Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Interview with Tim Lees, author of Devil in the Wire

Title: Devil in the Wires
Author: Tim Lees
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Kindle

  "It's a perfect circle, Chris. The god receives his audience, the grid receives the power—and we light up Chicago."

 After the perilous retrieval of a long-dormant god from Iraq, Chris Copeland—professional god hunter and company troubleshooter—is about ready to quit his job. But his employers at the Registry have other plans…plans to build a power facility on the shores of Lake Michigan. Adam Shailer, a rising star at the Registry, thinks he can cage the god, drain its energy, and power the city. It's Chris's job to make sure nothing goes wrong. And at first, everything seems fine. Great, even. But when ecstatic devotees start leaving human sacrifices on the beach near the god-house, it quickly becomes clear that the god is not as contained as the Registry would have everyone believe. The devil's in the wires, and there's no turning back now.

To Purchase Devil in the Wires

amazon BN

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
My published writing. It may not be great, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and was told repeatedly not to bother with, or to keep as a hobby. “You want to be a writer? That’s like wanting to be Tom Cruise,” as someone once said to me. Well, no, it’s not. It’s like wanting to be a working actor. God knows, that’s difficult enough, but there are plenty of them around.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I think childhood is the most important thing in any writer’s life, perhaps even more so in writers of the fantastic. That’s when our emotional responses are formed, when our imaginations are at their most unfettered. My father was a great story-teller and that probably had some bearing on things, too.
When and why did you begin writing?
I learned to read, and immediately wanted to write books like the ones I read. The first book I read on my own – and willingly – was The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and I immediately started writing a sequel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
See above.
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
That depends on what you mean. If “being” a writer means earning a living as one, I still don’t know. I’ve produced some novels and short stories which are, I think, competently done, and which people have liked, so when I look at those, I think, yes, I’m a writer. Or I was when I wrote them. Whether I can do it again tomorrow is another matter, but I’ll keep trying.
What inspires you to write and why?
I often think, especially with novels, that the characters and situations already exist somewhere, and my job is to tease them out. So I’ll start with a few basic ideas, then think, “But what do they do next?” Sometimes I can see it, sometimes I can’t, and it takes a bit more effort. It’s more like archaeology than writing in that way.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I started off writing semi-autobiographical pieces in the style of Kerouac and Isherwood, and that long apprenticeship has probably influenced the way I approach genre fiction. I’ve published crime fiction, SF, fantasy and horror, and I like mixing things up a bit. The weird stuff seems to have proved popular, and as long as I can keep coming up with ideas, I’ll keep doing it.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Return to the Lost World, by Timothy C. Lees, age… what? 7? 8? See above.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
There’s an odd mixture of influences. On the one hand, as I said, semi-autobiographical writers like Isherwood, Kerouac and Bukowski, producing largely naturalistic works. On the other, genre fiction. Ballard and Aldiss were very influential, and Michael Moorcock remains a fascinating example of someone who could write potboilers, literary works and experimental pieces. I admire the professionalism of these writers, producing book after book. Some books are better than others, but then that’s also true of the “literary” writer who produces a book only every three or four years.
What do you consider the most challenging thing about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
With novels, it’s the length. You start off bubbling with ideas, but never, never enough to sustain the story all through. So you reach a point where you simply don’t know what will happen next. That can drag on for an awful long time, while you try this, try that, and eventually find something that fits.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
It taught me that I could handle the deadline (though not very well), and that I can get through the inevitable point where I don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I have been writing for years. I doubt I could stop. If you mean, do I hope to make a living from it, yes, of course I do. But you’ve probably heard the old joke: “What’s the difference between a writer and a pizza?” “A pizza feeds a family of four.”
Have you developed a specific writing style?
I have certain tics that recur. I suppose that’s a style.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
Occasionally, I get things right.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
“My genius,” he quipped, waving a large, swan’s quill pen. Actually, I don’t think I have a favorite quality. You get whatever you’re born with and whatever you develop through your life, and you have to work with those qualities. Some of it is immediately useful, some of it not so much. But it’s you, and you have to run with it.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I can be callous, insensitive and selfish. I don’t think I’m alone in this.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
Paul Newman said something to the effect that he’d always thought he was lucky, but then he realized that, the harder he worked, the luckier he got. Of course, he was lucky, to be born with looks, talent, and brains. But I think we can sometimes put ourselves in the way of luck. It won’t work every time, but it’s always worth the effort.

Tim Lees is a British author now living in Chicago. He is a regular contributor to Interzone, Black Static, and other titles. He is the author of the much praised novel, "Frankenstein's Prescription." See more of Tim Lees at http://timlees.wordpress.com/

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