Meet Tom Tinney. Tom is a Biker (The v-twin powered kind...not a fan of peddling) that happens to enjoy writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yes, the world's first Biker-Nerd.
In the past, he edited and contributed to Motorcycle Magazines, Blogs and short story sites about the Biker lifestyle. He also covered events, interviewed famous custom bike-builders and artists, as well as wrote/edited hundreds of articles.
When he was encouraged by "fans" to write novels, he did...just not the ones they thought he would. His favorite books are written by authors like Jim Butcher and Frank Herbert, Modessit and Feist, Asimov and Gibson, Weber and Jordan. And he decided to write what he likes to read, so he went with his second great love for subject matter (SciFi/Fantasy), instead of his first (motorcycles/biker lifestyle).
He has numerous projects in the works, including more parts to his three SciFi series "Fabric of the Universe" (Space Opera Thriller), "The Maestru Series" (Alien contacts, galactic Empire, Vampires) written with a son he has never met, and his latest WIP "ManaTech: Mages" (FantaSci and Alternate History).
He currently reside in Wisconsin (which sucks 6 months out of the year for riding) with his wife and dogs and is known to frequently say: “Ride safe, Ride often.”
His latest book is Blood of Invidia, a tale of aliens, vampires and werewolves, but not the cute and sparkly brands you're used to. It's time for you to run (and your little dog too)!
I was able to get Tom to answer a few questions for this blog post. Check out what he had to say.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me, but once I’m fired up, I go until the point of exhaustion. When the ideas get flowing, the words get typed and the plot arcs become living things, I’m in the zone. Proof would be when I wrote my first 185,000 page novel in 6 weeks. ENERGY! Of course, it took a year to straighten out the editing mess, but now I don’t include the “Mess” as I write. I found my “author’s voice” within that energy matrix. I also limit the distractions so the energy of writing and imagination doesn’t get sapped away with interruptions or minutia. That can be difficult for some writers, but my Spousal Unit works 3rd shift, so I have a lot of time to write without interruption.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I did. Now I don’t really care what they say, as long as I get a few. Good or bad. They’re an opinion. And everybody has one...just like…well, not going to go there. Too many reviews are just trolled up diatribes to spout the reviewer’s personal agenda. On Amazon, if it’s not a verified purchase review, I skip it anyway.
Too many people didn’t like politics or a novel that challenges to their specific sacred cows. Or they were offended by something the character said or didn’t say or didn’t say the right “PC” way. This is the generation that refuses to read the classics because they feel their safe place is violated by raw historical language and reality. Or because the authors personal views are different, even though those views are not factors in the work itself. Troll city central.
So, no, I don’t really care what is written in a review, just that someone took the time to write one and it may or may not appeal to a potential fan. A review is not going to make me crack the book open, re-write it or change the direction of a series in order to make somebody feel more comfortable with the subject, plot or character.
A Self-Published Author feels the sting a little more. We want to live and die by the review. It is our one direct conduit to the person judging our work. We take them WAY to personal. I had to move past that and a lot of new authors need to do that as well.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Tough to answer. First book took about a year total (mostly re-works of editing issues). 2nd book took 1.5 years, but I wrote that with my Son as co-author, so there were dry spells as we each worked our areas. My third book has about 8 months of writing in it with another couple before I polish it off. I also have two or three prjects going at any given time, so that factors into the actual writing time vs. idle time. The development, planning and evolution of my writing process is always a work in progress, but my new stuff is very sharp. I love the old stuff, too. It’s raw and unrefined. I guess I traded speed for depth and immersion. The exciting, Beta read, re-writes, cover, formatting and actual publishing can take 2 to 6 months depending on the feedback. (Psssst. Beta readers MUCH more important than most people realize. And I use readers, not authors, for the best feedback,. The downside is that getting timely feedback is like herding cats)).
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I write SciFi and Fantasy, as well as thrillers/detective noir. I prowl the dark recess of Wiki and the internet looking for factoids, historical references, how things work and theories. The common thread is that if the NSA reads an Authors browsing history…the author is going to jail on suspicion of EVERYTHING!
I already have a strong engineering /technical background, so I plan and start the stories, then let the story progression dictate my research needs as I write. Since most of my writing doesn’t rely on a specific theory or technology as the main plot mechanism, the research is to support my story rather than drive it. And now we’ll avoid the Hard SciFi vs True SciFi vs Fantasy SciFi argument that is another waste of time in the Facebook author groups.
How has your writing progressed or changed as you write more books?
My plot arcs were solid from the beginning, as was the tech descriptions. My worldbuilding was good and has gotten better. The writing aspect that has come the farthest is dialogue. My dialogue is great now. The interactions between the characters are natural and true to the novel’s needs. I wrote a blog recently on how I got from point “A” (wooden speech written the way I thought it should sound in my head) to point “B” (Natural, fluid, entertaining and compelling). One of the tricks was to migrate my WIP into an “E-Pub” format and “Listen” to my writing played through a text to speech program. Believe me, when a wooden computer voice reads wooden dialogue…you’ll know it. BUT when the same program reads dialogue and writing that is smooth, it’s easy to listen to. It also REALLY lets me identify writing mistakes with punctuation, any missed words and wavering pace.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Getting caught up in the Facebook/Goodreads writing groups. 99% of them are repetitive, distracting and full of folks needing outside approval for their self-esteem issues. They seem to focus around what kind of music people listen to while writing (2nd dumbest question asked…right behind “Should I write in the ”X” person or “Y” person viewpoint?”) and other drivel that has nothing to do with improving people as writers or helping new writers produce publishable works. It’s chaff. There are thousands of folks in those groups ready to give advice, tear you down and misdirect your efforts.
Want to know the secret to succeeding in those groups? Tune them out and just write. Write the story YOU’D enjoy reading. Stop worrying about all the mechanics/rules and seeking approval via their input. Want to know another secret? You’re never going to write something that makes another author happy because it’ll never be like they would have written it…and if it is, they’ll dislike it for being too much like them.
Are you writing for other authors approval? No.
Are you writing to become the standard for a study in a college literature course? NO.
Are you writing for to excite the reader, take them into your universe and make fans? I like this third choice.
So, just write.
And not in the voice you THINK it should be (or the current flavor of the month portrays), but in the voice the story tells you. YOUR voice. You’ll get better. Do tennis players get better listening to the advice of other “casual” players or do they get better actually playing tennis against BETTER players? Get in the game.