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Embracing the Uncomfortable: An Interview with Thomas Drish, author of The Bonderson Babies

Drish 1

I was born on July 4, 1975, in Illinois, but I currently reside in Indiana. I want to take life by the horns; to be somebody who wants to do good things. It’s not enough to be liked, I want to be loved!

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Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The Bonderson Babies title was picked out in June 2020. It was originally supposed to be a short story, for my eyes only, to help me cope with my real-life problem…baby fever! I am childless, so whenever I see or hear a baby nearby, I always get excited and want to meet him or her. The title sat for months with no real ideas coming to mind for a story, until I was inspired three months later to write something for a good cause.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I had several book covers to choose from via several designers, but as soon as I saw the cover I ultimately picked, I knew that was the one. It was the only cover that managed to helm the entire book as a whole, even though I was eyeing some of the other covers that I thought were cool. The cover I decided upon nailed the emotional element of The Bonderson Babies. Several reviewers thought it looked too creepy, but that’s the idea…it’s supposed to catch your attention. Thanks to Matt Stone, the designer of the cover! He did an amazing job!

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

The Bonderson Babies was written during the Covid lockdown. I had nothing but time on my hands after being laid off from my job, and receiving good paychecks in the process, but nobody to share my time with…my wife was locked away from me as well. I couldn’t go in to see her at the care center I placed her in all the way back in 2018, after I almost lost her to complete lung failure. I was limited to video calls with her and visiting her through her room window during the Covid lockdown. With nothing but time on my hands, and having trouble sleeping, I started investing my time into reading news articles online, and I was floored when I read that the sexual abuse cases against children had tripled during the Covid lockdown. It motivated me to return to writing, as I had abandoned writing horror books years ago, not finding the want or need to because I didn’t have anyone reading my stuff. I wanted to promote my book for free on the NCMEC website, and told them they could have all profits of the book to help combat the problem of child abuse in general. The book was written to hopefully reach the hearts of the offenders and to help create a crystal-clear picture of the aftermath of such abuse…it also gives the victims a voice.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I wanted to be a filmmaker or stand-up comedian! I never got the chance to do either, but my talents are for sure there!

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Knowing that my story is available to the rest of the world to read is a bonus, but the most rewarding part is knowing that my book has been read by several people. I know the impact that it will leave on their lives, just like it left on mine. And if it works for me, I feel confident knowing it will work for my audience as well.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

It’s funny that this question would be asked, because I already have a soundtrack in my head planned out for it. When I write a book, I try to give my audience a cinematic experience…I like to pretend my readers are watching a movie rather than reading a book. Toward the end of my book, I let my mind leak out Disturbed’s version of Land of Confusion. The dolls play this song during the final attack scene in the original script for the book, and I was strongly encouraged to take it out by my editor because of copyright infringement. Lenka’s Heart To The Party would be on the soundtrack, and I’d have The Razorblade Dolls in there somewhere…I’m sorry, does that group title scare you!?

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I just want them to feel. I want them to feel the love, I want them to feel empathy, and I want them to embrace the deep pain of it all. My readers will have to understand, the Bonderson Babies are not knife-slashing Chucky dolls at all…they’re going to have a much more intense and uncomfortably unique experience.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

Magenta Skies is currently slated for production soon. We’re not dealing with child abuse this time, we’re dealing with racism…global problem with racism. Going head-to-head with hot-button topics will be my focus, but I do look forward to slipping some fun stuff into future projects as well. It’s all about being creative—it’s not just gloom and doom.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

I absolutely LOVE Atmosphere Press! There wasn’t one soul I worked with during the project that I didn’t like or love. It was a bumpy road, but everyone was there for me to make the dream happen when it was time for them to do their job, and it was worth it in the end. I would encourage any writer who wanted to publish to go through a trusted indie company such as Atmosphere. I wouldn’t give the big five top companies the time of day even if they ever wanted to publish my work…they won’t look at you without an agent. Why should an agent have his hand in your cookie jar, especially when he did absolutely nothing to help you in the first place? I can rest assured companies just like Atmosphere Press will never require an agent. That’s just the way I like it!

You can buy the book here.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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