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An Interview with Author John L. Thompson

John L. Thompson is a graphic designer and an author of long and short fiction in several genres including crime fiction, thriller, and sci-fi. He published two books in 2021: Monkey Wrench, the second novel in his crime fiction Truck Stop trilogy, and the nonfiction release It’s a Lonely World: An Indie Author’s Journey (Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them). Visit John on his website at, on Facebook and Twitter, and on his Amazon author page.

What sparked the story idea for the Truck Stop trilogy?
Working as a diesel mechanic for the better part of thirty years, writing the story came naturally. I worked at a truck stop a couple decades ago that resembled an old western honky-tonk. The supervisors were trying hard to hang on to the dying age of Outlaw trucking. They wore all the western clothing, the custom boots, the whole shooting match. They reminded me of characters out of the 1973 film Walking Tall except they resembled the bad guys…a lot. They ran the place like mafia henchmen. It seemed natural to include that fun fact in the story line. I show the dark underbelly of a chain of truck stops. Mix in a mob group, a couple of down-on-their-luck diesel mechanics looking for lost mafia money, and finally a woman with a hidden agenda, and you’ve got a story.

What is your elevator pitch for Monkey Wrench?
George Olsen’s life is one big lie, and he is proving to be a problem in the WITSEC program. All he wants is his old life back, but then again, there’s that mob group wanting him dead. When he hears about an old flame moving to town, he takes a chance to step outside the protective boundaries set by the US Marshals, only to find that people are still looking for him.

Who are your main characters? Will those who know you recognize you in any of these characters?
The main character is George Olsen. He has many names within the story due to the fact he hates life in the WITSEC program. He botches living in one place only to find himself in another state under a new name. This habit eventually leads to further issues. As far as using real life people as characters in my story, I did in Truck Stop (book one), but I mixed character traits to make it impossible to tell who is who if the real-life person reads the story. Some of my friends caught on to this and were happy to see they were in my book.

Why did you choose New Mexico as a setting for the book?
Monkey Wrench continues after the events in Truck Stop. Choosing New Mexico as a setting was natural selection. I keep with the adage of writing what you know. It was easier to write about the places mentioned. Even though Monkey Wrench takes place in several states, New Mexico was obvious. Not only do I live here, I try to center all my stories within New Mexico.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing a series?
The challenging aspect of writing this series is trying to remember all the details, such as character traits and plots from one book to another. I had to go back over Truck Stop for details of the crime in question. In another instance, I had forgotten a character’s last name. You would be surprised how often a writer can forget the small things. Detail is critical.

Is there a scene in the book that you’d love to see play out in a movie?
Not so much in Monkey Wrench as I would Truck Stop. I envision a single scene in Monkey Wrench where the main character Olsen is thrown in jail after a bar brawl. His background check is a bit spotty, and he is detained because the local cops believe he might be hiding who he really is. He confesses who he is and the cops think he is bluffing. At least until Olsen’s handler in the US Marshals shows up to bail him out. It is a mix of comedy, and it shows just how serious a predicament Olsen is in if he ever leaves WITSEC.

What would you like readers to know about It’s a Lonely World?
Basically, the premise behind Lonely World is that Indie Publishing is a lonely project for just about anyone involved in the self-publishing world. Many people believe that authors write the book and that’s it. Few people realize these same authors wear many other hats. Not only do they write the books, most will design their own book covers, perform editing, learn the marketing angles, and finally try to sell a few books. Some authors are proficient at selling their books, but the fact is, the majority of Indie authors fail in selling their books. This is discouraging for many and some give up on the dream of being an author. Lonely World is kind of a motivational book for authors. Eventually, I’ll have to update the material, but it points out my own personal successes and failures.

What prompted the push to begin this project?
I started writing and publishing stories some fifteen to twenty years ago. I met many, many great writers within the Indie community who were just awesome people to talk with. Many encouraged newer authors to keep writing and trying to publish. Fast forward to present time, I find many of those authors no longer in the writing world. The reasons are numerous as to why. Some had passed away, some found the journey too damn difficult to balance with marriage and a 9-to-5 grind. Others just gave up chasing the dream of being an author. I wanted people to know that there are those out here who really want you, the writer, to succeed.

This is your first nonfiction release. What unique challenges did the work pose for you?
Actually, writing Lonely World was natural. I didn’t feel like there was any stress to writing it. I wanted to be open and honest, but not discourage people from wanting to be a successful writer. I wish for anyone wanting to be a writer to keep chasing the dream and never let go. I have seen people struggle for years to be a published writer and also become a success, so I know it can happen.

What was the expected, or unexpected, result of writing It’s a Lonely World?
The best feeling in the world is being told, “Hey, I bought your book, read it and liked it. I even continued writing when I was about to give up.” I can appreciate those kinds of compliments.

Who are your favorite authors? What do you admire most about their writing?
There are many to note, but off the top of my head, I admire Philip Jose Farmer, Barry Sadler, Ray Bradbury, Robin Moore, Dashiell Hammett, Carsten Stroud, Ian Fleming, and Philip K. Dick. The reasons are numerous but these authors are literary giants who left a huge footprint within their genres. I love to read their stories and have for decades now. They told stories that were worth reading and learning about character and world building that are believable and relatable.

What kinds of scenes do you find most difficult to write?
Romantic aspect. It is truly difficult to write a believable and relatable romantic perspective in any story line. At least for me, anyway. Most importantly, I don’t want to write scenes that are too graphic in nature. I must have balanced the romantic aspect well enough in Truck Stop. Everyone has said it is believable.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I have multiple stories in the oven. One book I’m working on that has my interest is a graphic novel, which will be completed sometime next year. I’m not going to spill the beans yet on title or subject. I have an agreement with the artist to withhold info until he gives me the green light. Let’s just say, the story is one awesome ride in the making. I’m also working on a sci-fi thriller titled Puzzle Man. It is a story that I have had on my mind, and on several computers, for the last ten years. It is going to be a “Rip Van Winkle” kind of story, and perhaps a little bit of my own personal story thrown in.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2021 New Releases for SWW Authors #4

Linda Davis-Kyle, Mary A. Johnson PhD, Sharon Vander Meer, RJ The Story Guy (RJ Mirabal), Léonie Rosenstiel, and John L. Thompson represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2021. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews/updates for most of these authors in 2022.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2021 releases is included at the end of this post.

Getting Ready to Write: Reviewing English Grammar (March 2021) by Linda Davis-Kyle. This colorfully illustrated e-book shares a useful, but fun, way to help pre-teens, teens, and beyond teens review grammar, mechanics, and writing basics. It shows beginning writers nine facets of writing they can control to strengthen their courage to write. It also fosters a “Never give up attitude” to help wordsmiths stay on track. Getting Ready to Write is a treasure of supplemental ideas for educators, writing coaches, and homeschoolers to add to their own lesson plans. The activities and exercises will also be handy for parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents, and mentors who are tasked to teach.

Visit Linda on and on Amazon.

Love and Asperger’s: Jim and Mary’s Excellent Adventure (Atmosphere Press, November 2021) by Mary A. Johnson PhD. What do you do when the man who courted you turns out to be different after marriage? When Jim began to behave strangely, Mary thought she had made a huge mistake. She had fallen in love and left all that was familiar in New Mexico, to marry and move to Oregon with this man she met online. One day, she had a surprising epiphany while doing laundry. How had she missed the obvious cause of his quirky behavior? In this memoir, readers experience the possible unraveling of the marriage ties. The future rests on Jim’s willingness to accept his diagnosis of Asperger’s. Come along on Jim and Mary’s adventures—some fun, some difficult, some comical, but all loving—as they eventually work together to engineer an excellent solution!

You’ll find Mary on her website at and on Amazon.

Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry (November 2021), A Collection of Works by Northeastern New Mexico Writers, is edited by SWW member Sharon Vander Meer (who is also a contributor). Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry showcases thirty-two writers and sixty-nine distinct works of poetry and prose, truly weaving a tapestry of life and creativity. There is no duplication, proving once again that the art of writing is as diverse as the people taking up a writing implement or sitting down at a computer, and turning on their imaginations. This first collection from Las Vegas Literary Salon lets us know there are many writers in our communities with stories to tell. We share their stories here with gratitude to those represented in these pages.

Tapestry is available on Amazon. For Sharon’s other releases, visit her Amazon author page.

Trixie: Round Brown Ball of Dog (November 2021) by RJ The Story Guy (aka RJ Mirabal). Trixie’s adventures continue as she learns to have more Dog Fun with her people and looks for new things to do. Then everything is put aside when the Brown Dog takes on an unexpected challenge. Sure, Trixie likes fun, sniffing, walking, running, and playing, but those have to take a back seat for a while. Trixie still can’t talk like you, but she can get across what she wants and how she feels when she grunts, whines, whistles, barks, growls, wags her tail and body while singing her Dog Opera. Fortunately, RJ The Story Guy has interpreted all this for your reading enjoyment. Big things to overcome, toys to chew and tug, new people to bring into her life, places to go, lots of exploring, and a new fantasy adventure await inside.

Visit RJ’s websites at and Trixie: Round Brown Ball of Dog is available on Amazon.

Protecting Mama: Surviving the Legal Guardianship Swamp (Calumet Editions, November 2021) by Léonie Rosenstiel. Léonie, whose mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, struggles with an implacable, court-appointed guardian against the backdrop of centuries-old family myths and miscommunication. Mama wants their story told, but the courts demand that secrecy enshroud all guardianship records—forever. After years of struggle and Kafkaesque frustration, and with the help of a brilliant, unconventional attorney, Léonie goes to war with the establishment in an attempt to help others find their way through the swamp of legal guardianship.

You’ll find all of Léonie’s books on her Amazon author page.

Monkey Wrench (Truck Stop Book 2, April 2021) by John L. Thompson. George Olsen’s life is one big lie. As a witness in a mob money embezzlement operation turned deadly, he lives within the WITSEC program and has had plenty of trouble adapting to life. Never look back. It’s one of the sacred rules within the WITSEC program. But when he hears an old flame has moved back to New Mexico, he takes a chance and returns to his old stomping grounds only to discover that decision could prove to be fatal. People are looking for the half-million in embezzled mob cash buried somewhere in Torrance County. The same money Olsen and his friend found years earlier, the same money people have died for, and the same money wanted by an army of killers who will stop at nothing to get it.

John L. Thompson also published a nonfiction book, It’s a Lonely World: An Indie Author’s Journey (Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them), in August 2021. Are you the new guy trying to learn this self-publishing gig? Have you tried to self-publish your book and wonder why it has failed to gather sales and reviews? You got a book script, but don’t know where to start? Do you feel like self-publishing will mark you as an amateur? You and thousands of other Indie-Authors are not alone. For decades, the stigma of the term “self-published” has meant bad book covers, bad interior formatting, and a bad story in general. Back in the old days, there were no viable services accessible to the self-publishing author. You were lucky if you knew a guy who knew another guy who was an editor. This is no longer the case.  Thousands of editors, artists, and promoters are out there in the land of the internet to help you. With Amazon publishing thousands of titles per week, there is no reason why you, the Indie-Author, should fail in launching your book with, at the least, moderate returns on your hard work.

Visit John’s Amazon author page for all his releases.

SWW Author Interviews: 2021 Releases

Jeffrey Candelaria
TORO: The Naked Bull
Marty Eberhardt
Death in a Desert Garden
Melody Groves
When Outlaws Wore Badges
Holly Harrison
Rites & Wrongs
Robert Kidera
BR Kingsolver
Soul Harvest
Marcia Meier
Face, A Memoir
Victoria Murata
The Acolyte
Barb Simmons
The War Within: A Wounded Warrior Romance
Gina Troisi
The Angle of Flickering Light

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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