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Contact / Writing Tips

Thomas Hoover
130 Barrow St., #412
New York, NY

Tel 212-243-8597


Why do we write? I think it's the original Facebook. We want to share ourselves with other people. I've published ten books without ever really knowing why. But here's how I went about it.

I grew up in a state you've heard of surrounded by horses and cows. My high school graduating class had six (6) people. I practically rode a horse to school. My dream was to be a scientist. There was a school career test in my junior year about what you wanted to do in life and it came out I wanted to be a writer. I showed it to my dad and said what a crummy test. ( A lifetime later I put my books up on Amazon for free and SYNDROME was the 14th most downloaded book in the world for about a week.) So what we're talking about here is a small gap in self-knowledge.

A science Ph.D. later, when the writing bug hit me, I decided to try non-fiction. I couldn't imagine making up stuff. It was a long haul but eventually I did publish two volumes.

This was important, because I was learning how to write, things like how to construct a paragraph. Start with a topic where you can focus on the mechanics and teach yourself craft. No matter what you write, you're going to need it. You are becoming an artist and you need to understand your tools, like a painter needs to understand water and oils and brushes and light and texture.

It was time for fiction, but I still had a crisis of confidence about invention. So I decided to write about stuff that had really happened. I'd just dramatize it. I got the hang of it in the first historical novel, THE MOGHUL (which did pretty well worldwide and got optioned for a miniseries twice), but by the second (CARIBBEE) I started to feel cramped and constrained. I decided I could make up things more interesting than actual life.

That two-stage process (non-fiction, then "historical" novels) did a lot for my craft and also gave me the confidence to imagine.

Anyway, that was my apprenticeship. I then took on topics that interested me, I selected things that were evolving and tried to jump ahead and speculate on what might happen next. (Sometimes I was too successful, like I predicted the 1987 stock market crash (SAMURAI STRATEGY) so accurately that publishers made me take back the manuscript ( in galleys when it actually happened) and change it because it was no longer fiction.

They say first novels are autobiographical, which is probably true. But be careful. Readers may not find you as interesting as you do. I think my early fictional protagonists were guys I wished I had been. They were an improvement on me. Well, we all need work.

Maybe that's the moral. Write to lie about yourself and vicariously live out your dream.

Finally, we all want to be immortal and hope publishing will do that. Well, it can, if you can get yourself on Google. They say that after the next nuclear war the only thing left will be cockroaches and Cher. They forgot Google. (try "Thomas Hoover"AND books ). Get on there and you'll become a digital cockroach.

In addition to this site, nine books are also now available FREE on various other (commercial and non-commercial) web sites.

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Publisher’s Weekly declared, “This is one of the few historical surveys of Zen available. Hoover reveals a culture of extraordinary richness and variety.”
Library Journal called it, "The best history of Zen ever written." Illumines Zen as it was created and shaped by the personalities, perceptions, and actions of its masters over the centuries.
Reviewers called THE MOGHUL “the finest book on India since Kipling” , another “SHOGUN or THE FAR PAVILLIONS,” “rousing, romantic adventure” “high action” “a vividly told tale” “captivates the reader” with “mysteries of the harem to battles of massed elephants.” Optioned twice for a Miniseries. (To date, five pirate English-language paper editions have appeared worldwide.)
Publisher's Weekly said, "This action-crammed, historically factual novel . . . is a rousing read about the bad old marauding days, ably researched by Hoover." In the epic tradition of James Clavell and James A. Mitchner: the Europeans who created human slavery in the Americas, the origins of the buccaneers, the first American revolution.