Interview With Author Tim Slee

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My name is Tim Slee and writing fiction is my fifth career. I’ve been a journalist, social worker, spy (yes, really) and international globe trotting marketing executive. I write both contemporary fiction under the pen name Tim Slee and future fiction under the pen name FX Holden.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

At age 30 I fell out of the second floor window at a dance party, broke my left leg, my nose, two wrists and spent the next six months in and out of hospital. Lying in bed after one of my operations I realized there were a hell of a lot of things I hadn’t done yet, and writing a book was one of them.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I’m a voracious reader of the news and sites like NFReads. I quite often read a story and think, ‘yeah, but what if…’ and from that comes a new plot idea.

# How do you deal with creative block?

I have a file in the cloud with about a hundred book ideas. If I run dry on one, I start another. By the time I run dry on that one I’m usually ready to go back to the first.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Typos. 

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

I use an auction website where you put up your project brief and then talented artists from around the world bid for the job by submitting their ideas. It’s not expensive and allows me to tap into a world of creativity.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Accept, and learn.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I used to write in a vaccuum and then send my work around to publishers. Now, I get collaborators to help with every book. As soon as I have finished a few chapters of a book, I set up a beta reading team of different nationalities, backgrounds and specializations and they dive into it, giving feedback on characters, plot, pacing and of course, how it should end. Instead of one editor, I have a dozen. They keep me writing, because they don’t like waiting for the next chapter. 

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

Best, is winning prizes or awards. Worst, is a constant stream of rejections for a book you feel good about. Most surprising was learning how slow the world of traditional publishing moves. And how little of the work that is sent to them, they actually read. The fact they call the pile of unread manuscripts ‘the slush pile’ is so disheartening, and disrespectful.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

Reader, every time. Pulitzer prize winners can write for personal satisfaction, I’m trying to make a living, by giving the reader value for their hard earned dollar.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

I’m not Taylor Swift. 

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

I like genre switching. Write a contemporary crime plot and rewrite it set in a future universe. And gender switching. Take your protagonist and re-gender them, see what that does to the story.

# What are your plans for future books?

I’ve got a series (Future War) running nicely so I want to spin a few of the characters from that out into their own universes. I’ve got two contemporary novels doing the rounds with publishers, hoping that one of them gets a bite. I sold the film rights to one of my novels (Taking Tom Murray Home) and I’m writing a sequel timed to come out when the film is released.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I have two supernumerary mamillae. Whatever you are thinking about that now, you are wrong.