Presenting Trust & Treachery Author Thomas Livingston

One of the things we want to do here at Trust & Treachery is give you a chance to get to meet our authors. So, as we slowly go through submissions, we will share with you a little about each of our contributors. Over the next few weeks, you will see bios and Q&As for our “First Five.” Although we continue to run behind in our posting schedule, today is Thomas Livingston.  Stay tuned as additional authors are added.

Editors, Trust & Treachery


Thomas Livingston

Thomas Livingston
Had my first novel accepted abut a year after I graduated Stanford with a degree in Modern European Languages. Took the advance money and flipped a quarter: Heads: Paris, Tails, Tahiti. It was Heads and I went to Paris for the summer. There I began a tumultuous love affair with a French lady that caused me to stay in Europe. Three years later I married her on the Rock of Gibraltar and our love affair is still alive and still tumultuous after 50 years. Stayed in Europe almost 6 years living in Italy, Portugal, Paris, Ibiza and Chartres, France. Returned to teach Freshman English and Creative Writing at Douglass College before it was merged into Rutgers.

Moved back to Palo Alto to take on a 614 paper newspaper route, throwing newspapers to the very rich over a 53 mile route in Los Altos Hills. Taught creative writing at San Jose State at night. Was getting progressively poorer so joined a small (7 people) Palo Alto Ad Agency called Regis McKenna Advertising one of the first high tech ad agencies in the country, as their copywriter. Two weeks after I joined, we got a small account named Intel. About 3 years later, we got a start-up named Apple Computer.

After we sold McKenna to Chiat/Day, I co-founded my own agency, Livingston/Sirutis, and we introduced Fujitu’s first personal business computer to the North American market. Got tired of hi-tech and went into food advertising. Fired in an acquisition, I moved to Carmel Valley and became engaged in produce marketing, working first at Mann Packing Company, the world’s largest shipper of fresh broccoli and, later at FoodSource, one of whose largest customers was Trader Joe’s.

Retired about 5 years ago and now live and write in Santa Barbara.

Author Q&A

Do you have any recent events to announce (of publications or anything else exciting)?
Sure. Getting published in Trust & Treachery.

What inspired you to write this story?
A manager I met in the produce industry who knew more about produce than anyone I’ve met–but he was one tough son-of-a-bitch until he learned to trust you.

What books and/or authors have most influenced you?
Camus, Jeffers, Plath, Rukeyser, Grossman, Nietzsche

What are you reading now?
I usually have a few books open at the same time–always a book of poetry. I’m currently reading George Held‘s After Shakespeare: Selected Sonnets, Donald Young’s The Battle for Snow Mountain, and Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate.

What are your current projects?
Finishing a book of short stories, There Aren’t Any Virgins in Monterey and Other Stories and finding an agent for my new novel, The Light of Donato Milano.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write, and then write some more. Then find a editor who wants to help you tell your stories instead of injecting his or her stories into yours.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you don’t like a story, don’t force yourself to read it.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“…they (American writers) read the critics. If they believe the critics when they say they are great then they must believe them when they say they are rotten and they lose confidence.”  -Ernest Hemingway. THE GREEN HILLS OF AFRICA.

I like it because I think it’s the most valuable advice a wittier about to publish her or his first book can get.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Still being alive.

What inspires you to write and why?
The privilege of being able to write and being free to do it.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
An editor at Simon & Schuster rejecting my second novel because he said, “Mafia chieftains never can control their mb once their in prison.” It’s was tough because it wasn’t true.

What has been the best compliment?
A British critic calling the style of my second novel “…Wagnerian in the tradition of Faulkner and Penn Warren.”

Tell us something unusual (or fun) about you.
When I was the Creative Director at Apple Computer’s ad agency, Steve Jobs used to call me an asshole at least once a week.