Howie Thompson moved to the SC beach in 2006 from Darien, CT but he just discovered his love for beach music last year (2011). Prior to his current life of author and all around fun guy, he was a high school Physical Education teacher and a coach. He is the author of Fat Harold, the Legendary King of Shag and soon to be released book, The History of Beach Music.
GSH: “Who is Howie Thompson?”
HT: “I am primarily a soccer and basketball coach as well as a writer of 5 books. I wrote poems when I was in high school but did not pursue it. One of my teachers said I was not a good enough writer because I had too many spelling errors. But later another teacher encouraged me to write what I know. I really did like writing and went to DC to compete in a contest.”
“Since I love sports and felt that it was easy to write about that. After winning the National Coach of the Year award and three Sportsmanship awards in three different states, I wrote about sports. One of my books, Overtime: the Legend of Trey “Shooter” Parrish, caught the attention of famed author Dan Brown, who took an interest and sent me an email that said I had talent.” Wow.
GSH: “What got you interested in Harold Bessent? ”
HT: “I enjoyed beach music and hanging out at his club (Fat Harold’s). Harold has a tremendous aura that exudes friendship and we got close real fast. I began to write the book last September and it was published last March by Xlibris (now owned by Pearson). They offered me a good package: the company performed four edits and lots of marketing – more than they would do on a normal publish by demand. Luckily the book has done well and is now selling in Belgium and Italy!”
GSH: “What got you interested in beach music?”
HT: “I enjoyed going to the clubs and listening to the music. You can shag to almost any music that is out there and beach music is the easiest because of the beat. It is a way of life and you can hear the same song in any club. Anybody can dance with anybody; it’s just about people who love to shag.”
GSH: “Can you share one of your favorite stories from meeting with a band?”
HT: “I became good friends with all of the bands from writing my second book, The History of Beach Music. The first band I met is The Mark Roberts Band. I then met Jim Quick of Coastline, Sea Cruz and The Craig Woolard Band. Many of the beach bands are in the new book.”
“My favorite performer is Jim Quick. You may think that he is arrogant on stage, but it’s his act. He is a brilliant song writer, very smart and loves history; it was a great interview. Another performer, Butch Barnes, the lead singer for Sea Cruz told me some touching stories about what Harold did for him. Butch and I are good friends now.”
GSH: “What is your favorite thing to do in your time off?”
HT: “I love to play corn hole (bean bag toss in North). I play three times a week in various bars in the area. In some of the clubs you can win money and some you win tabs (credits to use in that bar). We have about 50-60 people that come out and partners are picked through a blind draw.”
GSH: “Where is your favorite venue on the Grand Strand?”
HT “Probably Harold’s because I spent so much time doing the book. It is so more than bar; it’s a museum and you always see something new.”
GSH: “What is your favorite thing to do on the Grand Strand?”
HT: “I like to spend time with my girlfriend and have some down time now that I am more in the public eye. I love the beach, that’s why I moved here. I love the sun rise and practice tai chi on the beach. It is good to clear your mind when writing a book.”
GSH: “What advice do you have for budding authors?”
HT: “I got this from another author – just write what you know. When I began, I knew I had it inside of me. When I won the National Coach of the Year award I decided to write The Complete Guide to Youth Soccer and A Game for All Seasons. I like to write fiction and am working on a suspense book now. It will probably be done after the band book (April 2013 before Spring SOS).
GSH: “What do you want the readers to know about you?”
HT: “I love what I do; love my life right now. I could not imagine in my 40s that I would be doing this. Because of the economy, there are not as many physical education jobs. I loved coaching kids and taught them not to worry about wins and losses but love the competition – if they did not love it, then do something else.”
Howie Thompson loves his life at the beach and fortunately for us, writing about what he loves and sharing it with us.