Alrighty everyone… Now that we have seen some basics about Dennis Timothy, and gotten to know a little more about an amazing book by such a creative author…. How about a little interview to get some insight into the man himself hmm?
Why did you go Indie?
There were a variety of reasons. I belong to the Nebraska Writers Guild. The Guild contains a lot of talented authors, including Alex Kava. In listening to the experiences of those members who had been traditionally published, I decided the process was just too slow and intimidating. I didn’t want to wait years to see my stories in print. And I remembered the agonizing workshops I attended where I learned to compose working log lines and query letters. I just didn’t feel I could take the risk of letting my stories languish in a slush pile because I broke some rule of the trade.
Also, I was very hesitant about giving up the rights to my stories. The odds of having one of my books complete more than a five to ten thousand first printing seemed slim. After that, it’s uncertain when I could re-publish. I just wanted more control over my intellectual property.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I think I was most surprised to learn that people were interested and entertained by what I wrote. For me, it is so gratifying that someone would actually buy something I have written and leave a positive review. I really enjoy engaging with my fans. I’m not English major or a student of journalism. As a youngster I didn’t fill notebooks with poetry or story ideas. I actually entered the writing field much later in life. I had several story ideas that had just meandered, and then petered out completely. So, I took some writing courses from the local community college to learn how to discipline myself and structure a story. When I sold my first short story to Golden Visions Magazine I was bitten by the writing bug and have been at it since.
Which of your characters are you most like - least like?
In my upcoming historical action/adventure series, The Whiskey Scrolls, I have developed a character named Cannon. He’s middle-aged, a cynic with a passion for life, and has a very dry sense of humor. I think I drew a lot of me into this character. In my story, Merry Hell, I created strong female leads. It works perfectly in the story, but I don’t resemble any of them.
Do you have a particular writing habit?
I never start a story without visualizing the opening scene and the final scene. I always outline the story using either the ladder method or the snowflake method. I’m not a pantster; I applaud those who are - but I need something more disciplined.
Which writer would you consider a mentor?
Victorine Lieske. She’s a member of the Nebraska Writers Guild and a celebrated author. One of her books, Not What She Seems, was self-published and for two weeks she held the number two spot on the New York Times Best Selling digital book rankings. She’s my go to person for questions and the guru for all things digital.
What is the hardest part of your writing?
Finding the time to write. I work full-time, so my writing is catch as catch can most days. For me, a negative day can just suck the creativity out of me. So I try to schedule four writing vacations each year. I hole up in a cabin somewhere and just concentrate on writing. It’s amazing how productive one can be if there are no phones, no traffic noises, and no distractions.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Find a good editor. Steph at “edit-my-book” was a godsend. A good editor can find continuity errors, misnamed characters, factual errors, and all the other stuff I’m capable of balling up. A review that says “couldn’t get past all of the typos and punctuation errors” will kill an otherwise good story.
Also, have your covers produced professionally. If you’re a graphic artist with a knack for writing you can ignore this piece of advice. If you’re not, then you’ll want to take it to heart. People do judge a book by its cover, and you have only one chance for a first impression. There’s too much competition out there to ignore this.
The last piece of advice I would offer is show, don't tell. I once had a fan remark that my writing is like "watch a movie play out in your head". I try to deliver just enough description so that the reader's imagination is engaged with the story. In my upcoming series, The Whiskey Scrolls, you can feel the weather, smell the leather, and see the scenery - and most of it is through the eyes of the characters.
Describe yourself in three words
Show, don‘t tell.
What is your favorite character from your books? Of all time?
Again, this is probably unfair to the audience, but my favorite character appears in my future release, The Whiskey Scrolls. The character’s name is Brother O’Frell. The story is set in the Seventh Century and follows a young, naïve Irish monk who is tasked with the journey to the Church of Alexandria, Egypt, to return some property. So he leaves the protective walls of his monastery and begins his adventure of a lifetime. To aid him in this adventure, he is accompanied by a former Roman Legionnaire named Cannon. The give and take between O’Frell and Cannon is exquisite. And O’Frell’s coming of age as he experiences real people and an unforgiving world just makes him a gem of a character. This is not a religious story: it’s funny, gritty, has elements of romance, and a ton of action.
This is probably fairly pedestrian of me - but my favorite character of all time was Paul Brenner from Nelson DeMille’s book Up Country. Paul was jaded and wonderfully flawed. He was relentless, focused, and had the mental and physical resources to just meet whatever obstacle was placed in his path.
Any song or songs that could basically sum up the overall mood of your writing?
I write about everything except romance. My subject matter is all over the board and some of it is completely over the top. In my first book Merry Hell, the protagonist is a strong-willed, middle aged woman named Angie Timmons. She is hosting Christmas dinner for her friends and family, and has an important event the next day. Everyone is trapped in her house as the blizzard of the century blows through the area. The power fails; one daughter has life-changing news, another daughter goes missing in the storm. The main part of the story is about Angie’s struggles to hold it all together as these problems develop. In all of my stories my characters face conflict and problems in a resolute manner. So I think the song which best describes the mood of my writing would be Steppenwolf's “Born to be Wild”. “Looking for adventure and whatever comes our way.”
I want to close with a big thank you to Jenny Bynum, Bridgette Bandell, and all of my fans. Writing can be a difficult task sometimes, but people like you make it worth the effort. Again, thank you.