Interview with L.E. Thomas, Author of Invasion

05 Aug 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, Invasion?

The novel tells the story of a young man reacting to a planetary assault and coping with the subsequent occupation by forces from a mysterious Empire forcing him to assimilate into their culture. While the novel takes place in the Star Runners Universe, I wanted Invasion to serve as a new entry point to the series that does not ask the reader to know anything about the existing worlds. I wanted this book to be a fun, quick summer ride. I hope I succeeded.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

More than anyone else, my parents encouraged me to love books. Some of my earliest memories are going to the local library. I remember them telling my extended family I wanted nothing but science fiction and fantasy books for Christmas. I would leave my grandparents house with armloads of new books. The actual writing bug came from my second grade teacher (bless you Mrs. Hennessee, wherever you are) who assigned us a creative writing project instructing us to write whatever we wanted. I loved it. From that moment on, I started writing and my parents supported me by reading my work. I was hooked.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

“Lord of the Rings” hooked me when I was young. It had a significant impact on my early life and the possibilities of world-building.

“Heir to the Empire” by Timothy Zahn surprised me when I was in middle school because I had no idea more Star Wars stories were coming. I had never read a book so fast.

“The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara showcased how interesting history could be in a novel format. I discovered this book by accident and have never forgotten the effect it had on me.

“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy blew my mind when it came out. I bought it at a local bookstore that has since shut down, knowing nothing about the book or the author. I thought it sounded cool. I still remember passages from that novel.

“11.22.63” by Stephen King kept me up nights a couple years ago. It’s a doorstopper of a book and I read it in a few days. Amazing.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Timothy Zahn who reignited my interest in Star Wars and space fantasy with “Heir to the Empire.” I have always wanted to ask him about writing that particular book since no one to my knowledge had written a brand new authorized novel about the tales of my childhood heroes Leia, Luke and Han other than the “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” by Alan Dean Foster. “Splinter” was an interesting sequel in that it took place in place of Empire Strikes Back, so my question for Mr. Zahn would be about the feeling of continuing the story after the movies. Were you excited? Terrified? Confident? Stumped?

Man, I would love to have coffee with him and chat about this process. I get chills thinking about it.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The escape.

I write to share scenes formed in my mind while driving a lengthy commute or hiking in the woods. For example, scenes in the first Star Runners book came from my dreams as a bullied middle schooler who hadn’t hit a growth spurt. Rather than go to school, I wanted to get whisked away to fly a space fighter lightyears from Earth.

I think it’s important for all of us to switch off and have dream time. I hope my books can help people grab time to escape.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up. Early. Usually between 4 and 5 a.m. On the weekends I don’t use an alarm and still often wake up by 7 a.m. I take a walk or hike to clear my head. Then, I drink coffee and write before the world has time to take me away from what I love doing the most.

After 7 a.m., it’s time for the real world and all its duties. That will continue until dinner time.

If I have the energy on the weeknight, I will edit some work, but I usually save that for the weekends. Weeknights are for reading, gaming, or watching a movie before I go to sleep and start it all over again in the morning.

What scene in Invasion was your favorite to write?

Tough one. Other than the initial attack on the main character’s planet, I enjoyed the training scene when the local resistance attacks the occupying forces. I enjoyed the revelations for the main character, Nat, and his internal battle, wondering if he was on the right side or if his commanding officer was friend or foe. I had fun writing that particular scene because I remember it just played out in my head as I was writing it. I love it when that happens!

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I have always lived by a quote often attributed to Mark Twain. “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

L.E. Thomas is the author of the new book Invasion.

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