Paperback Giveaway & Interview with Terry Michael Gildow, author of Thicket

12:00 AM

Doodles, doodles everywhere congratulates author Terry Michael Gildow on the release of his book, Thicket! Let's welcome him on the blog for an interview with DDE today. Read on!

1. How did you decide to write Thicket?

Back in 2009, my wife and I were getting ready for the birth of our first child. I was twenty-five at the time. It seems people these days are having children much later in life (by much later I assume early to mid-thirties, in the United States at least). This notion wasn't unfamiliar to me. I really wasn't in the state of mind to be wanting a child. I had just gotten off an east coast tour with a pop-rock group I'd been a part of for the greater decade. Drugs and alcohol were the norm, but at this point I knew I had to make a change for the better. I won't lie to you though. I still didn't want children even by the time our second was due. This, of course, would signal the shift in paradigm I'd gotten so used to during my early teens up until my late twenties. 

When my first daughter was born in the fall of '09, I would start to leave the Sprout TV network on as background noise. If you're familiar with this station and their programming, it consists of mostly toddler-aged cartoon re-runs. One show in particular, though, was an 11 minute short called Poppy Cat that showcased anthropomorphic animals going on adventures and helping their furry friends overcome life's constant purge of unknowns. It was at this point that I got the idea to write Thicket. I knew kids shows like this were a dime a dozen, but what about a story about animals meant for adults? Going further than Richard Adams' Watership Down, I took the idea and ran with it. A reviewer on Netgalley said, "-this book reminded me of where adult readers go after Redwall." He couldn't have been more right.

2. Can you tell us what kind of research went behind the book?

I used Wikipedia extensively. I also cross referenced with other websites and came to my conclusions about the history of the time, information about the animals and their behaviors/habitat, as well as the plethora of flora available in the dense Appalachian ecosystem. A side note: the discovery of the Dwarf Lake Iris, which plays such a pivotal role in Thicket, was found by mere chance one day while my daughter was tapping through links on the encyclopedic website. If you've read Thicket, you can realize what a huge find this was.

3. Do you decide the character traits before you sit down to write the book or as you go along?

Definitely as I go along. Thicket is a novel proper, but the inner pages are segregated by three respective novellas entitled Into The Strictest Green, Good Morning Fire Eater, and Translating The Bestiary. When it came time to write each of these, I had to outline all of the characters and scenes beforehand. In Translating The Bestiary, I created the four initial animals about a week before writing their inclusion into the story. By the end of it, one of those four would become my favorite character in the book.

4. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

Eating at Panda Express with my wife and kids. It's like an Americanised chinese fastfood restraunt. Please don't knock it until you've tried it. 

5. Who's your favorite character from Thicket and why?

In total, I believe Thicket contains twenty-six characters with their own personalities and parts to play. Going back to question #3, my favorite character was the conception of a little skunk named Knoxlyn. She begins as the only voice of reason between three male prisoners and eventually aids the main character Sadie's transformation into what we've been hoping for since the beginning of the novel. I also love how I arrived at the name, which came from a road sign just west of the city of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It's on the way to a little farm side attraction called The Land of Little Horses. No skunks to boast about here, though. 

6. Tell us about some of the biggest challenges or learning experiences you faced throughout the writing and publishing process.

I've battled addiction and ADHD most of my life. Just getting to the point of gathering my thoughts and deciding to write is a struggle for me sometimes. I have a problem with starting things and never finishing them. It takes a lot for me to put all of my dedication into something, and I think that shows with my ability to see Thicket through to its end. As for the publishing process, I had an amazing team to work with over at Thurston Howl Publications. They took my initial manuscript and turned it into something readable by the masses. We ultimately cut the first two chapters from the entire novel. This comes to about sixty pages of story! Maybe those bits will see the light of day some day, who knows.

7. Tell us something personal about you that your readers may be surprised to know.

I mentioned this previously, but I used to play bass in a pop-rock group called Rosematter. We were active during the mid 2000's and we were able to sign with a record label in 2006 that released our debut album nationally across all fifty states. Our music saw distribution in Japan as well. If you want to watch our music video, it's on YouTube here (look at that old iPhone!!):

8. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing or reading?

I like to take my kids out for ice cream or just to the park down the road from our house. Theme parks are fun. I also play finger-style guitar. 

9. What's next? Are you working on any other projects to come after Thicket?

The prequel to Thicket is underway in the form of a novel entitled Ruby in the Gearbox. The story takes place in upstate Michigan thirty-one years prior to the events of my debut novel. Torn between his adventure seeking interest and what fate has already determined, a black bear named Jake must make some of the most difficult choices of his young adult life. These choices go on to shape the world we see in Thicket decades later. The story also reveals the main character for the entire Thicket series (Hint: it isn't an animal).

10. Lastly, any special thoughts for the readers?

My writing style has a bit of an older feel I guess. There isn't much dialog, and when there is, it's usually preceded and followed by a decent amount of exposition. I don't like a lot of conversation in writing. When I first read The Gunslinger by Stephen King, I really got sucked into his level of detail. I try to emulate that in my own work. 


by Terry Michael Gildow


Publication Date: June 10th 2017
Published by: Thurston Howl Publications
Page count: 276

Winter is on 1932's doorstep.

The height of the Great Depression has seemingly transferred its malaise upon the society of fauna who dwell in the outskirts of Cumberland, Maryland and all throughout the Appalachian wild. Sadie, an American red squirrel, is convinced by her only friend Thu'jold, a great horned owl, to leave their comforts (or lack thereof) in exchange for the Great Lake Eden on the other side of the West Virginia divide. She recruits an innocent doe along the way named Rhea.

Neighboring predators, a search for a rare flower, threat of mass extermination, a prison break, and a river rescue are just a few of the obstacles that this trio encounters throughout their journey to what they hope will be a better place.

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About the author

"I grew up in rural south central Pennsylvania, and my stories tend to gravitate to that bit of scenery. Starting in 2010, I began writing the story of Thicket during infant nap stretches where my daughter would so graciously allow me a chance at penning something worthwhile. Seven years and three daughters later, the novel has become a reality thanks in part to Thurston Howl Publications.

Writing anthropomorphic fiction is such a treat. The ability to grant animals human characteristics is strangely refreshing, and when coupled with limitless plot lines and inventive personalities, it truly becomes something special."

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One lucky winner will get a paperback copy of Thicket by Terry Michael Gildow.
Enter through the rafflecopter form below.
Ends 17th November 2017.
Open internationally!

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