MA: Brian L. Thompson, Great Nation Publishing’s President/Sole Proprietor and author of The Lost Testament, is a licensed educator, and former professional journalist.
He showed an early interest in classical literature and the arts, particularly after his poem, “Black Sunday,” received an honorable mention in Gwynedd-Mercy College’s literary contest for high school students in 1993.
A 1994 North Penn High School graduate, he continued his education at Morehouse College in Atlanta. While there, Thompson wrote for the Maroon Tiger newspaper; moving up the ranks from staff writer, to Sports Editor, and finally to Editor-in Chief.
After earning his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in English in 1998, he transitioned to a staff writer position at Montgomery Newspapers.
In 2000, his second as a professional journalist, he returned to the field of academics at Temple University, earning a Master’s Degree in secondary education in 2001.
Thompson then turned to education at West Charlotte High and Newton High schools respectively while simultaneously researching and writing his first Christian fiction novel, The Lost Testament – a project self-described as a “faith-based tale with everyday characters engaged in a thrilling plot.”
During this time, he also helped edit author Sabra Robinson’s anthology of inspirational stories entitled The Lost Sheep: How I Got (And AM Still Getting) Over the Hump – A Personal Account of God’s Restoration After Doubting His Purpose, the Church, and Human Existence.
He and his family reside in Georgia.
That is one impressive set of credentials, Brian. I am pleased to have you as my guest today. It sounds like you’ve spent a career between writing and teaching.
BLT: Well Mike, I’m a born writer and educator. I’ve been writing since I was 13. Professionally, I’ve taught in public schools. I was also an award-winning journalist for a time at a weekly newspaper. In May of last year, I resigned from teaching English and journalism to become a full-time writer and motivational speaker.
MA: What brought you to pursue writing novels?
BLT: I’ve always had a passion for writing and reading. As much as I believe I was called by God to do what I’m doing, I love to read an action-packed story with a redemptive message and I just don’t think the market has enough of that right now.
MA: I know what you mean. My own stories feature faith as a major character attribute of my protagonist. Did you find inspiration for your novels in your professional career in academia and writing?
BLT: I find that everything that I’ve done professionally, from teaching in the classroom, to clearing dishes at a restaurant, has added to the flavor of my particular brand of literature. But all of my characters are composite; there’s no one character I modeled after a particular person. In my first novel, Kelley James is a mixture of my deceased maternal grandmother and a few other older relatives.
MA: Tell us about your latest project.
BLT: The Revelation Gate is my most recent novel and is what would probably be called historical Christian fiction. It’s the story of one man’s journey toward becoming the deliverer of his people. There’s a love story, political intrigue, a racial war, and a message of redemption that my literary friend Michelle Sutton called “mind blowing.”
MA: Who’s the protagonist?
BLT: The protagonist, Chimelu, is really representative of what I imagine a flawed hero would be: fearful, unsure, lonely, and confused with these amazing abilities that transcend comprehension. I armed him with those characteristics, and as I put him in these terrible situations, the character sort of wrote himself.
MA: Would you describe him as courageous?
BLT: He’s a hero, so the courage to do what is right in the face of wrong is there. He puts the welfare of others above himself. At the same time, he’s confused because his destiny is kind of cloudy for most of the book. And he falls in love with a girl whose culture and religion put them at odds. He struggles with that.
MA: I assume your hero has a villain or two that he must struggle against?
BLT: There are a couple of “bad guys.” There’s Kgosi I, who is the king in power at the beginning of the book. He is cruel, but he’s nothing like Kgosi II, his son, who murders him for the throne. There’s Kaizari, who is a self-proclaimed emperor who has managed to live 800 years. Zarek is a kind of puppeteer behind it all.
MA: Is there much of your real life in The Revelation Gate?
BLT: There’s always a little bit of me in every book. My experiences in being an indie publisher and DIY publishing advocate factored into it. One of the books major themes is whether or not to sacrifice your wants for the greater good of others.
MA: I understand you have both a new book in the works and a speaking platform venture. Tell us about them.
BLT: I launched a motivational speaking platform in July called C.A.P.E. (Create a Positive Environment) that really has to do with my belief in DIY publishing. I’m compiling a non-fiction book to complement that. I’m also penning my third book, The Anarchists, for release in 2012. It’s the story of how an unemployed structural engineer, a currency trader, an aspiring marine, and a stay-at-home mom try to save two worlds from destruction.
MA: Do you thread your stories together in any way, like sequels or recurring characters?
BLT: I like to think that all of my characters play a part in the same universe. My first book, The Lost Testament, kind of ended on a cliffhanger, and The Revelation Gate will have a sequel or prequel. The Anarchists features ties to both of those books. Anything else, I guess we’ll have to see!
MA: Thanks, Brian! I am pleased you were able to stop by and guest with me today. For my readers, be sure to stop by Brian’s blog for more information about him and his writing: http://blthompson.wordpress.com/