INTERVIEW and Giveway: IAIN S. THOMAS

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Iain Thomas whose latest book Intentional Dissonance is available. Leave a comment and you will have a chance to win one of two ebook copies of Intentional Dissonance.

Iain is currently working on three different books: a revised version of his first book I Wrote This For You, a second book due the end of this year that’s still untitled, and How to Be Happy, which isn’t due until the start of 2014.

“I can’t seem to stop myself from writing it,” he admitted, “even though I shouldn’t even be thinking about it right now.”

“When did you first consider yourself a writer?” I asked.

“My first book, I Wrote This For You, has spent a year on the Amazon and iTunes poetry bestseller lists and frequently finds itself at #1, and I still don’t know if I’m actually a writer. I think when I’m writing, I’m a writer and when I stop, I become something else. I still have trouble introducing myself at a dinner table as a writer.”

He’s been writing since he started keeping a diary when he was around 13; he stared writing prose a couple of years later. He told me he’s always found writing to be cathartic—a way to get rid of whatever demons were in his head.

“They’ve always seemed easier to face and defeat when they’re put down on paper,” he said.

He’s written professionally since he was 19, mainly for the design industry.

Unlike many authors, neither plot nor characters comes first in Iain’s books—instead scenes and dialogue come to him. Moments within the book that could happen inspire him and then he builds the characters and plot to serve those moments.

“How do you develop your plot and characters?” I asked.

“All my characters are amalgamations of people I’ve encountered in my life and the plot is something that serves my own purpose, which is to create beautiful, surreal moments and environments that draw the reader in. I believe the most important elements of writing are having an original idea, the ability to tell the truth about what you’re saying and the desire not to waste the reader’s time.”

Iain usually comes up with his titles first, and then the book follows. Intentional Dissonance was a name that floated around in his head for a while. It described a feeling of being disconnected, of not wanting to play by the rules. It’s a cyclical book, much of it has to do with the repeating patterns we fall into as human beings. I Wrote This For You defined itself and How To Be Happy is doing the same thing.

I wondered, “What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?”

“I think the strangest thing I’ve ever done literary wise is the entire I Wrote This For You project. I wrote more than a thousand poems that all have titles that start with the word ‘The’ and every single one has the word ‘You’ in it. I think constructing your own rules around what you’re writing gives you something to play with and can lead to really creative, interesting solutions.”

Iain writes poetry and science fiction, but he believes that both fit only loosely into their respective genres. In fact, he tries to defy genre.

“Originality is important to me and I do my best to break literary conventions as much as possible to achieve that, with varying degrees of success,” he said. “I’d rather fail while attempting to be original than succeed at obeying a convention.”

He admits that I Wrote This for You was an incredibly bizarre literary debut. It was a real struggle for him to find a publisher who could see why it was as popular as it was and the potential behind it.

“I wrote I Wrote This For You under the pen name ‘pleasefindthis’ as I believed that every part of a story, including the name of the person writing the story, can be an entry point into that story. I chose the name because it invited people to find out more,” he told me. “A young girl discovered I Wrote This For You while she was undergoing treatment for a tumour in her brain and she wrote me a letter telling me how strong it made her feel. She wrote the words ‘I Wrote This For You’ on the paper bracelet the hospital put on her and sent a picture along with her mail. I don’t even know how I managed to respond to that. Another person wrote me a message saying that my words had inspired her to get off the streets as a prostitute and go back to studying. I still speak to her about once a year. She’s doing well.”

Iain believes that the more input you have, the more output you have. So he works in chaos, surrounded by comic books, antiques, paintings, old books and whatever else he’s picked up along the way. He also creates procedurally generated music to listen to while he works.

“I’ll load up a relaxation application on my iPad that plays the sound of the rain, load a YouTube video of someone whispering for 45 minutes, then load an ambient music album at the same time and have all three playing at once,” he explained. “It’s familiar yet new music every time I listen.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“Writers write. Every word you write makes you a better writer, and there are a lot of bad words that you need to get through before you can get to the good ones.”

About the Author:2_20 IainThomas Iain S. Thomas is a new media artist and author. As an author, his most famous work is I Wrote This For You, which he writes under the pseudonym ‘pleasefindthis’ – a blog then book that’s been on both the Amazon and iTunes poetry bestseller lists since its launch in December 2011.

As a writer for the design and new media industry, he’s won numerous local and international awards for his work. Amongst other things, he created a never-ending sentence for a monument for South Africa’s Jazz Artists and recently collaborated with musical phenomena BT on the packaging design for his last album. He wrote his first book, Ignite, at the age of 23 for the Markham clothing company. It won the Grand Prix at the First Paper House Art of Design Awards and a gold individual craft award at the Loeries. He currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

Find the author online:
Twitter @iwrotethisforu

2_20 9781926760858medIt’s been 10 years since the world officially ended. In the last city on Earth, Jon Salt is addicted to Sadness, a drug that invokes its name, and obsessed with his lover, Michelle; both of which threaten to drive him insane.

Strange creatures and new technologies appeared in the last days of humanity and the widespread adoption of teleportation technology sundered the fabric of time and space, leaving a smattering of looping ghosts. It is a sad, monotone world, but the remaining populace is happy, thanks to the anti-depressants in the water supply.

The last government on Earth has taken a special interest in a gift that Jon possesses: the ability to make his thoughts real. Jon must rely on that gift and the help of a few unlikely friends to stay one step ahead of those who desperately want to use him for something far more sinister than even he could dream…

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Comments

  1. “When sadness was the sea, you were the one that taught me to swim.” Thank you!

  2. I look forward to everything that Iain writes! While I was saddened by the ending of IFTFY, I eagerly await new projects ….. they’ll be great! (And I’d also love to win a copy of the new eBook) …. chers!

  3. I look forward to everything that Iain writes! While I was saddened by the ending of IFTFY, I eagerly await new projects ….. they’ll be great! (And I’d also love to win a copy of the new eBook) …. cheers!

  4. Glenn Seiler says:

    I just love Iain’s work and philosophy, Can’t wait to share it with friends, and “not so friends”, True inspiration….

  5. adriana j. says:

    i’ve always thought iwrotethisforyou was a beautiful thing. i’m glad he has another book out and more on the way. i want to keep reading his poetry.

  6. “Every word you write makes you a better writer, and there are a lot of bad words that you need to get through before you can get to the good ones.” I’m going to take this one to heart. Thanks for your words, Iain.

  7. Megan Kinnaird says:

    I’ve been reading the IWroteThisForYou blog posts for about 3 years now. I always find that no matter what I’m going through I can always find a post to suit my mood and remind me that we’re not all alone in our struggles and bad days. Thanks for doing the interview and letting us get a small peak at the man behind the blog.

  8. I loved ‘I Wrote This For You’, and I’m really looking forward to other books from you!

  9. i always feel grateful to find Iain’s writings, especially I Wrote This For You.
    Iain has the ability to weaving words into beautiful paragraphs that touch inner feeling, and absorbing into the mind, and unconsciously help my mindset upon anything that happen. It seems like no matter how small, his eloquence always have a resemblance in what we find in real life.
    i don’t want to sound exaggerating in any way, but i simply thank you for keep writing. :)

    thanks!

  10. I want to learn how to write again after losing it for some time. This one more try will be about how I feel, not how I want others to see me. These might be those bad words I’d have to go through to get to the good ones, I just hope they’re worth it. Best of luck, Iain. We have words written for you, too. :)

  11. A friend told me about I Wrote This For You three or four years ago, and I’ve had it bookmarked ever since. His words helped me cope with heartbreak and gave me the courage to find new love. Thank you for the wonderful interview! I read the I Wrote This For You book frequently, whenever I’m in need of some inspiration, and I’m so excited to read Intentional Dissonance.

  12. Iain’s words in “I wrote this for you” has moved me in ways and places that I still find it hard to describe.

  13. I started reading Iain’s writing when I was twelve, after some accidental Google search of a few random letters. His work played, and still plays, such a huge part in inspiring me to better develop my own writing. All I wish I could know, now, is what inspires him? What keeps him writing?

  14. ‘Writers write’ as he says toward the end of his interview. Iain takes his own advice. Words strike at hearts as is evidenced by the young girl with the brain tumour who felt stronger reading Iain’s words; the prostitute who got off the streets inspired by his words. Two graphic examples, no less than all the other ‘ordinary’ readers who were touched by words that showed their wounds.

  15. Give me the chance to read his book/s.

  16. “The bad news is, people are crueler, meaner and more evil than you’ve ever imagined.

    The good news is, people are kinder, gentler and more loving than you’ve ever dreamed.”

    Thank you. Thank you so much for reminding me to believe :)

  17. i would love to win this giveaway. i’m a big fan of the blog and need some new reading material. :)

  18. When I want to be inspired, I need look no further than anything, ANYTHING, written by Iain Thomas.

  19. “the people who make you laugh are more beautiful than beautiful people.” I am so thankful to have found pleasefindthis—Iain’s words gave me strength as much as it has made me ache, and his writing inspires me too. I want to write words that are pure and raw and connects with people in a way they’d never expect.

    I also miss his cat, Fattington :(

  20. Iain is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever spoken with. I read IWTFY for years. One day I decided to e-mail him, to thank him for all of the things his words had helped me through. I hardly expected an answer from someone who was so busy. Not only did I get an answer, but he thanked ME for expressing my fondness of his work. He is such a talented writer, and a beautiful soul.

  21. With a simple sentence, Iain opens up a world of emotion. His work is universal, yet incredibly unique – allowing each reader to make his/her own associations. Thank you, Iain, for sharing your wonderful gift with the world.

  22. Iain S. Thomas has done something incredible for me, for the world, via IWTFU. He has spoken to us, where authors narrate, tell us something, he SPEAKS to us. There is a ingenuity in his words that I have never experienced before. I understand Intentional Dissonance is different from IWTFU, but I hope to get a chance to read it and discover more of this man who knows so much about us (and cares).

  23. Ahh I can’t wait to read this book!

  24. “Do not sacrifice this moment in hopes of a better one.” Thank you for always speaking to my soul.

  25. I am actually rereading “I Wrote This for You” and everything Iain writes so perfectly sums up these micromoments in our lives. It’s easy to not realize how alike we all are when we are busy thinking about how unique we are from other people. Even his interview answers here had a way of piercing deep. I actually read all of the comments to this post, its crazy to see how much others also relate with his words. I would love to get an ebook copy of Intentional Dissonance, I just can’t get enough of his words!

  26. I wrote this for you has always made me fall in love with writing again and again. It is a great inspiration for me that never fails to make me think. I cannot wait to read his new book. It already sounds amazing.

  27. Iain’s words have moved my life; they’ve dug me deeper and showed me my raw realness.

  28. I’m ever so glad that you continue to write. Not only are your books touching and inspiring, but just the fact that you continue to write motivates me. As an aspiring writer myself, I find truth in the statement that writing must first be motivated from within. From our joy, from our pain, or from our desire that someone would find what we write and understand.
    “I always thought I wanted to be a poet. But I discovered maybe I just want to be a poem.

    Thank you.

  29. Lovely interview! It was an interesting read.
    I’m not surprised by how inspiring I Wrote This for You is for people. I know I feel it every time I revisit the website.

  30. I absolutely love i wrote this for you and I bet I’ll feel damn happy once I read Intentional Dissonance. Reading your work always leaves me so inspired and moved. You never fail to amaze me Lain.

  31. The book sounds intriguing.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

  32. Kay Adriaanse says:

    I think it is amazing to see young South Africans define their space in the world. As a Cape Townian, I am constantly on the lookout for book-signings because IWTFY changed my life. I have the blog bookmarked and it is always possible to find new meaning in Iain S. Thomas’ words. I share this gift with everyone I meet. Thank you, Iain.

  33. Thank you for writing and publishing. I can’t wait to see your new books. :]

  34. I have been following Iain’s work for awhile now, especially “I wrote this for you”. Intentional Dissonance has been on the list to add to my book collection. I’m glad I came across this interview, as it gave me some insight on how he comes up with ideas and thoughts for writing. I definitely enjoyed it!

    Like so many people out there, “I wrote this for you” has helped me through a lot of difficult times in my life. In hard times there is a post to lift spirits, encourage, or just show a different outlook on life. Its wonderful to find someone half way across the world who can touch your life, your heart, and your mind with just a few words.

    Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts, writing, and wonderful outlook with the world. I wish you continued success.

  35. Jarredzmum says:

    “My love lies bleeding”…such beautiful tender poetic words of prose…how I wish it were as soft and easy as that…as pretty to look at…truth is though, that most days it’s not soft, easy or pretty in any way, if you looked into my soul you would see…because in my soul there’s a thirst and hunger gnawing endlessly in circadian rhythm, with no way to quench or satiate this want of him….there’s a screaming silence in my mind screaming out to be heard, and an aching in my heart no repetitious overused hackneyed phrases can reveal…no, there are no lofty majestic words…no poetic lyrical ones…no intellectual clever ones… no sanguine or melancholy ones…there is just this great big bloody hole inside of me and it fucking hurts!

  36. Jesse Novy says:

    I would love to receive any of your books quite frankly. I feel in love with I wrote this for you on a mere chance of exploring the current books on amazon. I came across it, the moment I read what it was about I decided to buy it instantly and have been rereading it since. Thank you for your words sir.. They are touching as well as inspiring and I hope one day to be able to meet you.

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