Interview with T.J. McKenna

What is your writing process?
First is the idea, they usually just hit me as funny thoughts or when two very different ideas or perspectives run into each other.

Writing itself tends to be a disorganized process with minimal outlining. That means I do a lot of revision but is also much more fun when elements of a book suddenly mesh in ways that I didn't see at first. So if there is something in one of my books where you say "I did not see that coming", it may be that I didn't either.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm an eclectic reader. I enjoy light but data driven non-fiction in areas as wide as finance, science and law (think books like "The Millionaire Next Door' or "The Invisible Gorilla".

In fiction I like spy novels, fantasy (The "Lord of the Rings" never goes out of style), Christian Speculative, and Dystopian.
Describe your desk
From high to low:
Kids pictures and birth announcements on top.
Complete chaos in the middle
My feet under it.
When did you first start writing?
I remember writing a short story about dinosaurs in my room when I was still learning how to write. I wrote it on a pocket notebook so there were probably about ten words per page.

It never made it out of copy editing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Just one?

It's funny that my first fiction book would be called "Puzzle Master" because what I really enjoy is bringing all the different pieces of a novel that are floating around in my head together, often in ways I didn't envision at first.

I enjoy the emotions of writing. If your goal as a writer is to put together a scene that will send tears down the cheeks of the reader, then it better put tears down your cheeks first.

Most of all I enjoy the prospect of bringing joy to someone else.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans? I have fans? Nobody told me I have fans.

If I someday have fans, they will mean that I managed to touch someone with words. That will mean everything.
What are you working on next?
Puzzle Master is a series so I'm working on the second and third books.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My computer. I'm getting old and my eyes match. You wouldn't believe the zoom I'm on right now...
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in central Maine where the snow is deep but when it melts the mud is deeper.

I loved cycling there and when I was a teen I would spend hours of solitude in the rolling countryside just pedaling and thinking. When you do that, you really learn how to get inside your own head. Sometimes that's good and sometimes it's bad but I think it's good for writing fiction.

You also learn to keep plowing through no matter the size of the hill or headwind because there is always a downhill and tailwind coming.
What is your favorite television quote?
From the Simpsons, Marge finds a typewriter where Homer has been working on a novel and says "What he's typing will be a window into his madness."
Published 2016-12-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Missing Pieces Puzzle Master Trilogy Book Three
Price: Free! Words: 98,140. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Christian » Mystery & detective
Cephas has traveled through time twice, but once again, time is running out. Armed with a new bio-toxin similar to the one that killed three billion people in the Final Holy War, The Corps is determined to wipe out anyone who refuses to accept their false utopia. To solve the puzzle, Cephas must find the missing pieces - which are scattered through his past, present, and future.
Master of None
Series: Puzzle Master Series. Price: Free! Words: 98,610. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Declaring himself a Christian after the Traveler's Initiative was easy for Cephas, but living as a Christian is another matter. It's not even clear if 'Four' is his liberator - or his captor. Even Martha seems ready to condemn him for his past life as The Cult Hunter. Not knowing who to trust, Cephas struggles to put his life in Christ's hands and follow Christ’s command to him - “Feed my sheep.”
Puzzle Master
Series: Puzzle Master Series. Price: Free! Words: 100,020. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Christian » Romance
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
In 2202 A.D. the world has risen from the ashes of “The Final Holy War” to create a seemingly perfect, Atheistic society. Eighteen year old “Cult Hunter” Cephas Paulson has spent his young life chasing the few remaining Christians but when he’s sent on a high-stakes mission to end Christianity once and for all he finds that Final Holy War wasn’t as final as it appeared.