Tim is one of my fellow authors at my publisher eXtasy (www.extasybooks.com) and over the holidays we both had a little time to stop, chat and get to know each other a bit. Here's a bit of what I learned about Tim.
How did you come up with the premise for your stories?
Many of my stories are inspired by actual events and some of my own experiences. When I travel I like to chat up the locals and I’ll usually hear something that sparks a concept. I also love to hear people tell stories about their lives, and that includes things from my own life. I based one of my romances, Mistletoe and Palm Trees, almost entirely on something that happened to me a few years ago. Often I’ll hear an anecdote or read a news item then ask “What if this happened instead?”
Once you sit down to write, do you find your stories write themselves? Or do you outline everything ahead of time so you know exactly what comes next?
When I start I have the beginning, middle and end in mind, with a few other things I want to include. I don’t do an outline unless I’ve written myself into a corner and have to figure a way out. Often the stories write themselves once I get into a good flow. I may look back at something I’ve written and decide to change directions or add another element.
What attracted you to your main genre?
I’ve always enjoyed the pulp fiction style of Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane and Donald E. Westlake. When I decided to write fiction I knew I wanted to include some of these elements. It was a challenge with the lighthearted contemporary romances, which is why I switched to romantic mystery/thrillers. If you read between the lines in those old books you’ll find a wealth of sexual innuendo. The fun I have is expanding on it and making the sex steamy without being gratuitous. By the way, I’m not talking about the old joke “She pulled out her thirty-eight then drew a gun on me.” That would be gratuitous, and pretty lame.
Is there other genre’s of writing you haven’t delved into, but are dying to sink your teeth into?
I’d like to try writing a true crime story, but I know you have to be careful with those. I have a good friend who has written a few and she cautioned me about being 110% accurate on the facts.
Tell us where our readers can find you on the web.
My website is www.timsmithauthor.com . I also have author pages on Amazon, Manic Readers and Goodreads.
How did you get started writing?
I developed an interest in high school and wrote some pieces for the school paper. Between then and now I penned a number of short stories that haven’t seen daylight, as well as a lot of product reviews that have (books, movies, music, etc.). I recall being a kid, looking at the books on display in a store and thinking, “Someday I want to have my own books on those shelves.” Be careful what you wish for.
What are some of your literary inspirations or influences?
I’ve gotten a lot of influence from movies versus books. I’m a big fan of screenwriters like Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards, Paddy Cheyevsky and Woody Allen. Through their films I’ve learned a lot about character building, plotting and dialogue. I try not to let another author’s work or style influence me too much, though. That’s one reason I don’t read a lot when I’m actively developing a story. I think I’m afraid that something they wrote will accidentally wind up in my book. This may sound strange, but I’m also influenced by mediocre writing because it reminds me not to make the same mistakes.
Which character that you have created do you find the most fascinating? Why?
I would have to say Nick Seven, the former CIA operative hero of my newest release, Memories Die Last. I’ve written several adventures with this character and he gets more interesting with each one. I think he’s the most fascinating for me because he gets to do all the things I can’t, like living in the Florida Keys, getting into intriguing situations he has to think or fight his way out, and having a beautiful woman from Barbados for a roommate.
Felicia, his live-in and co-star in the adventures, also intrigues me. She’s a former CIA op who worked with Nick, and she can kick ass as well as any man. She’s also incredibly hot. When I conceived her character I didn’t want her to be a wallflower or damsel in distress waiting for Nick to come riding to the rescue. They make a good team, and the sparks that fly between them make for good old-fashioned steamy sex.
What is your writing process like?
I start by reading what I wrote the day before, to get back into the flow of the story. When I’m working on something I’ll make notes as they occur to me throughout the day then incorporate them. Once I’ve finished the first draft I’ll put it away for a few weeks and work on something else, to gain perspective. When I go back to it, it’s with a fresh set of eyes. That’s when I begin rewrites and corrections. Ninety-percent of the time I’ll read something after being away from it for awhile and ask myself “What the hell were you thinking???”
Besides writer, what other jobs have you had in your life?
Sometimes I think there aren’t many jobs I haven’t had – teacher, musician, job placement specialist, photographer, retail manager, delivery driver and a wonderful summer job in college cleaning apartments vacated by the students. I haven’t found a way to work that charming occupation into a story yet. My current job is being a case manager for adults with disabilities, which I’ve been doing for twenty-plus years.
How do you deal with criticism or bad reviews?
I don’t take them personally, unless the criticism is personal. I’ve been blessed with overall good notices but there were a couple of times where reviewers blasted my books because I’m a male romance author. They ignored the story and focused on my gender, including some snarky comments that reflected their opinion about men writing straight romance. That kind of prejudice bothers me.
What do you do for fun?
I’m a freelance photographer so wherever I go my camera goes with me. I enjoy traveling, catching a good movie, going to concerts and spending quality time with my friends and family. When I’m in The Florida Keys you can find me parasailing or snorkeling when I’m not seeking out the perfect Mojito.
What are you reading right now?
I’m catching up on a few books by Nelson DeMille and James W. Hall that have been gathering dust on my reading table. I just finished reading James Garner’s memoir, The Garner Files, and found it highly enjoyable.
What are some upcoming projects that you are working on?
I’m working on another Nick Seven romance thriller that will pick up where Memories Die Last ended. I’m currently awaiting the release of a romantic mystery, Lido Key, which is a follow-up to a book I released last year, The Bundle. I’m also putting the polish on a romantic anthology set in Key West and I keep busy writing blogs, and reviewing books for Two Lips Reviews.
Tim Smith is an award-winning author whose books range from romantic thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. When he isn't pursuing these two passions he can often be found in The Florida Keys doing research in between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito. His website is http://www.timsmithauthor.com/.