Friday, July 6, 2012

Fiction Therapy with Guest Blogger: Tony Thorne

Welcome author Tony Thorne 
to the Book Boost today!

He's here to chat about writing fiction as a means of therapy and here's what he had to say...

Fiction writing to many non-professional enthusiasts is a hobby, and mostly unpaid labor. That thought brings me to the art of writing Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror fiction.  To genre editors nowadays, it must seem there are more writers around than readers. Perhaps the art is becoming a form of therapy that doesn't pay, and is mostly indulged in by amateurs.

Perhaps it's a way to express and analyze one's feelings about the world, and where it's heading, and one’s place in it. In some countries they beat their wives--or anyone handy. That's a cheaper therapy but frowned upon in more enlightened societies. Years ago, to become your own psychiatrist, all you needed was pencil and paper; but nowadays, your laptop is more convenient. Anywhere can become a couch and writing is more socially acceptable than talking to yourself.

I  had some initial success as a budding Science Fiction writer but then spent thirty five years as a design engineer and business executive.  I spent those years developing  product lines, setting up outlets, crumpling the competition, getting the best out of my staff, listening to their problems, and solving them, even my own when I could. The nearer I got to the top of the tree, the more I longed to throw away my collection of emotion-screening masks, insult all the customers, turn my order book in for an axe and hack away at the plastic feet of all the false idols I seemed to be worshiping.

I resented the rat-race, the never-ending battle just to stay level, let alone to advance, and I was filled with remorse at the neglect of my home-life and family. My conscience began to refuse to believe my contrived excuses and justification for what I was doing.

Then one day I threw it all in and went to work for myself.  Not as a writer of fiction but as a computer programmer, specializing in developing software to generate business programs.  With no more international traveling I had more time to start writing fiction again. The day came when my first acceptance arrived. I knew I was progressing when, on re-reading the item, I found I was dissatisfied with it. The magazine printed it in its last ever issue, but it did pay me.

More of the smaller magazines and genre websites began to take my work. I’ve published several collections, appeared in many anthologies, won a few competitions, and my first novel will be published by Eternal Press later this year.

To conclude this concept of therapy, I believe I have discovered there can be contentment in researching the limits of one's abilities, without reaching them. Perhaps the trick is to get almost as far as you believe you can, and stop just before that.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Thanks for joining us today, Tony.  How wonderful that you finally pursued your writing dreams.  Please tell us more about your latest.


A collection of speculative tales to chill and entertain readers of all ages. Consider the cell phone... Do you carry yours everywhere you go? Might you even take it to the grave with you, to be able to warn your wife...? How about the hazards of radiation therapy? How might a hacker go about eliminating a rival..? Would you care to undertake an unusual surgical operation for free, to solve your weight problem..? What might a couple of medical con-men do with a time machine, if they had one... or not.  None of these tales could really happen.. could they..?


I took a deep breath and gingerly picked up the little figure. It was heavy and slightly warm. Then I noticed something strange about its tattooed face. Its grinning lips seemed to be sewn together. The stitches looked real, made from what looked like a shiny green metallic thread, embedded in the material from which the idol was molded. Something about their sinister appearance made me shudder. I hastily put the idol back down on my desk again.

After that I wrote a few letters, glancing at the idol occasionally to see if it had again changed shape. It hadn't and it didn't so, eventually when I'd finished writing, I decided to leave it on my desk and turn in for the night. My bedroom adjoins the living room and I left the door open as usual.

Some time later, it must have been well after midnight, something disturbed me. Raising myself up slightly I could see through the door into the other room. A half moon was shining through the main window in the living room and I could clearly see my desk, which looked the same as usual. Then I realized that the idol was not where I was sure I’d definitely left it. It was certainly not now on the desk. I sat upright with a start and looked around the bedroom. Everything looked normal, until I glanced sideways and saw what I'd dreaded to see. There it was, propped close against my pillow, leaning forward slightly and grinning directly at me, with its arms folded. It didn't move, but I certainly did.

I leapt out of bed on the other side and switched on the twin bedside lamps. The eyes of the idol began to glow and for several long moments we just stared at each other. Then I moistened my lips nervously and croaked. "What do you want with me?" 

The idol seemed to grin even wider. Then, to my horror, it slowly unfolded its right arm and raised it to point directly at me. Totally unnerved, I collapsed into my bedside chair with my heart pounding. I stayed there for quite some time, my eyes fixed on the idol, which still had its arm raised, pointing towards me.

Want More Tony?

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