BIRCH HILL BOOKS
An Interview with Author Tom Maki
Tom Maki is a physician who practiced general surgery for over thirty years. Now retired, he loves writing action and adventure stories and strives only to tell “a pretty good yarn.” On his first website he recorded an interview, and a few parts of it may still be of value to anyone interested in knowing where he’s coming from as a writer.
How did you become interested in writing?
In late grade school I became a voracious reader, particularly of history. One of the things that impressed me at an early age was the ability for someone to write a book. Writing one became one of my goals in life. Because of my interest in history, in the early 1990’s I was given the papers of a Franklin, Massachusetts man who went to Kansas Territory in the mid-1850’s as part of the free-state movement. I decided to write a book about him. It took me six years to research and write, but it got me hooked on writing. The title of the book was Men of Franklin. I published it using a local printing firm and gave copies to various local libraries and historical societies. It actually won an honorable mention in a competition held by the Kansas State Historical Society for first-time historical writers. I’m actually very proud of that. When I finished the book I wanted to see if I could write something fictional. My novels are the result.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to your novels?
Well, the first thing is that I try to write books that are a temporary escape from the pressures and problems of real life. I also try to write stories that are uplifting. My books for the most part have happy endings. I can’t deny that they have their share of violence and tragedy, but basically everything turns out all right in the end. The second thing is that the stories I write have to be reasonably realistic, that they just might possibly be true. I hate the ridiculously far-fetched and frankly nonsensical movies and stories that are pretty prevalent today. I also like a reluctant hero who succeeds in the face of seemingly impossible odds. And I like a good love story. My books always have at least one love story.
Speaking of that, you’ve been accused by some of writing a little too graphically. I’m talking about sex now.
Well, I’m a physician, and perhaps what’s too graphic for you is not for me. But I don’t want you to misunderstand. I try to write as realistically as possible so that the reader can at least partially identify with it. I also want the reader to be a little uncomfortable when reading one of my love scenes. That is, I want the reader to feel that he or she is witnessing something that maybe they shouldn’t. But sex, like the violence in my stories, is never gratuitous. It always has a purpose. It’s all designed to enable the reader to better understand the characters or the story. Actually, I like writing love scenes. I think my love scenes are pretty good.