Interview conducted By Dawn Byrne
Tom Minder’s first novel “The Long Harbor Testament” was published and released this month through Black Rose Writing. He’s no newbie to fiction though with his short stories that can be found in: Tall Tales and Short Stories (mephitis mephitis), STORGY (At the Diner), Fiction on the Web (Murder in South Jersey), PILGRIM: A journal of Catholic experience (Self-Denial), CommuterLit (The Battling McManns), Spank The Carp (Squirrel!), Cat & Mouse Beach Nights Anthology (Burning for Rehoboth).
Tom answered questions about his book and other writings. The following are tidbits about this author of dry humor and his new and upcoming works.
Tell us about you and how writing fits in with your life.
I’m retired and live in Turnersville, NJ with my wife, Paula. After years of promising to write my novel, I started in October 2012. After fifteen months for the first draft, nine more for beta reading and edit, and three years of querying agents and small presses, "The Long Harbor Testament" was accepted by Black Rose Writing. Since I retired, I spend fifteen to twenty hours a week on writing-related activity. This includes new writing, self-editing, submitting short stories, submitting my novel for reviews and planning the marketing steps.
The characters drive your cozy mystery novel in a fun way. How did you come up with these colorful people and how they are connected to the murder?
Sixty-five years of attending weekly mass, Sunday breakfasts, thousands of diner dinners, and seeing criminal elements in Philly and South Jersey via TV, movies, and real life, created a roster of characters waiting to be stuffed into a book. Sit in a diner for an hour and tell me you can’t find characters stranger than fiction.
Food, and consumption thereof, is the great equalizer in our society. Where else do people gather together voluntarily and happily? Sporting events, maybe, but people go for the beer, nachos, questionable meat products, and overpriced pretzels as much as for the contest. Speaking of athletic feats, navigate through the crowd at halftime looking for a rest room and you’ll see moves unmatched on the field. All making room for the next beer and crab fries.
Beside diners, your settings tend to be along bodies of water. Is there a reason for this?
I hadn’t thought of that. I guess the seaside and ocean have calming effects on people while also posing dangers from rip currents, large people on inner tubes, unexpected waves which can cause wardrobe malfunctions, etc.
I've read some of your short stories, and am excited about your next project. Can you talk about that?
I’m planning an anthology of the short stories, all featuring the same two main characters, with occasional cameos from the Jersey Devil. This married couple is a composite of myself and Paula, Dagwood and Blondie, and Nick and Nora Charles. I’m not sure about my next novel but am thinking along religious lines.
Thank you for the interview, Tom. Looking forward to your collection of short stories, and more.