Timothy C. Ward Interview
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I grew up in Iowa and Ohio, went to college to pursue my dream of being an English professor, was told that wasn’t a promising career outlook, so ended up in seminary. While there I fell back in love with writing and have been pursuing that in my spare time ever since. Podcasts helped instruct and inspire and I eventually started my own in AudioTim. That led to being the executive producer of Adventures in SciFi Publishing from 2013-2014, and I was recently nominated for a Hugo for Best Fancast.
My published fiction is a novel set in Hugh Howey’s world of Sand, called Scavenger: Evolution. It takes a blend of Dune’s setting and adds the thrills and discovery of Alien. I have it on sale in ebook and paperback and have hired David Robison of Wonderthings Studios to produce the audiobook, which should be available soon. I’ve also published short stories in Tales from Pennsylvania, an Amish Scifi shared world anthology, and upcoming anthologies, Masters of Time (July 13, preorders available now for $0.99) and Expendable Assets, a charity anthology with the Redshirts theme of expendable military units (release date tba). I am shooting for the hybrid approach of self publishing my Scavenger novels (originally serialized novellas). I have a novel submitted to a small press called Caroline, a story of a college girl who discovers magic in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss.
Where do you like to write?
I switch between my recliner and my standing desk. If the weather’s right, I take my laptop out to the trunk of my car and stand in the shade of my garage.
Is there anything you must have in order to write? For example, silence, whiskey, and a close shave.
I like to have at least half an hour and preferably my headphones and good tunes. Coffee, water, or Monster are my drinks of preference.
What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
The Shining was my first adult novel, which I read at like ten or eleven. I enjoyed horror throughout elementary school (books like Goosebumps and movies like The Stand). King and Dragonlance were major influences in my teen years. I enjoyed most of the classics I read in college, but I really enjoyed King and then science fiction like Orson Scott Card and Dune books. Modern authors like Hugh Howey, T.C. McCarthy, and James Smythe have really impressed me.
Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh really humbled me to what I’m willing to sacrifice for the woman I love. I’m in a daily battle to balance being a great husband and father (to my sixteen-month-old, Kai) with also writing in my spare time.
What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
Inspiration from authors I’ve interviewed on podcasts. I know it takes many books before you should expect to make a living, so I just put on my daily writing habit and try and enjoy the journey.
What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
Sell enough to make it a full-time job. There are too many hours a day required between writing, reading, research and marketing to do what I want to do in the hour or less I get each day.
Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
Keep writing. Don’t settle with mediocrity. Treat each piece as though I’m writing something that could win an award. Make sure there is an emotional reaction. Don’t be intimidated by editing another draft if I’m not confident.
What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
An editor should allow the author to shine where their unique skillset lies, but also have the courage to say where the story could be improved.
I’ve encountered some challenges. I’m weary of hiring new editors because the one thousand word samples do not give the author enough of an idea on whether he will be satisfied with the final product. I’ve spent over five thousand dollars this way. That’s money I can’t get back and I have little to show for my investment. I would rather not self-publish until I can find my ideal editor because of this. The problem is, if I don’t invest in a freelance editor, I have to submit to presses and wait to find one that likes my style and stories.
If you had a direct line to someone who loves your writing, what would you say?
Thank you. Please sign up for my newsletter so I can give you exclusive news and giveaways. I need a thousand people like you.
If you had a direct line to someone who hates your writing, what would you say?
That’s okay. I don’t try to please everyone. We can still be friends.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
There is no magic bullet to success. Some of what has worked for others won’t work for you. The only way you will find success is if you learn to write consistently and be patient.
What does your writing future hold for you?
More and more I’m thinking my next novel will be Scavenger Book Two. I am going to be in two anthologies this year, and I look forward to working with those people again.
How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
I stole the services of Shawn King from Ragnarok Publications. He does most of their covers, and I love the brand he’s created. I’m more than lucky to have had him do mine.
How often do you read? What genre?
Every day. With my busy schedule, I mostly listen to audiobooks. I love zombie and post-apocalyptic stories, as well as space opera if it isn’t too hard to remember characters—though I’m really liking The Dark Between the Stars and that has a vast cast of characters.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Tim. Best of luck in the future.
More on Timothy C. Ward and his work can be found at timothycward.com.