With three published books to his name already, Tom Pahlow’s journey to become an author has only just begun.

He said, “My ultimate dream, which is what pushed me into this in the first place, is to be an acclaimed author. Or at least just get paid to write books all day, every day.”

Myths and Monsters

Tom’s drive and desire to succeed are easy to see. Even a simple question about how he defines his role has a multi-part answer: from the various styles of writing he undertakes to game design, voice acting and plans for a creative consultancy, he’s a man who sees opportunities in this world.

As a kid, Tom’s dream was to become a writer but life and the desire to pay bills had taken him off course. A few years ago, he decided to make a shift so went back to university, studying Creative Industries at UoN. It was there that he got into copywriting.

Tom said, “I had a tutor at the uni who had a similar career trajectory as me, but just further along. He threw me one or two clients early on and I used that as a basis to build up my portfolio. I did everything that everyone new to the creative industry does – I even worked for my neighbour at one point.”

“I got started mainly using a content mill and would just apply for jobs that people would post on there. I got relatively lucky that early on one of the first jobs I applied for was almost my dream gig. I got to write a book of short stories about mythological creatures in Canada.”

“That took two to three months and then I was published. I’ve now got three writing credits. I’ve done that one, a book on World War 1 and a book on World War 2.”

The Great War - Vol 1

For a long time, Tom was ridiculously busy – a state that he seems to revel in. His copywriting and ghostwriting work became a full-time gig, while also finding the time to study full-time. And while the university prepared him for life in the creative industries, perhaps its biggest contribution to his career was introducing him to The Roost.

He said, “A couple of the tutors mentioned that there was a shared workspace for creatives and also that The Roost put on events and was very connected to the creative community in Newcastle. After that, a few other creatives just happened to mention it and it seemed like I was being given a very specific message.”

“I wanted to work in a shared workspace just because I wanted somewhere outside of my home to work. I did a little bit of the work-from-home stuff but I’m not suited to that. While I was looking for a place to work, The Roost is more than just somewhere I can build a routine around.”

“I’ve met people at The Roost who I’ve got work from, people who I’m potentially going to get some work from, also people I can go to for advice and talk to. It’s just a beautiful place to work. The people here are like a family and they’re all tied to the Newcastle creative community which is where I feel most at home.”

Having a designated space to work has given a clearer division in Tom’s life, and it allows him to focus on his own projects more freely at home. One of those is Aegna – Emergence, an ongoing series of short stories in a fantasy world-building project.

Aegna - Emergence

He also has another project, The Crossworlds, in the works plus a novel that he’s started writing for himself. But this kind of writing isn’t all that Tom is working on.

He said, “In terms of the future, if you asked me two years ago, I think ‘author’ would have been the only answer, but at the moment I’m at this weird point where I’m spreading out a little bit further.”

“More recently I’ve been looking into game design and that’s narrative design, game writing, coming up with a lot of the concepts around video games, I really like that.”

Crucis WIP

But, of course, Tom wouldn’t be Tom without having some projects on the go. One of these is a mobile game, Cataclysm, that’s currently in the development stage. Tom’s work has been handed over to the team that looks after the graphics and voice work, with an expected release date later in 2023.

On top of that, next on his to-do list is re-working a text-based game for himself called The Pit which is about mental illness. Once it’s ready to play, it’ll be released through itchi.io and his own site.

He said, “I have depression and The Pit is sort of how I visualise my depression. I’m hoping to make it relatively open-world but you essentially just try to get out of the pit while exploring its different areas. It’s a text-based game but I want to incorporate a lot of graphics into it to make it more of an audio-visual experience.”

The Pit

For most people, that would signify a full plate, but Tom says that his panic mode makes him go into planning, so he has plenty more projects on his mind and all mapped out. One of the most ambitious is a consultancy and website to help emerging creatives in Newcastle.

Tom said, “I want to be able to use the opportunity afforded to me here at The Roost to host some events and bring creatives together, help emerging creatives form connections with their peers and established artists or people in their fields.”

“I also want to make a website that has some guides about how to make it in the creative industries. It’s by no means going to be the only way you can make it, but it’s going offer very grassroots kind of information: what do you do to make a portfolio, ideas on what to do if you don’t have work, and also go through invoicing, contracts and that sort of thing. Really easy-to-use guides as a free resource that people can use to get started.”

To keep up to date with Tom and his many projects, head to TP Freelance or visit his Roost profile.