Thomas White – Exploring the Creative Nexus 

From Stage to Page,  Unveiling the Artistic Odyssey of a Director turned Author

Discover Thomas White’s journey from directing theater to crafting novels, delving into themes of time travel, justice, and suspense, driven by imagination and real-world inspiration.

In this interview, we chat with Thomas White, a versatile talent who began his career as an actor before becoming an award-winning Artistic Director in Los Angeles. Thomas directed and co-produced the world tour of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out Of Their Shells, a show that delighted nearly a million children globally.

For 24 years, Thomas led Maiden Lane Entertainment, creating large-scale corporate events for clients like Harley Davidson and Microsoft. He is also an accomplished author, with his latest novel, The Edison Enigma, following the success of Justice Rules and The Siren’s Scream.

Join us as we explore Thomas’s dynamic career and creative journey.

Your career journey from acting to directing and eventually writing is quite diverse. How do you think your background in theater and event production has influenced your approach to storytelling in your novels?

First of all, thanks for including me in Reader’s House Magazine. It is truly a privilege to be here. That being said,  my evolution from stage director to author isn’t as big of a disconnect as you may think. As a director you tell stories. On stage, you use actors, sets, props and lighting to tell that story. As an author you use your words. At the end of the day, you are really doing the same thing, telling a story and engaging your audience. With any piece of theatre or in any novel the objective is the same, engage the audience emotionally. One way of the other, you have to pique their interest throughout the work. If you can accomplish that, you stand the chance of being entertaining.

The Edison Enigma explores the concept of time travel and the consequences of altering history. What inspired you to delve into this theme, and how did you approach weaving together elements of science fiction and historical speculation?

I worked on a corporate event for Saturn where they revealed their electric car, the EV-1, in 1997. A few years later I read an article that was entitled, “The Death Of The Electric Car”. I started to wonder why the electric car had never been successful. I set about researching and discovered some very strange coincidences, events that all occurred at the turn of the 20th Century. The most popular car on the road was electric. The largest company in the world was Standard Oil and their primary product was Kerosene. The advent of the electric light bulb was beginning to kill the kerosene market. But, the invention of the internal combustion engine made gasoline a viable commodity. It was a byproduct of kerosene and they used to throw it away. I wondered if there was a point in time where someone influenced the use of the Internal Combustion Engine over the safer, quieter, cleaner electric car. But, and this is where the writer’s imagination comes into play, what if someone found that moment in time where the world turned away from the internal combustion engine and chose electric and somehow changed it. Consequently, we would all be living in an altered reality. Now that sounded like a fun thing to write and hence, The Edison Enigma!

The Siren’s Scream centers around the Thornton Mansion and its ominous tide pool, which has a history of mysterious deaths. What drew you to this setting, and how did you develop the atmosphere of suspense and dread surrounding it?

I had gathered some random thoughts about mermaids and siren’s etc and wanted to write a novel about them. However, the mermaid myth is literally as old as the sea and has been done to death. I had a structure for a story but nothing that was truly intriguing. Then, while dealing with a particularly unpleasant sibling I wondered if Mermaids ever had to deal with this stuff. Did mermaids have families? Did they have a lineage? How did they become a mermaid and what made one become a siren? Once I went down that road, a storyline began to form and I was able to bring The Siren’s Scream to life. 

Justice Rules features FBI Special Agent Brian Wylie investigating a murder that leads to a vigilante coalition. What inspired the plot of this novel, and how did you navigate the complexities of exploring themes of justice and morality?

Justice Rules is a novel about victims. It was inspired by the OJ Simpson trial. After the acquittal, Ron Goldman’s father, Fred, was at the podium being asked how he felt. I’ll never forget this image. He had a large handlebar mustache that was waxed to perfect points. The devastation I saw in his face was heartbreaking. I thought, “What choice does he have now short of shooting OJ in the face on the courthouse steps? How can he attain justice without paying to the justice system that had failed him?”  I began to wonder what I would do. How could I seek revenge on someone without being caught. How do I perform the perfect murder? Answering that question brought about Justice Rules.

Your novel Justice Rules was nominated as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2010 Literary contest. How did this recognition impact your writing career, and what lessons did you learn from the experience?

I was greatly honoured to have been nominated in this category. Justice Rules was my first novel, I was a first time writer and I never expected that kind of recognition. Now, that being said, had I been able to follow up with a second novel, maybe turn it into a series, I might be able to say that it had an impact on my writing career, but, I was so overwhelmed with the accomplishment of writing a novel, I stepped back and didn’t produce another for ten years. No one can accuse me of cranking them out, that’s for sure. 

Throughout your career, you’ve worked on large-scale productions for companies like Harley Davidson and Microsoft. How do you balance the creative demands of writing novels with the logistical challenges of producing events, and do you find any parallels between the two creative processes?

I always describe my career as being someone in production. I produce plays, musicals, sales events, corporate meetings, product reveals, novels, etc. The skill set is pretty much the same, you create a vision in your head, then utilize your skill set to make it come to life. Writer’s always talk about the blank piece of paper and how there is nothing scarier. That is 100% true. Imagination is always the first thing to happen as a project is born, be it onstage, in films, or on the page. You never know where or when inspiration will strike and that is part of the excitement of being in production.

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