The month of August at my blog is all about where writers write. During these next thirty-one days, I’ll be featuring those wonderful places where your favourite authors create their works of fiction (besides the usual blog posts). Today, I have Tim Smith in the interview chair. We’re discussing his special writing spot.
1. Why did you choose this particular writing spot to draft your novel?
Tim: The atmosphere. Like many of my stories, “The Big Fall” takes place in the Florida Keys. Since I don’t live there, I have to rely on vacation time to absorb the atmosphere and do research. Drafting the story while I’m there adds authenticity and kind of allows me to drop myself into the plot. It also gives me a chance to talk with the locals and hear some great stories.
2. Share a story (funny or serious) that occurred at your favourite writing spot.
Tim: Several years ago I did a book signing tour in the Keys to promote the release of one of my mystery/thrillers. I’ve developed a nice following down there, and an independent book store carried my books. They were one of the stops on the tour and when I walked in, I saw my books on the shelf next to Florida writers I admire, like James W. Hall and Tim Dorsey. I thought “Smith, you have arrived!”
3. Can you only write at this certain spot? Or is there another place that you like to write?
Tim: I do the majority of my writing at home in a spare bedroom I’ve converted into a home office. My desk is surrounded by posters from my favorite movies, some of the awards I’ve won, and artwork I found interesting. My desk shares space with a bookcase full of favorite books (mostly paperbacks), and a credenza with research materials and photos I’ve taken on my travels.
4. How about the atmosphere. Do you need certain lighting, perhaps music, or silence? Do you lock the door to keep out the kids? Share what goes on while you’re writing.
Tim: I find that playing music helps me get in the groove, and impacts whatever I’m writing. I like jazz, and will often play Count Basie or Buddy Rich to help set the mood. If I’m writing a romantic scene, having Sinatra on the stereo comes in handy. I don’t require total silence to focus on what I’m doing, and actually find it soothing to have music playing when I work.
Just when you think life can’t get much better, a crashing wave wipes out your sand castle. Two former spies learn the hard way that karma can be a bitch.
Blurb: Former spies Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens are taking a break from Key Largo to visit a casino owned by Nick’s friend, Rock Bianco. An unexpected, nasty encounter with one of Nick’s former lovers turns disastrous when she’s killed shortly afterward. The police and the girl’s wealthy father are convinced that Nick did it, despite the lack of hard evidence. The billionaire industrialist wages an online smear campaign to make Nick look guilty, including sordid details from his past career in the CIA. The stakes become more personal when the fallout impacts Felicia, testing their relationship. Nick fights back, but why is the man determined to hold him responsible for his daughter’s murder? Who really killed her, and why is their identity being shielded? Can Nick and Felicia resolve this crisis and reclaim their idyllic life in paradise?
Nick and Felicia walked hand in hand, barefoot along the water’s edge, the incoming tide washing over their feet. Nick wore an open box-cut shirt that allowed the gentle breeze to keep him cool. He glanced at Felicia’s hips swaying ever-so-sexily under the white mesh throw she wore over her string bikini.
They hadn’t said much about their fact-finding trip or the day’s earlier events. Nick was irritated about being the prime suspect in a crime he didn’t commit, and he knew Felicia was upset, too. When they returned to shore after dinner he had suggested the moonlight stroll as a distraction.
“So pretty and peaceful out here,” Felicia said. “I always liked walkin’ along the beach back home at night, listenin’ to the tides roll in.”
“Do you ever get homesick?”
“Once in a while, ‘specially around holidays and birthdays.”
“Any regrets about staying here instead of going back there?”
She stopped and looked up at him. “None. Any regrets about askin’ me to stay when that job was finished?”
Nick cupped her cheek with his palm and gazed into her soft eyes. “Not a one. Why would I have second thoughts about making you a part of my life?”
Felicia shrugged. “I thought maybe you had a pretty full agenda, and I wasn’t sure I’d fit into it.”
Nick leaned down and planted his lips on hers, giving her a gentle kiss. “Life was nothing before you came along. Just an endless parade of meaningless encounters.”
They looked out at the ocean. The lights of a cruise ship crossing on the horizon broke up the endless darkness. Seagulls pecked at seaweed that had washed ashore. Sounds of laughter from a nearby group who were clearly enjoying themselves drifted in.
“Since you brought it up,” Felicia said, “can I ask you somethin’?”
“What did I bring up?”
“Your life before we reconnected a few years ago.”
Nick felt his gut clench a bit. Revisiting his past wasn’t something he liked to indulge in very often, preferring to let sleeping ghosts lie. There were enough of them to occupy the world’s largest haunted house at Halloween. He had worked hard at putting that unpleasantness in a vault under double lock and key, with instructions not to open it. He also realized that Felicia was now an integral part of his life, he trusted her, and part of that trust involved candor, no matter how uncomfortable it was.
“This girl they think you killed.”
“What about her?”
“You tell me. Were you two very close?”
“How long did you date her?”
“A few months.”
Felicia looked at him. “Okay, Mister Tightlips. This is me you’re talkin’ to, not some board of inquiry where you stick to the facts and nothin’ but.”
Nick twirled a strand of her long hair that blew in the breeze. “I’d characterize my relationship with Kristine Overman as a one-night stand that turned into a runaway train heading for a fork in the tracks. Came a point where I had to decide whether to stay on board or jump off.”
Tim Smith is an award-winning bestselling author of romantic mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. His books featuring former spy Nick Seven have garnered several awards and international critical acclaim. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and photographer. He can often be found in the Florida Keys, doing research between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito.