“You kept us spellbound!”—Nolan White, Baldwin County Writers
From: Montgomery, AL
Education: MSW University of Alabama
Currently Lives: Near Birmingham, AL
Award-winning author, T.K. Thorne, inspires, entertains, and enlightens, speaking about life lessons learned as a police woman in a macho-male world; the fascinating research behind the investigation of a bombing case that became a pivotal point in America’s civil rights movement; and her historical novels about unknown women in two of the world’s oldest and most famous stories.
List of Previous Speaking Engagements
(Click below for downloadable one-page speaker sheets)
Behind the Magic Curtain: Secrets, Spies and Unsung White Allies of Birmingham’s Civil Rights Days
“Surprising Revelations About The 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing Case”
“5 Life Lessons of a Police Officer”
“Floods, Bombs & Angels: A Writer’s Journey”
“…an outstanding program– Lion of Judah women [gathered] to hear [T.K. Thorne’s] recounting of the infamous 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing which killed four young black girls.”—Samantha Dubrinsky, Birmingham Jewish Federation
“We had such complimentary feedback on your event!”—Jennifer Eads, Birmingham Jewish Federation
“Everyone raved about your talk . . . you were the favorite presenter!”—Michael Hart Hillman, Greater Atlanta Lions of Judah
Writing Workshop topics:
“Somebody’s Gotta Die”
“7 Steps To Make Your Writing (Fiction or Nonfiction) A Page Turner”
“Historical Fiction: A Different Beast”
“You were a hit with your popular ‘Page-Turner’ workshop and you made a great contribution to the panel on racially-sensitive journalism coverage. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback, with many folks saying it was the best conference in many years!“—Elaine Hobson Miller, National Federation Press Women
“Participants in your workshop said, ‘We want more!’”—Barbara Lipe, Chatahoochee Writers Conference
“You held us spellbound for almost two hours. Every minute was worthwhile.”—Nolan White, Baldwin County Writers Group
“How to Make Your Nonfiction A Page Turner’ was great and so relevant to my writing struggles. I had a 75,000 word book and couldn’t find readers because it was just boring. Now I know what was wrong and how to fix it.”—Elaine Johnson, Chattahoochee Writers Conference
—Independent Book Publisher’s Benjamin Franklin Award for Historical Fiction
—IPPY Benjamin Franklin Awards for Historical Fiction
—ForeWord Reviews “BOOK OF THE YEAR” for Historical Fiction
—Portland Book Review for Short Fiction
—Chattahoochee Valley Writer’s Contest for Short Fiction
—Eugene Walters Writers Festival Termite Hall for Screenplay
—Magic City Writers’ Contest for Short Fiction
T.K. Thorne’s childhood passion for storytelling deepened when she became a police officer in Birmingham, Alabama. Retiring as a captain, she took on Birmingham’s business improvement district as the executive director before retiring again to write full time. Both careers and a masters degree in social work from the University of Alabama provide fodder for her writing, which has garnered multiple awards.
T.K. has written two historical novels, Noah’s Wife and Angels at the Gate, of the untold backstories of extraordinary unnamed women—the wives of Noah and Lot—in two of the world’s most famous sagas. Her first non-fiction book Last Chance for Justice details the investigators’ behind-the-scenes stories of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing case and trials. She followed that non-fiction with Behind the Magic Curtain: Secrets, Spies, and Unsung White Allies of Birmingham’s Civil Rights Days. Her newest novels, House of Rose, House of Stone, and House of Iron mix murder and mayhem with magic when a police officer discovers she’s a witch. T.K. loves traveling, gardening, martial arts training, and speaking about her books and life lessons. She writes from her mountaintop home near Birmingham, often with a dog in her lap and horses mowing the front lawn.
She blogs about “What Moves Me” on her website TKThorne.com. Join her private newsletter email list and receive two free TK short stories at TK’s Korner.
Contact T. K. for a bio of a specific word count.
T.K. Shares A Few Fun Facts About Herself:
—I’m a black belt in the martial art of Aikido and Jujitsu.
—At age eight-years-old, I won a ribbon for being stubborn.
—I dove the Great Blue Hole in Belize, the largest sea hole in the world.
—As a rookie police officer, I had to devise a different way to hold a gun because my hands were too small.
—I once had an M-16 rifle pointed at me while researching a book.
—Frogs make me smile.
A leader in her community, she has served on numerous boards and been recognized with various community awards including:
- Birmingham Business Journal’s “Top Birmingham Business Women” Award
- Positive Maturity’s “Top 50 Over 50” Award
- Birmingham International Center’s “Motivating Women” Award
- Chamber of Commerce “Jesse Lewis Community Service” Award
- Girl Scouts “Women of Distinction” Award
- Operation New Birmingham’s “Achievement” Award
- Community Affairs “Liberty & Justice” Award
- Lion’s International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellow
Interviews and Articles:
“A Long Road of Public Service, Advocacy, and Storytelling”
Interview with University of Alabama School of Social Work
Discover St. Clair article
NPR (All Things Considered) Interview with Doug Jones, Bill Baxley and T.K. Thorne
Troy University Public Radio (In Focus) Interview with T.K. Thorne
Birmingham Shines’ Sheree Martin Interview
OnLineBookClub Historical Writers of AmericaB-Metro MagazineAlabama
NewscenterLayered PagesHistorical Fiction AddictsA Well Read WomanFixed Baroque:
Romance MagiciansOn My Bookshelf
Suggested Interview Questions:
Suggested Interview Questions:
1.You are a retired police captain. How did that experience affect your writing?
2.Both of your historical novels are based on biblical stories, yet they aren’t religious in nature. Can you talk about that?
3. Can you walk us through the research process for your historical novels?
4. What made you make the leap from historical fiction and nonfiction into mystery/thriller/urban fantasy?
5. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Reviews of Books:
Behind the Magic Curtain:
T. K. Thorne has hit another home run with Behind the Magic Curtain. For five and a half decades we have read accounts of the civil rights era in Birmingham and Selma written by those with a particular ax to grind. Thorne is an excellent reporter, recognizing the nuances that “outsiders” or opinionated writers could not see or chose to overlook. Her reading and especially her interviews over the past several years have been remarkable, allowing her to give far more accurate details than we have seen before. For those who want to know the secrets of what really went on behind the “magic curtain” in those pivotal nation-changing days, days that brought the Civil Rights Bill in 1964 and the Voting Rights Bill in 1965, this is an important book to read.
—Douglas M. Carpenter, Retired Episcopal minister and son of Alabama’s Episcopal Bishop, C. C. J. Carpenter.
Deeply engaging, Behind the Magic Curtain tells a forgotten part of the Birmingham story, prompting many “real time memories” for me. The lively and descriptive writing brought the characters and settings to life, while diving into the white community’s role in all its complexities. This is a treasure trove of stories about activities and perspectives not well known to the general public. In particular, journalist Tom Lankford’s sleuthing and the machinations of the Birmingham Police Department, along with the risk-averse role of the local newspapers, and a full blown portrait of the inscrutable Birmingham News VIP, Vincent Townsend, make for a fascinating read.
—Odessa Woolfolk, educator, community activist, and founding president of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
In Behind the Magic Curtain, T. K. Thorne introduces us to those who operated behind the scenes in the civil rights movement in Alabama, shedding light on the individual moral complexities of these participants—some firebrands, some reluctant players, and some predators who worked for their own gain. This journalistic exploration of a complicated time in Alabama’s social history will sit comfortably on the shelf next to histories by Dianne McWhorter, Glenn Eskew, and Taylor Branch. — Anthony Grooms, author of Bombingham and The Vain Conversation
“T.K. writes like a seasoned news editor, meticulously hunting down facts and laying out the context in a colorful, intriguing way. Behind the Magic Curtain documents many untold stories and faithfully relates my own personal, unforgettable memories of a time of racial transition in Birmingham.”
—Tom Lankford, journalist for The Birmingham News
“Novelist and former Birmingham Police Captain T.K. Thorne demonstrates there was more to Birmingham of the Civil Rights Era than Bull Connor, Klansmen, and African-American protestors. Behind that “Magic Curtain,” an ethnically diverse group from downtown to the surrounding bedroom communities of ministers, priests, rabbis, newspaper reporters, and housewives comprised a community belying monikers like ‘Bomingham’ and ‘Murder Capital of America,’ and fighting for justice in the Magic City.”
—Earl Tilford, author of Turning the Tide: The University of Alabama in the 1960s
Angels at the Gate:
The story is so compelling that I could not wait until I could read the next part of the adventure.–San Francisco Book Review
“The plot is intelligently mapped and skillfully builds suspense… Thorne portrays ancient lands with an eye for wilderness… scenes unfold in crisp detail… A tale set in biblical times comes to life for a literary audience.”
“A compelling and exceptional read, “Angels At The Gate” documents author T. K. Thorne as an impressively talented novelist. This is the stuff of which block-buster movies are made.”
“…fans of “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant will love this book.”
–The Hutchinson News
“. . .a terrific yarn composed of brilliant world-building, clever extrapolation, and fascinating characters. . . The action is convincing, the characters compelling, and the setting excellently depicted. Not only is the writing smooth, but Thorne cleverly twists the biblical story, adding realism without detracting from religion.”
–Washington Independent Review of Books
“[Thorne] manages to blend historical fiction of the most ancient sort with spiritual themes that wouldn’t frighten away even the most staunch of atheists, and she does so all while developing captivating and heart-tugging characters that you aren’t soon to forget.”
Although based on a few Bible verses people are familiar with, this tale is fully imagined and takes great liberties with the Bible story. . . Although there are feminist parallels to the present, and this novel, is in a sense, a retelling of the story of Lot’s wife . . . [it’s] greatest strength is as an adventure novel; comparisons could be made to Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.
–Don Noble, Book Reviewer and Host of Alabama Public Radio
“Thorne’s ability to transform the reader to another time and place is seamless. Her novels are highly recommended.
–Association of Jewish Libraries Review
“Filled with a remarkable interwoven detailed look into the culture of Abram’s tribe and life in a trade caravan, the second mysterious woman of the bible dramatization (see Noah’s Wife) provides a fascinating look at who Lot’s wife was before she turned into the Pillar of Salt. The key to this entertaining biblical novelization is T.K. Thorne provides a plausible background that explains why Lot’s wife would disobey the angelic warning not to look back.”
–Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round Review
“T. K. Thorne combined religious, archeological and historical study to create this story of a woman who followed her own path in the world… Thanks to Thorne, Lot’s wife is transformed back into woman, wayward and strong but alive.”
–Books That Follow You Home
“The reader gets a great story and learns so much about the time of Lot’s wife. “
–Cathie Martin of WGRT-FM
“As she did in NOAH’S WIFE, Thorne gives us a brilliantly imagined alternate history.”
–Perle Champion, Perle’s Ink
“…Thorne’s vivid imagination and gift for storytelling are extraordinary. For all whose curisosity is piqued by how it might have been in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, this is a must read!”
–Dianne Mooney, founder of Southern Living At Home
“Thorne unspools an ancient adventure with crackling undertones of our contemporary lives. Lean, polished action sequences render a young woman’s life with both intensity and nuanced truth.”
–Carroll Dale Short, journalist, columnist, public radio commentator, author of The Shining Shining Path
“A masterpiece of historical research, interweaving history and theology in a re-visioning of an ancient story from a woman’s perspective. Thorne is a dazzlingly gifted writer.”
–Sue Walker, Poet Laureate of Alabama 2003-2012
“Adventure, Drama, Love and Losses—I am absolutely enthralled with the writing of T. K. Thorne.”
–Lenora’s Culture Center and Foray into History
“For readers familiar with the Genesis story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the finale should come as no surprise, but the journey toward that end is well worth following. The characters are flawlessly drawn, utterly human, and completely true to life. The religious and mystical aspects of the Old Testament story are delicately woven into the structure of the novel in a way that honors the original tale without focusing too heavily on divine retribution. This excellent, well-crafted historical novel showcases a truly talented storyteller.”–Library Journal STARRED review
“ANGELS AT THE GATE is nothing short of a masterwork–superbly and eloquently written, solidly researched and a high speed page-turner. Readers will be swept up in a story they can’t put down.”
–Elsa D. Rutherford, editor, The Nifty Pickle
Last Chance for Justice:
“… [Detetive] Herren’s interview with one of the bombers, and the subsequent trials of Blanton and Cherry, are truly gripping. Thorne’s story is a stunning reminder of just how tough the fight for freedom—and justice—really is.”
“I can blame T.K. Thorne for a sleepless night reading Last Chance. What a great job telling this little known or understood major historical story!”
—Morris Dees, the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center
“I don’t have time to read books, but I decided to read the first chapter. I didn’t put it down until I finished it, and I learned things I didn’t know.”
—Bill Baxley, former Alabama Attorney General and prosecutor in the 1977 bombing case
“In Last Chance for Justice, T.K. Thorne portrays the remarkable skill, determination and tenacity of Alabama law enforcement officials on a mission too long forsaken and largely forgotten. The mission for justice initiated by an unequalled Alabama Attorney General in 1977 ended a quarter century later, with the convictions and life imprisonment of Sunday School terrorists Blanton and Cherry. As a civil rights activist fifty years ago and a reinvigorated one today, I am especially grateful for the commencement and completion of that mission. The author’s deeply researched account is at once marvelously entertaining and enlightening.”
—Alabama Federal Chief Justice U.W. Clemon
“I loved it. It is really masterful. It tells me things I didn’t know about a story we all know a lot about. … really smart choosing to tell it from the perspective of the investigators in the most recent trials. It made for a very compact, impactful narrative.”
—Birmingham News reporter Robin DeMonia
“A page turner. . . a thought-provoking work . . . an important addition to the historical record.”
—Frye Gaillard, author of Cradle of Freedom
Noah’s Wife“. . . a terrific storyteller, with the ability to transport readers from one time and place to another.”
—Sena Jeter Naslund, Bestselling novelist, Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits.
“. . . an extraordinary work.”
—Dianne Mooney, founder of Southern Living At Home
“. . . a novel of epic sweep, emotional power, and considerable beauty.”
—Ron Gholson, The Blount Countian
“. . . awed at Thorne’s ability to work magic with words. Her mastery kept me awake many nights.”—Sherry Kughn, Anniston Star
“Noah’s Wife is one of the best novels I have ever read— and I average about a book a week.”
—Barry Marks, Alabama Poetry Book of the Year for Possible Crocodiles
“So compelling and readable. Brava! Excellent! I am basking in the glow of a fascinating, complex read.”
—Jane Archer, Professor of English, Birmingham Southern College
“Well-researched, well-written, engaging book that is absolutely one of the best reads I have had in a long time.”
—Gail Sheldon, Director, Oneonta Public Library
“Masterfully created a unique variation on the Biblical world and its culture. It is a MUST READ! Thorne is exceptionally gifted in her sensitivity to life, love, and loss.”
—L. Nolan-Ruiz, Editor, InternationalBookCafé.com
“… you quickly want to savor Na’amah’s words and sensations for they are incredibly unique in literature. The sentences themselves are like a work of art….From my familiarity with Asperger’s, [Na’amah] feels realistic and I also think her character will be a good role model for women who have this form of autism.”
–Svetlana’s Reads and Views
“A novel of great enchantment, suspense and power . . . looks like a BESTSELLER to me.”
—Malcom R. Campbell, author, Sun Seeker and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire
“. . .new depth to an old story in a beautiful novel of truth, love, and survival.”
—Irene Latham, author & poet, Leaving Gee’s Bend and What Came Before
“. . . with an understanding of what makes us humans tick, Thorne looks at our origins in a brand new way. It’s more Clan of the Cave Bear than theological treatise—and that’s a whole lot more fun!”
—John Archibald, Birmingham News
“Not since Mists of Avalon or Ahab’s Wife have I enjoyed such a finely crafted woman’s point of view on an oft-told tale.”
—Perle Champion, freelance writer and artist, Alabama Writer’s Forum
“T.K. Thorne is a magical writer. She turns Biblical lore upside down…and makes us believe every word of this novel is true. Her writing is flat-out brilliant and spellbinding.”
—Elsa Rutherford, Editor, NiftyPickle, columnist, novelist
“Now Na’amah repeats her life’s story and it becomes a guide on how to live until you’re sure life will continue.”
—L.Z. Golden, Books That Follow Me Home