What book do you have on your shelf that you go to over and over for help on writing technique/ craft. Why do you find this one so helpful?
I reread passages of the masters when I feel I need help kick starting my own writing. My favorites include Hemingway’s short stories, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and almost anything by Henry James. I like the balance of Hemingway’s tight style with Tolstoy and James’s eye for detail and description.
When I was in 7th grade my English teacher, Mr. Perry Onion, handed out this thick paperback to the class and at first I groaned. The Hobbit? What in the world was a hobbit? It sounded dumb. The only books I’d read at that point had been about sports, and they had pictures, too. Mr. Onion introduced the book and read the beginning to us. He then told us to take it home and read the next couple of chapters. I read that and more. I couldn’t put it down. I decided right then and there I wanted to be Gandalf when I grew up. When I told Mr. Onion how much I liked The Hobbit, he mentioned there were three other books like it. My parents were shocked when I told them I wanted to read The Lord of the Rings, and they went right out and bought me the series. I read every word. Finding myself in Middle Earth surrounded by all these fantastical creatures not only made me want to read more, it made me want to become a writer.
What is the latest book you are reading? What drew you to purchase/order it (the subject, a friend recommended it, a gift, you met the author somewhere…. etc)
I often read more than one book at a time. Usually they’re very different in order to fit the mood I might be in. Currently I’m reading Krista Tippett’s Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. Tippett hosts the radio program On Being. Becoming Wise is an extension of the show’s spiritual and philosophical reflection. Intelligent writing and thought provoking. On the lighter side, I’m also reading The Archer Files by Ross Macdonald. Macdonald is a classic in the mystery field–as is his private investigator Lew Archer–and one of my favorites. I was given this collection of short stories for my birthday.
What cookbook is your favorite and why?
Any of Julia Child’s cookbooks. She was so passionate about food and cooking and never cheated a recipe. When asked during one of the many diet fads which diet she subscribed to, she quipped, “Red meat and gin.” You’ve got to love a woman like that.
What thing do you do (other than reading/writing) for enjoyment?
I’m a runner and it’s often while running that my stories sort themselves out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck or come to a fork in the road then gone for a run and come back hot, sweaty and excited because I’ve had a breakthrough. Running also gets me up out of the chair and away from the computer screen. I usually try to have a race scheduled, a goal in mind to help with training. This year I plan to run the Houston Half-Marathon for the fifth time. I’ve also run six marathons and a number of 25 and 30Ks. When I really want to get away from literature I watch sports, baseball and football being my guilty pleasures
What is your next book about?
Currently I’m balancing two projects. One is the sequel to my dystopian CliFi, The Wastelanders. The other relates to my mysteries. I’ve always wanted to write a prequel from the private investigator’s point of view. The story is set in Houston, 1964, which was a huge time of change for the city. C. J. McDaniels, my main character, is young, restless, and trying to find his place it the world. In many ways he is like his city. The times they are a changing, and so is he.
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A Whisper Of Rage
Tim Hemlin is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having studied with poets Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride. He has published in poetry journals, anthologies, and magazines–most notably in Ellery Queen. Currently he has six published novels, two short stories and is included in an anthology.
By day he is an educator; however after teaching ELA for 22 years he decided to put his master’s degree to work and is now a high school counselor. In addition, he is an avid marathoner, fly-fisherman, and outdoorsman. He lives just outside Houston, Texas with his wife Valerie, two dogs and a cantankerous cat.