Today, fellow Black Opal author, Timothy Desmond found his way into our Swamp. He even brought his Suspense novel, THE DOC (arriving soon), with him. (heh, he may need that doc if Eerie’s Free Range Zombie herd gets riled up again!).
When a dying friend and fellow Civil War reenactor asks California physician Hank Houston to find his daughter’s killer, Hank has no idea what problems his snooping will cause. The last thing he expected to uncover was a US murder squad being run by the DHS. But this domestic black ops unit is determined not to be exposed and, as Hank gets closer to the truth, he discovers just how far they will go to hide all their dirty little secrets.
Hank just wouldn’t seem to die—so this time they were going to make sure…
The hospital hallway was quiet, with the exception of the echo of a patient chart being tossed on a desk and crash cart draws being opened and closed. A night nurse checked the current supplies. The cop at the doorway watched as a well-dressed man approach Hank’s room.
“I’m Doctor Terry Graf. I’d like to check on Henry Houston
The cop motioned for him to go into the room.
Hank had just closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep again. He remained asleep as Terry entered the room and removed a syringe from his pocket. The sterile snap of breaking plastic did not disturb Hank, as Terry prepared to inject him. He and Hank had been friends at one time, but this was a necessity. Hank had to go. There could be no loose ends.
This method was so clean. Hank’s nervous system would just go out and, with that, everything would shut down. There would be no pain, just total lights out, like a switch.
Terry kept the syringe pointed up, but hidden from the door, as he picked up Hank’s IV line. He followed the line looking for the piggy-back injection site. But he did not find it. The line led back to a pump on a stand.
He looked at the top of Hank’s hand. Damn. I could inject into the line. No, the pressure increase there will set off the alarm on the pump. Will have to risk waking him and go right into the vein.
Terry saw a shadow move on the wall and turned his head toward the door. A nurse stood there, watching him.
Without much further ado, let’s just get into the nitty, gritty of Timothy’s psyche, shall we?
If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each?
- Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain – Did you ever meet California rancher and former Hannibal Missouri native Henry Clay Daulton, after your California years?
- Ernest Hemingway – aside from the book “Across the River and Into the Trees” why didn’t you write the World War Two novel that was planned?
- Lina Wertmuller, film director – Knowing the movie business as you do, have you remained as anti-capitalist as your characters?
- Queen Elizabeth II – What did you like the most about Dickie Mountbatten?
- Michael Chrichten _ Why did you leave Medicine?
- Diana Gabaldon – You’ve written so much about your process and sources, is there anything we don’t know?
—Whoo-eee, now that’s a dinner party, Timothy.
As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?
At 10 years old I wanted to build cars. Yes. I didn’t know about DeLorian’s problems. At 12 years I wanted to build an airplane – like Lindberg’s Ryan NX211. At 14 I wanted to be an architect, at 16 an artist, at 17 a sculptor, at 18 a writer.
If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?
They would probably say, “Dear Gawd, man, what the hell happened to you? You had it made in ’64, then ……. What? ……. a waste of a career.”
Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?
The first novel attempt was at age 34. Yes, it is stashed somewhere. The title was World War Four. It was a post apocalyptic story. I sent it around. To an L.A. group. Later the movie Red Dawn came out that had some similarities. I may have been ripped off. Too a Larry McMurtry book had a similar scene in opening. It proved to me that there is such a thing as “simultaneous invention.” Now, I would be very embarrassed for WW4 to be read.
—Just wait, everything cycles. You could take it out, brush it off, add a few zombies and re-titled it WW5.
Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys. Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting). Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape?
Always outlined and always had problems. Last one my editors helped.
–Outlines (shudders) Although they do have their uses, just don’t quote me on that.
Were you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?
Initially yes, a bit of a bloody mess. But, it was a huge learning thing. And, as all that interrupted the work on another manuscript that started as a “pantser,” I have problems with that too, but have a better idea how to solve it all.
Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.
Back in the 60’s we lived in the country away from city glare. The starry nights were often crystal clear. Around 1963, I began noticing a moving red light, in the air, north of my location. The silhouette of the mountain was very black under the stars. The red light moved back and forth, up and down, and hovered. I was estimating it was ten to twenty miles away. I tried to imagine if it was a vehicle on a far road. No, it was a UFO, and that was the first of several spooky sightings during a two year period. Coyotes barking in the distance didn’t help.
What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?
I know it is huge, and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but I can’t imagine writing “fantasy” type stories. Maybe everything we do in fiction is fantasy, but the Tolkien [spell?], romance, and others are good and great, it just isn’t me.
What is some of the best advice you were ever given?
Genres have rules.
–Probably THE best thing a new writer can hear.
What is the best advice you can share with others?
Try to be different. We all have favorite other authors and characters. Don’t copy.
Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?
I have a hard time writing about murder. It’s repulsive. Yet, on some level I thought I needed to understand that, not as a writer, but because some bad things happened to either my student’s, when I was teaching, or to family. Part of me found some answers, but there is still a part of me that “really doesn’t want to understand that level of evil.”
Timothy survived our first round of questioning, so now we put him under fire with our BULLET LIST…
- Blades, guns, fists or feet?
- Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?
- Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?
1. Jackson Pollock by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, 2. 9800 Savage Road by M.E. Harrigan, 3. Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
- Greatest one liner of all time?
“That’ll be the day.”
- Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?
- Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?
A 12 inch ceramic pink pig
Check it out, Timothy shared a pic of said office
- Favorite supernatural creature?
A childhood idea of a bearded God in my grandmother’s back yard.
She must have had a rocking’ backyard to draw that kind of crowd…
Much thanks to Timothy for taking the time to visit with us and bring his upcoming book, THE DOC, along for the ride.
Tim was raised in Madera, California. He attended, on scholarship, California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. Later, after graduating from California State University Fresno with a BA degree in Zoology, he earned his Teaching Credential. While writing since the college years, he taught biology, chemistry and physics for thirty-six years before retiring. He has written two novels, in 2005 a World War II flashback For Thou Art With Me and in 2010 the conspiracy thriller ebook version The Doc. He is married and lives in Fresno, California. He spends time painting and Civil War reenacting.
You can run Timothy down at the following locations: