While working my way through the editing process on my next mystery/thriller, Color of Betrayal, it occurred to me that Kid Lit Universe readers may not realize that my publisher, Barking Rain Press, has a line of Young Adult novels. A traditional publisher, Barking Rain Press is included in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ PAL (Published and Listed) publishers.
Phillip Tomasso is one of my fellow BRP authors. He’s a prolific writer and has published more than a hundred short stories and articles, plus twenty-three novels. With baseball season starting up, I thought it would be good time to feature Sounds of Silence. Twelve-year-old Marco Lippa is the star pitcher for his Little League baseball team and does his best to lead his team to victory against their cross-town rivals, reveling in the cheering and applause. After one particular game, he becomes sick and is rushed to the hospital. Treated for meningococcal disease, Marco wakes up to discover that he is deaf—and all of his dreams seem to crumble.
Kid Lit Universe: Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
Phillip Tomasso: I play guitar. Not too bad it. It only gets bad when I sing as well. That is not something you ever want to have to hear. I have had people pull up next to me at red lights and raise their windows just to escape the noise.
KLU: If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?
PT: Fly. I don’t even have to think about it. Even as an adult, I still have dreams where I have the ability to fly.
KLU: Do you write in other genres besides Young Adult?
PT: I am the author of twenty-three novels. I have written suspense novels, legal thrillers, a zombie trilogy, a science fiction novella, mystery novels for early readers, and fantasy (the fantasy books are YA).
KLU: How did you get started writing?
PT: I grew up with something of a reading disability. I did all I could NOT to read. In seventh grade we had to read the book, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Turns out, Hinton was sixteen when she wrote the book. It hooked me. I read her other novels. From that day on, I became an avid reader. I realized I was always something of a storyteller, and figured if Hinton could get me interested in reading, maybe I could write stories and encourage other reluctant readers to read as well! I had my first short story published in the high school journal when I was a freshman.
KLU: What was your path to publication?
PT: For roughly ten years I sold nothing but short stories and articles. I really wanted to be a novelist though. So after I’d completed a suspense novel, I started submitting to anyone and everyone. In late 1999, I sold Mind Play. It was published by a small press in February 2000. Although I have sold a few short stories here and there since then, I primarily write novels now.
KLU: What is your writing weakness? How do you overcome it?
PT: Editing, and re-writes. I overcome it by editing, and re-writing, lol!
KLU: How do you select the names of your characters?
PT: I used to use the names of family and friends. Now, I keep a notebook of cool names I hear, or Google search lists of names, and scroll through until I find the one that feels right.
KLU: Do you set your stories locally?
PT: Except for my fantasy novels, I everything I write takes place in Rochester, NY—with actual street and business names. Makes it fun for locals to read.
KLU: Do you set a daily writing goal?
PT: I feel that writing is a lot like exercise or brushing your teeth. If you dedicate time per day to writing, and stick to it, it becomes habit. I usually write during the midnight hours. I am far less productive during the day. When I go a day or two without writing, I get edgy, as if suffering from withdrawal. It’s important to set a specific time each day and stick to it, at least for me.
KLU: What is your favorite children’s book?
PT: Dr. Seuss books—any of them. I used to read them to my kids. They will always be special to me. Fun, unique tales that are truly entertaining and worth reading out loud.
KLU: How do you market your books?
PT: I am very active on Facebook, Twitter, and my website. I blog regularly and interact in Facebook Groups. I also do giveaways on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as speak at schools and in classrooms.
KLU: Do you Google yourself? If so, what is the most interesting thing you’ve found?
PT: >blush< I have been known to. LOL. Nothing remarkable ever shows up. Just the names of books, book covers, and pictures of me. It is kinda cool to be so Google-able, I must admit.
KLU: What are you working on now?
PT: I have a new fantasy novel coming out, Assassin’s Promise, it is the fourth in a series; and a horror novel, Woman In The Woods. I am also writing a Gang/Crime novel which I do not yet have a publisher for.