Who Is Bill Thompson, You Ask?
Some ask me why an editor named Bill Thompson got top billing on the review page of my novel, Who Buried Achilles? And why did I mention him again on the acknowledgment page? With his permission, let me share a great story.
Bill Thompson is a common name but, in the publishing world, Bill Thompson is an uncommon man. In the early 70s Bill perused the work of a young author and accepted a manuscript he knew could be a breakout novel. Broke at the time, the author had no phone, so Bill sent a telegram. “Congratulations,” it read. “Carrie officially a Doubleday book. Is $2,500 advance okay? The future lies head. Love, Bill.”
Yep, the recipient of Bill’s telegram was Stephen King.
About 15 years later Bill, then editor-in-chief of the now defunct Wynwood Press, found another lonely manuscript and took a chance on another unknown author. Bill shepherded A Time to Killto press and John Grisham to a new career. Grisham has since referred to Bill as, “The man who started it all.”
When I found Bill, he kindly read my manuscript and sent an email to his assistant. “I think Mr. O’Driscoll is worth encouraging,” he wrote. “Give him my number.” Bill has been gracious, direct and supportive. He gave me insightful notes that I readily incorporated into my novel and, when he offered a quote for my review page, I immediately gave it a well-deserved top billing.
Thanks again, Bill, for your help and encouragement.