Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Doc: Tim Desmond

Tim Desmond was raised in Madera, California. He attended, on scholarship, California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. Later, after graduating from California State University Fresno with a BA degree in Zoology, he earned his Teaching Credential. While writing since the college years, he taught biology, chemistry and physics for thirty-six years before retiring. He has written two novels, in 2005 a World War II flashback For Thou Art With Me and in 2010 the conspiracy thriller ebook version The Doc. He is married and lives in Fresno, California. He spends time painting and Civil War reenacting.

How has your environment affected your writing?
TD – It has affected in every way. Most of my settings have been in rural California. It’s not that I haven’t lived in a larger city, which I did in college years, but I have included what I have learned from travels.

How many books have you written?
TD – Three. The first book length was an unpublished thing in 1983.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.  

The Doc –revised edition
The troubles of father and daughter Civil War reenactors, Matthew and Dana Sweet, would not have mattered to most people. However, California physician Henry “Hank” Houston cared. You will be immersed into the reenacting world and these troubles. From the yellow grain fields of the San Joaquin Valley to the granite monuments of the Washington, DC area, Hank uncovered what Dana Sweet found. Her lover DHS agent Jim Calder went missing, but not before giving her two encrypted flash drives. It was only weeks before that in the glass walled cubicle of the Intensive Care Unit, Matthew asked Hank to find answers about his daughter. Hank is not a private investigator or a cop.  But, as a pilot, past gun dealer, and a shooting sports enthusiast, he has his resources.  While Hank learned that his life is in danger by a domestic black ops unit that does not want to be exposed, by Dana’s knowledge of DHS and the information on the drives, he questions everything he ever knew.  He is changed, as he tried to be true to his friends.  

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
TD – Part of me is in all of them, but I don’t know if it is actually hidden. I would think as with most of us, trying to bring characters to life, we have to write some characters as completely different from ourselves.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?
TD – It was originally a screenplay I wrote in 1999. Though registered, it never sold. In 2005, I began to novelize it, adding back story and new scenes. That became the ebook only version with a previous publisher. This version for the first time in print needed more work. A lot had happened with the characters since 1999, which included 9/11, and Patriot Act, which I had not really addressed in the 2005 version.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?
TD – Both. Being in foreign cities, either in Europe or the Americas, is a special experience. A friend once told my wife, “Once you travel to Europe, you will never be the same.” It is inspirational, and we have been fortunate to travel to Germany, the UK twice, Mexico. But a special place I am using as a setting in a current new work is Florida and the Keys. That will be different from my usual California locations.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?
TD – One must learn to delete your own words, words that don’t work. I tend to ramble initially, and write in tangents. If that gets too long, it stops your story. Genres have rules. Keep to those rules. Use Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?
TD – I have manila folders and files of notes scratched on various scraps of paper. There are some computer files of ideas. Last couple years I’ve used SmartPhone memo pad app. But, once I lost everything there as I had to get the phone reformatted, and, well, you know.
We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

TD – It’s a tough business. With one novel printed in mid 2000s, I had set up my own events and while I was out there, I had sales. But, in that era I did not use online much. I had a website, but no traffic. I did hard sells by email, and currently that is what is being advised as opposed to pitching hard on social media. Blogging seems to be the online route way to go. So, on FB and Twitter I reference to my blog and author sites. A book in print gives you something in your hands to promote at your own events.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?
TD – The latest novel was started in November 2012, but was a story I had several buried outlines in a folder over several years. A frustrated physics teacher has a theory that he has been working on, and writes several papers and thesis type works, but he can’t get published. Some of his theory is what in the past was called meta-physics, now more referred to as “paranormal” things. In the academic world, these topics are not considered “serious” by real PhDs. My character also has troubles with his high school administration, his wife, an enemy colleague on campus, and eventually the police. This is the Florida setting I alluded to above.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? (please provide the buy link for easy reader accessibility)
TD – Yes, print and all ebook formats are available at:
Black Opal Books at:
All Romance: