I’m joined today by a local writer, Sean-Paul Thomas. He’s been answering my Author in the Spotlight questions about himself and his writing and has some very exciting news about one of his previous books. His latest novel, Cold Heart, was published in April and is available in paperback and ebook formats. You can order your copy online here: Cold Heart
First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
My name is Sean-Paul Thomas. I’m an author/screenwriter from Edinburgh in Scotland. And best-Selling Kindle Author of ‘The Old Man and The Princess’ (Soon to be a major motion picture) and ‘My Sister and I’
I pretty much spent most of my childhood and teenage years on the move with my Scottish and Irish Parents (No, they weren’t bank robbers lol) growing up in the likes of Cyprus, Germany, Wales and England, as an army brat. My mother was originally from Belfast and my father was originally from Bathgate. And as a teenage boy he joined the Royal Commandos for two years followed by the Royal Engineers in the British army for a further 25 years.
I always had a keen interest in both reading and writing as a kid and was diagnosed with the travel and writing bugs very early on in life. Now, writing, traveling, reading, cinema and Scottish football (Supporting the mighty Hibernian FC and Edinburgh City FC for my sins) are my main passions in life, along with cooking, yoga and general health and fitness.
What inspired you to start writing?
When I was 15, I watched the movie Bram Stokers Dracula for the very first time. I remember my parents wouldn’t let me because it was so damn gory and bloody and violent. So, I got up really early one morning and put it on the VHS player. And I just absolutely fell in love with it. The fascinating characters. The dark brooding romance. The atmosphere. The mood. The captivating, raw, gothic and emotional story. Gary Oldman’s incredibly brutal, yet tragically sympathetic Dracula. Of course, most people were always rooting for Johnathan and Mina to get together. But I always secretly rooted for Dracula and Mina. I watched that movie every day for a month. Until I fell asleep halfway through one morning and was woken by my angry Mum who tossed the video into the bin before grounding me for like a year and a day. But during that month I became so fascinated about what happened next to those characters, and with nothing else to do stuck in my room I decided to write about them instead. A kind of sequel if you like. And I just wrote and wrote and wrote until I finished a truly awful and horrendously written story. Jesus, it was a real pile of shit. But those feelings that my writing evoked. Passion, anticipation, the excitement of creating something new and the world building inside my own head then getting it all down on paper. Well, I was hooked.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I always wanted to be a screenwriter and a filmmaker, when I wasn’t plumbing full time, I spent a lot of my late teens and twenties writing scripts in my spare time. Over that period, I had about 3 different scripts optioned, but nothing ever came from it. I also sold one script, a very low budget horror movie called Ugly Beautiful, which didn’t do too well lol but at least I got some cash from it. And you could probably still find it on you tube today. The main story was also the basis for my very first book back in 2012. I remember turning 30 and just coming back from travelling around Europe and Russia for 6 months. On my return I heard about this thing called the kindle and self-publishing on Amazon. So that’s pretty much the time I came away from writing screenplays and began writing novels instead and self-publishing them. Now I’ve written about 15 e-Books and alternate between the two writing mediums, script writing and novel writing. Although, during lock down, I have managed to write my very first stage play.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
Cold Heart is about a brutal assassin who goes AWOL from her ruthless employers and returns undercover to her old neighbourhood in Glasgow where she hasn’t been seen since she was a young delinquent teenage girl to investigate the mysterious death of her estranged little sister.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I was listening to the hauntingly brilliant song ‘Cold Little Heart’ by Michael Kiwanuka last summer and suddenly the title and character just made complete and utter sense. She’s a cold-hearted bitch with no feelings or empathy for anyone, not even herself… or so she believes. Well that’s the way she’d been trained and brain washed by her agency over the years, until she hears about the death of her estranged younger sister who she hasn’t had any contact with in over a decade, then all the memories of a suppressed and traumatic childhood come flooding back to haunt her with avengance and she slowly realises that she does have feelings for another human being after all.
How did you celebrate publication day?
Unfortunately, it was during lockdown, so it was pretty much quiet and uneventful, just messaging some readers and reviewers who have read my work before and through my newsletter and making announcements online, like through Goodreads, my face book page and Instagram. I’ve always been a bit of a slow burner when it comes to marketing and publicising my books. And this time around I really didn’t want to shove it into people’s faces so much lol because there is so much happening in people’s lives right now with the Coronavirus pandemic. My sister is a Nurse and front-line worker for the NHS, so I’ve been very self-conscious about shameless marketing during these trying times when we really should be thinking about others. Perhaps when it’s all over we’ll all be able to have a celebration barbeque together.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I do yes. I’m actually working on a dark/romantic/dramedy right now called Audrey – A kind of 500 days of summer meets Midnight in Paris (I hope it’s even 1/10th as good) Briefly, it’s about a young builder and struggling writer (30) who falls for a middle-aged quirky, eccentric French Film actress (45) when he meets her at the Edinburgh film festival. They hit it off. She reads one of his scripts, but then he never hears from her again for a few months, until one day, out of the blue she invites him to Paris for a week so that he can meet some producers who loved his work, while also getting a taste of the Parisian film world and all the weird, wonderful and shady characters who inhabit it.
I’ve already written 7 rough chapters which started off in first person and from the point of view of the young male writer. But while writing it I realised that it’s not going to work, due to some funny and important conversations in French that the reader needs to hear but the main character can’t hear, since he does not speak French. He is just a clueless tourist in a foreign land. So, I’m starting to rewrite the first few chapters again but in third person.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Recently I would say ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney, ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness, and the brilliant ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel.
What are you reading just now?
Right now, as of the first of May, I am reading Little Fires Everywhere and Monsters of Men.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
I would take ‘Ask the Dust’ by John Fante. It is my all-time favourite book and I never, ever get bored reading it. A close second would be ‘In praise of Older women’ by Stephen Vizinczey, so maybe I could just glue the covers together and make it appear as one.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
Actually, one of my books is about to be made into a film. Filming was supposed to start in September this year, but has now been delayed until spring next year because of Covid 19. Like so many other films and tv shows. The screenplay is an adaptation of my book ‘The Old Man and The Princess’ which the screenplay version of was a finalist at the Nashville Film Festival Screenplay Competition before being snapped up by ‘up and coming’ film director Richard Gorodecky and movie producer Nik Powell, who recently passed away. I can’t actually mention the cast details right now for legal reasons, but the actor playing the lead role was my absolute original dream lead for sure and who I also envisioned as the main character of the old man while writing the book.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Good reads – Sean-Paul Thomas
Instagram – seanpaulthomasauthor
Face book – seanpaulthomasauthor
I am on twitter too, but never use it, perhaps I should start.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Probably Robert Neville from ‘I am legend.’ There’s something cool, intriguing but very tragic about being the last human being left on earth. As a writer and introvert, I spend a hell of a lot of time alone, so I don’t think the loneliness aspect would bother me greatly. Sure, I’d miss family and friends and human touch, cuddles and hugs lol But, I guess dogs are great for cuddles and hugs too, so I’m pretty sure I’d adapt in no time at all.
Also, I’m a big fan of books and films based in the 1920’s so probably a day in the life of the great Gatsby would be cool, or Babylon Berlin’s Gereon Rath, or even Hemingway travelling around Europe as a starving, struggling writer, moving from city to city as he did in ‘The Sun Also Rises and ‘A Moveable Feast.’
Cold Heart – from the back of the book
A brutal assassin goes AWOL from her ruthless employers and returns undercover to her old neighbourhood in Glasgow, where she hasn’t been seen since she was a young delinquent teenage girl, to investigate the mysterious death of her estranged little sister.
**WARNING** 18+ Readers Only. Graphic Violence and Coarse Language.
‘From the author of ‘The Old Man and The Princess’ (Best selling kindle book and recently optioned to be a major motion picture) – comes a new action-packed Scottish crime thriller that will knock you off your feet and the lengths one sister will go to avenge her younger sibling.’