The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Tim W. Long

Liz – Hi, Tim! Thank you for joining us for ‘The Horror Tree Presents…’ Why don’t you tell us about your part of the world?
Tim – I live out in the suburbs of Seattle, WA. We have near constant rain, but it’s okay. Writers need mood setting. I’m 40 minutes from the big city but only 15 minutes from a Costco. It’s an important trade off. Can’t be too far from cheap mutant sized rotisserie chicken. Who doesn’t like coming home from the store with enough food to last a month? It’s like a preppers dream come true.
My house is in what used to be a very small town. Over the last 15 years it has probably quadrupled in size. But I still like to say I live in the boonies. Now it’s the boonies with a super Walmart and an Office Depot.

Liz – Do you enjoy reading as well as writing? If so, who are your favorite authors?
Tim – Before I became a writer I devoured about a book a week, and sometimes more. I’ve always been a fan of door stopper sized epic fantasy. Some of my favorite authors are Steven Erikson, and George R R Martin. I also enjoy thrillers, and the occasional historical fiction tome. I used to read everything that Tom Clancy (RIP) put out. I’ve yet to find an author who had such a keen eye for technical detail as well as interesting characters on top of real world events and politics.

Liz – How long did you serve in the Navy for? Did you get to travel much? Have your experiences in the Navy influenced your writing?
Tim – The Navy was a fantastic learning experience. Every 18-year-old kid think they know it all, but when you join the military, you really see a new side of life. I was in for 4 years and got out in 1990. I spent most of that time in Japan on a ship that made a lot of port hops, but didn’t spend a lot of time at sea. I’ve been all over Asia, and even spent a month in Australia and Tasmania.

My time in the Navy as an engineer directly influenced my most successful series, the Z-Risen books. The main character is a wise-cracking, wrench swinging, engineer, who likes to bash heads first, and ask questions later. For the record, I never bashed in any heads.

Liz – That’s good to know! You’ve worked in some interesting roles: from working for a gaming corporation, to aeronautics, to an IT engineer. Do you utilize these experiences when working on a story?
Tim – I primarily write character driven stories, to that end, I think it would be hard to say my real life experiences haven’t influenced my writing. I have always tended to draw from stories I hear from other people. But I’ve never really based a character on someone I know. For the most part, though, I just make stuff up. If I don’t know about a job a character has I will talk to people or do research.

Liz – What prompted you to become a full-time author?
Tim – That’s a simple one. It’s the dream of every writer. Leaving a good paying job, and hoping I can keep my writing career on track, was a scary decision. I don’t know what most people think a full time writer does, but for me, it’s sort of like war. Long hours of boring stuff like sitting at a computer, followed by complete chaos, like releasing a new book. The week of a new book release can mean 14 hour days of non stop work. But I wouldn’t trade this for anything. It’s the greatest job in the world.

Liz – It’s definitely a dream for many of us. Your girlfriend is an author also, are there pro’s and con’s to living with another author?
Tim – It’s all pros. We completely understand our need to write. Instead of being solitary, though, we often work on projects side by side. We talk about the business all the time. We discuss what’s happening in the industry, and trade marketing and business ideas. Katie is the absolute best. We met at a zombie convention because we were both writers selling our work. Now we do a number of conventions together every year.

We talk about our ups and downs in the biz. She also has a publishing company and we help each other with our separate business. It really is amazing being with another author.

Liz – It sounds like you make a great team! Can you write anywhere, or do you need a specific set-up? If so, what is it?
Tim – Pretty much anywhere. I keep Scrivener on my phone which is my favourite writing program. I can be waiting at an appointment and knock out a few hundred words on my latest work in progress. I don’t need a special setup. All I need is a writing program.

Liz – I didn’t know you could have Scrivener on your phone? The things we learn! I see you’re also a coffee lover – a writer after my own heart. Do you find there is a fine line between ‘enough’ and ‘too much’ coffee when writing?
Tim – I’m sure there is. I wouldn’t know. Related question, why am I so jittery right now?

Liz – Good point…Do you have any quirky writing habits or methods?
Tim – I don’t think so. I can write in silence, but I prefer to have something on like the TV, music, or even a satellite radio station. I’ve written 16 books so writing it is a job I have done for years and it requires very little setup.

Liz – What inspired you to write your first book? Tell us about it.
Tim – I was intrigued with the whole zombie genre. Max Brooks had made a huge splash with his books, and then I found out that there was an entire culture of zombie inspired work out there. My first book was a kitchen sink zombie book. I threw everything into it. Fast zombies. Slow zombies. A serial killer. Loss, love, and everyday problems compounded by lots of blood and gore.

Liz – What have you released since then?
Tim – I’ve written 15 other books, and countless short stories. I write everything from zombies, to science fiction/superheroes, to dystopian fiction. I have also dabbled in some satire but that’s mainly for fun. I’ll never make a living from writing funny stuff. The money is in the more serious work.


Liz – That’s quite an impressive body of work. What are you currently working on?
Tim – My newest book was just released. It’s a book called Drums of War and it’s a dystopian technothriller. It’s based on the current political unrest in the states, and draws on a lot of what I have seen as far as fighting on social media, and the war on the news. One man gets caught up in the middle of what may turn out to be the second American civil war. I had an absolute blast working on this book, and the sequel comes out in June of 2017. It’s called March to War.

My next book is in nearly done. It’s the fifth novel in the Z-Risen series and it’s called Barriers. It should be released in mid-April 2017.

Liz – Has your writing style changed from your first book to your current one? How so?
Tim – I feel like I’m a hell of a better writer, that’s for sure. My first book was filled with passive writing and a lot of other newbie mistakes. Still, that book has always sold very well, and I’m pleased that I wrote it. I’d say that I have let a little more humor leak into my work since then.

I’ve also spent a lot of time getting better at the craft of writing. I have taken classes and read books on writing. But mainly, I have found that learning to read with a critical eye, has improved my writing. Having my work critiqued hasn’t ever been a big learning experience. But learning to critique other’s work has been.

Liz – Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels, or a series? Are there pro’s and con’s to both?
Tim – A little of both. But there is a lot more money in writing series. I tend to write short pulpy reads. Sometimes people just want a quick entertaining tale. That’s the kind of work I like to consistently deliver.

Liz – What is your ultimate goal as an author?
I don’t know that I have one. My goal had been to become a fulltime writer. I don’t know, I’d love for a big Hollywood producer to show up on my doorstep with a wheelbarrow full of money. I’d sell the crap out of a book if it could become a block buster.

Liz – If you had to select one of your books as your favourite, which would it be, and why?
Tim – I like all of my children and it’s hard to pick a favorite. I’d say that my current book is always my favorite. Then I write another book and it becomes my favorite. So I guess Drums of War: A Broken Patriot novel is my current favorite.

Liz – Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Tim, and we look forward to seeing more of your work!

You can find out more about Tim W. Long at:

Website: http://timothywlong.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimothyWLong
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimWLong

The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview: Jaidis Shaw

Liz – Tell us a little bit about yourself and your part of the world?

Jaidis – I was born in California but moved when I was just a few months old. I’ve spent time growing up in various states including Michigan, Indiana, and South Carolina where I still reside. I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters, and will be welcoming my third child this fall.

I began writing at an early age but didn’t really try making anything from it until high school. It wasn’t until several years later that I went ahead and pushed the publish button.

Liz – What are your preferred genres to write?

Jaidis – I love writing stories with paranormal elements. It is a great genre because there are endless possibilities. Most of my stories also fall under the horror category because I feel having that darkness helps to balance the light.

Liz – Which authors/books have inspired you?

Jaidis – I grew up reading many books but the Earth’s Children series by Jean M. Auel was always one of my favorites. If you haven’t read The Clan of the Cave Bear, which is book one, I highly recommend it!

Liz – Do your local surrounds influence/inspire your writing?

Jaidis – The only thing about my local surroundings that really influences me is the solidarity of being in a small town out in the country. The town I created in my first book, Destiny Awaits, takes place in a small town. I haven’t spent time in large cities so it would be hard for me to write a book that takes place in one.

Liz – As a busy mum, how & when do you find the time to write?

Jaidis – It’s so hard to find time! I know authors are always saying that you need to make a schedule and set aside to write but when you do have children, a business to run, and want to write it can be exhausting. I’m at a point now where when I do have free time to write I’d rather take a nap. I have to work really hard to force myself to close down the internet and just write.

Liz – Do you have a process you need to go through in order to write?

Jaidis – I don’t really have a specific process I go through. It’s usually while I’m sitting in the car line while waiting for my oldest daughter to get out of school. When I can sit at my computer to write, I stick to the basics: have a cold drink nearby, music playing on Pandora, and all social media windows closed. If I keep anything open on my computer, I get distracted.

Liz – Yes, social media is certainly a big distraction for me, also! Tell us about your novel, “Destiny Awaits”?

Jaidis – Destiny Awaits is a YA paranormal romance that tells the story of Alayna Scott. After losing both of her parents in a tragic accident, she decides that she needs to move in order to move on with her life. She ends up in the small town of Juniper Grove and things quickly change for her when she is bitten by a vampire. Her neighbor, a shapeshifter, saves her life but it is forever changed as she struggles to understand the supernatural world and what powers may be brewing within her.

 

Liz – Destiny Awaits won an award – tell us about the award. How did you feel when you found out?

Jaidis – It did! It was selected as the “Solo Medalist” in the 2016 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards for YA Romance. Last week it won another award. This time around it was selected as the “Official Selection” in the 2016 New Apple Annual Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing! I couldn’t be more excited that it has one not one but two awards! Having my book selected out of thousands of entries by a panel of judges has given me a confidence boost like nothing before.

Liz –  That’s wonderful! Congratulations! Do you have any other solo projects in the works?

Jaidis – I have already started on the second book in the Juniper Grove Chronicles. Each book is standalone so book two tells the story of a secondary character that readers met in Destiny Awaits.

I also have a paranormal thriller started that I’m super excited about!

Liz –  Sounds intriguing! What is your ultimate goal as an author?

Jaidis – My ultimate goal as an author is to provide a brief escape from reality for anyone who needs it. If I can allow someone time to enjoy a story without having to worry about their troubles in life, I’ve accomplished my goal.

Liz – You’re the creator and editor of the successful ‘Lurking’ anthologies – what was the inspiration for the series?

Jaidis – The Lurking anthologies was an idea that I pitched to my publisher in the hopes that I could help authors share more stories with readers. Each book follows a theme and they have been really fun to put together.

The first book, Lurking in the Deep, are all stories about the creatures and horrors that live below the sea. I’ve always been fascinated with the ocean because we are always discovering new life forms and so there could be anything down there.

The second book, Lurking in the Shadows, is all about creatures or the fear that people have about the dark. It’s a bit darker than the first book but I love it!

The third book, Lurking in the Mind, will be released on April 4th and revolves around the horrors in the mind. It covers some more sensitive topics such as depression, multiple personalities, suicide, and more.

Liz – How have you found the process of selecting and declining submissions?

Jaidis – Sending rejections letters out to authors is the hardest part of the process. I don’t want to be viewed as the bad guy because authors work so hard on their stories but sometimes a story just doesn’t fit well with the theme and so it has to be let go.

Liz – Tell us about your own work that feature in the anthologies. Do you have a favourite?

Jaidis – I don’t know if I could pick a favorite. My story in Lurking in the Deep is titled “The Reluctant Seamstress” and the main character is the outcast of her underwater community. She is struggling to figure out why she is treated differently and would do anything to escape her captivity, even if that means sacrificing a part of herself.

The story I have in Lurking in the Shadows is a little darker (pun intended). It’s called “The House on Juniper Lane” and involves a crazy family tradition where the men in the family lure women out into the woods to kill them. The main female lead finds herself in that situation and isn’t afraid to fight back. It does have a surprise ending that I loved creating!

Liz – How have you found working with so many authors at once?

Jaidis – Working with several authors at once can be a little overwhelming but I enjoy it. They all have their own styles and ideas and it is nice to see a group working together to accomplish a common goal.

Liz – Do you have plans for any future releases in the ‘Lurking’ series?

Jaidis – There is another one that was scheduled, Lurking in the Woods, but it is on pause for right now. I’ve already received a couple of submissions for it so I may move forward with it if my schedule allows. I’m trying really hard this year to focus on my own writing since most of last year was dedicated to anthologies.

Liz – Are there plans for a new anthology series?

Jaidis – I’ve been wanting to release my own anthology for a long time now. I have it all planned out but just haven’t had the time to write it. I’ve also toyed with the idea of pitching another series idea to my publisher that I think could be fun. We’ll see what happens!

Liz – You’re also an advocate for supporting indie authors – where does this passion come from?

Jaidis – I remember how hard it was when I was first starting out. I hadn’t made a name for myself and nobody wanted to take a chance on someone they didn’t know. I think a lot of indie authors face similar hurdles, whether it is that they don’t know where to start or can’t find anyone willing to help them. Even with a publisher backing you it can be hard so I think it is important for authors to be there for each other and help if they can.

Liz – You’re the founder of ‘Juniper Grove Book Solutions’ – what led you to form the company, and what did you want to achieve? How would you like to see the company grow?

Jaidis – Back in 2010 I was working at a company that organized virtual books tours for authors. When that company closed, I still had the desire to help authors and that’s when JGBS was created.

I would love to see JGBS grow because I feel as though my team and I offer high quality services that gain books exposure while being affordable.

Liz – Tell us about the Juniper Grove Review Library.

Jaidis – The JGBS Review Library is a program I started to help authors gain reviews. They can submit their book for a small listing fee and then we advertise their book to readers and our team of reviewers. A reader can request a free ebook copy, which we send directly to their Kindle for extra security, in exchange for an honest review posted to sites like Amazon, Goodreads, etc.

Liz – Do you have any advice for those wanting to become a writer?

Jaidis – If you want to become a writer, work hard and make it happen. Don’t let your fears or insecurities prevent you from achieving your dreams. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may feel alone or like it is hopeless, but that’s just because you haven’t found the right support system.

Jaidis Shaw

Jaidis Shaw

Author

Jaidis Shaw currently resides in South Carolina with her husband and two beautiful daughters. With a passion for reading, Jaidis can always be found surrounded by books and dreaming of new stories. She enjoys challenging herself by writing in different genres and currently has several projects in the works.

Jaidis also owns and operates Juniper Grove Book Solutions, voted #1 Best Promotional Firm, Site, or Resource in the 2015 Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll.
One of her main goals in life is to encourage her daughters to let their imaginations run wild.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaidisshaw/

Website: http://junipergrove.net/

Newsletter: http://www.junipergrove.net/newsletter

JGBS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JuniperGroveBookSolutions/

JGBS Twitter: https://twitter.com/JGBookSolutions

JGBS Website: http://junipergrovebooksolutions.com/

Support Authors & Books Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/719861838110994/

JGBS Review Library Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JGBSReviewLibrary

Publications:

“The House on Juniper Lane” – featured in Lurking in the Shadows (2016)

“The Reluctant Seamstress” – featured in Lurking in the Deep (2015)

Destiny Awaits – published by CHBB Publishing (2014)

“Blind Justice” – featured in Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales (2012)

“The Tower” – featured in Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II (2011)

Destiny Awaits Book Awards:

Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist

“Solo Medalist” for Young Adult Romance in the 2016 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards

“Official Selection” for Young Adult Romance in the 2016 New Apple Annual Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing

Pin It on Pinterest