the Little Red Reviewer

Interview with Author Lee Thompson

Posted on: March 25, 2017

Lee Thompson’s newest novella, Shine Your Light On Me, is now available through Apex Publications. Thompson writes thrillers, mysteries, and horror, often focusing on how to regain our humanity when we feel that all has been lost. His previous novels include A Beautiful Madness, It’s Only Death, With Fury in Hand, and When We Join Jesus in Hell. (Click here for info on purchasing Shine Your Light On Me)

In Shine Your Light on Me, Aiden faces a family tragedy only to months later be given the gift of healing. He doesn’t understand how his gift works, but his neighbors and acquaintances demand that he use it for them. When he could have the power to heal an entire town, does Aiden really have a choice? Desperate measures, indeed. Lee Thompson was kind enough to chat with me over e-mail about this thrilling new novella and other projects he has in the works. You can learn more about Lee at his website, Lee Thompson Fiction.

Let’s get to the interview!

Andrea: The plot of Shine Your Light On Me sounds absolutely fascinating. Miraculous healings, hopefulness that turns into dark desperation, and a teenager thrown into the middle of it all. Where did the idea for this story come from? Even more incredible is that this is a novella! How did you cram all of that into less than 200 pages?

Lee: Thanks for the interview, Andrea.

Well, Ken Wood from Shock Totem would tell you I was inspired by the cover for issue 4. And he’s partly right. Mostly it was asking myself, what things haven’t I written about that I want to now, right now? And I thought about it for weeks, finally realizing that to go from being a no one to everyone wanting a piece of you, would be terrifying to me. Especially if I was still a teenager. It’s kind of the opposite of Stephen King’s Carrie.

So I saw this kid in a bar with a light that bursts from his face and heals everyone in the room. It was just an image. And I had another image of this tortured kid who wants to blow up his school, and while the miracle is happening in the bar, he’s out walking through the dark and snow to plant his explosives to destroy the school in the morning when the first bell rings.

To answer your other question… Once the story is rolling it’s pretty much running in real-time between five or six different characters and their POVs. And it all takes place over one night, so that made it short, too.

Andrea: Who was your favorite character to create in Shine Your Light On Me? Which character was the most challenging to develop?

Lee: To me, I never had a favorite character. It’s more how each character interacts with the others in the story. How easily mislead we can be by assumption, or fooled by someone we trust, or how people show an unexpected tenderness to someone else. And of course there is brutal violence and sometimes it hurts to put decent characters through so much pain.

Andrea: Without spoiling anything, can you tell us about your favorite scene in Shine Your Light On Me? Was that scene easy to write? Fun to write? A challenge to write?

Lee: I’d say the tender ones, where some of these people under intense pressure show a little bit of their humanity. There are a few, quick quiet scenes, following or preceding more violent moments. I need that hope in people. That we all matter to someone.

And I think it’s admirable when someone risks their life for someone else the way Aiden does for this mute little girl when a mob of people storm his dad’s house. And then again he tries to protect her in the climax when the town, and a batshit crazy boy named Pine, finally catch up with him.

Andrea: Can you tell us a little about your writing process? Are you a plotter, a pantser, something in between? How to do you go from idea to finished novel?

Lee: I tend to brainstorm with a pen and notepad for a week or so, to get to know the characters and how they mesh, how they really affect each other’s lives and why they have to co-exist, why neither can really leave the story.

I tend to outline quite a bit after brainstorming, but it’s not concrete, things change because sometimes my subconscious will spit out a better idea when I’m writing or sleeping.

Andrea:  You write Dark Fantasy and Horror under your own name, but you also write other genres under pseudonyms. Any specific reason you use different pen-names for different genres? Have you got any funny stories about using pen-names?

Lee: I don’t remember exactly why I wanted to use pen-names. I think to separate genres (Horror, or Crime, or Coming of Age Drama.) But they really didn’t last long and I admire writers who just produce what they want, like Neil Gaiman, Joe Lansdale, Rod Serling, etc. So no more pen-names for me.

I pretty much want to write whatever moves me, no matter what genre label someone tags it with.

Meet me at Stephen King’s House!

Andrea:  What authors and artists have been most influential on you? Why is their work important to you?

Lee: Of those passed on I’d say Tom Piccirilli (A Choir of Ill Children), William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury), John Gardner (Grendel), Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes), and John D. MacDonald (One Monday We Killed Them All).

Of those living, Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses), John Connolly (Charlie Parker series), Michael Connelly (Bosch series), Neil Gaiman (The Sandman series), Douglas Clegg (Neverland), Jack Ketchum (The Girl Next Door), and Stephen King (Misery).

There are many others, but those ones jump off the top of my head and kind of linger in my brain. Their stories, you know? They’re important to me because I think they’re honest, simple, complex, and incredibly gifted.

We should strive to be like our heroes. What do you want to be? The mud puddle? Or the rain?

Andrea:  You’ve set yourself some impressive goals for 2017! Which ones are you most excited about?

Lee: Making a film is the goal I’m most excited about this year. It’s an incredible challenge orchestrating everything. I have sixteen people between actors and crew. It’s a lot of pressure. There’s also a lot to learn, and sometimes you stumble you know? But you have to move on because quitting isn’t an option.


Andrea: Thanks so much for chatting with me!



1 Response to "Interview with Author Lee Thompson"

I could sure use Aiden and his ability right about now. I have a hunch that might get in the way of my reading pleasure. Nice interview.

Liked by 1 person

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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