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Everlace Author Tim Reed – An Interview
I reached out to author Tim Reed to ask him a few questions about his fantasy journal. He agreed to the interview and shared it with you here. Tim is from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK. He self-published a fantasy novel, Everlace: Knives of the Night, which was released on July 20, 2006.
On the record
Mary: What is your writing style and when did you think you were a writer?
Tim: I grew up writing creative writing at school and at university. I’ve read a lot of literature and I can’t reiterate the importance of this enough. Being considered a writer is a matter of confidence, ability, and handwriting. I think I’ve always thought of myself as a writer since I did my English A-levels and then went to university, but it wasn’t until I finished my novel that I realized I could call myself a writer.
Mary: Who and what influenced your writing?
Tim: My father instilled in me a love for literature and language from an early age, which has had the greatest influence on my writing. Being a school teacher, he helped me with my vocabulary. Although media can have a terrible effect, I have to admit that it has helped me a lot with my fantasy; Books, movies, television, computers, board games, etc. If you learn to focus on one area, you can gain a lot of influence and information.
Mary: Did your environment and upbringing influence your writing?
Tim: Again, as I’ve answered before, my writing was influenced by the fact that my father never let anyone stifle my imagination as a teenager. It helped me to visit my grandparents in the countryside. Nothing inspires more fantasy and fantasy writing than a country.
Mary: Do you use reviews?
Tim: When I started my novel, I was young and naïve and started writing with the bare minimum of an outline. Then I learned it was stupid and messed up. Everyone should have some kind of outline, but how detailed it is varies from person to person; Of course, you don’t have to be bold about it. You need to write freely. Personally, I look at my outline at the beginning of each chapter and generally write without it until the next one, unless I need to refer to it.
Mary: What conditions do you need to write?
Tim: I’ve learned to adapt to the different houses I’ve lived in, but silence is always useful. I used to record classical music in the background, but I do that less and less these days.
Mary: I know you are currently writing the second Everlace book. Do you have another project you’re working on?
Tim: I am taking an editing course to study editing and then look for a job. You can also make movies with your partner. I’m also writing my previous book, and I’m working on a CD of talks for my first book with my housemate.
Mary: Do you believe in “muses”?
Tim: I think the idea of the muse is based more on romance than reality. Personally, the closest thing I have to a museum is nature and its effect on me. I would never blame the writers for her absence.
Mary: What do you think about “writer’s block”?
Tim: Writers sometimes tend to use this as an excuse when they’re lazy or careless about their work, but I think it happens. 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 representation are key.
Mary: Do you have a favorite quote to write about?
Tim: “Heal your own wounds: rational words have the power to suppress
Tumor of troubled mind,
It also has the effect of softening broken wounds. – John Milton (1671)
Mary: What is Everlace’s target audience?
Tim: It is for young adults. Therefore, it is accessible to 11-16 year olds, but also to older readers.
Mary: You have a very complex magic system with wizards, wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, wizards, hags, etc., all with their own unique style of magic. How do you keep it all straight?
Tim: I once read that in a fantasy and magical system, all magic must be flawed or fallible, because if it’s perfect magic, anything can be done and the story will lose all tension and interest. By taking this to the board, I made each magic user have some sort of drawback or limitation to what their magic could do. Mages, for example, could use a small percentage of the gods’ magic, but it caused their use to go insane. Wizards can only use Grimoire magic, wizards risk becoming zombies if they summon monsters beyond their abilities, etc. You can have a lot of magic in a book, but as long as you don’t let the magic become the book, you’re fine.
Mary: Does Rydal, the main character, share any traits with you?
Tim: Indeed he does, but I didn’t realize it until I read the book myself, but a friend of mine commented on it. In some situations, silence and naivety are all about me.
Mary: Does your writing have a message?
Tim: Of course. Each monster and race has its own background and purpose. How do protected people interact with the world around them, with their gifts, weaknesses, threats, and overwhelming powers?
Mary: Why did you decide to self-publish your book?
Tim: Almost made for me. As I was about to finish writing it, my dad sat me down and told me that instead of running around like a regular publisher, I found a self-publishing group. I told him to forget it because he didn’t have the money to pay, but he believed in my ability and said he would take a loan and pay. I checked them out and they were reputable. Instead of waiting years to hear back from major publishers, I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity. Thus, I have been involved in this industry since childhood.
Mary: Is self-publishing what you were hoping for?
Tim: Almost. I’m lucky that my publisher still does a lot for me contractually, but it’s a case of you get out what you put in. It’s much more tangible and has a bigger say in everything. The production side was generally good.
Mary: What was the process like?
Tim: I edited and edited for a year after signing a contract with both the publishing house and myself. Then rush through designs, marketing plans, advice, contacts, etc. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit overwhelming, but it’s natural. Writers tend to be aloof and humble people, and self-publishing takes you out of your comfort zone, which is great for your growth.
Mary: Would you recommend the same method to other writers?
Tim: It depends. Self-publishing is becoming more and more profitable by killing off the crappy publishers who rip people off. If you have the money, yes, because mainstream publishers are increasingly using their own publishing companies as talent acquisition vehicles. That’s how it is in England anyway, I can’t speak for the US.
Mary: Will you publish your second book in the same way?
Tim: It also depends. If a big publisher came and offered me a book deal, I’d be a fool to say no, my publishers wouldn’t stop me anyway, but if I make enough money or can get a loan, then yes.
Mary: What steps did you take to promote your book?
Tim: You use the umbrella effect. The most effective way to promote your book is through word of mouth, not advertising. I sent out press releases and books to local newspapers, radio stations, schools, and held book signings in Ottakars, Waterstones, and the Borders. Received business cards, posters and flyers for related businesses. Reached out to published authors (so far with little success), generally my book became and mouth opened. Contact is not as difficult as I thought.
Mary: What other hobbies do you have?
Tim: I am a good athlete who plays football and cricket. Be interested in mythology, religion, poetry, walking, theater, art, computer games, and movies. I go to church and visit my family when I can.
Mary: Do they influence your writing?
Tim: Mythology and religion, of course. Greek, Egyptian, Aztec, Norse, and Arthurian legends are good for generating ideas for characters, monsters, and situations, just like reading the Bible. The same goes for computer games and movies. Final Fantasy and Spirited Away are prime examples.
Mary: What are you reading now?
Tim: I’m reading Twilight by Tim Lebbon
Mary: What does your family think of your writing?
Tim: They fully support me and want to fulfill my every wish. My father is very interested in my work and has helped with editing in the past. He deserves a mention in my acknowledgments.
Mary: Are you a member of any writing groups or websites?
Tim: I have a myspace account and have joined his various fantasy groups. I recently joined the British Fantasy Society.
Submitted by a reader
Mary: I asked newspaper readers if they had any questions for a self-published fiction writer.
strange_wolf: What do you recommend as a good ‘frequency’ for writers? How often should I write it? Once a week? Every day? What is the starting speed for beginners?
Tim: I guess this is a personal opinion, but I try to write every day, even if it’s just a few words. If you can’t write, reread some of your work instead. If you leave something for too long, it’s hard to come back. Getting into a rhythm is important to writing well.
breeze: If you live outside of the country you’re trying to, do you think self-publishing is better than traditional publishing?
Tim: No, I don’t think so. Self-publishing is often first attempted locally and then expanded. Selling it to another company is difficult, but not impossible. It depends on the rights buyers in the country, etc.
crazyjbyrd: Who do you like more, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings?
Tim: Lord of the Rings without a doubt. Harry Potter is a very clever book, but Lord of the Rings is a literary masterpiece.
Mary: What advice do you have for other writers?
Tim: The old cliché, but don’t give up. It’s hard to pin down, but it doesn’t stop people with less intelligence from getting into sports and movies. Always know what your message is and try to develop your style quickly, but don’t be afraid to use other writers for inspiration. There is no original work nowadays. Everything is done in some form, just focus on your own work and make your characters strong because they will make the dialogue for you when not much is happening and keep the book alive.
Mary: Do you have anything else to say?
Tim: Too many people in today’s society let their imagination run wild with the ingenuity of their people. Don’t let jokes and culture fool you. If possible, get some business background so you’re not blindsided when trying to make your book viable.
Mary: Book your book.
Tim: Everlace is a teenage fantasy quadrilogy set in a fictional world inspired by 17-year-old Rydal’s quest for revenge. The world mixes dream and reality, and Rydal’s gift means that he can travel through the dream world and influence events in the real world. It is a dynamic and challenging novel with elements of horror and mythology, influenced by The Lord of the Rings.
Thanks for the questions and interview, I’m sure it helped me as much as it did you.
Mary: Thank you very much for taking the time to interview and for your answers. I liked it very much.
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