Author Interview, J. Timothy King

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Author Interview #4, with J. Timothy King!

Describe yourself in 5 words:
Tim: Out to change the world.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):
Here are a few short paragraphs from Tim’s latest contemporary romance novel:

But by the time I had been offered that job, it was clear we had both made a huge mistake. Our differences were preventing us from finding our way together…

“We should never have gotten married,” I told him. “I knew I wanted to work on my career. We both knew. Now, we’re living two separate lives.” …

He never told me that I made him sad, and I didn’t ask. He didn’t say anything. We didn’t fight. By then, we didn’t fight about anything anymore.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):
Tim: I’m not sure who my favorite author is, because I have a few, but I’ll share a couple of disconnected bits from my all-time favorite novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein:

One bloke proposed that we march on Warden’s Residence, “shoulder to shoulder,” and demand our rights. Picture it. Do we do this in tube capsules, then climb out one at a time at his private station? What are his body guards doing?

[ . . . ]

At end of that time Finn’s men, waiting in p-suits at Warden’s private tube station, broke latch on airlock and went in, “shoulder to shoulder.” Luna was ours.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:
Tim: In a sense, all writers are in the publication business, because unless a work is publishable and published, it doesn’t really matter. It’s like that old philosophical puzzle: if a tree falls in the forest, but there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, if a writer completes a manuscript, but no one ever publishes it, does it make a difference?

As an indie publisher, I manage the whole process, from beginning to end. And I continue to refine my process to meld the two—writing and publishing—together seamlessly. For example, I generally start working on the title and cover art before even beginning the first draft of the manuscript. And I write the first draft using a process that brings it out in as close to a publishable state as possible. But marketing is always the biggest challenge, and I believe the most important part of the process. If you thought the art and craft of writing was hard, or the process of putting a book into print was hard, these are only the beginning. What’s really hard is to get noticed, to find fans who understand you, and then to reach out to them regularly and consistently.

What is your definition of “good writing”?
Tim: I’ve coined the term “life-expanding story” to encompass the kind of writing that excites me most and that sticks with me, what I think is the best writing. These stories represent hope for the reader, by drawing her through the lives of compelling characters who face complex challenges.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:
Tim: Put character first. If you have compelling characters, you can make some mistakes elsewhere in your writing process, and your readers will be more likely to forgive you, because they’ll identify with the characters and want to believe in those characters.

This is true even for non-fiction writers, because if you can tell meaningful stories to illustrate your points, then your writing will make so much more of an impact than if you just rattle off facts and figures.

Your websites/blogs/etc.:
Tim: My blog is at blog.JTimothyKing.com (which should be fairly easy to remember :-) ). I have a number of other websites, but that’s probably the best place to start.

Thanks for stopping by to chat!
Tim: Thanks so much for having me!

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