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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Author Interview: Tony Thorne

Interview with 
Tony Thorne, 
author of 
Points of View, and more!

A warm welcome to author Tony Thorne, visiting The Happy Book Reviewer all the way from the Canary Islands!

You have quite the unique background, Tony! You were raised in London but now you spend summer and fall in Austria, and winter and spring in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. You've been a lecturer for the British Interplanetary Society, and a pioneer in the fields of computer graphics set to music, as well as the development of intelligent software for creating business programs. You also made developments in the fields of low temperature (cryo)surgery instruments, and very high temperature processing furnaces for carbon fibre and nuclear grade graphite. For this work, the Queen of England even awarded you an MBE!

How did you make the leap from "real life" science to Science Fiction writing? Was it a matter of daydreaming all the "What Ifs?"  

Thorne: That’s a fascinating question. However, I was writing SF from quite an early age and my first published stories, back in the 1950s, were written soon after I graduated as a design engineer. Then my whirlwind, worldwide, business career took over and I had no time for writing fiction again until I retired in the late 1990s. Then the ‘what-ifs’ inspiration came as a result of all my experiences in hi-tech product design and marketing.

You've been published in magazines and anthologies, but also have several books out. Can you tell me about your YA Thriller Points of View?  

Thorne: It’s all about previously blind young Horace Mayberry, who gets fitted with artificial nanotronic eyes possessing superhuman abilities. He soon discovers the price he must pay for them when he is appointed as an assistant to a real life government secret agent, and embarks on a series of hazardous adventures, including being kidnapped by a sinister gang of international terrorists.
However, his new eyes are intelligent and develop amazing new abilities as and when he needs them... which is often!

It is currently a stand-alone book, but I hear there is another on the way to make it into a series. Is the second book complete? 

Thorne: It has just been published, by Amazon, as Points of View – The Weapons. In this first sequel terrorists have stolen five new nanotronic weapons developed from Horace’s prototype eyes.  Only he can locate the different hideouts where they have been hidden, using new abilities provided by his eyes, and the team of agents must recover the weapons before the terrorists discover how to activate them. The action takes place in several countries and builds up to an exciting, and unexpected, climax in Austria.

Now, I've written novels but I've never seriously written short stories. How was the process different between writing full-length novels versus short stories? 

Thorne: Very different! I enjoyed having room to develop my young hero’s personality, but especially I had a great time thinking up his various dreams and the way they were influenced by his adventures and apprehensions. Yes, should anyone ask, I discovered James Thurber’s Walter Mitty creation many years ago and enjoyed the Danny Kaye film back in the sixties, but I haven’t yet seen the new film version of the tale. Any similarities are purely coincidental.

Tell me a bit about your Macabre tales. (Wait… should I cover my eyes so I don't get nightmares?) 

Thorne: As one kind reviewer wrote…Macabre Tales is a collection of hypothetical, scientific and even theoretical short stories. The author has observed some daily life events and written speculative stories around them. Each story is entertaining, full of suspense, and is short and to the point. The author’s imagination coupled with his scientific knowledge has made this book totally different.” 

Another wrote… “I found Tony Thorne more droll than truly gruesome. His concepts are clever, his writing sharp and quickly to the point and he closes with a quiet flourish... He delves into personal areas, our daily lives and asks you to consider the alternatives that are conceivably possible, if only...”

What inspired these tales? 

Thorne: That’s a tough question, because I really cannot say what inspired many of them. For example, I woke up on several occasions with a new tale almost completed. My imagination doesn’t seem to need sleep. Another one however was inspired by my long interest in the many Clthulhu Mythos tales by H.P.Lovecraft. Another evolved as a tribute, but different, to Alfred Hitchcock and his Psycho film.

If a high school class were reading your Points of View series someday, what themes would the teacher be wanting the students to pick up on? 

Thorne: How each of Horace’s adventures affected his personality, and also his vivid dreams, which before he regained his sight, were the only way he had of ‘seeing’ anything.

You've had a long writing career, but The Happy Book Reviewer has plenty of readers who have just published their first book, or are still writing that first manuscript. What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a writer? 

Thorne: Never give up writing, especially when nowadays the marketing of your work seems to take up most of your time! Take notice of what readers think about your work and try to improve it… constantly.

I know you're a big fan of Sci-Fi. What book (Sci-Fi or otherwise) have you read that that you wish you had written? 

Thorne: Almost anything by Harry Harrison, my late mentor, especially the Stainless Steel Rat series of hilarious Sci-Fi novels.

Are you working on a next book? Can you give us a hint on what it is about? 

Thorne: I’m about 65% through my next novel in the Points of View series. With a lot of experience as assistant to top secret agent, Major Aubrey Jackson, behind him now, young Horace Mayberry travels with the team to visit the CIA Headquarters in America. He gives a limited demonstration there, of his eyes’ superhuman abilities but is soon abducted by a gang working with a Hi-Tech Corporation with connections to his earlier adversary, Rudoph Beckmann.

Readers can find more about your books on your website, www.tonythorne.com and in e-book and print at the below links:

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