Tom Thys, born 1983, is the Belgian author of Volmaakt Monster, a collection of short stories. His frightening stories have won several prizes in Belgium and Holland. At this moment, several of his stories are being translated into English. His first translated story (Stopover) has been published recently by Massacre Publishings (issue 8) and Under the Bed vol. 04 no. 06. He is praised for his bizarre imagination and the ability to blend genres such as horror, dark fantasy and humour into compelling stories about the decay of both body and mind.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
Ten years approximately. I started writing horror movie reviews for several magazines and websites. When I thought I had seen every horror movie there was to see, I started inventing my own scenarios. That’s when I began writing fiction, mainly horror.
What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Clive Barker once said in an interview: “Believe in your own imagination.” That’s what I did and I encourage new writers to do the same. Afterwards you can study writing techniques on how to compose a story all you want. And of course you have got to keep writing and reading. A Lot. Practice makes perfect.
Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
Not really. Just read the stories you like and analyze why you like them. That’s how I do it.
What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
Horror. H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite and Chuck Palahniuk.
What tips do you have for finding time to write?
If you want people to take your writing serious, then you have got to take it serious too. So don’t go looking for excuses about not having enough time. Make time.
Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I prefer to outline to a certain extent. I mean I will have a general idea about the beginning, middle and end of a story before I start writing. It’s like a skeleton with the flesh coming on during the actual writing itself. Most of the time I’m a spectator of my own imagination. For me, it’s a way of escaping from reality like I would when reading a book or watching a movie.
How do you deal with rejections?
Rejections are part the game. If you can’t deal with rejections, then don’t play. If a story is good enough, it will get published eventually. If it doesn’t get published, maybe it wasn’t a good story after all. Ask yourself why it wasn’t good and try to learn from it. I think you need rejections and a critical audience to grow as a writer.
What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
Having some of my stuff translated into English, getting published in magazines and anthologies. As a Belgian writer my audience is very limited, so I try to explore other markets.
Around Halloween this year, my second collection of short stories will be released in Belgium and the Netherlands. I’m also working on a children’s book with illustrations.
For the next five years?
At this moment I have achieved more than I could have ever hoped for, so I will see what the future has in store for me. My goal is to become an acclaimed horror writer in my homeland. That would make me a very happy man.
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My bio. Tom Thys, born 1983, is the Belgian author of Volmaakt monster (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24259420-volmaakt-monster?from_search=true&search_version=service), a collection of short stories. His stories have won several prizes in Belgium and The Netherlands. At this moment, several of his stories are being translated into English. His first translated story (Stopover) has been published recently by Massacre Publishings (issue 8) and Under the Bed (vol. 04 no. 06). More stories will come. FB: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007961115835