I love hearing success stories from non-traditionally published authors, so it's my pleasure to introduce you to Tony Eldridge, whose novel, The Samson Effect, recently caught the eye of a major Hollywood producer. The circumstances are unusual, to say the least. Readers may peruse the full press release here, but to make a long story short, the Hollywood producer's name also happens to be Tony Eldridge–the factor which made him check out the novel and eventually acquire the film rights.
Congratulations, Tony. That's quite a story. Tell us about The Samson Effect.
My current book is the action/adventure novel called, The Samson Effect. New York Times bestselling author Clive Cussler called it a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.” It is about a biblical archaeologist and an Israeli biblical linguist who are searching for evidence of the substance that gave Samson his great strength. However, there are a couple of enemies they have to avoid who want to find, and use, the substance for their own sinister purposes. In fact, the arch villain in the story is a Palestinian madman who wants to use the substance to create an army of soldiers with superhuman strength to fight a worldwide battle for Islam in the name of Allah.
Readers can read an excerpt of The Samson Effect at SamsonEffect.com/excerpt.html.
I was a minister for ten years and I still fill the pulpit on occasion. One area of study that fascinated me centered on the stories found in the Old Testament, like the story of Samson. To me, neither Hollywood nor the New York Literary empires could churn out stories that are as intense, action filled and entertaining as the ones described in the Old Testament. Since I am an avid reader of thrillers and action/adventure novels, bringing the love of the Old Testament stories together with the modern adventure stories I love was a natural. I wanted to write The Samson Effect in a way that would not be considered Christian literature, but would appeal to the people who liked fast paced action books with a religious tie-in.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I am definitely a stream of consciousness writer. The only planning I do is when I am mowing the yard or exercising. I will often think through the story, the plot or characters. But when I sit and write, I write with free-flow sessions. I did try to outline, but I never stuck with it. Don’t get me wrong. In a sense, there is some outlining that needs to go on. With me, I do a lot of thinking and letting my characters act in my overactive imagination. This is a type of outlining since I will refer back to my imagination and use it as a basis of scenes in the book.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
It took about three and a half years from the time I wrote the first words of the first draft to the time a perfect bound copy rested in my hands. That included about 3 to 4 months of writing the book, about a year of revisions, and a couple years to let it sit before I got busy in getting it published.
They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
You know, I came into this knowing that negative criticism was a given for authors. I set my mind to view it as a badge of honor. Fortunately, I have yet to experience a bad review or comments (at the time of writing this). I have been in a couple of major market newspapers, many online review sites and I have a few Amazon.com reviews, but, I know the negative comments will come. And when they do, I will pull up my favorite authors like Clive Cussler, James Rollins, or James Patterson. If you look at any great writer today, they all have their critics. And that’s normal I guess. We all deserve a way to express our opinions. And the author who one day appeals to every person will be in a very unique and lonely club.
Do you have any unusual writing quirks?
I do have one quirk that is somewhat interesting in this modern age. I have to write my first draft in long-hand. I then either type it into my word processor or I speak it in using voice recognition software. But here’s where it gets quirky: I have to use black ink only. I will use blue ink in a crunch, but it puts me in a foul mood until I get my black ink pen back. I have a box of pens with black in my office so I never have an excuse to be in a foul mood.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
I will often get to a point in a scene where I either can’t come up with the conclusion or everything I try sounds contrived or forced. Times like that I have to go on one of my inspirational mowing sessions or jump on the treadmill. Sometimes I just get in the car and drive, letting my creative juices run their own course. You would be surprised at how many times the “Eureka!” moment comes to me when I give my imagination full liberty to do what it wants to do. But for me, it only works when I am totally alone. You don’t know how many times I came home late because of writer’s block. Luckily, I have a very understanding and supporting wife.
Do you have a Web site/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Yes. Readers can learn more about The Samson Effect at SamsonEffect.com. They can also keep up with current news, find out about new reviews, and enter contests. Currently, I have a contest going on where I am naming a character in my next book after the winner of the contest.
Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
I am writing the next book in the series. The Hollywood producer who acquired the film rights to The Samson Effect has asked me for a synopsis of four books in the series, so hopefully I will be busy writing for a while. I want to thank you for the opportunity to let me share information about me and my book with you. If anyone has any questions for me, they can visit my website and click on the contact tab. The e-mail address goes straight to me.
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