Watch the Novel Reading from SERENITY (Chapter 3) from the Writing Festival:
Performed by Alissa DeGrazia
Interview with Writer Tom Bleakley:
Matthew: What is your novel about?
Tom: Serenity is a legal thriller, a fictionalized version of a real case. The story revolves around an unfaithful husband headed toward divorce who is prescribed a drug notorious for causing the side effect of unremembered bizarre behavior, including homicide. The husband kills his wife., but claims to remember nothing about the incident The book asks, “Who is to blame?” Is it the husband who kills to preserve his fancy life style, or the avaricious drug company that attempts to hide news of the drug’s terrible effects to keep the billions of dollars of sales from crashing? The husband is tried for murder and he claims that the drug caused him to kill. A jury decides his guilt or innocence — or does it?
Matthew: Why should people read this novel?
Tom: The main reason is to inform the public about risks of prescription drugs in a manner that is interesting and intellectually stimulating. While the work can be described as fiction, great care has been taken to present a story line that closely adheres to an ongoing event occurring with a currently marketed drugs. As a reviewing journalist for a Detroit newspaper wrote “Serenity . . . should be used as a framework for major changes in our pharmaceutical industry and it’s government oversight. I think it should be on every concerned U.S. citizen’s Top 10 reading lists.”
Matthew: How long have you been writing stories?
Tom: I have been writing in one mode or another since high school
Matthew: What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Tom: “What about Bob?” Anything by Bill Murray. He makes me laugh.
Matthew: What artists would you love to work with?
Tom: Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper.
Matthew: How many stories have you written?
Tom: A trial lawyer is, in effect, a story teller. During my legal career, I’ve tried more than seventy major lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry. If this answer is to be limited to the writing of fiction, I have written eighteen short stores or novels.
Matthew: Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
Tom: I love writing and I want to be sitting at my desk writing for three-four hours every day.
Matthew: Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
Tom: I write early in the morning., generally from 4 A.M. to 8 A.M. I have attempted to write Elmore Leonard-style (without an outline) but find that a carefully developed outline both motivates me and takes me down interesting and, sometimes, unexpected pathways.
Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Tom: My eight grandchildren, music (I play the tuba in several concert bands, trombone, euphonium, piano, guitar and banjo), reading, and a love/hate relationship with the game of golf. I’ve exercised nearly every day for more than sixty years.
Matthew: What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival?
Tom: Putting oneself ‘out there’ to be judged/assessed by others is an excellent way to hold oneself accountable for the quality of writing.
Matthew: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Tom: Develop the habit of writing on a daily basis.