Good Morning everyone! I hope your day begins on a high note of joy, awesome opportunity and the sheer possibility of a thing. In October 2013, I wrote a review of ‘Eating Smoke,’ the breakout memoir by author Chris Thralls and found it to be a fascinating read. (apparently the big boys in movie-land do as well) This morning I want you to join me in welcoming Chris Thrall to the author’s spotlight.
Happy 2014, Chris! I did a review of Eating Smoke for Amazon. Com and Good reads. com back in October 2013. I always wanted to interview you about your book, because it made quite an impression. Before we discuss the book, please share a little about yourself, as you clearly didn’t start out a writer. What made you want to pen stories? And what were some of your earlier works before Eating Smoke?
They say everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. At 38, I knew I wasn’t going to top the charts in a rock band or walk the red carpet in Hollywood, so I decided to write a book, figuring ‘Eating Smoke’, my Hong Kong experience, would make a good one. With the exception of university essays, it was the first thing I ever wrote, so there were no earlier stories.
Secondly, having traveled the world ticking items off my bucket list – volunteering in children’s school Mozambique in Africa, skydiving, and earning my pilot license, for example – I saw having a book published as a final goal, something I could feel pleased about and everything else in life a bonus from that point forward.
Reading about your drug addition and your eventual ‘psychoses’ really rattled me (former nurse) and almost had me believing your experiences in Hong Kong were the reality. Were there moments of clarity where you were told by concerned parties or became aware that, “hey, it’s the drugs?” and did you even consider trying to quit or seek help?
My experiences in Hong Kong were more real than you might think. They were just pretty surreal so many readers put them down to the drugs. As for psychosis and addiction, you don’t realize you’re in either at the time. Addiction is a psychological condition where your mind tells you if you keep taking the drugs, which fool the brain’s reward mechanism, then everything will work out alright. It’s only by hitting rock bottom and wallowing in deprivation for a time that you’re forced to face the fact the drugs aren’t working anymore and your life has spiraled out of control. I never sought any help. When you’ve lost almost everything it becomes increasingly obvious you have to make some changes, and you know only you can make them.
Is there a message you want readers to take away from Eating Smoke or did you write it primarily as a personal release of sorts?
The reason I chose to write Eating Smoke was because I thought readers would be fascinated to hear about the Foreign Triad – the secretive group of expats that worked hand in hand with the Chinese gangs. There’s no intended message in the book. If there was it would be to live your life to the full, take what’s thrown at you on the chin and try not to feel sorry for yourself!
Your dad was my hero and I’m sure other readers would agree. Share your feelings on how he handled such a precarious situation with you needing him from so far away.
I made a couple of what must have seemed bizarre and rambling phone calls to my dad while in Hong Kong, telling him I worked in a nightclub run by the triads and that things weren’t as they seemed. He was obviously shocked, frightened and confused, and made contact with the Hong Kong Police, who said they were ‘well aware’ of me … which didn’t do anything to calm his fears. But, without ruining the ending of the book for people, he did what a father should and continues to do so to this day.
Where can readers find all of your works and what are you working on now?
Eating Smoke is available through all the usual channels, Amazon, etc. I’ve recently signed a new publishing deal which will hopefully get the book the worldwide exposure it deserves. I’ve been approached by Hollywood several times for the film and TV rights and am co-writing the screenplay with Dean Mitchell, who is producing on Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, ‘Tomorrow’. I’m now writing the second novel in a unique fictional thriller series, really good fun, and am currently seeking an agent to represent the work.
For more information on the author and his work you can also go to his social media sites:
Doesn’t this interview make you want to purchase a copy of Eating Smoke?
Read it already? Feel free to share your thoughts.