Wednesday, February 24, 2016

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Tom Reitze, Author

Tom Reitze, Author
Tom Reitze, author of “Stories of a Different Nature,” returns to divulge more about his quirky self and his novella DEKLYN. Although the novella started out as a short story, “like beads on a string” it kept getting longer as new ideas about the world today intrigued him.

Reitze is a former electrical engineer, has a twenty-pound cat named Horus, and dislikes TV. But what’s most exciting is that his novel—a love story with “humor, silliness, adventure, a bit of the paranormal"—is being edited, and we can expect to see it within the next year. In the meantime, for fun, he enjoys building gadgets from spare parts, painting, and more writing.

Q: Why do you write paranormal, quirky stories like DEKLYN? Is this your favorite genre to read? What do you read besides paranormal?

Tom Reitze: Actually, I rarely read paranormal stories, though I like the subject matter quite a bit. I like to think of the possibilities that exist in a world we don’t fully understand, then try to put some of my ideas into writing. The paranormal is all around us. Often, significant things happen in our lives without explanation—events that should not occur but do. We have no explanation for them. Most of us have experienced such oddities, but we often brush them off because their existence upsets our sane, predicable world. There must be something to these events since so many people have confronted them. Like knowing someone is watching you from behind, and when you turn, someone is. Preposterous events well beyond feeling watched, things that can’t occur, often do. That’s where the mystery lies.

I like Tony Hillerman, rest his soul, and his style of writing. I read the most boring material you could imagine. Such as how the transistor was developed, what exists at the edges of the universe, how do geostationary satellites function, the development of the atom bomb, and ‘junk’ like that. I like to watch old presentations from NOVA, The History Channel, and National Geographic. I am always excited being enlightened about things I didn’t understand or never knew existed. I spend a lot of time trying to answer that ultimate question. How and why are we here?

The quirkiness? I guess it comes from me. I’m often disorganized, make up my own rules, and have a tendency to put together the jig-saw puzzle the way I like. Even if it doesn’t resemble anything close to the picture on the box. It drives my editor Dorothy nuts.

Q: DEKLYN is longer than other stories you’ve published. What drove you to make it longer than your short stories? Did you need more words to develop your characters or the plot?

Tom Reitze: DEKLYN turned out to be like beads on a string. One part added and another after that. I think of it as being a very disjointed but linear story. It wasn’t intended to be as long as it turned out, but ideas kept coming to me and were added as they developed. It turns out DEKLYN is somewhat of an ‘editorialized tale.’

Many of my ideas about our present world are included within the novella, along with some ‘metaphysical’ possibilities. Many of the problems that exist today, and have existed for some time, are presented, yet they never get addenda to. Child abuse, people lost and without hope, the crazy mass shootings that keep happening, cheating hypocritical leaders… they are all there. When will we decide these are things that need some consideration? I wanted to shine a light on these matters. The story has a strange construction, such that after you have finished with it, you may wonder how in the world it moved in so many diverse directions. I guess that’s its quirkiness. I like that. I think that is how my life has proceeded. Write what you know has always been an instruction to new authors. I would add to that, if you dare, write what you are. That is where I’m going next.

There are a number of very positive aspects of DEKLYN as well. It took a few words to get all of that in.

Q: How do you make readers care what happens to your characters? Are your characters clearly hero or villain?

Tom Reitze: I try to make the characters that play their respective roles in my stories interesting in different ways and to different degrees. If I am writing something that is emotionally connected to me, I try to get the reader to feel those emotions—to make the characters come alive for the reader as they are for me. I have a great empathy for Levon and Benny in my Christmas Eve story. Other times, the story is the story. The characters should be real and believable but perhaps I don’t spend as much time on them as I should in bringing them off the pages.

There are purely evil players in some of my stories. That’s because I believe some form of unredeemable evil walks on the face of this earth. Most of my characters are somewhere in-between corrupt and sufficient, but may tilt towards one side or another. That is the true nature of the human spirit. I’m not sure, but pretty much convinced, perfection is probably not achievable.

Q: Why do the Adirondacks appeal to you for settings? Do you find the hills or forests ominous or scary? I admit, the movie Deliverance comes to mind when I think of backwoods in the mountains.

Tom Reitze: When I was very young our family vacationed in the Adirondacks a number of times (the name refers to ‘Tree Eaters,’ derived from the Mohawk language, but perhaps in a very indirect way). As a child I fell in love with the area immediately. Up to about five years ago, for about fifteen years, I rented a cabin in Speculator each autumn from the same family, for a two week stay each year.

The mountains and trees are beautiful. It is as peaceful there as any place you can imagine. But there is more to it than that. There is something mysterious about the place. Perhaps the spirits of the Native Americans who lived there years ago still roam the hills. Maybe there are other unknown spirits or forces that exist in the forest and mountains. Often as the sun would go down, I would stand at the edge of the lake and stare at the mountains on the other side. I could feel that something was there but was too elusive to see. I’m not sure what it is, but I feel it there, moreso than any place I have ever been, there is a living, mysterious, unknown force that exists there. And maybe has forever. Going there is a more spiritual experience for me than any I have ever come across within the walls of any religious institution.

Q: Do you write your stories just to entertain or do you like to embed a message or two?

Tom Reitze: Sometimes I write just to entertain. Let the truth be known, it’s not my favorite pastime. The stories I instill some message in, or two, or many, are the ones that are both enjoyable and fulfilling to write. DEKLYN and CHRISTMAS EVE were like that. Quirkier ones are yet to come, though, and some are filled with hidden meaning. It will take the reader some time to decipher the strange concepts in some of them. That’s part of the game, though. Make the reader think, and let readers come up with different meanings for the same parts of the story. That should tell us all about the interpretation of many presentations.

Q: What’s next? Will you publish the novel you’ve written?

Tom Reitze: I’ll give you a few hints. In perhaps a year, more or less, from now I will be releasing a full size novel, many times the size of DEKLYN. It was the first thing I wrote a number of years ago, and is by far the best piece of work I have ever done. Maybe ever will do. It is complete, but is still being edited. Look for it because I think if you read it you will not regret the time spent traversing its pages.

It is a love story. It contains a lot of humor and silliness, adventure, a bit of the paranormal, and a deep philosophical understanding of the world presented through the eyes of a young child. There is a host of characters, some with inane personalities and some with a profound understanding of how the real world works. And it comes packaged with a hectic surprise ending. Told by a young boy, who, by the time I finished writing it, I loved as if he were my own child. And still do.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Tom Reitze: Write. That’s what I spend most of my time doing. A lot of what I do goes nowhere so that chews up some time. Also, I have to keep records and I find that difficult and time consuming.

Having been an electrical engineer, and having a basement full of old electronic components, I spend time building gadgets of various kinds I design. I used to do some painting and art work. I’m not very good at it, but I think I made a few passable items. However, my hands are not as steady as they used to be, so that pastime may be beyond me. But I miss it and may give it a go one more time.

About Tom Reitze

Thomas Reitze, who much prefers Tom, worked for thirty years as an electrical technician then engineer for a Fortune 500 company. He produced designs used in numerous copying and printing machines. One of his designs ended up as a million seller, used in more than one million machines.

His love of doing design work sprouted from his need to be constantly creating; making something new that didn't exist before. He also dabbled in painting for a number of years, but sold very few of his finished productions. However, in the joy of creating he found great satisfaction, reaffirming that the act itself was its own reward.

After that, lying in bed one night, he had an idea for a book that might be interesting to write. He started on it, a process that took three years to complete. The book is finished but not edited, and may be released in a few years after it is "cleaned up." However, as often is the case for Tom, he has become sidetracked from that task and moved on to a new one. He decided to put to gather a collection of short stories instead. Once started, he found it hard to stop. He now holds a collection of around twenty (maybe more) completed stories and many more in the pipeline.

Tom lives alone with his twenty pound cat Horus. Over the years he has collected a lot of "junk" that is scattered around his house. From an actual (legal) piece of the moon, to a few Egyptian items, some going back to about one-thousand B.C., to numerous wood carved dragons, and to a Chinese opium scale from perhaps the mid eighteen-hundreds--it's all there and much more.

His favorite food is Chicken French, he enjoys music from the sixties and seventies, Native American flute music and what people refer to as boring new age music. He does not appreciate jazz. His favorite author is Tony Hillerman. He hates TV, doesn't have cable, and his only TV is a small analog color unit more than thirty years old, and an eleven inch black and white receiver that is older yet. He is not a fan of video games or movies, but is interested in documentaries about science, archaeology, and the mysterious past of ancient civilizations. He tries to, but never expects, that he will understand the duality of light, Einstein's theory of relativity, or the nature of dark matter and energy.

He spends most of his time writing and rewriting, then editing his work. Regardless of the outcome of that work, good or bad, as long as he has a keyboard in front of him he is happy.
Tom's favorite place, which he holds near and dear to him, is the Adirondack Mountains in New York, where he has vacationed many times. You will find the setting for many of his short stories in that location or a landscape that is similar.

Tom is not sure of the existence of a 'Great Spirit.' He ponders evidence for and against the Overriding Power. Some of his stories show that struggle. He hopes someday he will get a definitive answer.

His answer, though--not someone else's that he is expected to accept just because they say so.


This "between the Stories of a Different Nature" novella started as just another story. Deklyn demanded that there was more than those few words to his tale. An escape from a life of beatings; a journey in a desolate desert; unimaginable powers; and forces beyond all understanding await you. Deklyn would like you to read it. At one time, he could have made you read it, but now it is your choice.



Stories of a Different Nature:

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