Please help me give a warm holiday welcome to Tim Walker, a fellow author, from Britain. He has a fascinating story you won’t want to miss. So, don’t miss it. Scroll down. Right now. Read it. Do it. Also, Merry Christmas! 🙂
So, this is Tim.
Hi Tim, and welcome! Tell us a little bit about where you’re from, what genre you write in, and how you came to be an author.
Tim: Hi Charis and thank you for inviting me to your blog interview. I’m a British man in my mid-fifties, born in Hong Kong in the sixties, raised in Liverpool (UK) in the seventies, and studied for a degree in Communication Studies in South Wales in the early eighties. After graduating I moved to London and worked in the marketing department of an international publishing company, before having an epiphany moment in the mid-nineties when I left the rat race to do voluntary work in Zambia in Southern Africa. I ran an educational book publishing programme for two years before setting up my own marketing and publishing company in Zambia, producing magazines and newspapers.
I returned to the UK in 2009, after the global crash killed off my contract work. I ended up in energy sales before being diagnosed with cancer and descending into the world of the unwell. I then undertook an online creative writing course and started writing short stories and a fictional blog series, that eventually morphed into my first novel, Devil Gate Dawn, published in April 2016.
Devil Gate Dawn in a near-future quasi-political thriller. It was the itch I had to scratch, and is probably a one-off (okay, I’m thinking of a sequel, but not too hard at the moment).
My main genre-love in for historical fiction, something I started exploring in my book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales. I am currently in the midst of writing a series of novellas under the title, A Light in the Dark Ages. I’m fascinated by the post-Roman period in Britain, about which so little is known, and how it connects to the Arthurian legend. I’m hoping the four parts, once written, will knit together to make a hefty paperback.
Wow! What a story! Both your own and the ones you craft. Fascinating. Sounds like your journey thus far has been an incredible one, and the content for your novels is intriguing. Now tell us–who is in your family?
Tim: I’m between relationships and live alone. My ex- and daughter live in France, and I spend time with my teenage daughter during school holidays. We have written a book aimed at early-teens called The Adventures of Charly Holmes which I hope to have available as e-book and POD paperback by March 2017.
My siblings and their families live close by, and my parents are retired and live in Spain.
Sounds like your family is spread around a bit. I bet that makes for some good travel! Can you share with us something from personal life that inspired a particular work?
Tim: I regard my book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales as my recovery, or survival, book. My life was hanging in the balance in 2012, and waiting for results of biopsies was a worrying time. I went for walks along the River Thames path and started formulating ideas for stories, to take my mind off it. Thames Valley Tales, contemporary stories inspired by news events, historical facts, personal memories, places of interest visited, for me, says I’M STILL ALIVE!
I’ve also written a deeply personal short story, El Dorado, included in a Christmas short story anthology called Holiday Heartwarmers. It’s about focusing on the things you love to help battle through hard times.
I love that. A great mindset can sometimes make all the difference when it comes to health and certainly when it comes to how we live and enjoy life. Sounds like you embraced one and now I totally want to read your stuff!
Do you model characters after yourself or after someone you know or do they all materialize into thin air from your imagination?
My main character in Devil Gate Dawn is George Osborne. It is a common English name, but also the name of a personal hate figure of mine in British politics. My George is the antithesis of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, champion of the politics of austerity and divide and rule (now, annoyingly, making stacks of cash from talking about it to international audiences).
To answer the question, there is a lot of me in George. He is an ordinary man who worked his way up to a middle management position in the railways, and now is faced with the option of taking early retirement. This is the starting point for my novel, and my excellent copyeditor made me take out most of the political ranting in the early draft and focus on the story – George and his relationships with his girlfriend and teenaged children, his motivations, anxieties and decision-making in a confusing post-Brexit world of political chaos (and yes, I predicted President Trump in my New York scene). I have set it ten years in the future to, hopefully, make readers think that political landscapes can change very quickly. Since writing it, both Brexit and Trump’s election have become true, although my prediction of a complete breakdown in British politics and the country being run by King Charles and his Privy Council could be seen as a little far-fetched… or could it?
A central theme of my novel is the confusing state of our political world, where truth and lies are combined so easily and spun through media with the aim of confusing us. Does George unwittingly become a pawn of The Establishment when he helps bring down the Anti-Poverty League? Or is he just a good law-abiding citizen who sees a wrong being committed and chooses to help bring the culprits to book? The reader must decide. It was a massive learning curve for me in character and plot development, and I have sprinkled the story with much humour to lighten the load. Ultimately, I hope it’s an enjoyable read.
Sounds fantastic and like the kind of work that really makes a reader think. To me, that’s a hallmark of good art–inviting readers to form their own conclusions but really challenging how they think in the process.
Is there a particular message you try to convey with your work, or do you write purely for the entertainment factor? Both?
Tim: I’m attracted to fiction as it offers a portal for me to explore my ideas of the world I live in, and to also reach into my own being and explore my emotions, beliefs and motivations. It gives me purpose and focus in a challenging time in my life when I could so easily drift, or slowly sink…
But I must also look outward and face up to the challenge of writing for an audience, as I am now ‘packaging’ my work for public consumption. With my marketing background, I’m comfortable with book cover design, blurbs, reviews, blogs, websites and other promotional devices. Bring it on! At the moment it’s more of a game than a business, and I accept that I’m spending more than I’m making, as it’s an interest I’m investing in. However, it’s also an intellectual pursuit that’s keeping me sane.
It certainly is a delicate balance.
How do life and art intersect on an ongoing basis?
For the past few years I’ve lived like a zombie, going to routine clinic appointments and undergoing hospital procedures. I take medication, it makes me drowsy. I try to write most mornings for three to four hours, but do very little in the rest of the day – essential life maintenance like food shopping and tidying my living space, or short naps, in the afternoons. I inhabit a twilight world, and yearn for my former glories as business owner and manager, chairman of the rugby club, head of fundraising for Zambian rugby, when my ego was sated, but I was also able to help others develop and fulfill their dreams. Maybe I can tap into that past through my writing, as I now feel confined by my health problems and can only soar to the skies, like Jonathan Pryce in Brazil, in my imagination.
That’s a tough transition from healthy and vitality to being at the mercy of a diagnosis and all that brings with it. But thank goodness for the escape to the imagination and the experiences that can sometimes drive it.
What’s one thing your readers and mine would find really interesting or unique about you as a person?
Each of us sees the World in a slightly different way – we are all the products of our socialisation which provides the prism through which our experiences are filtered. I’ve lived and worked in the worlds richest and poorest countries, and have both witnessed and been a victim of the politics of globalisation. I’m trying to formulate an understanding of my place in the world, and have tried to write about that in Devil Gate Dawn.
Read it and let’s open up a dialogue about what’s going on, and the disconnect between the expectations and aspirations of people and how that translates to our political representation – and to the reality of a global society divided between the exploiters and the exploited…
Reading back that last sentence, perhaps I was born to write dystopian fiction!
Haha!! An important discussion to be had, for certain. So then, if we would like to read and open such a discussion, where might we find Devil Gate Dawn and your other works?
Devil Gate Dawn (dystopian thriller novel, 2016) (discounted to $1.99 just in time for the holidays!)
Thames Valley Tales (short stories, 2016):
Abandoned! (historical fiction novella, 2016)
Holiday Heartwarmers (short story anthology)
Author website: http://timwalkerwrites.co.uk
Amazon Central: http://Author.to/timwalkerwrites
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/timwalkerwrites
Awesome, Tim! Thanks so much for joining me today and sharing some of your story.
Okay, people, go check Tim out, read his work, and open a dialogue! As we head into 2017 let’s make this world brighter and better by sharing our ideas and doing our part to bridge the gap and grow in our own personal awareness. And, let’s allow Tim’s story to encourage us to embrace a mindset that propels that process forward and allows us to live our best possible lives, despite our circumstances.
To get started, grab a copy of Tim’s book Devil Gate Dawn. It’s discounted for a limited time to the measly price of $1.99!