VP: What is your inspiration? What helps you get through writer's block?
Tim: The thing that helps me most with writer's block is the fact that I always have more than one project going at a time. It's the one good thing about having so many balls in the air. If I get stuck on a scene or storyline in my novel, I set it aside for a couple days and work on a short story or another novel entirely. Then, by the time I come back to my main project, my mind's pallet has been cleansed, and the solution I had been beating my head against the wall over usually comes to me like it had been there all along. Sometimes concentrating too hard becomes its own roadblock, and it just takes a clear mind to get over it.
VP: Do you listen to music when you write? Have a completely silent space?
Tim: I definitely listen to music when I write and edit. I have to. I'm high maintenance that way. With a full-time job that likes to come home with me at times, and four teenagers who are all involved in activities, my mind is a chaotic place more often than not just trying to keep up with it all. So when I finally get time to sit down and create, I listen to a lot of film scores and instrumental music. I often need the calming sounds to quiet my mind enough to focus on the task at hand. ANything with lyrics is too distracting. Besides, there's no more perfect inspiration for the type of dark thrillers I write than a deep, melancholy piece of music. Fire up the cellos!
VP: Who inspires you? What authors do you look up to? Why?
Tim: Amazing writing inspires me. Whether that's literature, film or even music, when I come across great writing, it makes me want to grab a pen and do the same.
VP: When did you first start writing? What genre do you prefer?
Tim: Other than some really cheesy song lyrics in high school, I didn't start writing until late in life. I've been an avid reader since I was still wiping snot on my sleeve, and always dreamed of doing what all those authors did. Even as I grew up, I simply never thought I could. You have to know someone to be published, right? Don't you have to live in NYC to get noticed? It wasn't until I was in my mid 30s that I realized that train of thought was complete bullshit. Not only do those things not have to be true in order to get published, but you don't even have to be published just to write. In fact, that's probably the worst reason to pick up a pen and put it to paper. There are so many better reasons to create art.
VP: If you had to choose another genre to write, what would it be? Why?
Tim: This is going to sound like a put on, especially for those who have read my horrifically tinged suspense thrillers, but another genre I like to explore is family/romantic drama. I love books, film, music, etc that affect emotion, particularly sadness. I feel that sadness is the emotion that stays with a reader longer than any other, and is the most profound that can be drawn upon from a reader/viewer/listener. I have written a few short stories and a screenplay that deal with couples and families forced to wade through the crap that life sometimes throws at us, and affecting the reader's emotions brings me a considerable amount of satisfaction. The author that most people would recognize, that closest resembles what I like to explore, is Nicholas Sparks, whose books go much deeper into the human psyche and how it deals with life than just the romantic aspect that the public seems to focus on. I am simply drawn to raw human emotion in all facets.
VP: Do you have another job and if so what is it?
Tim: My Clark Kent persona is a tooling engineer for an industrial ceramic company. I design molds and dies to manufacture ceramic components for steel foundries and the investment cast industry. Trust me, it's not as exciting as it sounds.
VP: Tell about your first book and how long it took you to write the first draft?
Tim: My first book was a novella titled, Shadows Remain. It was an idea I played with off and on for about a year and a half. Once I finally got serious about doing it, the first draft was completed in about six or seven months. That was back when I had no idea what I was doing, or that a successful writer needs to have an actual routine for writing. I was just squeezing in time here or there, which is not the best, nor the most efficient way to complete a project.
VP: List all of your titles with a one sentence synopsis of each.
Tim: Swallowing the Worm and Other Stories - A collection of old and new short stories that deals with life in all its glory, from love to loss and all aspects in between.
Shadows Remain (novella) - A creepy ghost story that deals with what happens when things are left unresolved between people, regardless of age or time.
Bone White (novel) - A story of missing teenage girls and the two young men who inadvertently stumble upon the answers to the mystery with devastating consequences.
Blackened (novel) - A continuation of the Bone White story that deals with the aftermath of the events, including whether or not being a good Samaritan is ultimately worth the cost.
VP: Who is your favorite character? Why?
Tim: Both of my favorite characters are from the supporting cast; one from Bone White and one from Blackened. Besides the young girl that I will talk about a few questions from now, my other favorite character is Dallas Tipsword from Blackened. He's the owner of the auto repair shop where Luke works, but he becomes more than simply a boss. He's a smart ass Vietnam vet who loves cars and is in many ways still stuck in the 60s (an era I am also enamored with). He's fond of tie-dye, his long beard and a handgun he's appropriately named, Prudence. I was so sad to see him go when Blackened wrapped up, that I decided he may have to make a return visit somewhere, possibly with his own short story or novella. The world needs more Dallas Tipsword.
VP: Which character was most difficult to write?
Tim: I think the character that was most difficult to write was the antagonist of both Bone White and Blackened, Mr. Corwin Barnes. It was most difficult to maintain that balance between giving the reader enough about him to understand his motives, while still maintaining a considerable amount of mystery about him. That was important for me, and the balancing act teetered both ways before all was said and done.
VP: What scenes are most difficult to write?
Tim: This may surprise most readers, but the scenes I found most difficult to write were the disturbing scenes. Trust me, if the reader cringes when they read the more disturbing and graphic scenes in either Bone White or Blackened, they can be rest assured that I cringed while writing them. I'm actually not as comfortable with that aspect of the books as one might think. It disturbs me as well, and I don't necessarily like to live in that world. But on the other hand, those scenes are necessary to the story, and I would never consider not including them.
VP: Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Tim: Since the characters of both Luke and Garrett from Bone White and Blackened are based on myself and my high school friend, I absolutely see a little of myself in both.
VP: Indie pub or trad pub?
Tim: Currently, I am an indie author. I've chosen this route for two reasons. First, if you look up the term control freak in the dictionary, you'd see my mug staring back at you from the page, or more currently, the screen. I take a considerable amount of pride in my writing/books, and couldn't imagine not being happy with the end product simply because a particular decision was taken out of my hands. From the storyline content, to the cover design, right down to the font being used for the blurb on the back, I like to make those decisions. It's a sickness, I know, but I'm not sure there is a 12-step program for control issues.
The second reason I self-publish is because I'm not a fan of how many publishing houses operate and treat their authors. Too many of them seem to have forgotten that the only reason they have a product to sell is because of the authors.
VP: What is your favorite scene? Why?
Tim: Such a difficult question. Whenever a question asks for an absolute, it proves nearly impossible for me to answer in the same manner. But, I would say that ONE of my favorite scenes in Bone White is when we are introduced to one young girl in particular. She is so creepy and subtly disturbing, that even though the reader is already on edge by the time we meet her, that scene still has enough oomph to make the reader ask, 'what the @#$%??' in disbelief. And what author doesn't love creating those moments?
VP: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Tim: Another excellent, yet difficult question. I think if I could meet anyone, I would want to meet John Lennon. There are only a handful of musicians that I consider 'true artists,' and he's at the top of the list. Very few musicians/songwriters at his level of fame continued to write straight from the heart, regardless whether it would sell. Even though they weren't popular topics, he wrote about everything from the war and corrupt governmental policy to his mother, children and wife, personal songs that everyone could relate to despite the fact he wrote them for no one but those involved. I'm sure he was told time and time again that a particular song or album wasn't what the fans wanted, but he didn't care. That is a true artist in my mind, and that's what has always drawn me to his music.
The next person I would want to go back in time and meet would be Mark David Chapman. One way or another, I would make sure he never got on that plane to New York.
VP: If you could take the place of one of your characters, which one would you choose and why?
Tim: I throw way too much crap at my characters to ever want to be one of them!
VP: If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
Tim: That's tough. I absolutely love to travel, so my bucket list is quite extensive. One of the places I would most like to go would be Tuscany. The scenery I see on television and photos looks so serene. The rolling hills. The vineyards. The tiny villas and cottages. If I ever get to the point where I can live off my writing, I will without a doubt take a couple weeks and travel all through the Tuscan countryside, writing, drinking wine and visiting every quaint village I can. I can't imagine how inspirational a trip like that would be.
VP: What is your favorite TV show/movie from your childhood? What is it now?
Tim: I think, like most children of the 1970s, my favorite TV shows back then were the usual: Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, Alice, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company, Leave It To Beaver. Same with cartoons: Scooby Doo, Hong Kong Phooey, Speed Racer. As a kid, I pretty much went with what was popular, and didn't stray too far from the norm.
Of all the great movies that came out of the 70s/80s, the only one that I would consider an actual 'favorite' from my childhood would be Jaws. Loved it then, still love it now. Easily in my top five films of all time. Rounding out the top five would be Legends of the Fall, A River Runs Through It, This Is Where I Leave You and The Hangover. (notice 3 out of the 5 are highly dramatic...hmmm)
Connect with Tim