I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Thomas Marks, a man who hasn’t slept for more than one night in one place ever since his personal quest to prepare for what he calls “a terrible war” started almost a year ago. He was kind enough to swing by my office on the way to his next meeting and fill me in on the book Long Road to Phoenix which sheds a little light on his exciting adventure.
Claire Golding: Good morning everyone. It is my pleasure to have in the office with me Thomas Marks, who many of you may or may not know as one of the main characters in Sam Best’s novel Long Road to Phoenix. Thanks for coming in, Thomas.
Thomas Marks: Call me Tom, please.
C: Sure. First off, what can you tell us about the story?
T: Well, it’s kind of crazy, actually. Sort of hard to pin it down to one category. It has some elements of action and little bits of horror I guess.
C: A couple of the characters aren’t actually human, is that right?
T: Well, sort of. One of them starts out as human, then gets possessed by something else.
C: So there are some supernatural elements as well.
C: What’s the main idea behind everything?
T: According to the kid, there’s this big war coming and he’s supposed to “wake up” all these people so they can fight the bad guys.
C: “Wake up?”
T: Yeah, we need to get to Phoenix–
C: So that’s where the title of the book came from?
T: You’d have to ask Sam, but probably. Anyway, so we drive across the country to get to Phoenix and we’re adding all of these things to this jar of ashes from different people so they can be used to wake everyone up. It’s all pretty cool, actually.
C: Are those the ashes there?
T: (patting an old jar he brought with him to the interview) Yep. They’re also the reason I can only give you ten minutes instead of thirty like you asked for. I have to be somewhere right after this.
C: No problem. So, who are the bad guys that you mentioned?
T: I don’t really know, to be honest. I do know that they aren’t really human and they’re really nasty. I met one of them in the book, so you can read about it there.
C: How did you get involved with this whole thing?
T: The kid found me. I was drinking in a bar and he walked right in and sat next to me. Well, more like ran in. He was being chased by the guy who killed his brother.
C: What happened to his brother?
T: He never told me. But it’s his ashes in the jar.
C: The brother’s?
T: Yeah. The kid told me he needed to get them to Phoenix for the funeral. I didn’t really believe him, but he offered me a ****load of cash and I had other pressing reasons to leave town.
C: Would you mind trying not to swear? I’ll have to star out the words later and it’s a huge pain.
T: Sure, sorry.
C: Thanks. Why did you need to leave town?
T: (shifting in his chair) I’d rather not talk about it, if that’s okay. Things didn’t really end well, if we could just leave it at that.
C: No problem. What was it like to have your story told to a wider audience?
T: Well, hopefully wider. People might not even read it.
C: It sounds really interesting though.
T: It is. Hopefully folks will give it a chance.
C: So what was it like having your story told?
T: Something you have to realize, Claire, is that my story is only one small part of a much larger picture. There are things happening all over the world to other people while me and this kid are running around trying to get things done. The war is coming, and everyone will be affected. I think Sam has another book that explores what’s going on out there.
C: What’s that book about?
T: He hasn’t told me specifically, but I know it’s in the horror genre.
C: Let’s move on. What have you been working on since Long Road to Phoenix was finished?
T: A lot, actually. Traveling and meeting new people.
C: That’s great. Run into any more bad guys?
T: (smiling) Oh yeah. Turns out they’re everywhere.
You can read more about Tom’s story in the book Long Road to Phoenix, available now.