An Interview with Alexs Thompson

Carol Novis has worked for publications including Winnipeg Free Press, Cape Times and The Jerusalem Post. She has more recently started working in fiction, including a children’s book, entitled The Adventures of Mary Fairy. Today she joins me to talk about her cozy mystery series, Tension on a Pension.

Q: Can you sum up the I’ll Go book series in 20 words or less?

Trauma transformed to triumph. Rather than succumbing to the labels assigned to me, I forged my own path toward success.

Q: What inspired you to write this story?

In 2014 I had the kind of life crisis that cannot be ignored. I locked myself in my bedroom for days on end in the dark wondering if life was worth living. I was haunted by the fact that I should have been happy. I had my dream job living and working in the Middle East advising senior military officials; I had a great group of friends; played rugby multiple times a week; and traveled internationally every month. Week after agonizing week, though I struggled to understand why I couldn’t find happiness. Eventually, a voice emerged from my subconscious and told me it was time to go home. 

When the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 it awakened an insatiable curiosity and passion to solve US-Middle East relations. That naivete drove me to live with Muslim fundamentalists in places like Syria and Yemen; eventually I would support special operations and the US Marine Corps in Iraq, Afghanistan, and countries throughout Central/Eastern Africa.

In 2015, when I finally found a place I could call home, I needed to write my story. I needed to experience the catharsis that comes when one transforms unexplored emotions into words that have meaning for other people. “I’ll Go” is a memoir that allows me to share my experiences in a way that inspires personal transformation.

Q: Can you tell me a little more about the research that went into this book?

Since “I’ll Go” is a memoir, most of the research was re-experiencing difficult moments from my past. I was obsessed with telling the story of childhood abuse and combat stress in a way that is empowering. I didn’t want to just tell traumatic story after traumatic story; trauma, in my experience, is an opportunity for growth and transformation. I understand that not everyone has that perspective, but I wanted my readers to be inspired to live the best life they ever imagined.

Because of my time in combat, though, there are events that are part of my story that are also part of the public record. I spent time reading about battles in Iraq and Afghanistan; US policy statements; and congressional testimony to ensure that I presented a different perspective on well-known events. I combed through news reports, read books, and did biographical sketches on people like Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal. I worked with several famous people and I wanted to make sure I presented my perspective on their personalities without merely repeating what one can find in other books.

Q: What would you like readers to take away from this story?

There is a hero within who is aching to live the wildest dreams you’ve ever imagined. Bias and prejudice are unfortunate realities of our world, but I hope my story inspires those who face seemingly impossible obstacles to achieve more than anyone thinks they can accomplish. A hero life doesn’t have to mean becoming a general, senator, or earning a Ph.D.; being an inspiring partner or parent is hero work! Rather than imitating others, I hope those who share in my life’s story define their own hero life and live it without hesitation or apology.

Art of Tea Organics
Q: What kind of feedback are you receiving about I’ll Go?

I have been bowled over by the response to “I’ll Go.” From an external perspective, I was at #1 in several categories on Amazon for weeks and had sales that I never imagined. There are conversations on social media about my book and how it positively affected people’s lives. From another perspective, the response has been personally transformative. Letters have poured in from all over the world describing how friends, family, and strangers have redefined their hero life. When I wrote “I’ll Go”, I thought I was writing for me; I wondered whether the language I used would resonate with people. From the first review, I’ve been inspired to learn of how people take on the concept of the hero life and create something that pushes them to live a new kind of life.

Q: What inspires you to write?

It’s probably obvious by now, but I have a deep need to drive toward a mission. Rather than thinking about what this life is and how it moves, I spend my time obsessing about how things could be. It’s the same motivation that pushed me to spend 13 years consumed with fixing US-Middle East relations—an admittedly impossible task. Writing is an expression of the same passion: I want to inspire others to re-think life. As I wrote, I held the image of young kids who struggle and wondered how their life could ever amount to anything other than what the people around them accomplished. I fixated on the experiences of combat veterans who struggle with PTSD. I share the most difficult parts of my life because I believe that someone will read my words and create a language that defines their hero life.

Become a Subscriber

Track your reading goals with my reading journal templates. Receive them free when you join my mailing list. As a bonus, you’ll also receive my Ultimate 100 Book Reading Challenge!

Q: What is your next writing project?

“I’ll Go” ends with me falling in love and moving to Kansas City. It is the story of me finding the “home” for which I had spent so much time searching. My next writing project will be the continuation of my life’s story and share how I learned to become the partner and parent that deserves the title “hero life.” I just published “I’ll Go,” so I imagine it will be some time before my next project hits the bookshelves.

Q: What is on your current reading list?

I have spent more time reading combat memoirs and just finished Geraint Jones’s “Brothers in Arms.” It is raw, offensive, and great! Anyone who wants to understand the camaraderie of combat should give it a read. Given the current environment, I’m reading “How to be an Antiracist” by  Ibram X. Kendi and participating in a few reading groups to discuss it. Finally, I’m reading “The Second Mountain” by David Brooks. It’s an interesting read that makes me think a lot about how I learned to find passion in my life.

Q: Where can readers connect with you (website, social media, etc)?

Feel free to email me at





Q: Any closing remarks?

I enjoy sharing my story with others, but I love hearing how others define their hero work. I’ve been fortunate to share in book clubs, podcasts, and informal gatherings. It would be so exciting to me if your readers feel comfortable inviting me into their life’s journey. I’d love to participate in a book reading or a small gathering where we talk about the things that matter in this life. I’m obsessed with talking about how we transform our reality into the things we only imagined we could accomplish.

Thanks so much for giving me an opportunity to share my life’s mission Heidi. I really appreciate this opportunity and hope there are more to come.

This page contains affiliate links. This means for any purchase made, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Art of Tea Organics

More Authors to Meet:

Interested in working with me on an interview? Complete the form at the bottom of Interviews. I’ll be in touch within 48 hours. I look forward to working with you!

An Interview with David Biespiel

David Biespiel is the author of twelve books. I am excited to have the opportunity to interview him regarding his twelfth, The Book of Exodus, ahead of its September release. The book is currently available for pre-order. Q: Can you sum up A Place of Exodus in 20 words or less? The book is a memoir […]

An Interview with Michelle Cameron

Michelle Cameron’s novel Beyond the Ghetto Gates received silver in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, in the category of historical fiction. Q: Can you sum up Beyond the Ghetto Gates in 20 words or less? The clash of Jewish-Catholic cultures when Napoleon emancipated the Jews from their repressive Italian ghettos, embodied in two embattled women. […]

An Interview with Sharon Hart-Green

Sharon Hart-Green’s debut novel, Come Back for Me, was released in 2017. She is also the author of Not a Simple Story and Bridging the Divide. Q: Can you sum up Come Back For Me in 20 words or less? A gripping story of trauma, loss, and the redemptive power of love set in the […]

An Interview with Rayna Sue Harris

Rayna Sue Harris has had stories published in Jewish Heritage, Coastlines, and Tales Below the Frost Line. Today, Ms Harris is sharing more details about her debut novel, Bronx Heart, Jeruslam Soul. Q: Can you sum up Bronx Heart, Jerusalem Soul in 20 words or less? Tyra Miller, burdened by the demands of her family, […]

Become a Subscriber

Track your reading goals with my reading journal templates. Receive them free when you join my mailing list. As a bonus, you’ll also receive my Ultimate 100 Book Reading Challenge!

Recent Posts:

Book Review- The Kosher Butcher: A Lincoln/Lachler Mystery by Melvyn Westreich

By: Melvyn Westreich When a rabbi goes missing from an Ultra-Orthodox community in lower Michigan, the Rebbi asks Simon Lincoln to take the case. A former police officer and private detective, Lincoln reluctantly accepts the assistance of his fiancé, computer wiz, Dafna Lachler. When the case takes a turn, creating fear of a serial killer, […]

How to Write a Killer Book Review

Why Do Book Reviews Matter? Book reviews are an important way to support the work of authors you love. They are a simple way to thank your favorite authors for the work they do. Readers select books based on recommendations. So leaving reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are like telling your friends how […]

October Book Review Wrap Up

So many books, so little time! I am an avid reader and love to share recommendations with fellow readers. My choice in books tend to vary by my mood but some of my favorites are mystery, suspense, thriller, and humor. Get my reviews direct to your inbox every Wednesday and check back here for monthly […]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: