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Beneath the Covers,Past
A Romance Column

An Interview with Tim Smith

Carol: Tell us something about yourself.

Tim: I’m the author of three mystery/thrillers, “Memories Die Last,” “Never Trust Your Dreams,” and the forthcoming “The Vendetta Factor.” I live in Dayton, Ohio where I work as a case manager for adults with disabilities, as well as occasional jobs as a freelance photographer.



Carol: What is the name of your current book?

Tim: My most recent book is “Never Trust Your Dreams,” which was released in 2004.


Carol: What is your current book about?

Tim: Former CIA agent Nick Seven finds his tranquil life in The Florida Keys disrupted when he’s used as an unwilling pawn in America’s war on terror. His quest to get out from under the CIA’s thumb and regain control of his life brings him in contact with a rogue agent with a personal agenda, an industrialist with ties to several terrorist organizations, and a mentally unstable killer.



Carol: List your other books.

Tim: My first book, “Memories Die Last,” was released in 2002, and I have a third book, “The Vendetta Factor,” pending release this year.


Carol: Tell us about your journey to publication.

Tim: After I finished my first book and seriously considered publication I began searching for a literary agent or a publisher who would take a chance on an unknown, with no success. I learned about PublishAmerica through an article on the publishing industry.


Carol: How long have you been writing?

Tim: I’ve been writing stories, reviews, articles and training materials since I was in high school, but didn’t tackle the novel format until about 6 years ago.


Carol: Why did you decide to write?

Tim: At first it was just to prove to myself that I could do it. I’d had the idea for what became my first book bouncing around in my head for years but didn’t take the time to write it, until one day I challenged myself to either do it or stop talking about it.


Carol: Who aspires you to write?

Tim: I think my mother has been my biggest source of inspiration, because she’s always encouraged me to do anything I get enjoyment from.


Carol: Who is your publisher?

Tim: All of my books are with PublishAmerica.


Carol: Are you happy and satisfied with your publisher?

Tim: Yes, overall I’ve been satisfied with PublishAmerica. Besides giving me the opportunity to become a published author, they’ve always delivered on what they promised and have been very helpful.


Carol: What do you think about self-publishing?

Tim: I think self-publishing provides a necessary outlet for a lot of authors to get their work published who might not otherwise have the opportunity.


Carol: Would you self-publish?

Tim: If I had a book that I felt strongly enough about even though a traditional publisher didn’t, I would self-publish. It’s funny, though, not all published authors feel the same way. I recently attended a book festival near Chicago where a panel of writers, most of whom were with “name” publishers, copped the attitude that self-publishing was basically reserved for underachievers who didn’t have what it took to get a six-figure deal from a large publishing house.


Carol: There are so many new writers publishing books. What do you think of this trend of writers?

Tim: Over the past few years I’ve met a lot of new writers, many of whom opted for self-publishing. They all had something to say with their writing, whether it was a fictional story, poetry or how they overcame an obstacle, and the majority of what I’ve read has been good. Do I sometimes think the market will become over-saturated? Maybe, but if the book is good, it will find an audience.


Carol: Who are your favorite authors?

Tim: I enjoy reading anything by Carl Hiaasen, James W. Hall, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming.


Carol: What is your favorite book?

Tim: It’s really tough for me to pick one as a favorite, but if you held a gun to my head I’d opt for “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler, the first novel to introduce the character of Phillip Marlowe.


Carol: What do you want to accomplish with your books?

Tim: I’d like the readers of my books to feel like they’ve had a nice diversion from the rigors of everyday life when they finish reading the story. Of course, having them look forward to reading another one of my books would also be a plus.


Carol: How long does it take you to write a novel?

Tim: I can usually hammer out a completed draft in about two or three months, but it may take me two or three years to self-edit.


Carol: What successes has your current book done for you?

Tim: Man, where do I begin? My first novel has won two awards to date (2004 All books Reviews Editor’s Choice Award and Best Mystery Novel of 2005 at, I get the opportunity to travel around the country for book festivals, I’m starting to be in demand to appear on author panels, and in June of this year I was a featured speaker at the third annual Indianapolis Book Festival.


Carol: What are some of the tools you use for marketing?

Tim: I do a lot of internet marketing. Besides my own website I regularly post on some online e-zines, and give radio interviews whenever I can. Business cards with my covers on them are also a constant presence in my pocket so I can hand them out whenever the subject of my books comes up.


Carol: What is your next book about?

Tim: “The Vendetta Factor” brings back Nick Seven, but this time he gets pulled into the middle of a turf war between two Mafia families, each fighting for control of the lucrative Miami, Florida market.


Carol: What is your website so readers can visit you?

Tim: Readers can visit to read excerpts from my books and see some of the photographs I’ve taken on my travels.


Carol: How can readers get in touch with you through email?

Tim: Either through the website, or at


Carol: What are some of your favorite websites for writers?

Tim: Besides the message boards at PublishAmerica, I regularly check out E-Books Café, Writer’s Gazette, Marguerite Press Promo, Authors Den and


Carol: Did you take any writing classes?

Tim: I took a few while in college.


Carol: What motivates you to write?

Tim: For me, writing is a great stress reliever after a busy day. The fact that most people seem to like what I’ve written is also motivating, pushing me to come up with something else they might enjoy reading.


Carol: How do you spend your writing time?

Tim: When I’m actively developing a story I’ll spend the first part of my writing time reviewing what I wrote the previous day for continuity. If the story is pretty far along I’ll review parts of it to see where I can make improvements.


Carol: What is your favorite genre of writing?

Tim: I have always gravitated towards the mystery/thriller genre, but lately I’ve been dabbling in what could best be described as the romance area with a new book I’m writing, mainly to see if I could do it.


Carol: What is your favorite voice to write in?

Tim: I like to write in second- and third-person, with a lot of internal reflection among the characters. I find that this allows me to tell the story from a variety of viewpoints.


Carol: Where do you see yourself with your writing in five years?

Tim: The daydreamer in me sees myself as a successful full-time writer with a new book coming out every year and a multi-picture movie deal. The practical side of me says “Don’t plan on quitting your day job!”


Carol: What advice would you give for aspiring authors?

Tim: Write about something you’re passionate about. Most importantly, though, is that if you have the dream of being a published author, get off your butt, do it and don’t stop working until you’ve realized your dream.

2006 Past Columns

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