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Jeffrey Thomas

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Jeffrey Thomas, courtesy of the author; 220x311

Jeffrey Thomas

Jeffrey Thomas is a prolific writer of science fiction and horror, best known for his stories set in the nightmarish future city called Punktown, such as the novel Deadstock (Solaris Books) and the collection Punktown (Ministry of Whimsy Press), from which a story was reprinted in St. Martin's The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #14.

His fiction has also been reprinted in Daw's The Year's Best Horror Stories XXII, ChiZine Publications' The Year's Best Weird Fiction Volume 1, and other "best of" anthologies. He has been a 2003 finalist for the Bram Stoker Award (Best First Novel) for Monstrocity, and a 2008 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Deadstock.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

I don't participate in many conventions or public book signings, so I don't meet many fans in person. I do, though, interact with my readers quite a bit through social media like Facebook, or they sometimes contact me via email, and it's extremely rewarding when they express their enthusiasm for my work. My readers don't really shape the content of my work, but they certainly inspire me to keep going when I feel discouraged about my strange vocation.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

It's immensely gratifying when you can count writers you admire among your readers. Back in the 90s, author Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation) invited me to meet him at a convention that was taking place close to my home. He felt sufficient admiration for my work in the small press to thereafter publish my book Punktown, which was the first major leap in my writing career. So, a fateful meeting indeed!

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Oh, too many writers and films have inspired me greatly over the years to easily list here. I guess the obvious answer, in terms of authors, is H. P. Lovecraft, because I've written quite a few stories inspired by his creations and concepts. I've been reluctant to become pigeonholed as a Lovecraftian writer, but I keep getting invited to take part in such cool Lovecraft-inspired anthologies!

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

I like the spaceship idea. In that scenario, the love of my life, but I won't name her here. In terms of a name people might recognize, though...without making it sound like a creepy fantasy, I'd say someone fetching like Norah Jones. Because she could sing to me, see!

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Where to begin? Terrorists, dictators, serial killers, people with a flatulence problem. We're talking an enclosed space, after all.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Coffee. Lots of coffee. I don't know what title I would choose if it came down to only one book. No single book could satisfy me indefinitely. How long is this trip, anyway? I might bring the anthology The Weird, edited by Ann and Jeff VandeerMeer, mainly because it's so huge.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

To fully immerse my readers in every aspect of my stories. No just in the plots, or in the fantastical worlds I work so hard to build around my readers like a virtual environment, but immersed in the lives -- the emotions and conflicts -- of my characters. I want my readers to be fully engaged, thoroughly engrossed, and to feel their time was well spent.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

When I get feedback from readers and reviewers that suggests I achieved the aim stated in my reply to the previous question. When I feel I've truly transported the reader, taken them somewhere else for a while. I take it seriously when a reader entrusts their precious free time to me, and I feel good when I know I haven't let them down.

submitted by Jeffrey Thomas

3 Jul 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Marlborough, Massachusetts, October 3rd, 1957
Resides: Massachusetts
Punktown, Ministry of Whimsy Press, 2000
Monsrocity, Prime Books, 2003
Letters From Hades, Bedlam Press, 2003
Unholy Dimensions, Mythos Books, 2005
Deadstock, Solaris Books, 2007
Blue War, Solaris Books, 2008
Ghosts of Punktown, Dark Regions Press, 2014
...and many other novels, short story collections, and anthology appearances.

Web site:
Amazon Author's Page


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