This is Rachael Angelo with Running Wild Press, and I am excited to be interviewing Tom Rinkes for the press today. Tom is the author of Time to Quit, which appears in our upcoming Running Wild Press Novella Anthology (October, 2017).
RA: Tom, please let me start by saying I enjoyed reading your story. I liked the multiple aspects from future to past and time travel mixed in. It’s intriguing to think about the conversations that took place then that we don’t know about or simple events we also don’t know of.
Thank you in advance for your time! I say let’s have some fun 🙂
RA: First, tell us what inspires you both as a person and a writer?
TR: I’d say my mother. She loved to write opinion essays for her Baptist Church, and was even asked to read them at the American Baptist Conferences she was invited to. She would sit at her typewriter, write a paragraph and then read it out loud, a concept I use now when I write. I’m guessing my passion for writing was in the family DNA.
RA: Why this particular story? I find most people write with purpose. I am intrigued to know what your drive behind this one is 🙂
TR: First, let me say I’m deep into the theories of time travel. Personally, I think it’s entirely possible in our future, and may be happening today. Sometime, in 2013, I accidentally—I think—came across a picture of Lewis Thornton Powell while surfing the net. I looked hard at this man. The photo was taken in July 1865. This can’t be right, I thought. This guy could walk into any McDonald’s today and order up a Number 3, and no one would think anything about it. So, in Time To Quit, I replaced him with his nephew, five generations forward, who goes back to 1865 to stop his uncle’s murderous ways. Then, the rest just flowed.
RA: Have you always had a passion for history?
TR: Oh yes. Ever since I can remember. I was a C student at best, but I aced History Class every year. It has always fascinated me why the world keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, as if they can’t—or won’t—learn for it. I had an eighth-grade history teacher named Mr. Ayers who was fanatical about two subjects: the Civil War and the Mafia. I caught the Cosa Nostra bug from him, but not the Civil War until I started this story.
RA: Is your lineage tied to any of the characters from your story?
TR: I certainly hope not. All those involved in the multiple assassination plot were scoundrels, especially John Wilkes Booth. All my people were from Ohio and West Virginia, both Free States. If I did have any relatives who fought for the South, I wouldn’t admit it.
RA: Growing up, what was life like and what influenced you? Would you say this has shaped you as a writer?
TR: Growing up in the fifties, most of the men in my hometown either worked in the steel mills or the coal mines or services. My dad was a milkman and worked long, hard hours to make ends meet. Mom was a homemaker, and while we weren’t “dirt poor,” we didn’t have a lot of money. So, I did what most young kids do in that situation; I daydreamed of better things. I let my imagination—called by some family members as “wild-ass”—run wild whenever I could. Finally, six years ago when I retired, I decided to put it to good use. It remains to be seen if it pays off.
RA: Do you believe that things happen for a reason? For example, being able to write this story?
TR: I take Ecclesiastics literally. Everyone is appointed a time to live and a time to die. To me, that’s a birth date and a death date. Each person’s life is a Book, and at certain junctions in our lives, a new chapter opens and an old one closes. I’ve always went with my gut feelings, and something told me six years ago to start writing down all that my imagination had stored over the years. Time To Quit came easy to me because of my prior beliefs in time travel. And I’m not done yet.
RA: Are there any words of wisdom you may have for authors writing across time periods?
TR: Three words. Do Your Research! I had a general idea of how I wanted this tale to go, but after I got into it and found out about the extended victims of the whole assassination plot, I spent many hours at Wikipedia and other Civil War sites. I needed to know a little bit about all the characters to place them in dialogue situation that would be believable to the reader. I was surprised to find the planners of this whole operation were safely—and might I add cowardly—tucked away in Toronto, Canada, and that even after the South surrendered the Knights of the Golden Circle were still financing a new plan to extend their slave empire southward. It was even rumored that Jesse James gave large amounts of the money he stole to them. Not only did I find this fascinating but I became engrossed in the subject and couldn’t wait to write more each day. This novel was an enjoyable learning experience for me.
RA: Tom, I really enjoy your answers. Thank you again for giving me some of your time!
TR: It was my pleasure.
You can read Tom Rinkes’ Time to Quit and stories by more authors in the upcoming Running Wild Press Novella Anthology. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest.