On Sunday I had the good fortune to be able to meet debut author Thomas Kaufman. He held a book event in Cleveland at Appletree Books in Cleveland.
Well, actually the event was down the street at this cool little restaurant called Nighttown. It was a very classy set-up. Tom joked that when he first came in there was a piano in the area where he would be speaking. He thought he would be able to stretch out on the piano (ala Michelle Pheiffer in the Fabulous Baker Boys) and present that way. No such luck. That would have made a great picture don't you think?
Anyway, as you'll remember since he was my guest blogger just last week, Thomas Kaufman just released DRINK THE TEA, which won the PWA/St. Martin's Best First Private Eye Novel contest (the same award presented to Les Roberts for PEPPER PIKE and Michael Koryta for TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE).
Tom has a wonderful sense of humor and after starting to read the first few pages of the book while I was there at the restaurant, I could see that his humor translates into his writing as well. He started writing DRINK THE TEA when his first child was born. It took him about two years to write the original version. He put it away and worked on some other things for awhile and then picked it back up. While working in a writer's group, someone suggested that he should submit his book to the PWA/St. Martin's Press contest, so he did and promptly forgot about it. He forgot about it until he received a call informing him that he had won the contest.
DRINK THE TEA involves the juvenile correction system and Tom explained that a lot of that was inspired by a colleague of his. His protagonist is a fan of jazz, and you can tell he shares that characteristic with Tom himself.
The first round of edits on DRINK THE TEA required Tom to cut nearly 50 pages from his manuscript because the book was too long, but he believes that made the book better ultimately. There is a sequel to DRINK THE TEA that Minotaur likes. Publication of the sequel will be determined based on sales of DRINK THE TEA. So, in other words, go out and get your copy quickly so we can ensure more to come from Tom Kaufman.
Tom spends a lot of time behind the lens of a camera. His day job is as a cinematographer. He's been very successful there as well, racking up several awards for his work. But in either realm he's telling stories. Tom said he first started writing at the age of twelve.
Tom Kaufman is a very animated, witty, inspiring presenter and I encourage you to meet him if you get the chance. I know he's in the New York area right now, will hit my friends at Mystery Lovers on Thursday then will make his way out west to L.A. and Arizona. You can see his list of events here. Definitely go if you have the chance!