Friday, July 19, 2019

This week in The Loft: Author Tim Smith!

This week in The Loft, I welcome fellow eXtasy author Tim Smith! Tim is an award-winning, bestselling author of romantic mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. He is also a photographer, freelance writer, editor, and blogger. When Tim isn’t writing, he can often be found in The Florida Keys, doing research, parasailing, and seeking the perfect Mojito. 

Author Tim Smith

S:  Thanks so much for joining me today, Tim! I wish I could offer you a Mojito, but I'm afraid that's outside my skill set. You'll have to settle for coffee! 

Tell me, why did you become a writer?

T:  I discovered the wonderful world of literature when I was young, thanks to my mother, who was an avid reader. I loved losing myself in the adventures I read and thought I’d like to try my hand at it. I’ve always enjoyed creative writing and when I hit the middle-aged crazy phase of my life, I had this idea for a spy adventure. I challenged myself to either write the damn thing or stop talking about it. I wasn’t going to pursue publication until I showed it to a couple of friends and family members, who encouraged me.

S:  What attracted you to the romance genre? As you know, men are far and few between in our circle!

T:  I initially wrote a series of spy thrillers that contained a strong romantic element, but I didn’t consider myself to be a romance writer. I found that adding that kind of relationship between the hero and heroine made for a more interesting story. What really attracted me to it was when I attended a large book festival. I noticed that other authors were pulling in bigger crowds than I was, because they had written romances. After reading one of them, I thought it would be fun to write one told primarily from the man’s perspective. I also knew I could write something better than the one I had read.

S:  Do you write in other genres? 

T:  I tend to stay in my comfort zone of mysteries, thrillers, and light romantic comedy. Those are the types of books I read for my own enjoyment. I’ve read other romance genres, like paranormal, shape shifter, and western, but they didn’t really grab my interest. When vampire romance was the hot ticket, I read one and didn’t understand the appeal. I don’t try to cash in on the latest trend. For a while, it seemed like every author I knew jumped on the Fifty Shades bandwagon. Many of them are successful with that genre, but it isn’t my brand of scotch.  

S:  I give you credit for writing what you're comfortable with. I believe in sticking with what you know. Personally, I write in genres I enjoy, rather than what seems to be the bestselling ticket. I'll never get rich doing it, but I am content.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

T:  I enjoy developing the characters and watching them get to know each other, especially if there are any differences they need to overcome. It’s fun to explore a person’s emotions and thought process at that phase of a relationship. I like to keep things lighthearted and funny, and writing flirting scenes offers endless possibilities. Even in my adventure stories, I’m always looking for opportunities to drop in some laughs to ease the tension.

S:  (Smiles.) You and I have that in common. I inject levity to provide my readers with a break from the intense scenes. And some of my books do get intense!

I think how we write romance reflects our own romantic experience. Tell me about your worst date ever!

T:  I met someone through a friend and it appeared we had some things in common. We met for dinner and my date mentioned for the first time that she raised horses. Over the next hour, she talked about nothing else. My knowledge of anything equestrian is limited to win, place, or show at the track, so I was lost. When she finally finished educating me on the subject, she actually had the nerve to say “You haven’t said much.” My unspoken response was “Talk about something I can contribute to and I will!” 

S:  (Nods.) Nothing worse than thinking, "WTF am I doing here?" on a first date!

What would you like people to know about you?

T:  I like getting good reviews, and they help with sales, but they aren’t life or death for me. I say that because no one has ever said they bought one of my books because so-and-so gave it five stars. I don’t write for the critics. I write for the person in Parma, Ohio or Rugby, North Dakota who wants some escapism. I think most authors are loath to admit this, but we write to entertain. One of the nicest compliments I can receive is when someone says “I can’t wait to read your next one.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

S:  I'm with you there! I am actually a bit skeptical about the review process. I've read books that have 3,000 five-star reviews that I thought were complete trash. I am convinced that those reviews were written by bots, not readers!

If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose to write books?

T:  Definitely, but I would probably use a pseudonym that doesn’t identify me as a male author. It’s been very difficult at times getting taken seriously as a man who writes straight contemporary romance for a traditional publisher. There’s a prejudice attached to that with some readers and bloggers. People who have never read any of my books have assumed that being a man, I couldn’t possibly write about a believable relationship. It’s also gotten in the way when I’ve wanted to attend events like Rom-Cons. I was actually barred from one a few years ago because of my gender. 

S:  I suspect quite a few males use pen names for that very reason. However, we expect men to be able to deliver on romance, so it seems disingenuous to say they aren't capable of writing about it.

What's the best advice you have ever given?

T:  I tell wannabes to grow a thick skin when it comes to criticism. Not everyone will like what you produce, and unfortunately, some people can be cruel with their opinions. The same advice applies to editors. I have more than 20 books out, and my editor still finds mistakes. The only time I get upset is if it’s something I should have caught myself. 

S:  What's the best advice you have ever been given?

T:  When you introduce a character, even a minor one, always include a brief physical description to give the reader something to visualize.

S:  Great advice! I find I can't connect with characters if I can't see them in my mind.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

T:  There have been a couple. One was being the keynote speaker at the Indianapolis Book Festival several years ago. The other was when I organized a book signing tour in the Florida Keys, where most of my stories take place. I’ve always had a nice following down there. When I walked into one of the stores where I was scheduled to appear, I saw my books alongside those of some Florida authors whose work I admire. I thought “Smith, you have arrived!”  

S:   Wow, that must have been a terrific feeling!

Tim, thanks so much for joining me today! If you would like to learn more about Tim and his books, please visit--

Next week in The Loft:  Author Denise Wheatley!

1 comment:

  1. Seelie, thank you for having me as your guest. Your questions were very insightful and thorough.