It’s a special treat to get to know yet another success stories today here on A living series talk..Today we are fortunate to know more about our guest who is a Writer, Marathoner, Teacher, Councelor.
His passion for the environment sparked him to write.
He is represented by Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency.
In addition to The Wastelanders Series, he also published the Neil Marshall series of culinary mysteries set in Houston, Texas. These include If Wishes Were Horses, A Whisper of Rage (nominated for a Shamus Award), People in Glass Houses, A Catered Christmas (the one he most enjoyed writing), and Dead Man’s Broth. He has also has various short works of fiction, most prominently published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
It’s time to talk to one of the most talented and successful author of the time -Tim Hemlin.
Hi Tim, thank you for agreeing to this interview I’m delighted to have the opportunity to meet you and talk to you.
Welcome to ‘A living series talk.’
It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me in your virtual front room.
As mentioned in the intro I’ve already setup the chords to our readers who are waiting to hear more about Tim please tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m a marathoner, a former English teacher of 22 years, and I’m now utilizing my master’s degree in counseling by working as a high school counselor. I live with Valerie, my wife, just outside of Houston, Texas.
We are empty nesters with the exception of a Westie, a Shih Tzu and a cantankerous cat
I’m so excited to talk more with someone like you who has
utilized his master’s degree in counseling by working as a high school counselor.
Thanks to share your experiences with our readers that would be inspiration to many, 22 years as an English faculty.
Absolutely amazing and
it is a long journey indeed!
So, let us talk about writing, so what have you written?
I write a variety of genres, including mystery, young adult urban fantasy, and dystopian science fiction. What drives any genre for me is characterization. The newness of any world and the excitement of any plot will only be as good as the characters they are built around.
It’s my passion for the environment that sparked me to write The Wastelanders, a dystopian-clifi published in both e-book and paperback by Reputation Books. I’m represented by Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency. By the way, having an agent and a publisher sounds good but I still do my own marketing and function as an indie.
Recently the Muse has kindly allowed me to tap into that creative magic and pen a young adult urban fantasy titled Son of a Kitchen Witch. This is a coming of age story with a good v. evil backdrop. I loved writing this book and I think it shows. Currently the manuscript is with my agent. Last fall I wrote a related story titled The Darkest Night of the Year, and appeared in the Echoes of Winter anthology.
In the 1990’s Ballantine Books published my series of culinary mysteries set in Houston, Texas. The Neil Marshall series includes If Wishes Were Horses, A Whisper of Rage (nominated for a Shamus Award), People in Glass Houses, A Catered Christmas (the one I most enjoyed writing), and Dead Man’s Broth. I have recently attained the rights of this series from Ballantine and will soon be reissuing the books, this year, on the twentieth anniversary of their publication, through La Nouvelle Atlantide out of New Orleans.
I have published shorter work, most notably a story in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
Finally, I have also come out with a short story, Black Silence, where I introduce a new character, who will appear in the sequel to The Wastelanders.
Amazing, incredible and splendid! What else can I quote more.
You’ve penned assorted treat of genres, including mystery, young adult urban fantasy, and dystopian science fiction. Yes Tim, I do agree with your point regarding the genre and it is solely the characterization. Indeed the newness and the excitement of any plot will only be great if the characters are built great around. Well, the greatest challenges in writing a series is keeping it fresh and alive. Is this book part of a series? If yes, please share about it with our readers.
Yes, I picture this as a three book series, and currently I’m working on the sequel to The Wastelanders called Rise of the Time Witch. (I wonder what that says of me that I have two very different series in progress where the main character is a witch?) I enjoy writing books that are part of a series, in a large part because I become so invested in my characters and one book just isn’t large enough to tell their life stories.
As I said, The Wastelanders came about because of my concern for the environment. I feel it’s my duty, in the words of Dr. Jonas Salk, to be a good ancestor so future generations can enjoy nature as much as I have. However, wanting to write a book because I’m concerned about the environment is a theme, not a story. Themes are just mannequins. Characters, plot, and setting are the clothes that dress them.
So where did the inspiration for The Wastelanders come from? It came from Frank Herbert’s Dune, from science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five, and from some of the idiot politicians we have today who manage to get voted into office. In the novel I deal with power, political corruption and mass movements, citing often from that unique, American blue-collar philosopher Eric Hoffer.
While this sounds structured, I quite often fly by the seat of my pants. Robert Frost said no tear for the writer, no tear for the reader. I take that to mean a writer must invest himself in his work and be willing to bear his soul through his characters and the world they live in. I do this best when I give my characters the freedom to speak to me and show me what’s going to happen next in a book. If I don’t give my characters that freedom I often write myself into a corner and then have to backtrack to find out where I went wrong. That’s not to say I don’t have a general idea of where I’m going in a story, but even that can change. When I wrote The Wastelanders I felt sure I knew where I was going with it. And then the time-witch appeared and changed everything—for the better. She kicked that novel into another gear.
Thanks for sharing your great thoughts and thank you again for letting our readers know more about your work and about the series in detail. Moving on let us talk about reading do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read a lot more indie books now than I used to, and in doing so have discovered many wonderful writers. Time for a confession—I am a product of one of the many university creative writing programs that exist, and for the longest time I carried with me the biases such programs tend to instill. Now I still read the New York Times Book Review but I no longer believe that every book they feature is gold. Not only that, I’ve discovered there are writers out there just as good or in some cases better than the ones in the NYT. I also read a wider variety of work now and don’t limit myself to one particular genre. If it’s a good book, I’ll read it. On the other hand, if I don’t like a book I’ll quietly put it away.
A few of my favorite indie authors include Paul Hollis (I loved The Hollow Man), Clive S. Johnson (the Dica Series), K.K. Allen (The Summer Solstice Series), superstar Laurie Starkey, children’s writer J.V Carr, fantasy writers JMD Reid and Chess Desalls, mystery writer Ann Swann, and horror writers Terry M. West and Chris Philbrook.
As you can see, the genres cover the spectrum.
My all time favorite authors include the poet Donald Hall, John Gardner (October Light, The Sunlight Dialogues, etc.), Robert B. Parker, Phillip K Dick, Frank Herbert, Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Kurt Vonnegut, and the indomitable Henry James.
That’s wonderful and your choice of reading is absolute about class and your favourite authors indeed amazing. Infact a whole collection series of class authors. Paul Hollis is my one of the favourite author as well, after I read and reviewed: The Hollow man.
And writers do work hard after publishing their books as we need to find right way out towards book marketing.
What are your views on social media for marketing your books? Does it help boost up with the sales?
Social media is simply another way to network. The value is that a writer gets his or her name out there and builds an audience. I’ve met some wonderful people through social media, and in fact this interview came about through my connection with Inderjit on Twitter. How it translates into boosting sales is tricky. Horror writer Chris Philbrook swears by the adage that it takes a thousand faithful followers in order to be successful. He is successful, but he’s also worked very hard at it. And that doesn’t mean hammering people over the head with your work all the time. I don’t believe the hard sell approach works in this situation. People become supporters when you make the personal connection, and that is the most valuable aspect of social media for a writer, making yourself available to readers.
Yes, I do agree with you Tim, social media helps us to connect with all the like minded people who really help and support and that is where the magic lies, how someone is able to get an impact of the best technology today and thus gets beneficial towards making a brand name and a difference, to get the visibility of the work across the people. Talking about the importance of balanced process between writing and lifestyle, it is evident that we all need to create a quiet room within our mind that can serve as relaxing chamber and which acts as a decompressing unit to our fast life. How do you relax? Any special destress technique as writing involves a lot of sitting.
I’m a runner and it’s often while running that my stories sort themselves out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck or come to a fork in the road then gone for a run and come back hot, sweaty and excited because I’ve had a breakthrough. Running also gets me up out of the chair and away from the computer screen. I also read a lot. It’s quite satisfying to be immersed in another writer’s story and be absolutely green with envy because the piece is brilliant. It gets my creative and competitive juices flowing. When I really want to get away from literature I watch sports, baseball and football being my guilty pleasures. And in an ideal world, I’d live in a place where I could fly-fish whenever the mood struck me.
Thanks for sharing your awesome thoughts Tim.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Write. Write. It’s like a runner preparing for a marathon. You don’t just wake up one morning and run 26.2 miles. You put in those training miles first, and the more you put in the better (most likely) your race results. A while back I had a conversation with a friend about how bad our first efforts at novel writing were. Well, it’s those horrible efforts that never saw the light of day that lead to the books that are now out on the market. I’d also suggest picking up Stephen King’s On Writing or one of Natalie Goldberg’s books—Writing Down the Bones or The Wild Mind. They have great advice and good exercises for beginning writers. And read. I think it’s a cop out when writers say they don’t read because they don’t want to copy that author. To paraphrase Stephen King, you won’t have the tools to be a writer if you’re not a reader. Reading is part of a writer’s heritage. Own it.
To a new writer who has just completed a book I say get out of the house and go to a conference. Join a writer’s group. Get an author’s page on Facebook. Join Twitter. Join online book clubs. Start a blog. Mine is on Word Press at timhemlin.com. Review other writer’s books. Make an author’s page on Amazon. Look into the Indie scene. There are a ton of resources for independent writers. Use them. It’s a lot of work, but so was writing that novel. And don’t you want people to know about it and read it?
Wow! Great advice and the best for all your upcoming events and projects how can our readers discover more about you and you work?
Well, here are the links below for more details regarding my books
Web and blog:
Amazon Author US:
America is controlled by a corporate oligarchy known as the Water Cartel and warrior-priest Joey Hawke finds himself trapped between a mysterious geneticist amassing a clone army and a group of political fanatics convinced that a dead president will rise from his tomb to lead them to salvation.
Caught outside his spiritual haven when the Cartel moves against the Wastelanders, Joey is aided by Bear, an enigmatic weapons runner, a lovesick Scrapwoman, and Bernie Hawke, his estranged father. But against the Cartel’s military strength, led by the power hungry Rex Fielder, Joey’s only hope may be Si-Ting, a young woman with prescient abilities—a woman who not only holds the key to his heart but also to an American conspiracy to crown its future with the withered laurels of the past.
Black Silence, a Wastelander short story:
A ghost from the past . . . A girl lost in the Wastelands . . . Bernie Hawke missing . . .
Can the enigmatic Bear join forces with warrior-priest Joey Hawke, and Caballito, the legendary descendant of the ancient Running People, in time to rescue them? Or will they fall prey like so many others to the black silence of the Wastelands?
The Darkest Night of the Year, a novella:
He wanted to be the magic; She dared to try.
Bobby Hawthorne loves the magic of the holidays, and for the first time he can share the truth behind the magic with Angelina, the girl that he loves and with whom he shares a special bond. But when the magic literally starts to disappear, along with Angelina, he realizes a sinister force has entered the light of his world and his only hope may reside in a frightened stranger with a dark secret of her.
Echoes Of Winter Anthology—
This is going to help our readers to trace you at a click.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule and be a part of:
-A living series talk.
Thank you once again for joining us today, Tim.
Finally, I want to thank you, Ms. Kaur, for this marvelous interview. The questions were thought provoking and fun to answer and, as always, Best Wishes from Texas.
I would take this opportunity to
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