An Interview with Thomas M. Watt

Welcome Thomas!  Thanks for joining us.
TMW: Thank you Lisa, I’m honored you featured me!

Tell us a little about yourself.  Did you always want to be a writer?
TMW: Not even close. My life revolved around baseball from the first time I played catch. By 18 I was good enough to be drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 2007 amateur player draft (86th player selected out of 1500+ drafted that year – look up Michael Watt Dodgers). I was traded to the Padres in 2009, but suffered a career ending injury in 2012. I began writing for fun when I was 20 years old, but quickly fell in love with the craft. It officially became an obsession when I woke up and realized my baseball dream had ended.

Where did the idea for your book come from?
TMW: About a year ago, I had an idea to write a story about a man who was repeatedly visited by the same threatening character in his dreams. At the time I was too involved with writing a book series (that would never reach a single reader) to do anything with the concept.

I decided that it would be a good idea to frequently publish 10,000 word stories on Amazon Kindle to quickly grow an audience. When I originally sat down to write Master, I intended for it to be a rush-job that would be completed in one weekend. That changed as I fell in love with the possibilities provided by the premise: Phil is haunted by Master, who only visits him in his dreams. As Phil’s real life falls apart, Master claims responsibility.

What would I do in Phil’s situation? What would any person do! You can’t go to the cops and tell them the guy who abducted your wife is a psychiatrist from your dreams! They’ll laugh you out of the station!

I can’t imagine a more helpless, terrifying situation. I think that’s why so many readers love to race through Master. It’s a fresh concept that begs to be explored.

Before I knew it, I spent 3 months working obsessively on Master. I extended it to 30,000 words, and made repeated revisions until every reader agreed this story was something special. I’m grateful I did, because it’s my best work to date.

Do you have another project on the go right now?
TMW: Yes, but it is chaotic! I’m working toward an Associate of Science certificate for transfer at a local community college, and enrolled in an acting course for fun. I’ve met tons of experienced and determined actors who are willing to set aside four days during winter break to take part in a short indie film I’m writing, and I know people with the necessary camera equipment.

Thing is, I’m setting the dates for filming before I even write the script! And knowing the editing process, I’m worried I won’t be able to get a polished script to the actors in time for them to memorize their lines. And my biggest fear is that a lead actor will drop out at the last minute!

Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to your writing?
TMW: I plan the premise, but that’s it. When I write without a planned course, my protagonist reacts to events and situations as I would, and I feel this translates to a more realistic experience for readers. If I already know where and how the journey is going to end, my protagonist’s actions become predictable and even calculated. The same twists that surprise me when I write them surprise readers when they read them. I believe strongly in structure, however, so I make necessary revisions in subsequent drafts.

The great unknowns that drive the story of Master:

  • Is Master a real person, a product of Phil’s imagination, or some alternative type of life-form?
  • Where will Phil draw the line to save his family? Will he actually blow up the city to keep them from being killed?
  • Why would any person select Phil Gordon, a pool guy, to carry out a terrorist attack?

Your house is on fire and you can only take three items.  Assume your loved ones and pets are safe. What would you take?
TMW: Haha, well I’m an INTP {editor’s note: this is a standardized personality indicator based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicators.  INTP stands for Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving}, which means I care much more about discovery and understanding than any physical objects. So how about this – a pen, a notepad, and a video camera. Fire seems to come up in everything I write, but I have no firsthand experience in dealing with it.

Btw, there’s an awesome scene in Master where Phil starts a fire in a way no reader could imagine. They’ll be testing whether it’s possible ASAP, but I’m happy they’ll discover this simple trick actually works in real life.

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MasterMaster invades Phil Gordon’s dreams and burns his real life down to hell – Wife and daughter abducted, Master claims responsibility. He threatens to slaughter them unless Phil drives an RV loaded with explosives into the city. Complicating everything is Phil’s ex-girlfriend, who’s stuck with him for the trip. The only way he can save his family is to figure out who Master is, where he can find him, and whether he even exists

“Clock is ticking, Mr. Gordon.”

Available on Amazon