Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MBN Welcomes Tom Fowler, Author of The Latson Disappearance

Mystery Books News: Authors on Tour

Mystery Books News is thrilled to welcome Tom Fowler as our guest blogger. Tom is the author of The Latson Disappearance (PublishAmerica Trade Paperback, February 2009, 978-1-60836-147-2), a story of murder, mystery, intrigue, and all-too-human evil.

Today, Tom relates what it means to him to write and how he came to be a published author. And he's also providing our readers with an opportunity to win a signed copy of his most recent book. Visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Tom Fowler: The Latson Disappearance" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (2081) for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends July 06, 2010.)

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Tom Fowler
Photo courtesy of Tom Fowler

I would like to share with you a little bit about myself and how I came to be a writer and novelist.

I am 60 years old and retired from a 34 year career in telecommunications. I wrote my first mystery novel, All in His Past, in 1992. I realized when writing a term paper for a computer class I was taking that I enjoyed writing and preparing it far more than the subject matter I was writing about! Since completing All in His Past, I have written several more novels and not all of them are mystery stories.

As with this blog’s previous guest blogger, I share with Del Staecker the fact that I have received no formal education in writing. Whatever I have written well or poorly is to my credit or fault and mine alone.

I have done all sorts of writing in the 18 years since 1992 but mystery writing is to me the most fun, challenging and rewarding of all the genres. I have been able to mix in elements of horror and the challenge of creating something of quality from nothing is always an invigorating and rewarding challenge. Allow me to share with you brief synopses of my two books in print and how the main characters came to be. As you know, plot and the characters that drive it are the essence of any good work of fiction.

All in His Past is the story of a young man and his family set in a small Texas town in 1989. Roy Bullard is a good, solid citizen; quiet and unassuming to the point of dullness. But, there is much more to Roy than meets the eye, for in his youth Roy was a far different person that what people know him to be now. When he and his family become tormented by murderous psychopaths for an unknown reason, Roy is tough enough physically and emotionally to deal with them on their own terms. I have always been intrigued with the idea of the underdog being able to deal with bullies and tough guys on unexpected even terms so I took this idea to an exaggerated extension. The first half of the book is the mystery portion; the second half is the exciting pursuit of the villains. All in His Past was my first effort at serious fiction but remains my most intense effort.

Roy’s character is taken loosely from a person I know who possesses the quiet dignity and efficiency of Roy plus a few of his physical characteristics. All of my main characters in fiction are taken from persons I know or know something about. I will borrow personality traits, demeanor and physical appearance or any combination of the three from a real person or persons to form a character. I never base a character totally on a single real person. I am blessed with a vivid imagination and that is simply not necessary.

In The Latson Disappearance, the main character is George Latson. George is a young man who returns to his Oklahoma City home on a Friday evening after being away on business all week to find his house empty and wife and child missing. This story was based on an incident a man I knew experienced. I took this true life experience and developed it into a murder mystery. George’s character is based loosely on myself as I imagined how I may react to the circumstances I placed George in, which was quite personal experience for me in itself. This book also contains mystery, suspense and a very tense pursuit of George’s enemies.

In my third and most recent full length mystery novel, In the Midst of Normalcy, (available in e-book form), my main character, Tim Coleman, is hosting an extended family reunion in his Overland Park, Kansas home when murder happens unexpectedly in the basement. The murder scene, a converted basement made into a recreation room with an oversize poster of the film actress Marilyn Monroe, is the actual recreation room in a home close to where I live. The murder victim was found at the feet of the cardboard Marilyn Monroe. On the morning I was to write the “Marilyn” chapter, I was so excited that I arose early and completed it very quickly. I feel it is one of the most poignant chapters in the book. In case you are wondering, a good friend gladly allowed me to “borrow” his rec room and picture of Marilyn. I acknowledge this in the book’s credits.

When I write, I do not concentrate on dialogue as other writers often do. I concentrate on the story and how best to convey it. The characters are alive for me and I imagine them in my mind’s eye interacting with each other but rarely do I focus on the dialogue they exchange. Perhaps this is a flaw in my writing style but that is how I do it. I conveyed a strong sense of fear, unease and dread within In the Midst of Normalcy, to the point where even the mice in the attic of the Coleman home sensed it and did not want to remain in the house. Mood and atmosphere can at times, I feel, compensate for inadequate dialogue but a writer has to be careful with this attitude. One must strive for the best of both.

Finally and as stated previously, I love to take an idea, develop it and make something of substance from nothing. In All in His Past, I took a favorite theme and ran with it until I had a good size novel. With the fictional George Latson, I took a true life event and expanded it into an extreme situation. For In the Midst of Normalcy, (aka The House of Murder), I developed an entire family and family history and placed the Coleman family in an environment of insufferable horror. It was at times invigorating, frustrating and challenging to the point that it took me to the edges of my abilities to create, but what a wonderful experience it was. For me, there is nothing else like fiction writing and mystery fiction is the icing on a very delicious cake.

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Tom lives in Overland Park, Kansas with his wife Kathy, and near two of their three grandchildren. He has been writing since 1992 and has written several full length fiction novels, plus many short stories in the horror, mystery, fantasy, mainstream and romance genres. He has also written film reviews and other non-fiction articles on a variety of subjects. Visit his website at TomFowlerWritings.com.

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The Latson Disappearance by Tom Fowler
More information about the book

About The Latson Disappearance: A man returns home one evening and finds that his family and all the household furnishings have disappeared. (What happened to them? Why?) None of his neighbors saw anyone come in or out of the house. The story takes place in Oklahoma City in 1989, but the answer to this mystery is found in Los Angeles several years later.

George Latson is up against some very ruthless people but for a long time did not know it—until they began making mistakes. Then murder and attempted murder commence with tragic results. The Latson Disappearance is a story of murder, mystery, intrigue, and all-too-human evil.

For a chance to win a signed copy of The Latson Disappearance, courtesy of the author, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Tom Fowler: The Latson Disappearance" contest link, and enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (2081) in the entry form. (One entry per person; contest ends July 06, 2010.)


  1. I think I would like this book.

  2. Amazon indicates The Latson Disppearance is unavailable, but you can order directly from Tom at tomfowlerwritings.com.


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