With her infectious energy and a penchant for the peculiar, no one has ever accused S.O. Thomas of being mundane. She has a B.F.A. in Fashion Design. She spends her days designing creepy-cute clothes. At night, she dreams of magical places that end up spilling out of her brain and onto the page. She lives on the edge of a haunted forest in a small town in Massachusetts with her husband, their two cats, and a real life gremlin.
Six Minutes with Author S.O. Thomas
LitPick has the honor of interviewing The Slug Queen Chronicles author, who definitely believes in fairies!
How did you get started writing? Believe it or not, I'm a terrible verbal storyteller, always have been. I can get lost halfway through telling a story and forget the direction, or lose sight of my words so I can't finish, or get so excited I jump from one point to the next with no recognizable order, or twist my words up so bad I give up trying. Sometimes the speed of my voice slows to a crawl even though my thoughts are still racing. I never thought my stories were any good, because they either bored people or confused them when I tried to share my ideas out loud. It crushed my little writer heart into teenie-tiny pieces, because I think I've been a writer all along, I just didn't have the right tools or motivation.
What motivated you to move forward? I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time in 2015, but only made it through about four chapters. It was three chapters more than I'd ever done before, so I posted the first chapter up on Facebook as part of a feel-good "I did a thing!" post. I never expected anyone to read it. But my brother-in-law read it and asked if that was all I had because even though he wasn't a reader, he loved it and wanted to read more. Up until that point, I didn't think it was possible that anyone else besides me could enjoy my stories. So I learned as much as I could about the craft of writing and finally made it to The End of my first story two and a half years later.
With writing, I can mold my words, like clay, until they match the stories in my head, until they're words with direction, words people can actually enjoy! I'm not afraid to tell stories when I put pen to paper or fingers to keys. I never thought I'd ever see a book with my name on it because my stories had always been locked in my mind's eye, where only I can see them, until I found my voice through writing. ⠀
Who influences you? There's something magical about making the make-believe believable. That's why I love writing fantasy—anything is possible! And if anything is possible, the possibilities for story ideas are endless. The authors who highlight this the most for me would be J.K Rowling, obviously, and Neil Gaiman. They both have the ability to take ordinary concepts—boarding schools, cemeteries—and make them extraordinary!
Do you have a favorite book genre? I love the original versions of popular fairy tales, like from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. They're magical, but they also help us see and understand the darker sides of human nature—jealousy, resentment, anger, loneliness—and how giving into those things leads us farther away from our happy endings.
And I love creepy forests! I live on the edge of one and, even in the real world, there's still something magical about it.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author? Learn as much as you can about writing before you start writing, after you've started, and even after you've written a few dozen stories. Read as many books as you can, watch TV shows and movies, all while looking for what elements keep you engaged or what elements lead to you losing interest. Why do you root for certain characters or tear up when something bad happens to them? Why do you change the channel or close a book or pull out your phone and browse cute cat videos instead? When you start analyzing stories in all forms, it'll help you become a better storyteller.
Where is your favorite place to write? I'm also a fashion designer, so I have shelves of fabric in the basement where I work. I put my desk at the back of the fabric stacks, so it's like my own little hidden writing haven. It's quiet, and there are no distractions (mostly because no one can find me back there). It also helps that my cats haven't noticed it yet, so I don't have to deal with them claiming the keyboard or my desk chair or the mouse.
What else would you like to tell us? As an #actuallyautistic author, it's important to me that other autistic people who struggle with communication know that being an author or even just sharing our stories in general isn't as impossible as it feels. The world can't hear our words if we don't find a way to share them.
"The Slug Queen Chronicles is a suspenseful book that keeps you reading. You can’t put it down!" —LitPick Review