People’s Ink author Thomas J Turner has published an anthology, ‘Born To Be Strange.’ It is a collection of short stories, poetry and five of his ‘Essays From The Edge.’
The material dates back to 1969, when Turner first envisioned this book. The short stories range from a grieving, suicidal widower, to a car load of hit men on a road trip, to an outlaw street racer driving a 1957 Ch-evy, to an 18 year old trying to survive Army boot camp, plus much more. He uses different writing styles, to challenge himself, and to not become redundant, writing the same tired story repeatedly.
“When I joined People’s Ink in February of 2013, I was a failed novelist, and hadn’t written anything worth a damn for 15 years. Work shopping my material was an eye opener, and with the help of unbiased, insightful critiques, I was able to move forward from the writer’s purgatory where I was stranded.
“Connecting and networking with other serious writers has made the difference for me. It is very difficult to travel the route to self-publication by yourself. In our group, everyone brings something to the table, and members are committed to helping each other get better.”
Next on Tom’s agenda is an editing and upgrade of his first published novel, ‘Bohemian Interlude.’ He and cover artist Rob Benefiel also plan to add some color to the somewhat stark black and white cover.
In 2015, he plans to publish his crime novel, ’96 Shades of Dead.’ “I’m taking my time with this one, and am using a ‘story board’ to make sure everything is presented in the proper sequence. There is a badass purple skull cover by Rob that will jump out at you.”
Turner’s writing idols are Jack Kerouac, Hunter S Thompson and Tom Wolf, among many others. “I use the spontaneous prose style, and then edit the heck out of the manuscript. I no longer read fiction, because I don’t want to be influenced by other writers. In the 1990’s, I wrote and copyrighted two long novels, ‘Bohemian Interlude’ and ‘’To Die In Your Dreams.’ I honestly thought I had nothing more to write about. Now, the material is flowing out of me, and I’m going to write and publish as many quality books as I can. There are no limits.”
Tom writes in a storefront studio in old town Hillsboro. The interior is decorated like the Haight Ashbury in 1969. He is surrounded by his favorite things, a powerful stereo and a coffee pot. He begins writing at 6 in the morning, works until noon, and then returns to his nearby home and watches vintage TV shows like Green Acres. He then cooks dinner for his lady, who is a nurse.
“My life couldn’t be better right now. I live with a wonderful woman, Francine, and I have been retired since 2009, so I am truly free to chase my visions. When I am fortunate enough to sign a book for someone, I normally write, ‘Follow Your Dreams.’ I stand by that advice, and encourage others to pursue their passions, embrace the good things in life, and help others whenever you can.”