Interview with Tim Cashmore

Published 2014-10-14.
What gets you through the day?
Breathing seems to be doing the trick, interspersed with drinking tea and eating cake!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was immersed so completely in the characters' world that I remember re-reading Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory numerous times at school. I remember being told off for not trying a new book, although to me, if a book is just as enjoyable on a second, third or 23rd read, it's clearly a fantastic work. Re-reading it as an adult a few years ago, I found it moved me even beyond the experience of reading it as a child. A truly magical work from a brilliantly creative mind.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I feel eBooks are the way forward. Smashwords seems to be the perfect opportunity for indie authors to express themselves without the worry of whether they can sell more than a set number of copies of their work. If someone is writing something they feel passionately about, then that passion transfers itself easily to a reader with the same passion and indie publishing seems the most effective way of enabling this process.
What do you read for pleasure?
I gained a degree in English literature nearly 20 years ago (that's a bit scary, actually) and after needing to read about three books a week for my courses, I can now read as slowly or quickly as I like. After reading many, many, many novels, this last year, I've become more interested in reading non-fiction for pleasure as well, which is usually relating to TV programmes or films that I enjoy, or actors that I admire.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Although some authors hate the revision stage, I think changing my text, doing whatever I can to improve it, is my favourite part as the process can take a good piece of work and help make it so much better.
What is your writing process?
Plotting is the most complicated part of it all, as I make so many changes during that process, changing the sex or the fate of characters, swapping people or situations around until things have a logical reason for happening. As soon as the plotting is done, it's just a case of breaking it down into smaller components, with a list of scenes and what needs to happen in each. I'm not sure I should admit it, but I tend to start with my favourite scenes and work around them to fill in the gaps!
What's the story behind your latest screenplay?
I've always felt I could trust my bosses and I began to imagine what employment would be like if they couldn't be trusted. The result is an outline for a screenplay about unscrupulous bosses and to what level the affected staff will go to get their revenge.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are so many authors I admire - JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith, Fay Weldon, Zoe Fairbairns, Margaret Atwood, Armistead Maupin, Bernice Rubens, Sylvia Plath, Kazuo Ishiguro and Dawn French to name just a few - different books for different moods.
How do you approach cover design?
My job used to be designing adverts, so I felt my experience of doing that should translate well to book cover design. The cover is effectively one of the best adverts for a book. For May Contain Nuts, I wanted bold, brash colours to stand out. I felt the photo of a gingerbread man perfectly echoed youth, but with a suggestive title I can appreciate and chuckle at as an adult. I also wanted a minimum of text, so it's easier to read what's there. Obviously, as a largely unknown writer, my name's smaller than everything else!
Describe your desk
After years of working in an office and knowing where everything was on my desk and in my drawers, things are still organised, but there are so many piles of papers - those to do with work, recipes, creative writing, etc, not to mention the chewing gum, telephone, CDs, tissues... I'm almost surprised there's room for a keyboard on here!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My dog's barking often inspires me to get out of bed. Beyond that, every day gives the opportunity to learn something, however small, which can enrich life, or at least make you laugh at its absurdity that little bit harder.
What's prompted your interest in cooking?
After years of only ever making lasagne and pavlova for guests, I decided to try cooking something new every few weeks. Some ten years later, I've now got a huge selection of favourite recipes to offer visitors.
What are your favourite foods?
Macaroni cheese is one of my favourites and raspberries - although not served together...
How has having a dog impacted on your life?
I very carefully considered if I could afford getting a dog, then researched which breeds of dogs get on best with cats. When I got my dog a year ago from a rescue centre, he was so nervous that he either hid under a tree at the bottom of the garden, or sat against the back door looking miserable if he was indoors. He'd had a VERY sheltered life and wasn't used to much human contact. It took him weeks to voluntarily leave the kitchen and when he did, if he saw me looking at him, he'd scuttle back in again. I even had to teach him how to climb stairs. A year later though, he's very much part of the family and other than barking at people he doesn't know (sorry!), he's quite well behaved, usually obedient and very loving. It's taken a lot of time and energy and patience to make him comfortable but it's been worth it as I'm now the owner of a really affectionate dog. So much so, he even responds to the phrase, 'Kissy-kissy!' and licks me on the nose.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.