We all know that most romance readers are female. Most romance authors are female, too. Right? Right. Of course, there are exceptions, and today's "Author Spotlight" is shining on one very special gentleman. He's Tim Martin, the author of Third Rate Romance and many other novels in a variety of genres. Titles include Culvert at Little Bitch Creek, There's Nothing Funny About Running, Summer with Dad, Why Run If No One Is Chasing You? and Wimps Like Me.
Tim has three novels due out this year: Scout's Oaf, and Fast Pitch (Cedar Grove Books) and The Legend of Boomer Jack (Neverland Publishing). Tim has completed nine screenplays, co-authored a TV reality show -- Homes Left Behind -- currently in development at Luminar Pictures. He is a contributing author to over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books and literary journals. Tim has also done commentary on National Public Radio.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim about Summer With Dad, his new release from Eternal Press.
Interview with Tim
Q: What was the inspiration behind Summer With Dad?
My sons (Tom and Chris in the book) were my inspiration. I was a divorced father when they were growing up, and I only got to see them in the summer. I wanted to cram in as much activity into each day as possible, and I thought the best way to do that was to get them out into the wilderness.
Q: How did you choose your title?
Summer With Dad was chosen because it was seldom a vacation for the boys. Having an overzealous nature-loving father take you on a wilderness backpacking trip was far from a trip to Disneyland. But I gotta hand it to my sons: they returned every year for more of the same.
Q: How does the setting play a role in the story?
The Trinity Alps Wilderness Area, where the story takes place, is steep and hilly. Put a 60 pound pack on your back and walk 10 miles, and it’s an extreme challenge. My sons did a lot of complaining during the hike, and that was where I came up with the story line.
Q: Will there be a sequel?
I’d love to write a sequel to Summer With Dad because the story is very close to my heart. I’ve also turned this book into a screenplay (as I have several other children’s books I’ve written). If Hollywood picks up the script, I will probably write a sequel.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing for magazines – True Love, True Romance, Easy Rider, Running Times – after I got out of the Navy in 1969. I was 21 at the time. I had no idea where it would take me. I simply found daily writing to be very fulfilling for me, like a delicious meal or a good night’s sleep.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
If you’re in this for the money, you’re in the wrong business. Writing has to be something you not only want to do, but must do. I was a competitive long distance runner for 20 years, but I gave that up in order to put more time into my writing. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than creating stories.
Q: Describe your ideal “writing room” -- and your real one.
I usually work without any noise, except for a African Grey Parrot that sits nearby and mimics any sound I make. I’m easily distracted by the radio, even music. I prefer total silence. I guess my ideal writing room is the one I have. Everything I need is close by, including an afternoon glass of wine!
Q: What do you think of networking as part of the writing industry?
Now here’s an area I need to improve on. I tend to get in “writing ruts” where I don’t want to stop or do anything else (it’s a good thing I’m not married). In addition to books (both young adult and romance) I write for newspapers and magazines, and a lot for Chicken Soup for the Soul. I’m also a screenplay writer (I’ve had three optioned so far), and script writing takes a heap of networking. I don’t live in Hollywood, so I have to work even harder in that area. No one knows you’re alive and writing scripts if you don’t get the word out. I plan to move to Southern California as soon as my last son graduates high school (one year) and put myself in the thick of it.
Q: How do you deal with "writer's block"?
The best way to keep from getting bogged down is to move from one story or idea to another. And if that doesn’t work, take a reading break. That way there’s no time lost sitting around twiddling your fingers.
Q: Are there any tricks you use to stimulate your thinking?
I like to get lost in the fantasy of a fresh story. In the case of my young adult novel Summer With Dad, I would recall the various backpacking trips the boys and I took together. I came up with plenty of fresh material from those memories. When I’m writing romance scenes for my Third Rate Romance trilogy, I think about all the rednecks I’ve known (and I’ve known quite a few), along with the strange things I’ve witnessed them do.
Q: What genres do you enjoy writing, and why?
I love comedy or satire. I think people tend to take themselves way too seriously. That’s not the way I roll. I like to laugh at myself and others. People need to lighten up and enjoy life. I believe the right kind of comedy can help immensely.
Q: What are you working on now?
I’m writing a third romance novel, Pistol Whipped By Love, and working on a couple of screenplays “Roughing It, Too” (a time-travel script about Mark Twain), and “Trainwreck” (the tale of a Humboldt County drug mule who decides to take the money and run).
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You can find Summer with Dad at Amazon. Click here!