I’m under deadline for a
book. That’s usually the point I switch from regular coffee to triple espressos. The
biggest charge I get is being with my family. I know it sounds hokey, but I really want to
give them a better world, and I’ve found that the best way is through the writing, so I just
make the time. As for a writing routine, that’s what we refer in the writing world as a“living document”; it changes every day. I’m always in the mood to write, and it gets
annoying sometimes dealing with those other little things in life, like having to pay bills,
eating, and stuff like that. Usually I’ll think of ideas at the worst possible times, so I go
everywhere with a little notebook to jot things down. The muse tends to hit me in short
bursts, so I can spend hours doing daily things while getting the ideas fleshed out in my
head, then when I get the chance put them all down on paper or computer. Sometimes I
get really lucky and get several hours at a stretch to hide out in my garage office and
write. I’ll give you a quick for-instance. My publishers – who are some of the greatest
people on the planet – were getting Timecross’d into its final stages. We were four
days away from the galleys going to press. At that point, the final part of the book – the
last twenty pages or so – was originally being saved for the sequel, so I hadn’t written
them. In a burst of insanity, I decided to include what is now the “Crossroads” epilogue.
I called my publishers and asked if I could include the epilogue. They were kind enough
to give me three days. In seventy-two hours, I wrote the pages, shot them over to my
editor – who I can’t live without – and got it off to the printer just in time. I was writing
24/7 the entire time, and at one point my wife got a stopwatch and clocked me typing at
two-hundred words a minute.
Congratulations on Timecross’d going into its second printing! That is a wonderful
accomplishment! I understand that you have a sequel, Timewreck’d, schedule to be
released next year in November. Some of us can’t wait that long to find out about Abby
and Zach. So, can you please give us a look inside to tie us over until it is released?
SEAN – Thanks! The second printing came as a surprise to us all. Of course, the heat
is on to get Timewreck’d (subtitled “A Love Story Through the Ages) ready for
publication in a – pardon the pun – timely manner. The whole Timecross’d story – which
I’m still planning on being a trilogy – kind of unexpectedly took off quicker than anyone
had dared hope. On the flip side, if I don’t come up with some way to rescue Abby and
Zach from their respective fates – and SOON –then I’m in a heap-load of trouble.
Fortunately, I already mapped out their continuing story, which in and of itself is a feat
considering not everyone involved is alive. But as Westley said in The Princess Bride,“Death cannot stop true love; all it can do is delay it for a while.” I’m really enjoying
writing Timewreck’d – which pays homage to The Tempest as Timecross’d paid
homage to Romeo & Juliet – because it continues the radical skew that popped up at
the end of the first story. I’m also having a ball skipping back and forth through time,
keeping this story a lot less linear than the first one.
Now, if THAT didn’t whet your appetite, I guess I’ll go on and cave in. If you really,
REALLY want to get a peek into the next story, click here and you’ll get the prologue to Timewrecked… keeping in mind that
I may change things before publication!
Sean, you are award-winning playwright (Calling Metropolis, Romana Clay),
screenwriter, actor, musician, and now bestselling author. What is your favorite part of
your creative life?
SEAN – Wow, seeing all of those cool titles above makes me wonder why I’m not a
whole lot richer! Seriously, I think I’ve lucked out in several situations, but I will admit my
own single mindedness has gotten me far. (Calling Metropolis was produced when the
theatre owner saw me breaking federal law by slipping the manuscript into her mailbox.
It wasn’t the act itself that got the play produced, it was the song-and-dance afterwards.)
Without question, the best part of my creative life is enjoying the process of getting the
spark of an idea and nurturing it until it’s ready to come to fruition. Then I just get to be
the lucky host to pick up a pen and see what comes out. That’s really manifested in the
writing, but I get the same charge when I play a new piece of music, or when I get to
stretch my acting legs in a new show that I HAVEN’T written. Just the miracle of having
an idea that’s so personal, so initially untranslatable, and then seeing it visualized is
one of the most amazing things ever.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
SEAN – That’s an easy one. Madeleine L’Engle. When I was six years old I read A
Wrinkle in Time and knew I wanted to be a writer of some type. Within a year I was
published with a forgettable story about a bunny and a magic top hat (I believe my
mother has the only existing copy hidden somewhere). By the time I was eight I was a
guest columnist for a San Diego newspaper. But Madeleine and her incredible
storytelling talents were always on my mind. Actually, I spent several years trying to
secure the film rights to the story of A Wrinkle in Time, but Miramax wouldn’t budge.
What is your favorite part of writing? What is the worst thing about writing?
My favorite part is getting lost in the universe I’ve created. Megalomaniacal? Maybe.
But in all honesty once I start writing I rarely know how it’s going to turn out. In many
respects I’m – metaphorically speaking, mind you – channeling what Abby, Zach, or any
other characters have to say to the world. My wife gave up questioning a long time ago
watching me pace about my office and explaining, “I’m waiting for Abby to tell me what
happens next.” More often than not, I get as much of a charge out of seeing what comes
next. Another favorite thing about writing is the incredible cathartic power it has on a
writer. Many years ago my best friend killed himself with no explanation, and it messed
me up pretty badly. I had so many questions and no one who could give an answer. So I
wrote Robin’s Death, a one-act black comedy about suicide. Robin was able to give
me some of those answers and even let me laugh about some things. The same thing
happened when I wrote Romana Clay, another one-act play that I wrote in 48 hours. I
started writing it with a simple comedy in mind. I got about halfway through it when my
wife’s pregnancy took a terrible turn for the worst and we lost our unborn son in his
fourteenth week. Somehow, I was able to re-face the story and let it take on its own,
new life. Romana Clay is a comedy, but its story about a man’s chance encounter with
a mysterious woman who tells him that he’s pregnant was written with that need for
And on THAT happy note, the worst thing about writing is… is… I have to be honest.
There’s no worst thing. Sure, there are pains in the rear, like lack of time and lack of
sales writer’s block and writer’s cramp and a gazillion other things, but seeing that idea
on page and in a bookstore more than makes up for it.
Do you have any favorite authors? How, if anything, have they influenced your writing?
SEAN – Madeleine L’Engle got me started, but shortly thereafter it became the domino
effect. Tolkien pretty much saw me through puberty, and that led me to the more
contemporary writings of Stephen R. Donaldson, who showed me the value of the
antihero (or, in Abby’s case, antiheroine). I think the author who spurred my current
writing style, however, is Christopher Moore, who writes such wonderfully offbeat cross-
You have biographical, nonfiction, humors work scheduled to be released at the end of
the year/beginning of next year. Would you please tell us about The Quirks of Blazoning
SEAN – Gladly! Quirks is a humorous, biographical “how-to-write-a-book” book, taking
a lot of personal lessons I’ve learned over the years. It’s very informative, like how to
overcome writer’s block and how to find a publisher and how to sell your stuff, but it also
takes peeks into the things that other books-like-it DON’T go into, like, what is the
perfect wardrobe for a book signing? Or, what are the health risks – mental and
physical – for naming a character after a real person, especially when that person
KNOWS it? Assuming I can ever hope to get back on track with things, look for The
Quirks of Blazoning Pens – which comes from a Shakespearean quote – within the
next few months from Filbert Publishing (http://www.filbertpublishing.com).
Sean, we have lots of aspiring writers out there who are always looking for advice. You
know how frustrating it can be to get something published. What kind of advice can you
SEAN – Karenne, I can lay it all out in five words: “Writers: write; it’s what we do.” I stole
that line from my mentor, Sam Havens, and use it with impunity because it’s the one
phrase that’s seen me through so many dark times. Just write, folks. Don’t ever stop
and don’t ever let anyone talk you out of it. Sooner or later you’ll see if you have the
talent and skill set to be proficient in your chosen media and genre, so try a bit of
everything. Jot down some poetry. Rewrite a Law & Order episode with a different
ending. Write a short sequel to Slaughterhouse Five. Keep the skills honed and
ALWAYS be on the lookout for the narrative possibilities of ANY situation.
Writing a book is really only half of the job. There’s finding an agent, or a publisher, or
both. There’s negotiating contracts and cover art, there’s fighting with your editor and
realizing she’s right. There are rewrites, and edits, and rewrites, and deletions, and did
I mention rewrites? It won’t happen overnight. It probably won’t happen over a year. But
if you put your heart and mind into it, and wisely, and don’t let go and keep at it, then a
whole new universe is your oyster.
Well, actually, now that I’m done soap-boxing, the BEST advice I could give you is to
buy a copy of The Quirks of Blazoning Pens when it comes out. It’ll be chock-full of
great writing advice.
Thank you, again, Sean for chatting with me and answering my questions. It has been
so much fun chatting with you during this interview process. We at Coffee Time wish
you the best of luck with your future writings. Thanks again!
SEAN – Karenne, it was completely and utterly my pleasure. Time to brew up a fresh
pot of coffee and get back to the books-in-progress. I hope I haven’t talked off your ear,
or made your readers’ eyes glaze over; I tend to wax pseudo-poetic from time to time.
Have a great day and keep on reading and writing!