Thom Kudla on his IRDA Winning Books “Commencement” and “Out of Context”

Commencement and Out of Context tied for winners in the Poetry category of the 2017 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Thom Kudla.

What are the names of the books and when were they published?

Commencement was first written and published in 2005, but only available on my website; Out of Context was first written and published in 2007 but only available on my website. Both of these books are now available in wide release on Amazon as of 2017.

What are the books’ first lines?

Commencement: “Forget everything you learned.”

Out of Context: “I was born in Egypt/perched atop a pyramid/during a golden age/when there was more than One/reason to wake each day.”

What are the books about? Give us the “pitches”.

Commencement: Rethinking education and reflecting on knowledge with new eyes.

Out of Context: Stripping clichéd thinking of its tiresome unoriginality and ascribing meaning in new ways.

What inspired you to write the books? A particular person? An event?

Commencement: All the teachers in my life who challenged me to think critically.

Out of Context: The poet Hafiz and how he challenged himself to write every day.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main characters? Who-real or fictional-would you say the characters reminds you of?

Commencement: Curiosity is what stands out most about the speaker here. He reminds me of Socrates.

Out of Context: Certainty is most distinct with this speaker. He is really confident in what he believes, or knows, to be true. There’s an almost godlike quality to his perspective.

What’s the main reason someone should really read these books?

With both Commencement and Out of Context, the primary goal is to make the reader look at things in a new way. People should read these books because they will come away from them changed, in a good way.

When did you first decide to become an author?

When I was 12, instead of vacationing during the summer or having fun playing outside in the sun with my friends, I was busy writing my first novel. Writing has always been my passion.

Are these the first books that you’ve written?

No.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

Marketing.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

It depends—during my last major project, I wrote every day for at least an hour; lately, I’ve been doing more reading instead.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?  

No one takes you seriously! They don’t realize that it was a conscious choice on my part to self-publish originally. I never even sent my manuscripts to a publisher or agent. I just wanted them to be available to the world in a way that I exercised the most control.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

Definitely! Even though my day job is marketing, I’ve really struggled with marketing my writing. I really need the assistance of a professional publisher to get my writing out to the masses.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

I am motivated by figuring out the world. In writing, I am able to understand things more clearly and share my observations, perceptions, and ideas with other people. It’s very intellectually stimulating and rewarding.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Hafiz. He was so wise.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I’m always impressed when writers extend beyond the traditional boundaries of their form.

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