Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is thrilled to shine our Friday Spotlight on author Tom Straw, who writes a number of different books and screenplays which he will tell you about himself. He also writes under another name : Richard Castle!
Please note that he will be signing his books at the store from 1-3 PM on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
Photo Credit: Jill Krementz
Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I am a former DJ and TV weathercaster who always longed to write. My first writing path took me to writing TV comedies. That’s a hard door to break down, but I was fortunate to get inside. Three decades on, I still enjoy a fulfilling career writing for television. Even got an Emmy nomination for Night Court. A few of the other shows I wrote and executive produced include Dave’s World, Grace Under Fire, Cosby, and Nurse Jackie.
But books always called to me. Especially mysteries. In 2007 my first novel, The Trigger Episode, came out. That led to an invitation from ABC-Hyperion to ghost write one (just one) promotional tie-in book for a new show called Castle. Heat Wave zoomed to #6 on the New York Times, and so I was contracted to write more Nikki Heats as Richard Castle, for a total of seven. All were NYT Bestsellers, including Heat Rises, which debuted at #1.
Fall of 2017 I reclaimed my own name and published Buzz Killer, in which I took the flavor of the romantic procedurals I loved writing as Richard Castle, but with a strong female New York public defender as the lead instead of a strong female NYPD detective.
Currently, I am editing the manuscript for my tenth novel—also under my own name. It’s set in 1927. I refer to it as my mystery from back in history.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)
Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, of course! However, for the two books under my own name, The Trigger Episode and Buzz Killer, your best bet is Amazon.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Awesomeness is delivered 24/7 on my website: tomstraw.com. I try to keep readers up to date with news and events, plus photo galleries that are companions to my books. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your books?
I think most readers would be familiar with my work, but probably not my name. I wrote the first seven Nikki Heat New York Times bestsellers as Richard Castle in conjunction with the ABC-TV series starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. Those books, plus two others I wrote under my own name, feature the Castle flavor: A tense, dramatic, mystery/procedural with a romantic relationship that is also at times tense and dramatic—in addition to being sexy and fun.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I am currently editing a novel set in 1927. It’s a mystery but also a historical novel in the true sense. It is a subject I am passionate about and the story and characters laid out beautifully for me. That’s all I’ll say about it right now. I won’t even divulge my title. When things get real, I’ll certainly not be shy.
What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?
In my book career, I would say it was appearing on Castle in a scene with Nathan Fillion. Hanging out on the set certainly gave me deeper insight into the texture of the series so I could absorb it for the books, but I also very much enjoyed Nathan himself and how kind and hospitable he was during my cameo and on subsequent visits to Castle locations.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
It’s the same now as it was when I started out: Finding time to write. I always seem to have three or four things going on at once, the book I’m writing, the pilot I’m developing to pitch, the TV show I’m producing, and a workshop or public appearance to prepare for. I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way, but the fact is, carving out—and protecting my writing time—has been a constant in my career.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
There have been many lessons, but one of the greatest is to trust my instincts. I’ll tell you exactly when I learned this. It was writing Heat Wave, my first Richard Castle novel. I was on a wicked deadline for that book because when the deal was made, Hyperion needed it fast to coincide with the fall premiere of Castle on ABC. That was daunting enough. Add to that, I also was working full time as a writer and segment director on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. So my workday at CBS began at 9 in the morning until after the audience taping finished at 6pm. Drive home, eat dinner, start writing as Richard Castle until 2am, repeat. On that pace, I couldn’t afford the luxury of being a dilettante. No time to light a candle, pause and reflect for hours before deciding the next move of the plot. For the first time ever, I just said, “Right or wrong, I’m going with my gut. I have no choice.” It freed me up creatively and changed my approach to the work ever since. Instead of stressing, I honor my own thoughts. If I make a poor choice, I can always fix it later
Tom, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, March 9th.