Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Heath. He is the amazing author of Cherry Picking, The Last Prophet, and The Tablet, and has more books on the way! Read the interview below.
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I guess I’ve been writing stuff since I was at school (so, erm…. fifteen years plus…) Back then, I didn’t really know where the stories were going. About ten years ago the first real idea dropped into my head – title, characters, premise etc. That’s now how all my ideas come. So about that time I started writing during my lunch hour at work – just over 7 years ago, after moving to Russia, I suddenly found the urge to write regularly, the first draft flowing. I guess the rest is now history!
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I’m not so sure about a muse, but maybe my answer is the same for both of these. It’s my ideas that inspire me. Seeing these mini films in my head (I’m a visual thinker) I really want to do them justice by writing them into novels. Of course, probably making the film directly would be easiest, but maybe one day! So it’s certainly doing the idea justice that pushes me to keep writing.
Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into your novels? Is there a lot of research involved?
A: Yes, I would say over the years a lot of grunt work has gone into them, not only by myself, either! I have a great team of pros who help me get it from second draft to publication. I do research quite a bit, plus use experts I can ask questions to, usually giving them copies of my latest draft to read and feedback on.
Q: Where is the strangest place you have come up with an idea?
A: As they drop into my head (so my part is really just recognizing when it is an idea!) I have no great control over that. The idea for The Last Prophet came to me as I walked down the hallway of our new rental flat about a month after moving to Tallinn. Sometimes ideas come when I’m in bed – I think it’s those moments between sleep and awake when the mind is quite creative. So one time (for something I’ve not written, yet) I was a little unwell so went to bed to rest – until an idea came, iPad open and notes taken, now fully awake, no chance for the rest I’d needed.
Q: Tell me a little about your books Cherry Picking, The Last Prophet, and The Tablet. What were the original ideas behind them? Which was the hardest to write?
A: How do I not make this a very long answer! Amazon will give you the blurbs, so I don’t need to repeat that here. Cherry Picking, being the first, was the big adventure for me into becoming an author. There was no pressure, though total vulnerability in releasing it. It’s done well, and after a recent tweak in marketing, has been a regular in the top 20 in the US in the conspiracy thriller chart! It also once made #2 in the UK on the mystery chart as well as recently hitting #3 in the US.
The Last Prophet, therefore, had a little pressure – now I had a readership.
The Tablet combined what I felt was the best bits of both previous novels – most are say this is my best one yet, and with it just take 13 days for the first draft, was certainly my quickest one yet!
I can’t really reveal the original ideas behind them as these are what makes the stories readable, not knowing what the idea is until you come across it. I love books and films with depth, so write that way too.
Q: Are you working on any writing projects now? If so, what can you tell me about them?
A: Yes, I’ve always got two projects on the go as one time. Novel 4 (written in first draft form already and my first sequel) is called The Shadow Man, and it builds on events and a character, by the same name, that emerged from The Last Prophet novel. The draft is sitting on my book shelf next to me – it’s good to leave it several weeks/months and move on, so that the editing process can be a little more subjective.
I have today, in fact, started on my latest project. It’ll be a series of three novels coming under the series title of The Hunt, and book one is called The Prey. Picture The Hunger Games in the real world, with Russian oligarchs etc….lots of fun. I actually managed 6,650 words today, so if I keep that up, could rival The Tablet as the quickest one written! I’ve very excited about this series and hope to deliver something special. It’ll be the next three books I write, I think, potentially over the next two years, unless I really do write it in one month, and then maybe it’ll be less time.
So, watch this space!
Q: Which of your characters is most like you? In what ways?
A: I don’t know really, I didn’t (knowingly) write them with me in mind. You’d have to ask my wife, see if she can spot anyone!
Q: If you could have a brainstorming session with any author in the world (alive or dead), who would it be and why?
A: Oh, interesting question. Actually (I know he’s not exclusively a writer) but would love a session with JJ Abrams and see what came out of that!
Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career? What have you done to overcome it?
A: I guess just making sure I get on with actually writing. I plan well now (my whole year is planned 12 months in advance, with what I should be doing each day – I’m ahead of schedule at the moment, which is great).
As writing in a long term investment, it can be easy to get discouraged or distracted. I’m far from getting this one totally sorted, but have found extra motivation to really press through this year.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: Know that God loves you and that he’s helped me to write books that I’m sure you’ll all enjoy! ☺
Find Tim Online: