by Cory Clubb
Travis Thrasher Interview
"I don’t feel called to write books on how to be a better this or that. I feel called to write about flawed characters who may or may not find redemption." -- Travis Thrasher
Travis Thrasher has worked in the publishing industry for thirteen years and is the author of eleven novels. He resides in the suburbs of Chicago, IL with his wife and daughter. Please visit his website and blog for further information on his works and journey as a fulltime novelist.
Cory: Upon visiting your website you seem to have a lot of different genre of novels, why is that?
Travis: Multiple personalities. No, seriously, I love all types of stories. I never knew the first published book of mine would be a simple little love story. I feel the stories I’m writing now are more of the type of thing I enjoy reading, yet I still have many story ideas in mind that fit into different genres.
If could go back and change that would you?
No. I feel that each book paved the way for the one following it. It’s sort of similar to growing up in all these different states and countries. Would I have planned that for myself from the beginning? Definitely not. But I wouldn’t change it—living in all those places defined me. I’d say the same about my books. But I always tell people that this is definitely NOT the way to build an author brand.
Do you believe you have written “the one” during your career or is it still stirring inside you?
I don’t think I’ve written my defining work. But as an artist I don’t know if you ever truly know when you’ve created “the one.” The closest thing I’ve come to it is my novel entitled Sky Blue. That is the story I’m the most proud of to date.
Having recently become a full-time writer, how has this impacted your career and life?
Time is an author’s best friend. I feel I have so much more time to think about a story and the characters. I’ve been able to work on storylines and ideas that I hope to write one day in the future. I’m really living a dream come true in writing fulltime, though I often joke that my dream included a yacht!
Are you currently wearing sweat pants?
No sweatpants allowed! I think I made that rule for myself. Shorts are okay to work in, but sweatpants are just plain wrong.
Having worked in the publishing world for many years, what can you say
is the best part and the worst part?
The best part about working in the publishing world was learning that publishing is a business. The worst part about working in the publishing world was learning that publishing is a business.
Let’s talk about your newest release Ghostwriter; can you give readers a gripping hook?
Bestselling author with writer’s block steals manuscript from fan. Very bad idea.
Of what space in your mind did Ghostwriter derive from?
I wanted to tell a story about a bestselling author of supernatural thrillers that doesn’t believe in the supernatural. He then starts experiencing the horror which he has so calmly written about. I started with a character like that and built the story from him.
How much of Ghostwriter did you coincide with your own life as author?
The main character is a fulltime novelist, so obviously this is a universe I know well (having spent so many years around them in publishing before becoming one myself). The setting is in Geneva, Illinois, which is a suburb close to where we live. Like all my stories, I put a lot of myself and my world into the story, but then made up a lot too. That’s the fun part about writing.
If you could sum Ghostwriter up in one word as a novel or as your experience writing it, what would it be?
Ghostwriter is about an author, who is being haunted, have you ever had such an experience?
It’s funny you ask—I was just hanging out with Charles Dickens and he asked me the same question! No—I have never been haunted by a ghost. I don’t even know if I necessarily believe in ghosts. But I do believe in the supernatural. I believe in the spiritual realm and the battles going on there.
How about your craziest fan experience?
Signing my name on some guy’s chest at a booksigning. Not sure if he was a fan, but he was crazy.
This next question is a given, considering your latest work, where do you get your ideas from?
I feel the dam has burst open in regards to the ideas I get for stories. They come from everywhere every single day. I can’t tell you all the places I get ideas from. They come from the people I meet, from the stories I read and watch, from the experiences I have as a husband and father and writer. Ideas are always popping up in my head. I wish I could just sell story ideas—but the true joy is trying to nail one down and write it.
If Isolation is your version of The Shining, Ghostwriter your version of a ghost story, and The Promise Remains your version of a love story, then what is your next version/project?
The next story I’ve written is called Broken. It’s the woman-on-the-run story. Like most of my books, this one has a twist. And it’s quite the twist! It’s also shares the theme most of my stories have about hope and redemption.
How does it differ from your previous novels?
Each novel I write paves the way for the one following it. I think if anybody has read my previous work, they’ll be able to appreciate Broken even more. It builds on what I’ve done, especially with Isolation and Ghostwriter. The good thing is that I’m throwing readers for a loop with this one. I didn’t even see the twist coming when I first started the book.
Having written more thrillers and spooky tales, do you think you’ll stick with these themes?
I hope to stick with the realm of the supernatural. There are so many stories I feel I want to tell. My goal continues to be to build a readership that follows me down whatever journey I might take. I understand that readers want to know what box the book is in. So far now, I’m sticking in the supernatural thrillers box.
To aspiring authors, what would you say is the largest struggle?
I hate that term aspiring authors. I always try to say authors aspiring to get published. And being published is the first big hurdle to try and get over. My encouragement is to not give up. Publishing is a tough business and writing is a tough vocation. But persistence does pay off.
Struggles aside, I hear you host great author workshops to inspire. Please elaborate on these and what you ultimately hope attendees get out of them.
I want to try and sum up thirteen years of publishing experience and two years of fulltime writing experience in a three-and-a-half hour workshop. I want to share input and insight on how to get published. My hope is that attendees leave feeling encouraged and motivated with the belief that they can be published.
In our society today what is the most important thing readers can take
away from your books?
More than anything, my goal is for readers to take away hope from my stories. I don’t believe I have to pound them over the head with a message or takeaway points. I want them to be entertained (moved, scared, whatever emotion I’m hoping to convey). I don’t feel called to write books on how to be a better this or that. I feel called to write about flawed characters who may or may not find redemption.
If you could meet one person dead or alive who would it be, what would be your first question you would ask them, and where would you do lunch?
These are always hard to answer. I can think of a hundred people. Off the top of my head . . . J.K. Rowling and I’d ask for a loan. Just kidding. I’d say Bono. We could have a beer at Rock Bottom Brewery. I’d ask him to tell me his definition of the word “Grace.” I know we’d be there for two or three hours. I’d probably quit writing and go work in an orphanage in Africa afterward.
Name a single book, film, and album, one should not be without.
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
The Shawshank Redemption
The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (I say that in honor of Ghostwriter)
Is there a passage of scripture that has carried you through life?
Luke 23:43 when Jesus tells the thief on the cross: “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” This is one of the defining verses that covers a lot of the stories I’ve written and hope to write.
How about a quote?
“And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” Stephen King from On Writing
Any last words?
Cory Clubb is author of the novel Saved by Grace and currently working on his first thriller. He holds a degree in Graphic Design and is always seeking to advance his talent as a writer. He is an avid reader, movie buff, and music enthusiast, tools he uses to infuse his imagination. He lives in central Illinois with his wife and three sons. You can find out more about his projects at his blog.