Thank you, Tim Marquitz for allowing me to probe into your personal and professional life. I totally enjoyed our time together. This interview took place back in March of this year. I apologize for the lengthy delay in getting our interview posted. You have been a gentleman Tim, thank you for your patience. J
Quinn – Hi Tim, please tell us a little about yourself. Are you married? Do you have any children? Not only an author, you are an editor as well. Would you tell us about the different professions (skills) that you have? Whatever you’d like to share would be awesome.
Tim – Hey, Quinn. Thanks for having me. Well, I’m pretty boring. I write horror and dark fantasy and am working my way toward doing it full time. I’ve a wonderful wife and daughter, both of whom ensure I get as little sleep and alone time as possible, which I’m sure was in the contract the wife keeps telling me about though I haven’t actually seen it.
I do editing on occasion, but I definitely prefer writing. The editing is part of the modern publishing role, an effort to get better at my own writing and further my goal of being visible enough to make a living at writing. As for skills, I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I’ve done a ton of jobs over the course of my life, from retail to fast food, to bouncing to grave digging. At the end of the day, I like making stuff up best.
Quinn - You are very good at making stuff up Tim, I do believe you have found your nitch :) And editing, that is an excellent skill for a writer to process. Unfortunately it’s not my forte but I’m striving to get better which will be a necessity once I launch my new venture into publishing. Belfry Press should be up and running by the end of this year. Grave digger, now there’s an atmosphere that could send a writer’s imagination into overdrive. LOL At what age did you realize you wanted to be an author and why?
Tim - I think I’ve always wanted to be one, but I wasn’t blessed with anything resembling determination early in my life. I used to write stories when I was younger, song lyrics, poetry, and whatever else, all the time, but I was never focused. I don’t think it was until around ’95 that I really took a step back and put some serious thought into the idea that I really wanted to write.
As for why, there’s something primal, something exciting about creating a world, a handful of lives you control in absolute terms. Further still, there’s something fulfilling about having other people enjoy the crap you’re making up. It drives me to keep doing it.
Quinn – I agree whole heartedly Tim, it’s a great feeling to know that people enjoy our fanciful imaginations. How many books have you written/published? What genres do you write in?
Tim – Damn. I wasn’t expecting a quiz. J I think I’ve fourteen books published, at this point, and a handful of short stories floating around out there. I write horror and dark fantasy, with more of an emphasis on the fantasy lately.
Quinn – This is just the tip of the iceberg Tim, I have lots more questions! J Are there any recent works (books) that you admire?
Tim – Definitely, but way too many to mention them all. I’m enjoying the new wave of darker fantasy offerings out there, many of which are through Night Shade and Angry Robot. Folks like Chuck Wendig, Mark Lawrence, Jeff Salyards, Zachary Jernigan, Courtney Schafer, Theresa Frohock, and like I said, way too many more to mention and not forget folks.
Quinn – That’s an impressive line up of authors Tim, who is your favorite author?
Tim – Hands down, it has to be Clive Barker. While he hasn’t put out anything that’s really grabbed me lately, his work is the standard to which I hold myself to but can never quite reach.
Quinn – In your opinion, are there similarities between you and your Clive Barker?
Tim – If you’re asking if we’re both weird and twisted, then yes. Stylistically, I’m not very much like Barker. I write differently. I don’t write the flowing, poetic prose Clive does, but I’m definitely influenced by his originality and willingness to step beyond the boundaries with what he writes.
Quinn - What is a typical working day like for you?
Tim – I assume you mean writing. As such, I’m a pretty simple guy. I sit down and write. I don’t set specific word counts or firm deadlines, and I write as I feel like it. I’m fortunate that I write reasonably quickly and my work is relatively shallow (when compared to a lot of folks) so it doesn’t usually take me more than a month or two to write a novel.
Quinn – Oh, come on Tim, I certainly wouldn’t describe your writing as shallow. What kind of research do you do for your books?
Tim – Not much at all. I’ll look up a thing or two here and there, but I’m not one for aggressive research. My focus is usually on characterization, and there’s not much need for heavy research with that.
Quinn – True, there isn’t really any research that will aid you in characterization. That’s a good thing to focus on because without good characterization, in my opinion, you’re looking at book that’s bound to fail. As a writer you can most surely weave an internal struggle into your storyline and the reader may not realize it until the end. That's when your audience has that sudden realization; Oh yeah, I didn't see that coming. Do you know what I mean? Is that something you do often? A writing style you prefer? Or are your stories an “open book” so to speak?
Tim – I think, sometimes, as an author, I’m just as surprised as my readers. As I’m writing, things pop up that I hadn’t factored in or even thought of. Unlike the reader, however, I’ve the benefit of being able to go back and alter the course of the writing. I get to have my moments of realization and then work things in as if I’d meant them that way all along.
That said, I write the story that comes to me. If the story requires a deeper, more complicated plot, then that’s what I provide. If the story feels straightforward in my head, then that’s what I go with. I don’t worry ahead of time about how I’m going to write a story, I just start. The story will tell me what it needs as we go along.
Quinn – Yeah, it blows my mind sometimes what direction my own stories take. What is your favorite part of a book?
Tim – Sticking to the writing theme, I’d say releasing it is my favorite part. I get to move on and create something new once that’s done. It’s out there and nothing more can be done on the writing front, and that’s the greatest feeling for me.
Quinn – That is an exciting time, getting it out there for your readers to enjoy while you get to start the next book. I’m frothing at the bit wanting to get started on the second book in my Eternally Bound Series, The UnBegotten which picks up where The Magic of Moon Light ends. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Tim – Lately, it’s been concentrating on a single book. I used to write one book, and then move on, no exceptions. However, I’ve found myself with too many ideas and too many opportunities to process them in the same way. I’m torn between projects and it’s damn annoying to keep the motivation up, which is definitely the hardest part of it all.
Quinn – I totally feel your pain Tim, I too have several books in the works but I need to concentrate on one at a time and get them finished and published. What is the best thing about being an author?
Tim – The freedom of it. While there are market and promotional expectations I put on myself, there’s still an amazing freedom inherent in writing what I want to write, at my pace. I’m lucky that people want to read most of my stuff, and I’ve settled into a groove with my voice (if not style) that translates pretty well, I think. All that makes it fun.
Quinn – That’s wonderful Tim, it’s nice when everything falls into place. Many authors listen to music while they write, do you?
Tim – I don’t. Very driven by the rhythm of the music I listen to, I would write to it so I avoid the influence entirely. While I’m sure it would be beneficial in sections, there are too many ups and downs in writing for me to allow an outside motivation to override the natural flow of the story.
Quinn- I’m not able to write while listening to music either, I find myself getting lost in the tune. What and/or who inspires you?
Tim – This might seem to be the cliché answer, but my mother. She’s always been there for me and my sister and our family. She worked her ass off when we were young and still managed to raise us right. It amazes me how much she’s accomplished on so little time and money.
Quinn – That’s not a cliché Tim, it’s very refreshing actually. It’s nice to hear how you value your family. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview but never have? And how would you answer that question?
Tim – “How much do you enjoy the island you bought on your billions and billions of dollars in royalties?” And I’ll let you know. J
Quinn – LOL! I am anxiously awaiting the answer Tim. What do you consider your best accomplishment?
Tim – Again assuming you’re referring to writing, I don’t think I’ve reached it yet. I continue to grow as an author, find great friends in the field, advance monetarily and notoriety-wise, but I’ve yet to accomplish what I set out to do, and that’s to write for a living. Maybe one day I can answer that question.
Quinn – Again, I’ll be waiting for your answer to that question. :) I’m reading Demon Squad: Resurrection at the moment. I have to admit that at first I thought this would be a good read for a guy, but that assumption couldn’t have been further from the truth. You blew me away with the first sentence in the first chapter. I just knew I had to continue. I loved getting into Frank’s head and I also didn’t expect the diverse array of characters, brilliant if I do say so. Tell us about Demon Squad. What inspired you? Enlighten us about his conception and take us on the journey from that point to the birth (so to speak) of the series. In a short synopsis, would you please describe the Demon Squad series?
Tim – Thank you. It always amazes me when women take to the series because it is definitely male-oriented in its humor and direction.
The DS world started as a different story, but I’m not sure where the initial inspiration came from beyond a desire to emulate (to a small degree) the world that Jim Butcher was creating with his Dresden books. Originally a comedy that had Frank (then named Bob) as a minion of Death, overlooked and underappreciated, it just didn’t work out. Once it came to me to add in the Die Hard movie kind of mentality and action, it all snapped into place.
As for the broad range of characters, I wanted to represent real life. A lot of stories are so narrow in their focus that it’s hard to imagine them because you only a couple voices to relate to and if they don’t work for you, you’re screwed. In the DS books, while Frank is the primary voice, he’s backed up by a ton of different people, each written to play off his attitude and create friction, often in a humorous way. That friction brings the best out of me as I work on characterization.
The Demon Squad is all about the chaos that happens in the wake of God and the Devil leaving existence behind and the struggles of Frank (a close relative of Lucifer) who is suddenly cast into the spotlight with the disappearance.
Quinn – Thanks for the enlightenment. What are you currently working on?
Tim – I’ve three projects I’m currently working on, though I think I’ve finally settled into which one will come first. It’s a book entitled World War VI, and is essentially an action-drama about an immortal on the run from a gang of cannibal bikers.
Quinn – That’s sounds intriguing. I can’t wait to read it. Who creates your book covers?
Tim – My first artist was Jessy Lucero, a buddy of mine here in El Paso. She’s done the majority of my covers. She’s been crazy busy lately, so I’ve shifted over to a gentleman I met at World Horror Con, Carter Reid, and he’s been my go-to-guy since then. M Wayne Miller did the awesome Prey cover for Genius Publishing.
Quinn - You've just released the fifth installment of your Demon Squad series, has it been difficult keeping the story lines interesting or do you already have the next in line invading your head before you're even finished writing the one in front of you?
Tim – I haven’t had any problems writing the stories. I don’t really have the big picture worked out like a lot of authors do, but I have enough to keep me moving in the general direction. The DS books largely write themselves, my voice being so close to Frank’s that it just spills out of me. I have to tweak it here and there, but the stories are fun, which makes it so easy to write.
Quinn – Obviously you love to write and how well you are at your craft is evident in your books. Like I said earlier in this interview, I do believe you’ve found your nitch. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Tim – No, not really. I think I mentioned I’m boring. J Thanks for putting up with me.
Quinn – Thank you Tim for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me. I don’t think you are boring at all. You, Tim Marquitz, are a very interesting and talented man. J