Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Jolly Author Spotlight: Timothy Black

Timothy Black is another of the authors I worked alongside during the Lurking in the Deep anthology. This award winning author is a geek in both literature and science, which is evident in his writing. I enjoyed working with Timothy, he was friendly and professional, as this interview will reveal you.

Where are you from and what makes this place special to you?
Everywhere. Seriously, most of my life I’ve moved around every six months to a year. I’ve lived in Alabama, Tennesee, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Virginia; non-South has been Las Vegas, Sacramento, California’s Bay Area, Hawaii, and now Seattle, Washington. Seattle was the end goal though, and I love the way nature feels and the geek flows here.

What genre or genres do you dabble in?
Steampunk, Fantasy, Science-Fiction. I didn’t realize I also appended “Horror” to every one of those genres until my readers explained that to me.

Other than author, do you have any other occupations?
I have training in the hard sciences (specifically Geology and Astronomy), a degree in Philosophy, and a lot of experience in joe-jobs.

What were your top three favourite childhood books?

Starship Troopers
Dragonriders of Pern
Dragonlance Chronicles

What are your current top three favourite books?
(Continuing in the vein of regarding book series as a single giant mega-book since they tend to merge into one narrative in my head):

Dresden Files
The Codex Alera

Which writers have influenced you?
Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Jim Butcher

And what about books, do any inspire you?
Starship Troopers taught me what responsibility meant, when the flesh and bloods around me failed.
The Dragonriders of Pern taught me to dream of dragons.
Dragonlance taught me anyone could write, but making the impossible seem plausible was the largest challenge of all.

Would you like to tell us about your writing process?
Coffee, a movie in the background in the genre I’m writing, then frustration at all the sound and gnashing of teeth until I remember I can turn the movie off.

How do you deal with writer’s block?
A combination of whiskey sours and reminding myself that I’m writing the next exciting instalment for my alpha readers, who read as I go.

Are you writing anything at the moment?
Judgment of Blood, the second book in the Gearteeth series (steampunk-horror). Two words: vampire cowboys.

Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?
I convert and paint miniatures for wargames, specifically Warmachine and Hordes. I’m actually rather internet-famous at it, and converted the first tournament-legal army for the system (the Stormhammer Brigade); when I got tired of it, I donated the army to a raffle and raised over $5,200 (USD) for the charity Child’s Play.
Technically, my hobby is also playing the game, but I spend so much time modding and painting the miniatures that it’s difficult to fit it all in. I’m also an avid video-gamer, with a mythic raiding team in World of Warcraft and various games across other platforms.
Oh, and I also read. Very important.


Why did you choose to become an author?
It was the only justification I could come up with for having as ‘interesting’ a life as I’ve had. And I like to tell folks stories, to take them on a journey and make them oooh and ahhh at things they’ve never seen before. Nothing else I know of can spin dreams out of absolutely nothing, creating a world within the void.

What is your long-term goal that you wish to achieve through your writing?
I want to be that writer for the kid that has nothing but dreams, who’s hiding in their school’s library and trying to imagine a better world. To help folks discover new ways of thinking, new worlds of imagination to explore. Also, I would eventually like to make as much as a part-time fry cook, but that’s a dream that might never come true. Such is life.

Why should people read your books?
I promise that your sense of logic and reality won’t be abused, despite the fact I have everything from mechanically-augmented werewolves to flying trains shrouded in storms. Regardless of the fantastic premises, I strive at all times to be as realistic as possible, with real-life science and consequences of choices infesting my work at all times. I’ve done mounds of historical research to line up facts with fiction, but I don’t club my readers over the head with a history lesson. And despite all of the horror, there is always a thread of hope running through the narrative. No matter how dark the night, the characters don’t spend their time lamenting the hopelessness of it all. They fight, even against the impossible.

Are any of the characters, experiences and so on in any of your books based on real life?
Absolutely. The character Maude Kelly, the engineer for one of the flying Thunder Trains and grandmother to the main character, is based off a combination of my own grandmother and great-grandmother. Those two taught me what it was to be both tough and honest, and that’s why Maude is a cantankerous old biddy who mortal men fear and immortal men avoid. I’ve been told time and time again that she is many people’s favorite elderly character ever. Given that both of my grandmothers have passed, it makes me smile that they continue to live on through my books.

What is your favourite mythical or fantasy creature and why?
Werewolf, hands down. The beast within, the rage held back only by the force of will, and the sheer brutal honesty of what they are. Werewolves to me represent the perfect nightmare blend of man and beast, a creature with the primal power of the elements but the craftiness of a human.

Werewolves: A Hunter's Guide
The Werewolf Book

Do you have any strange or quirky talents?
I can dilate my eyes on command, even in bright light. I’ve freaked out a few optometrists with it before.

What is one thing most people probably don't know about you?
Despite the rough exterior, I’m actually rather kind and intelligent. Unless, of course, you steal my coffee.

A film company wants to turn your book into a film, but they want to completely change the ending of the film from how it is written in your book. How would you feel about this?
My teeth, their throats. A proper ending is the payoff, for a reader or film watcher. The entire book or movie is building to that climax. You’re cheating the people that came along with you on the journey to allow such a thing.

What is the title of your story in the Lurking in the Deep anthology?

Provide us with a little interesting blurb about your LitD story.
As the light fades over the ocean in 1891, the crew of the Artemis comes across a deserted plague ship floating crewless on the waves. Soon they learn that the fatal mistakes of the other crew have given birth to a nightmare of blood . . . and it still hungers.

Which fear, creature or myth did you focus on in your LitD story?
The fear of the unknown, of a deep and dark evil lurking just below the waves. Of something so monstrous, that your mind refuses to believe . . . until it is too late.

Is your story based on your own real fears of the deep?
To a certain extent. The deep has always represented the unseen to me, the darkness that hides all possibility. The creature at the edge of the torchlight, waiting for you to wander off of the path.

Have you enjoyed participating in this anthology?
Absolutely! The story came together more rapidly than most, and it crystallized almost fully-formed as I started. This never happens, and it was nice to not have to drag a story kicking and screaming out of my head.

Do you plan on expanding this story in a future release, for example a novella, or is it part of an existing release, such as a prequel?
The story is set twenty years before the events of the first book in the Gearteeth trilogy. Although there are no werewolves to be seen, the plague sweeping the mainland provides the terrible genesis of the events that unfold.

Thank you, Timothy, for taking part in an interview with The Jolly Wordsmith.
We wish you continued success for the future.

Read Timothy Black

Gearteeth by Timothy Black

"In 1890, a disease that turned sane men into ravenous werewolves swept through the United States like wildfire. On the brink of humanity’s extinction, Nikola Tesla and a mysterious order of scientists known as the Tellurians revealed a bold plan: the uninfected would abandon the Earth’s surface by rising up in floating salvation cities, iron and steel metropolises that carried tens of thousands of refugees above the savage apocalypse. The remnants of mankind huddled fearfully in the clouds, waiting for the werewolves to devour each other.

Twenty years later, only one salvation city remains aloft, while the beasts still rule the world below. Time has taken its toll on the miraculous machinery of the city, and soon the last of the survivors will plummet to their doom. But when Elijah Kelly, a brakeman aboard the largest of the city’s Thunder Trains, is infected by the werewolf virus, he discovers a secret world of lies and horrific experiments that hide the disturbing truth about the Tellurians.

When the beast in his blood surges forth, Elijah must choose between the lives of those he loves, and the city that is humanity’s last hope of survival."

Available both in Paperback and e-book format. The second book in the series, Judgment of Blood, is on track to be released in Fall 2015.

Bloodslick (Lurking in the Deep anthology)

Lurking in the Deep by various authors

"Bloodslick" is featured in the Lurking in the Deep anthology

"As the light fades over the ocean in 1891, the crew of the Artemis comes across a deserted plague ship floating crewless on the waves. Soon they learn that the fatal mistakes of the other crew have given birth to a nightmare of blood... and it still hungers."

My story, Bloodslick, set in the first days of the apocalypse that engulfs the world of Gearteeth, yet there are no signs of werewolves to be found; sort of.

Follow Timothy Black

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