R. Tim Morris
Hello Readers and Writers!
The author we are introducing you today is comfortable in many, many genres. From YA Fantasy to Humor writing, this author has a broad range of abilities. Having four novels to his name, his works have been well received and he believes, as he does, that authors can write from any point of view. His stories have strong characters in situations that force them to stay strong!
Introducing R. Tim Morris!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
RTM: Well, writing is certainly not my career, but I started writing for myself in the very early 2000's. I worked in the film/animation industry, and dabbled with screenplays before getting the idea in my head that I wanted to try writing a novel. I started and stopped the book multiple times before finally finishing it around 2009. Since then, I've written 4 more novels.
RL: What's your current work in progress?
RTM: I just completed the first draft for a 60k YA/Portal Fantasy/Dark Fairy Tale, called "The Lost Memories of Oceans." It's about a faerie who wakes up in a dark, turn of the century fishing village, where she has to figure out how to return to her home, or if she even wants to. There's faerie lore, witches, a sea serpent and a sentient ocean all at play. The book is a bit of a structural mess right now, but I've got it with some beta readers, and will hopefully get some positive feedback & helpful criticism.
RL: You write fiction in numerous genres. Which is your favorite genre to write?
RTM: Literary Fiction is definitely where my writing usually falls, though I like to slip other genres into my books, and I like to make each of my standalone novels very different from the one before. My books have included Mystery/Thriller, Contemporary, Humor, and Sci-Fi elements in them. And of course Dark Fantasy in this latest one.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in your genre?
RTM: My books are not easy reads. I enjoy being deceptive with my writing, where certain plot threads are red herrings which distract from the bigger picture. Little moments in my writing are often the moments' readers really need to pay attention to; they are the kind of clues that, upon a second read, turn into moments that make the reader go, "How did I NOT pick up on that the first time?" So my work demands a lot of dedication from the reader, something that is certainly a big ask in these times or mass media consumption. Themes and metaphors are big in my books, too.
RL: Which of your books is your favorite?
RTM: Story-wise, my second novel ("The Inevitable Fall of Tommy Mueller") is definitely the quietest of my books. At its core, it's the story of four friends who go through the ups and downs of life, love, and careers. But it's also my love letter to New York, a city that's always meant the world to me. This was the novel I wrote mostly for myself.
RL: How do you beat writer's block?
RTM: I'm still trying to figure that out! I'm pretty introspective about my writing, and I tend to think about the words a lot before actually writing them. I realize the best thing to do when I'm stuck is to JUST WRITE, but I do find that if I run the story through my head a lot, the answers will eventually come.
RL: In your novel "Molt" you write about a woman who is on the edge of 30 and finding change to be complicated. How was it to write a female main character in such a personal time of life?
RTM: The big theme in "Molt" is change, just like how a bird sheds its feathers and grows new ones. Isabelle is an ornithologist (ornithology being the study of birds, to keep with the theme) who has mostly avoided change her whole life. But certain events in the story force her to make changes (both big and small), and it's mostly the story of how this introverted person deals with them. I didn't have a problem writing her or finding her voice, and a lot of readers have told me they were surprised that I wrote a fairly believable female MC. I don't prescribe to the "I'm a white adult male, and as such I can only write adult white male MC's" theory. You can write from anyone's point-of-view, if you're serious about it and put the work into it.
RTM: How challenging is it to write humor?
RTM: My fourth novel ("To Be Honest") is tagged as Adult Humor. The main character, Chester K. Eddy, is oblivious, obnoxious, self-centered, and does not take himself too seriously. It was SO MUCH FUN getting into this guy's head. I wrote the book more as a series of vignettes, where Chester makes one terrible decision after another and digs himself into a deeper and deeper hole. But the book has just enough pathos that you end up kind of rooting for ol' Chestnuts. The humor in this book does cross some lines of political correctness, but it's all written in good fun.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
RTM: So when I finished my first novel ("Molt"), I immediately self-published though a company called iUniverse. I knew nothing of how the industry or how to go about querying, and honestly, I didn't have an interest in knowing. I was mostly just proud of myself and wanted a copy on my shelf so I could point at it and say, "I did this!" But when I started my second novel ("The Inevitable Fall of Tommy Mueller") it was with the intention of shopping it around traditionally. It never did find a home, and I eventually put it aside and began my third novel ("This Never Happened"). I found an indie publisher for the book and signed a contract and eventually saw my novel released in March 2017. But the publisher folded a mere three months later, which was pretty disappointing.
After a period of uncertainty, I got back to writing and ended up with my fourth novel ("To Be Honest"). I shopped this around, too, but very quickly lost the motivation to go through the motions of querying, and eventually decided to just self-publish all four of my books under a creator-owned imprint. This took about 4 months of formatting for print & ebooks, but I released all 4 books in March 2019. I combined this release with an increased Twitter presence, and though I've made some really great contacts in the writing community, my work is still fairly unknown but incredibly well-received amongst those who have found it.
Now I've completed my fifth novel ("The Lost Memories of Oceans") and I've currently got it out with a number of beta readers. My plan is to once again shop it traditionally, but if I can't find a home for it, I'll add it to my imprint of self-published titles. We'll see!
RL: What advice would you give to an author who is interested in writing for publication?
RTM: I hate the fact that most traditionally-published books are mostly safe, or follow current trends to the point where a lot of titles are virtually indistinguishable. And though I'd still love to see my books traditionally published, I refuse to fall in line with what's trendy, and I continue to write really unique stories that are not easily digested by most mainstream readers. So the best advice I can give is probably advice you've heard before: BE YOURSELF. Know what your voice is, and write what you WANT to write. Don't overly concern yourself with the size of your audience, immediate success, or accolades.
RL: What are your hobbies?
RTM: I'm an avid board gamer, and have an ever-growing collection of games, and try to have a weekly board game night with friends. I like biking and trail walks. And I'm a huge hockey fan.
RL: What are you reading now?
RTM: My reading lately has taken a big nose-dive, with working from home, two kids, and various writing projects on the go. But the last few books I've read that I've really enjoyed are:
"The House in the Dark of the Woods" by Laird Hunt
"All About the Benjamins" by Zev Good (a fellow indie author!)
"French Exit" by Patrick deWitt
RL: What can readers expect for you in the future?
While my latest book is out with beta readers, I'm currently working on a collection/anthology of indie author short stories, to be self-published under my own imprint. These are mostly indie authors I've discovered through the Twitter writing community, and their work has been really great to read. It won't be a very large collection, but it's certainly a matter of quality over quantity. I'm hoping for a summer 2020 release. Keep your eyes open for future details!
As for another novel, I've got 2 other stories that I'd started and stopped and might decide to continue with one of those. Or maybe it will be something entirely new. I really don't know just yet. But I'm not going to force anything.