Interview with Tim Clayton

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I studied Creative Writing at university when the idea of publishing online and words like 'indie' were not applicable. I set out for a career in teaching, which I love, and gave up on the idea of publishing as the industry got harder and harder to break. After reaching a level in teaching where I have satisfaction, I overcame my old-fashioned doubts about indie publishing and decided to set out on the adventure.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Going to places that I didn't plan to go to when I sat down to write. If the work is flowing well, things pop up that I didn't expect or intend but become intregal to the work.
What are you working on next?
A novel about my second love behind teaching: the murky world of professional wrestling. It is difficult to do since the movie The Wrestler was such a hit but I had the idea before and the tone will be different so I may give it a crack.
Who are your favorite authors?
Patrick O'Brian, Terry Pratchett, Sue Townsend, Bill Bryson, Bohumil Hrabal.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My kids. My job as a teacher. The chance to do something different every day and follow my own path.
What is your writing process?
My writing proces didn't work for a long time. A very long time. I would have an idea and just write like crazy without planning it out carefully. I would fit a hundred ideas in a maelstrom of activity and then run out of steam. I started and didn't finish about 6 books like that. It only works with short stories.

For the novel I had the idea and wrote a brief sketch. I then spent about a year just thinking about it on my daily cycle to work. I then wrote part one and waited another year for part two to be right. The final installment came about 6 months later. Fitting writing in to a busy professional and family life meant it worked for me that way and I had carefully thought out what I wanted to write so I didn't run dry after a bright start.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The novel I am publishing now is about a man who loses his wife and kids in an accident and how he fails to cope with the loss until he does something drastic and spectacular. It is about catharsis and coping but is an optimistic story.

I think most people with kids or loved ones can imagine that situation in their life. Whenever I think about losing a member of the family I cannot breathe. One day I had that thought and a novel came out of it.
How do you approach cover design?
Like I approach all things that I am not an expert in. I get an expert to do it for me. I told him about the book and what I wanted to achieve with the cover and let him do his job. I find it is best to know your own strengths.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember the first full novel I ever read. My Dad and I went to the library and I decided to pick from the adult racks for the first time when I was about 13. We had a system, we would say, for example, 15-7-9. That meant rack 15, shelf 7, book number 9. Whatever we picked was the book to read.

The first one I hit was called 'Escape From Kathmandu' by Kim Stanley Robinson and was a real adventure caper.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was when I was about 6 and we had a writing assignment at school. I got very excited about the idea I had for a guy who was shaving and saw a gun behind him in the mirror as some was breaking in to the house. It seemed very clever to me as a kid to have thought of that.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Cycling, working too much, making Lego with the kids. I like reading books to the children.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm not sure yet. We will see...
What do you read for pleasure?
Always. I speak fluent Polish but don't read in the language as it feels like a task and not a pleasure. Given the choice, I always choose something light and optimistic to keep me company on the tram.
Published 2013-10-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.