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15 July 2013

Welcome special guest: author Tim Smith ( #mystery #romance )

Today we have author Tim Smith visiting. Tim Smith is an award-winning bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. When he isn’t pursuing those two passions he can be found in The Florida Keys, doing research in between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito.

So, Tim, what inspired you to become a writer?
* I’ve always had an active imagination and thanks to my mother’s influence, I became an avid reader at an early age. I also became an old movie buff and really liked the film noir crime capers of the 40’s and 50’s. When I began reading the books some of those flicks were based on, by writers like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson, I was hooked on that style of writing and knew I wanted to emulate it.

When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
* I’d been writing short stories since high school but the first full-length story I attempted was written over a dozen years ago, titled Memories Die Last. It was around 60,000 words. It was traditionally published in print in 2002, did very well and won a couple of awards. When the rights reverted back to me I rewrote it cover to cover then released it as an e-book. It became a best seller.
* I’m still amazed that a story I conceived so long ago continues to draw new readers and fans. The sequels to that one did pretty well, too. I suppose if you have a couple of strong characters that people find appealing, they really can live forever

How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
* I got lucky in that my first full-length story found a traditional publisher who was willing to take a chance. A dozen-plus books later, I’m still at it. We won’t bring up the creative writing dreck I first attempted in high school, which was pretty bad. A few years ago I found one of those stories in a box and ceremoniously burned it at midnight, complete with a bugle playing Taps.

What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
* I write contemporary erotic romance, with an emphasis on romantic mystery/thrillers. I’ve also written a few romantic comedies. The mystery/suspense genre is my favorite because these are the kinds of stories I’m drawn to as a reader. I like taking the classic style of Chandler, Westlake, et al and adapting it to a contemporary setting with plenty of hot sex. I have a lot of fun creating the quirky characters and situations you find in those pulp stories – the tough but tender hero, the femme fatale who may or may not be on the level with him, the shady sub-characters who usually have some type of mayhem in mind, the moody atmosphere and the wisecracking, humorous dialogue. If I could include a cool jazz soundtrack by Henry Mancini, I would. Did I mention the sex?

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
* The best advice came from an editor I worked with early on. She advised me to include a brief physical description whenever I introduce a character, no matter how small their part may be, so the reader can get a mental image. Since I visualize each character when I write them, that made sense.
* The worst advice came from a friend who suggested – with a straight face—that since I wrote thrillers, I might sell more if I wrote under the name Tim Clancey. I never asked for his opinion again.

How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
* Acceptance is usually celebrated with an evening out with someone special. Best sellers and better-than-average royalty checks rate the same treatment.
* I treat rejection as one less “no” I have to hear on the way to a “yes.” With a bazillion-and-one new books released every year, rejection is the natural by-product.

In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
* Nick Seven is a tough character, hard on the outside but with a soft romantic middle he likes to keep hidden. He’s also a grade-A smartass and world-class lover. That’s a tough combination to find today, but I could see George Clooney, Michael Weatherley, Mark Harmon or Brad Pitt doing a decent job.
* As for Felicia, the tough Barbadian beauty who lives with him, I’m holding out for Khandi Alexander, since she was the mental model I used when I created the character.

The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
* The stories in both of my series are stand alone entries. I always recap the character’s history while adding a little something new in each installment. You can read the second Nick and Felicia adventure Never Look Back without first reading Memories Die Last and still understand who the characters are and where they came from. The same with my Vic Fallon private eye series – one can easily pick up Lido Key without reading The Bundle and know immediately who this guy is and what makes him run.

*** Now for some fun info… ***
What’s your favorite color?
* Blue. It usually reflects my mood, whether it’s bright sky or deep midnight.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
* Chocolate and peanut butter. Add some whipped cream and a little extra Hershey’s syrup and I’m hooked.

Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
* I’m definitely a warm and sunny person, which is why I spend so much time in The Florida Keys.

*** About Tim Smith’s book ***

~ Blurb ~

“Never Look Back” – Nick Seven, Book 2
* A former CIA spook and his lover are pulled into a deadly masquerade by a rogue agent from their past. Who will win?
* Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens left the CIA to carve out an idyllic anonymous life in The Florida Keys. The last thing they wanted was to be used by their former employer as pawns in America’s war on terror. Nick and Felicia navigate a complex maze of intrigue and double-crosses while dealing with a rogue agent from their past who has a score to settle. When Felicia becomes part of the scheme the stakes get higher and more personal. Can Nick keep her out of harm’s way or will he finally be outwitted? Will Felicia stay with him or return to Barbados?

***Find Tim Smith here***
Visit my webiste to learn more about my books and view samples of my photography.

Thank you for joining us here today, Tim! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work. Readers, see below for his contest info!

I will give away a PDF copy of my contemporary erotic romance Snowflakes and Palm Trees. To enter, go to my webiste, click on the “Scrapbook” link and find the answer this question – In which year was I the keynote speaker at the Indianapolis Book Festival? Go to the contact link, put “Contest” in the subject line then send me the answer. I’ll draw the winner on July 19th.

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