It’s day 7 of the second 2011 Mystery We Write Blog Tour. We’re fifteen mystery authors on a virtual two-week tour of interviews, excerpts and of course, giveaways. (Rules may vary author to author. Details posted on our blogs.) About those giveaways - sixty (yes, 60!) free books are up for grabs, so let’s get started and talk writing!
My guest today is Timothy Hallinan. Timothy is the Edgar- and Macavity-nominated author of the traditionally-published Poke Rafferty Bangkok thrillers and the Junior Bender mysteries, which are ebook originals. He also wrote a series of
private eye novels in the 1990s. He lives in L.A. and Santa Monica Southeast Asia, and he is lucky enough to be married to Munyin Choy.
Anne– Welcome to my little corner of cyberspace, Timothy. Tell us something about yourself that you would normally only share with close friends.
Timothy- I'm a coward. I'm terrified of spiders, heights, pit bulls, algebra, knives, and physical confrontations. I think one of the reasons I write the kinds of books I write is to feel more courageous. Like most thriller writers, I've created a hero who's sort of like me—but a very idealized, Photoshopped me, the me I sometimes see in a really fine mirror when the lighting is exactly right and I'm having a good hair day and I've had a great night's sleep and my weight is down and my face is at precisely the right angle, and then I can say with total certainty, “Looking good.”
So my heroes aren't afraid of spiders. Other than that and all the other stuff, they're exactly like me.
Anne – LOL! When did you first realize you were destined to be an author?
Timothy- In fifth grade, I began to write stories. My family moved all the time—I'd lived in fourteen houses by the time I was eighteen—and at that age, every time you move you lose everything and have to start over. It might as well be reincarnation. I already knew that reading could support me through loneliness, but back in fifth grade, in
, I started to write a long, rambling story about a guy with a leaky little boat island-hopping in the Maryland South China Sea. Like “Route 66,” but with water. And he was solo because I was so lonely.
And in seventh grade I fell head over heels for my English teacher, Miss Reid, and I somehow found the courage to write her a poem. Bless her, she overlooked the obvious infatuation and praised the level of writing, and that was it. A writer I would be, but not until much, much later.
Anne - What activity (cause, charity, organization) consumes your time when you’re away from the keyboard?
Timothy - For a few years, I taught writing to ghetto kids of eleven or twelve, on the cusp of entering gangs, and it was very rewarding. The kids had bluster but no real self-confidence, and it was such a pleasure to see them glow with pride when they turned out a good paragraph, or even a whole story.
The smartest kid one year was named Eloy, and I knew he could write, but he kept saying he didn't have anything to write about. I argued with him, and he argued with me, and finally, I said, “Okay, just tell me everything that happened to you this morning.” And Eloy said, “You mean, before or after we found the baby in the Dumpster?” I said, “You have material, Eloy.
Lately, I've been doing charity through writing. I'm part of a collection called BANGKOK NOIR, half of the royalties for which go to support groups who work with the poorest kids in
Anne – Such a great cause. Kudos. Tell us about your most recent books.
Timothy - The fourth and latest Poke Rafferty Bangkok Thriller, THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, came out in August of 2010 and was nominated for both the Edgar and the Macavity, which means a lot to me, because it's a story I took very seriously, and it was extremely hard to write.
QUEEN was my “paper” book. My ebook for 2011 is LITTLE ELVISES, a comic mystery that's the second in a series featuring a burglar, Junior Bender, who works as a private eye for crooks. This very morning (I'm writing this on September 20) a review appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that begins, “The only problem with Little Elvises is that you'll laugh so hard the tears are apt to short out your eReader.”
This has been a good year for reviews: QUEEN won stars in PW, Kirkus, and Booklist, and LITTLE ELVISES has gotten raves from ebook reviewers. All in all, I think I'll keep writing.
Thanks, Anne, for the opportunity to run on at such length.
Anne – Are you kidding? I’m having so much fun it’s just zipped by. Congrats on the reviews, too. Where can readers reach you online
Anne – One last thing, tell us about your Mystery We Write Blog Tour giveaway.
Timothy - Leave a comment to win. At the end of the tour, I will draw five names. Four will get a signed copy of one of the Poke books and one, the grand prize winner will receive all four.
Anne – Wow! Now that’s a giveaway! Thanks so much, Timothy. Btw, I don’t think you’re a coward at all. As a friend once said, “What doesn’t kill us makes us writers.” I think that includes spiders and pit bulls and even algebra!
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AKA Update: I’m visiting M. M. Gornell today. Please drop by her blog, and leave a comment to win one of three e-copies of Frank, Incense and Muriel, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries. The winners will be announced December 9.
Tomorrow on Day 8 of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour M. M. Gornell will be my guest.
Comments are always appreciated and welcome, have a super day, and happy reading!
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