Tim Flanagan is well known to many readers as the creator of “The Moon Stealers” series of books. Recently, however, he has been using his talents to put together a series of books aimed at helping newbie writers become versed with the writing world. These books entitled “From Feet To Fiction” have been taking the book world by storm. This interview with Tim was recorded live and shows the personality and talents of a bestseller whom you may want to learn from.
1. Night owl or early bird?
Neither really – I’m an every day kinda guy. I’m awake as soon as my alarm goes off in the morning. I don’t tend to linger or pretend that I didn’t hear the alarm. Once I’m awake I like to get going with the day. I hate feeling like I’ve wasted a day – there’s always so much to do. Sometimes, if I need to put in more time when I’m editing or finishing off a book, I need to stay up late to work on it – there’s an enormous sense of satisfaction when I do that, like progress has been made. But, generally, I have to make the most of every opportunity I get to write. Life is filled up with normal “life” stuff. I need to work my writing around my family.
2. Other creative outlets?
As well as writing, I like to read, but I guess that doesn’t really count – it’s still work related. I have a graphics tablet and would love to get more time to do artwork. I enjoy cooking – that’s creative and you get to eat it afterwards, what could be better! There’s one more thing – it’s a dirty secret, but you won’t tell anyone will you? I secretly enjoy building LEGO with my children and would love to go into a LEGO store and buy some of the really big sets for myself and enjoy placing each individual brick myself.
3. Things that make you want to go “EEEEEEK!”
I’m not a fan of spiders and I don’t really like going up ladders much either, but both of them I have to do to maintain my incredibly credibility within my family. I would never make an audible “eeeeek” sound, I’m far too macho for that! But inside I might shudder and secretly hope my wife might offer to take the spider outside.
4. Favorite books from childhood.
When I was a child I enjoyed reading the Famous Five and Nancy Drew books, but the ones I seemed to have a bit of an obsession about were the Agatha Christie books. They were reissued when I was young with some lovely nostalgic art deco covers which I really liked. I still have those books on the top shelf of my book case. The pages have gone slightly orange with age and they have a particular “rusty” smell, but I like picking one up every now and then. My favourite of Christie’s books was “And then there were none.” It’s a clever series of murders that creates paranoia and fear amongst the characters. And, when there is only one left who must surely be the murderer, it’s not!
5. Three favorite movies:
It’s a wonderful life – I always cry when I watch it and it makes me realise how you should always appreciate your life. It restores my faith in human beings.
Harry Potter films – not any particular one, but the entire series. I like the way the characters grow with each film and how JK Rowling progressed the overall story bit by bit.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy – again, all three films are masterpieces in imagination and vision.
6. Who do you message most on Facebook?
Nick Wale, PR guru and fountain of all trivial information!
The Written Word:
8. Favorite type of hero (Type A bad boy or Type B good guy) Examples. (Which would you rather live with?)
A good guy with flaws. They are far more interesting and would have something interesting to say.
9. What type of fiction heroine would you be?Jane Eyre or Lara Croft?
Interesting question for a guy to answer!? I prefer Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice – her wit and sharp responses during conversation are brilliant. She would be great to have round for dinner.
10. Favorite genre to read? (Is it what you write?)
I read a variety of genres, it depends how I feel at the time. The main two genres I’m currently enjoying are fantasy (George RR Martin) and historical crime (Philip Kerr and CJ Sansom). I have just read what I’ve written and I suppose these are the genres I write in – The Moon Stealer series is a sci-fi/fantasy series, whilst the Lawrence Pinkley Mysteries are crime (with a humorous edge!) My next series of books will also be fantasy but set in London in the present day.
11. What are you reading right now?
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. After a trip to the Harry Potter film studios in London a couple of months ago, I decided to reread the series from the beginning and I’m really enjoying them. There is so much more information in them than couldn’t possibly be shown in the films.
12. Paperback or e-book?
On the whole I always read paperbacks. But, if I’m reading something that is educational or informative, I generally download the e-book to my android and read it during lunch breaks or whenever I have 5 minutes. E-books are so convenient and I must admit that I’m amazed by them. They are definitely the way forward.
13. Favorite books you can read over and over.
The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox – my all-time favourite.
A Writer’s Life:
14. OCD plotter or free range pantser?
Bit of both. I have an overall idea of my story but it always changes as I go along. Sometimes, whilst researching something, I might come across something that would be a crime to omit but it sometimes takes it in a totally different direction. I know what my end goal is, but not always how I’m going to get there. But, after examining the structure of other books, I have decided to try planning my next series of books to see if it works better. With that in mind I have started writing down notes and a more detailed plot, even though I’m desperate to start writing! I’ve told myself not to start until I have thought of all of the aspects and plots for all three books, but I’m not sure I will be able to survive – I might have to start writing soon.
15. Which was easier to get, agent or editor?
I don’t have an agent, so my answer would be an editor.
16. Do you have a set writing schedule?
I have a “real world” job so I have to fit my writing around that. I’m lucky that I recently reduced the number of days I work to just 3.5 days a week, so I get 1.5 days to sit in peace and quiet at home when the kids are at school and get some writing done. When they’re at home and there’s more noise around, I tend to sort out other aspects of writing like keeping up to date with social media, emails etc. There’s always something to do. I like to get two books a year out, that way readers will never have too long to wait until the next one. When I’m focussed I can write pretty quick.
17. Solo muse or critique partner(s)?
I don’t write for anyone in particular but my son is always a great sounding board for ideas. When I’m driving him to school I ask him what he thinks about a particular situation or the progress of a story. He is honest, but if he’s trying to be tactful, I can tell by the tone of his voice what his true feelings are about things. As my general audience are teens and young adults, it’s important for me to know what that age group likes to read.
18. Biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how you overcome it.
Time. I would love to have more time to write but life gets in the way sometimes. I don’t begrudge all the other things, because your brain needs time to switch off or focus on something else. And, there are always bills to be paid, so until my books bring enough income to cover the bills, I have to mix the two. I don’t suffer from writers block. As soon as I sit down at the computer I can pick up where I left immediately.
19. What’s on your desk?
Apart from the usual things – laptop, mouse and printer, there is also my notepad and pen, The Sheep of Destiny key fob that a friend gave me, a picture of Charles Darwin, an assortment of photos of the children and items they have made, a paper mache heart, a stone with some stickers on, my name written by a Tibetan Monk, a silver nugget with the word love written in Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Oh yes – a pair of fingerless red gloves – it gets cold typing in the winter sometimes!
20. When can we get your next book and what’s it all about?
The Moon Stealer series is getting relaunched later in the summer – it is having some amazing artwork done for the front covers and will contain maps as well. At the same time an omnibus edition will also be released containing all four books.
At the end of the year the second Lawrence Pinkley mystery will be available – The Mystery of Van Gogh’s missing Heart. I’ve finished writing it, so it’s now with the illustrator for him to do his magic. There will also be a collection of short stories featuring Lawrence Pinkley coming out around the same time – they have also been written.
The next project will be the first in a trilogy about Ninjas in London. Should be great fun!