Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Welcome back to Day Two with Tom Blubaugh, who was raised in southeast Kansas. Tom began writing poetry at age 14. He's written nonfiction most of his adult life. Bound by Faith Publishers published Night of the Cossack in April 2011. Tom and his wife Barbara have six children and fourteen grandchildren. He retired from his career as an entrepreneur in 2004 and devotes most of his time to writing and volunteer work. Readers, comment with an answer to Tom's question in order to enter a drawing for a copy of Night of the Cossack. Overseas readers will be eligible for an electronic copy of the book.
Tom, we were talking about research. Have you caught yourself up on any unusual details or fantastic sources material that you’d like to share?
I spent a lot of time in the public library and the Missouri State University library pouring over books and maps. MSU has a tremendous map library, which really helped. I interviewed students from Russia and Ukraine. I had letters from relatives in Israel translated. I spent hundreds of hours on the Internet researching. I interviewed the one living relative, my mother’s t younger sister, shortly before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. One Russian History professor who graduated from Moscow Univ. told me, after she read the first fifty pages of my manuscript, that there wasn’t a word of truth in it. This threw me for a loop until, after talking with people from Russia, that there is the official history sanctioned by the government and then there is the real history written by those who escaped. Our local library reference department was like having a full time staff helping me research. They are the best. I don’t think there are any unusual details or fantastic source materials other than what I’ve shared. It took five years to do the research.
Did you learn anything about the era you’ve researched that surprised you?
A lot! The industrial revolution was in process. Although the Cossacks were excellent horseman, automobiles, steam ships, trains, a postal service, pharmacies and automatic revolving weapons were in existence. Hitler and Stalin were alive. When I was a kid, I didn’t like history, but now it fascinates me.
What do you want readers to know about you and your world when they’ve read your books?
That writing is hard work and developing a name is even harder. When they go to a library or book store and see the hundreds or thousands of books on the shelves, do not take them for granted. There’s a story behind every title and every author—every publishing company for that matter. Publishing, as we’ve known it, is changing rapidly. There were over a million books published last year. The personal computer didn’t exist until 1978 or so. Those in middle school have never known a life without computers—maybe even some high school students. As I stated, writing and publishing is difficult now—it’s hard to imagine what it was like fifty years ago.
What do you tell other writers who come to you for encouragement?
First and foremost, start developing a marketing platform now—before you have written your book. This is the best of time for writers because they know their work will be published—if not by a publisher, by them. Join a critique group, either in their area or online. Associate with other writers as much as possible.
What do you read for fun?
Everything. It’s fun to read books written by authors I’ve met in person or online. I love the wish list on Amazon.com. I can put all the books my friends write on it and work down the list.
What's your favorite marketing method?
Speaking to groups and signing books. I love the interaction with the readers and I enjoy speaking.
Thank you so much for your insight and your time, Tom.