Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Journey as a Writer by Stephen Tremp, Guest Blogger

Today I'm happy to introduce Stephen Tremp, the author of the action novel Breakthrough, the first book in a Chase Manhattan trilogy. I first met Stephen (a virtual meeting) almost eighteen months ago when we were both students in Dani Greer's online blog book tour class. Since then we've read each other's books, left comments on each other's blogs, and followed along as we wrote ( or didn't write), suffered through revisions, and learned more and more about this world of meeting folks through social media.

It's my pleasure to have Stephen here today to tell us how he became a writer and how the idea for Breakthrough came to be.

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My Journey as a Writer by Stephen Tremp

I remember as a kid staring out the window while the teachers were talking. I imagined battles of epic proportions between good and evil playing out in the schoolyard. Could be an alien invasion, or mole people climbing out of the ground, or giant Titans locked in battle. I guess I’ve always had a vivid imagination.

My Younger Years: I loved to read most anything. I read Marvel comic books. I think this helped develop my imagination for developing fascinating plots and interesting characters that go far beyond mainstream media. The characters are so diverse, each possessing their own distinct personalities and demonstrating unique conflicts and shortcomings. Many had two personalities, one behind the mask they wore and one for their normal, non-super hero life. Hence the internal and external conflicts writers could use to develop new twists and turns in the plots.

But these characters all have one common thread: they are overcomers, even in failure. Somehow they need to go beyond their super abilities and rely on something deep down inside their soul or the help of friends to escape danger and save the day. I develop my characters in similar fashion.

How I Got Started Writing: I’ve always written short stories going back to elementary school. I took writing classes at a local community college. And I had to research and write countless papers for my undergraduate and graduate studies. After toiling over 10 years in the banking and finance industry, I accepted a voluntary layoff and took advantage of the opportunity to write full-time. I told myself I needed a serious break from the corporate world and that I needed to do what I always wanted: write an action thriller book.

What Inspired Me to Write Breakthrough: A superabundance of breakthroughs in physics are broadcast into millions of homes via numerous cable channels in simple language and computer graphics anyone can understand. I thought I would capitalize on this particular niche and incorporate them into an action thriller series weaving together breakthroughs in physics and technology with greed, murder, and mayhem. Will these breakthroughs benefit mankind and be used to further civilization, or will they be stolen and used for greedy gain? I think we know the answer. That’s why the world needs a hero like my protagonist: Chase Manhattan.

How I Decided On My Story Angle: According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, traveling through time is not a practical idea. However, discovering “shortcuts” that allow people to travel through space is a possibility. Many governments, militaries, colleges, as well as private and public companies have committed enormous resources in an attempt to discover this breakthrough.

With scientific knowledge growing at breakneck speed and the global geopolitical scene changing as quickly as it has been, I thought using these two ideas as a backdrop for Breakthrough would make for an exciting and ultimately terrifying trilogy (with a happy ending, of course).

I’ve always had an interest in writing: I love to write and tell a really good story. I have always had a passion vented deep within my soul to write action-suspense thrillers. My goal is to keep the reader staying up well past their normal bedtime or interfere with their daily routine by putting off tasks they need to accomplish in order to finish just one more chapter.

I love mixing an elixir of science and the supernatural, but within a plot that is not only believable but also plausible. Breakthrough is a realistic science fiction set in today’s everyday world we live and breathe in. It is not set in the future. There is no time travel. There are no men with pointy ears. Breakthrough is an action-suspense thriller that could very well happen today.

Are your characters based on yourself or anyone else you know?: The protagonist, Chase Manhattan is loosely based on me, only he’s a little bit taller than I am, a little bit better looking, a little faster, stronger, smarter, and much richer. The rest of the good guys (and girls) and bad guys (and girls) are partially made up and partially based on people I’ve known throughout my life.

Please join me tomorrow as I visit Laura Eno at A Shift in Dimensions as we talk about Developing Characters With Character.

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Stephen Tremp is author of the action thriller Breakthrough. To learn more about Stephen and his work (and read some great blog posts), visit him at Breakthrough Blogs. His complete virtual book tour schedule is available when you scroll down the Events page on his blog.

24 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Thanks for a great interview Patricia Stoltey and Stephen Tremp! I'm always interested in what inspires writers and I'm so thrilled to read how Stephen Tremp's early influences were from Marvel comics! Wonderful!!! Nothing like a tortured flawed super hero to get one's literary taste buds going! Yay!!

Take care
x

Marisa Birns said...

Yes, quite an excellent interview. Will definitely read BREAKTHROUGH because love the idea of sci-fi not set in future, that could very well happen now.

Congratulations, Stephen! And thank you, Patricia.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for hosting Stephen.

Stephen - Thanks so much for sharing your writing journey. One of the things that strikes me is how many writers began their journeys as avid readers. I'm convinced that the two are related. And I believe that what we read has a profound influence on what we write. Your story of being influenced by Marvel Comics is a great example of that. I wish you much success.

Stephen Tremp said...

Patricia, thanks for hosting me. You were one of the original commenters on my blog back in Dani's BBT class. Its great that many of us are still around and still visit each other's blogs.

Kitty, the people at Marvel were masters at developing complex characters. Many were tortured souls and a few had some skeletons in their closet too.

Maris, thanks for your interestin Breakthough! I love the idea of present day sci-fi. WIth the explosion of knowledge today, why place this book in the future? There's no reason to.

Margot, I did read a lot. I have to laugh when I hear a writer say they do not read much. I just don't see how it is possible to write a good story if one doesn't read themselves.

Clarissa Draper said...

Yes, most characters are based on us or someone we know or seen on TV. We need to do that I think because it's the best way to fully understand them and their traits and why they do things. Thanks for the look back.

CD

Patricia Stoltey said...

Stephen, from one bookworm to another, it's my pleasure to have you here. I wish you the greatest luck with Breakthrough and the rest of the series.

LTM said...

love reading your "journey." The connection between daydreaming, reading, and love of the craft/dedication to work is the common thread, yes? :o) <3

Arlee Bird said...

I always enjoy reading about what inspires people to do what they do. I guess it's interesting to gauge one's own life against another's to find the contrasts and similarities.
Good interview. Thank you Patricia for hosting Stephen today.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen Tremp said...

Clarissa, that is great insight into characters. By modeling them after people and characters you are familiar with, you can better understand and thus develop them.

Patricia, thanks for the well wishes!

LTM, I was a day dreamer. Probably had ADD as a kid as my attention span was next to nil. I'm better now. For example, I .... hey, a squirrel with a fluffy tail!

Arlee, I draw inspiration from other people's inspiration. Especially those who have overcome great obstacles in their lives.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Always starts with comic books, doesn't it? Or is that just for us guys?
Stephen, hate to say it, but Chase sounds a lot different than you... Of course, I really only know how to judge the ladies!

Sheila Deeth said...

Cool! I love to read writers' journeys.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Very good interview, excellent to read.

Yvonne.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. great to catch you both here .. I loved this story .. of getting started, how it all began .. and just letting the dialogue tell the story ..

So simple .. but oh oh .. such fun .. and by the sound of it wonderful to read .. my copy is on its way ..

Loved this .. thanks so much - I think you're teaching us so much here in your approach - methodical and efficient, yet fun and seriously researched .. food calls!!

Enjoy your weekends .. Hilary

Enid Wilson said...

Travelling through space is possible...That means beaming in Star Trek is possible...Can you beam me to attend your next book signing, Stephen?

My Darcy Mutates

Stephen Tremp said...

Alex, comic books are a great way to get young kids reading. I'm glad I did. Just wish I would have kept them. I could sell them and be retired.

Sheila, this was fun to write too. Glad you enjoyed it.

Yvonne, as always, thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked it.

Hilary, I'm happy people are enjoying and learning from the virtual tour. I feel like I'm giving back to the blogging community.

Enid Wilson said...

And Pat, like your new blog look. Go very well with your Colorado photo, if that's it.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Enid. That Colorado photo is Horsetooth Reservoir, right up here on the Northern Front Range.

N. R. Williams said...

I love the concept Stephen and I can't wait to read it. Here's to my birthday falling a week before Christmas. Maybe I'll have enough money given me to buy a kindle. Crossing fingers.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Karen Lange said...

Thanks to both of you! Great interview. Love the name of Breakthrough's MC!

Jemi Fraser said...

Terrific interview! Love the wormhole concept :)

ali said...

Hi Patricia, beautiful blog you have here! And this was a great interview--now I've learned of two authors I need to check out!

Stephen Tremp said...

Ali, nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks to everyone who came by to visit with Stephen yesterday, and thanks to you, Steve, for being a great guest.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Patricia! Nice blog. I found it interesting how you and Stephen met and became friends. I enjoyed reading about Stephen's journey as a writer.