The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI grad reads from début thriller, “Killer Choice”

The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Sm
FILE – Prairie Lights is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

One day, author and University of Iowa graduate Tom Hunt was reading a news article about a man whose wife was sick. The man was trying to raise mo ney for his wife’s surgery, noting that he would do anything to get the money they needed.

As Hunt began wondering just how far the man would go to get the money his wife needed for surgery, a plot took on a life of its own.

Hunt’s début thriller novel, Killer Choice, focuses on Gary, who faces a difficult decision in order to procure the money for his pregnant wife’s treatment she needs for an inoperable tumor.

Tonight at Prairie Lights, Hunt will read from Killer Choice, providing readers with an glimpse into what has been described as a “nail-biting plot.”

“The main character is just a normal guy,” he said. “A lot of books you read, in thrillers especially, the main character is usually a police officer, or a police detective, or an international superspy like James Bond, or someone like Rambo, but this book is just about a normal, everyday guy who has a normal, everyday job and just has something really bad happen to him — something that’s way out of character for him in order to save his wife.”

RELATED: Writers’ Workshop grads read at Prairie Lights

In Killer Choice, Hunt developed relatable characters with distinct personalities and characteristics, which makes the thriller compelling.

When he attended the University of Iowa as a communications major with a strong interest in writing, he learned to grasp the audience’s attention and move the plot in a quick and riveting manner, which is evident in his thriller.

“I’ve always enjoyed reading a lot, [and I] always knew I wanted to take a stab at writing novels,” Hunt said. “I also wrote a couple [novels] before [Killer Choice] that never got published, but that was more of a learning experience, not only writing but also the process of submitting the book for publishing, and finding an agent, and how all of that works.”

In the midst of working for well-known advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi and J. Walter Thompson, Hunt has completed the first draft of his second novel and has an idea for a third.

When writing a novel, Hunt acknowledges his process to write every day — even if he gets stuck.

He compares working through a creative block to a basketball player who is having a difficult time making shots. Just as the basketball player who continues to shoot basketballs will ultimately make a shot, a writer who continues to write will write something astonishing.

RELATED: Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates read new work at Prairie Lights

Eventually, the story may even become autonomous in certain regards.

“It’s really cool how the book takes on a life of its own as you write — the characters as well,” said Hunt. “Usually, [when] you go into the book, you have a general idea of how the book will end up [and] how the people turn out, but once you start writing, the book almost never actually follows that.”

The Washington, Iowa, native looks forward to visiting Iowa City and its literary culture again.

“When I was a student, I would always go to Prairie Lights to buy books just all the time, so it will be really incredible actually to have a book signing there and just have my book for sale there. It will be really neat.”

When: 7 p.m. Today

Where: Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque

Admission: Free

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