Monday, February 28, 2011

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Julius Thompson

Hello friends! Let me introduce you to Julius Thompson, the author behind Ghost of Atlanta.

Tell us a little introduction
I grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York.
The sixties in Brooklyn was an era that had a personality, a feel, and a life-force that changed a generation. I felt this energy and experienced these fires of social change.
My parents were lower middle class, but believed in exposure to different things.
We loved to travel, we always took family vacations. I most enjoyed our cross country tours in our station wagon.
The experience of the opera, ballet and symphony was incredible. One of my favorite places was Lincoln Center in New York City and of course Broadway.
This upbringing was very unique for the sixties and early seventies in black families.
My neighborhood had clean streets, family owned stores and shops, good friends and camaraderie in this Brooklyn Community.

In a quick summary, what can you tell us about Ghost of Atlanta?
After landing a job with The Atlanta Defender, Andy returns home and visits the place where he finally faces remembrances of his deceased abusive father. While walking around the grounds, he meets his mysterious cousin, Joe Boy, and finds out that the property is going to be sold by unscrupulous cousins. As the story unwinds, all these forces push Andy toward the breaking point, where he almost quits on life. Malevolent mortal deeds are committed and Andy could be next in line.
What are the genres that you read and why?

I love to read mainstream and mystery books like Terry Kay’s To Dance with the White Dog, Sue Henry’s Degrees of Separation or Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress. 

What was the inspiration behind the series?

The inspiration for writing the trilogy came from the people I’ve known, loved and imagined over the years and the situations I’ve encountered. That’s my standard answer, because it is so true. Andy Michael Pilgrim and the rest of the characters are all people, and no one. The great music of the era, humor, anger, sadness, life, death are all a part of Andy. I wanted to share this as well as the turbulent times.At that time riots, sit-ins, Vietnam War were popular themes and the reasons for the turbulence. As for more modern times, sharing the “new south experiences” helped the characters. 

Do you think that book covers impact a sale of a book?

I feel very strongly they do. When you go into a bookstore it’s the cover that attracts the attention of the reader and which definitely has an impact on the success of a book.
At Passionate Writer Publishing, the cover designer did an excellent job on Ghost of Atlanta, from the books color to the photo of the young man on the cover he captured the intensity of the character, Andy Michael Pilgrim. It adds mystery to the book. 

What do you think is the hardest part in writing a book?

The hardest part of writing a book for me is the organization of the scenes and character development. It’s developing characters unique to the book and are able carry a storyline.
In putting together a trilogy the task is how to organize your information, what to include and exclude in each book. How to give enough information to have continuity, but yet the books can be read as separate entities. This was a problem that I constantly worked through in the twelve years of writing these books.

e-books are becoming popular today, are you a traditional paper person or would you rather read e-books and why?

I’m a traditional person who loves to read paper books. I love the feel of the book in my hand and the turning of the pages. This creates an atmosphere that enhances the author-reader relationship. 
I feel like I’m editing a book when I read it in e-book format. Most of my friends love the e-book, but this will have to be something I have to get used to doing…in the next lifetime (smile).         

What do you do besides writing?

I’m a sports fanatic and a twenty-year high school basketball coach.  I love to read books on my deck and travel. You will find me at high school basketball games, football games and track meets. As a high school teacher I love to see students be successful in all activities.

5 books that you highly recommend besides your novels?   

To Kill A Mockingbird: Harper Lee is a southern storyteller that creates atmosphere, vivid settings and characters that come to life on the pages of her novel. Degrees of Separation: Sue Henry creates a word puzzle that you try to solve as you read.To Dance With the White Dog: Terry Kay’s carnival of characters tell a touching story and entertains the reader.Devil in a Blue Dress: Walter Mosley’s characters are alive in Los Angeles and the setting of the early fifties.Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neal Hurston showcases how strong Black Americans were in this southern epic.

Any events that you would want to share with us? 

I’m anxiously awaiting the 2011 nominations for Georgia Author of The Year. I’m hoping I’m on that list of nominees. The contest is sponsored by the Georgia Writer’s Association.

Where can readers find you?

Readers can visit me on Facebook, Twitter and my websites: www.jtwrites.com and www.ghostofatlanta.com . I’d love to chat and answer any questions about my books and the writing process.
I’m a Creative Writing instructor at Evening at Emory, a program of Emory University in Atlanta. 
I will be glad to help any reader or writer with any information that will help them become a published author. 

Ghost of Atlanta In The Ghost of Atlanta, Andy Michael Pilgrim faces demons from his youth that haunted his life. These are the ghosts in the crawl spaces of his life; some are real and some supernatural.
After landing a job with The Atlanta Defender, Andy returns home and visits the place where he finally faces remembrances of his deceased abusive father. While walking around the grounds, he meets his mysterious cousin, Joe Boy, and finds out that the property is going to be sold by unscrupulous cousins.
While Andy fights this battle, he must confront the personal demon of a possible drug addiction, breaking the color barrier at the south’s largest newspaper, The Atlanta Defender, meeting his old girl friend and fighting the lingering effects of segregation in small-town Georgia life.
As the story unwinds, all these forces push Andy toward the breaking point, where he almost quits on life. Malevolent mortal deeds are committed and Andy could be next in line.


Author Bio


Julius Thompson grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York and attended Bushwick High School. The sixties in Brooklyn was an era that had a personality, a feel, and a life-force that changed a generation. Mr. Thompson felt this energy and experienced these fires of social change.

After high school, Mr. Thompson spent the next four years riding the "A" train to Harlem, in upper Manhattan, to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from the City College of New York. At CCNY, which was located just a few blocks from the famous Apollo Theater, Wednesday afternoons was hard on the undergraduates. The matinee performances of the major R&B groups of the times were more tempting than attending a boring college lecture. Most of the time Mr. Thompson succumbed to the temptation, but still earned a college degree from one of the best universities in the country.

At CCNY, literature instructors like Prof. Thomas Tashiro, fueled the fire in him to become a writer!  Brooklyn, New York and attended

Mr. Thompson’s journey to compose a trilogy began in 1995. The fourteen year fictional journey of character Andy Michael Pilgrim from Brooklyn, to Philadelphia and finally Atlanta is now complete. In this pilgrimage, readers experience places that are filled with hopes, dreams, challenges and fears that make us human.

The novels that make up the trilogy are A Brownstone in Brooklyn which was published in 2001, Philly Style and Philly Profile in 2007 and Ghost of Atlanta which will be published the first week of January 2011.
Mr. Thompson received the Georgia Author of the Year nomination for Philly Style and Philly Profile, from the Georgia Writers Association, in 2007.

Mr. Thompson is writing his fourth novel, Purple Phantoms, which is a story about the haunting of a mythical high school basketball team.
Mr. Thompson is currently a Creative Writing/Publishing Instructor at Atlanta’s Evening at Emory’s Writers Studio. For more information please visit him at www.ghostofatlanta.com






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