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Everlace Author Tim Reed – An Interview
I reached out to writer Tim Reed to ask him a few questions for my fantasy newsletter. He gladly agreed to the interview and to share it with you here. Tim is from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK. He self-published his fantasy novel “Everlace: Knives of the Night”, which was released on July 20, 2006.
Mary: What is your background as a writer and when did you first consider yourself a writer?
Tim: I grew up writing, all the way to school and creative writing at university. I read a lot of fiction, the importance of which I cannot repeat enough. If you consider yourself a writer, it’s a matter of confidence, ability, and manuscript. I think ever since I studied A-level English and then at university, I always thought of myself as a writer, but when I finished my novel, I knew I could call myself a writer.
Mary: Who or what has influenced your writing and how?
Tim: My father had the greatest influence on my writing, as he instilled in me a love of literature and language at an early age. Being a teacher, he also helped me to develop a wide vocabulary. Even though the media can be a terrible influence, I have to admit that it has helped me a lot with fantasy; be it books, movies, television, computers and board games. By learning to focus on one area, you can gain a lot of influence and information.
Mary: Did your environment and/or upbringing influence your writing?
Tim: As I answered before, my father again influenced my writing, as did not letting anyone stifle my imagination during my teenage years. He helped me visit my grandparents in the country. There is nothing more inspiring for writing and fantasy writing than the country.
Mary: Do you use a sketch?
Tim: When I started my novel, I was young and naive, and started writing with only a minimal outline. Then I realized it was stupid and chaotic. Everyone should have some kind of outline, but how detailed it should be varies from person to person; and of course you don’t have to stick to it. You should still write fluently. Personally, I look at my outline at the beginning of each chapter and then usually write without it until the next one unless I need to refer to it.
Mary: What conditions should be written?
Tim: Silence always comes in handy, although I’ve learned to adapt in the different houses I’ve lived in. I used to write with classical music in the background, but now less and less.
Mary: I know you are currently writing the second Everlace book. Do you have other projects you are working on?
Tim: I am attending a proofreading course to obtain a proofreading qualification and then look for a job. Also have a potential film project with a collaborator around the corner. I also have a history book and am working on some spoken word cds for my first book with my housemate.
Mary: Do you believe in the “muse”?
Tim: I think the idea of the muse is based more on romance than fact. Personally, nature and its influence on me is the closest thing to a muse. Although I would never blame writer’s block for its absence.
Mary: What do you think of “writer’s block”
Tim: I think it does, although writers tend to use it as an excuse sometimes when they’re lazy or disinterested in their work. I think the more things on your mind and the more busy you are with other things, the more likely it is to happen. Focus and delegation are the keys.
Mary: Do you have a favorite quote about writing?
Tim: “Heal your wounds: apt words have the power to destroy
Tumors of the troubled mind,
And they are like a balm for purulent wounds. – John Milton (1671)
Mary: Who is Everlace’s target audience?
Tim: Designed for young adults. So they are 11-16 years old, although it is also available for older readers.
Mary: You have a very complex magic system, with wizards, warlocks, necromancers, sorcerers, warlocks, hags, and more, each with their own unique style of magic. How do you keep them straight?
Tim: I once read that all magic in fantasy and magical systems has to have a flaw or downfall, because if it’s a perfect magic, then anything can be done and the story loses all tension and interest. I adopted that every magic user has a flaw or limit to the performance of their magic. Wizards, for example, are able to tap into a small percentage of the gods’ magic, but it drove them crazy using it. Wizards can only use Grimoire(book) magic, wizards risk becoming zombies if they summon monsters beyond their abilities, and so on. There can be a lot of magic in a book, but as long as you don’t let the magic become a book, everything is fine.
Mary: Does the main character, Rydal, share any characteristics with you?
Tim: It really does, albeit unconsciously, until I re-read the book to myself and a friend commented. A quiet nature and naivety can be attributed to me in certain situations.
Mary: Is there a message in your novel?
Tim: Naturally. Each monster and species has its own background, its own intentions. How protected people deal with the world around them, with their own talents and weaknesses, as well as with threatening and powerful forces.
Mary: Why did you choose to self-publish your book?
Tim: It was almost made for me. I was nearing the end of writing and my dad sat me down and told me he found an independent publishing group that operates like a normal publishing house. I said forget it because I don’t have the money to pay it but he said he will take a loan to pay it because he believes in my ability. I looked them up and they were reputable. I thought the opportunity was there, grab it instead of waiting years to hear back from mainstream publishers. This way, I get a foothold in the profession early on.
Mary: Is self-publishing what you expected?
Tim: Enough. I’m lucky that my label still does a lot for me under the contract, but the thing is, you get out what you put in. The production side was also sound in general.
Mary: What was the process like?
Tim: A year of editing and production followed after signing the contract, both from the publisher and from me. Then cover plans, marketing plans, consultations, relationships, etc. in a big rush. I won’t lie, it’s a little overwhelming, but it’s completely natural. Writers tend to be insular, humble people, and being self-published takes you out of your comfort zone, which is great for your growth.
Mary: Would you recommend the same method to other writers?
Tim: Depends. Self-publishing is becoming more and more viable, with the elimination of vain publishers who prey on people. If you have the money, yes, as mainstream labels increasingly use self-publishing companies to scout for talent. Anyway, that’s how it is in England, I can’t speak for the USA.
Mary: Will you publish your second book in the same way?
Tim: It also depends. If a major publisher comes with a book offer, I’d be a fool to turn it down, and my publishers wouldn’t stand in the way anyway, but if not, and I’m making enough money or can take out a loan, then yes.
Mary: What steps did you take to publicize your book?
Tim: You are using an umbrella effect. Surprisingly, the most effective way to get your book out there is through word of mouth, not advertising, although it helps. I sent press releases and books to local newspapers, radio stations, schools, and organized book signings in Ottakars, Waterstones and Borders. He received business cards, posters and flyers that he could display at the businesses involved. I’ve approached published authors for reviews (with little success yet), and it usually becomes my book, so to speak, and opens my mouth. It’s not as hard to get a relationship as I thought.
Mary: What other hobbies do you have?
Tim: I am a good sportsman, I play soccer and cricket. Be interested in mythology, religion, poetry, walking, theatre, art, computer games and movies. I go to church and visit my family whenever I can.
Mary: Do they influence your writing?
Tim: Mythology and religion certainly do. Greek, Egyptian, Aztec, Norse, and Arthurian myth are perfect for character, monster, and location ideas, as is reading the Bible. Computer games and movies do this too. Final Fantasy and Spirited Away are prime examples of this.
Mary: What are you reading now?
Tim: I am reading “Twilight” by Tim Lebbon
Mary: What does your family think of your writing?
Tim: They fully support me and want me to fulfill all my ambitions. My father is particularly interested in my work and has helped edit it in the past. It gets a well-deserved mention in my appreciation.
Mary: Are you a member of a writing group or website?
Tim: I have a myspace account and have joined various fantasy groups. I also recently joined the British Fantasy Society.
Sent by a reader
Mary: I asked my newsletter readers if they had any questions for a self-published fantasy author.
strange_wulf: What do you recommend as a good “frequency” for writers? That is, how often should I write? Once a week? Every day? What is a good starting pace for beginners?
Tim: I guess it’s an individual thing, although I would try to write every day, even if it’s just a few words. And if you can’t write, then read back some of your work instead. It’s hard to go back to something if you leave it too long. Getting into a rhythm is essential to writing a good novel.
is it airy: Do you think self-publishing would be better than traditional publishing if you live abroad from the country you’re trying?
Tim: No, I don’t think so. Self-publishing usually tries locally first and then expands. It would be difficult to immediately try to sell to another company, although not impossible. It depends on the legitimate customers of the country, etc.
crazyjbyrd: Which do you like better, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?
Tim: Undoubtedly, Lord of the Rings Harry Potter is a cleverly marketed book, but Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece of literature.
Mary: What advice do you have for other writers?
Tim: It’s an old cliché, but don’t give up. It’s hard to fit in, but that doesn’t stop less intelligent people from getting into sports or movies. Always know what your message is and try to quickly create your own style, but don’t be afraid to use other writers for inspiration. Today there is no such thing as an original work. It’s all done in some form, just make sure you put your own spin on your work and strengthen your characters as they can dialogue with you when not much is happening and liven up the book.
Mary: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Tim: In today’s society, too many people bleed their imaginations out of the people. Don’t let the cynics and the culture do it to you. If possible, get some business background so you don’t go blind when trying to make your book viable.
Mary: Take the opportunity and plug in your book.
Tim: Everlace is a teenage fantasy quadrilogy in a fictional world based on the revenge of Rydal, who is about 17 years old. The world mixes dreams and reality, and Rydal’s gift means that he can travel through the dream world and influence events in the real world. It has elements of horror and mythology, influenced by the energetic and challenging novel The Lord of the Rings.
Thanks for the questions and the interview, it helped me at least as much as it did you.
Mary: Thank you very much for taking the time to do the interview and thank you for putting thought into your answers. I really enjoyed this.
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