I Create Birmingham: T.K. Thorne

“Writing is another way to explore life and offers not only the universe as a tableau, but the fascinating inner worlds and multiple meanings tangled into being human.”

Name: T.K. Thorne
Occupation: Writer
Creative Industry: Literary & Publishing


1. You are a retired police officer, executive director of CAP, and a writer by night; how has your day time employment influenced your writing?
Working as a police officer opened my eyes to such a range of perspectives, human conditions, and situations that it’s hard to describe, or even know, how much it has influenced my writing. It taught me what people care about and how they survive incredible hardships. I learned, as well, how dark the human soul can be, but also how a tiny spark of light in that darkness can change everything. I continue to be a student of human nature in my job at CAP.


2. Where did your interest in writing come from??
I’m going to credit my grandmother who constantly read books to me, igniting my love of reading and words and stirring a desire to explore into the core of who I am. As a youth, the biggest adventure I could think of beckoned me—to be an astronaut and meet aliens! That career path didn’t work out, but I never lost the desire to experience new vistas—perhaps what led me to become a police officer. Writing is another way to explore life and offers not only the universe as a tableau, but the fascinating inner worlds and multiple meanings tangled into being human. Writing nonfiction is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle with different sized pieces. Writing novels is different. A strong character arises with a particular voice, and her story builds organically from her character and what she experiences. Exploring the deep wellspring of imagination is an endless adventure. Often I don’t know what is around the corner any more than the reader does!


3. Can you walk us through the research process for your historical novels?
Both my novels are stories of unnamed women only briefly mentioned in famous biblical tales—the wives of Noah and Lot (Noah’s Wife and Angels at the Gate.) My desire was to bring them to life as real, multifaceted people, and to sweep the reader into the ancient time and place in which they lived. I leave religious interpretations to the reader. The first step in researching historical fiction is determining the time period, which can be a challenge, but gives clues about the environment and situations my characters’ might experience. I constantly ask myself what could have happened during that time, given what we know about the history, myths, culture, archeology or geology of the land and the fact that over time, stories twist into tales that fit our culture and needs. I research all this on the front end, but at some point, I have to dive in to actual writing on faith and continue the research as I go, because questions arise that I could not possible anticipate outside the story. I’ve also visited the places where my novels take place—Turkey and Israel . . .and had a few adventures doing that! There is nothing like standing in the desert where your characters stand, feeling the weight of heat and the brush of dry wind stealing the moisture from your skin.


4. You had a short film in Sidewalk Film Festival in 2008. How does your approach to screenwriting differ from your novels and short stories?
Novels and short stories can employ all the senses, as well as internal perspectives. Screenplays rely primarily on dialogue and action from a “camera view.” I naturally “see” scenes and “hear” the characters’ voices as I am writing, which helps in writing screenplays.


5. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep reading; keep writing; don’t let anything stop you. The only way to ensure failure is to quit trying.