Interview with H.D. Timmons

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. Since the age of seven – at least. My creativity took me to art school, which led me to my career in graphic design, but I always liked writing stories. I guess my lack of technical expertise in sentence structure, punctuation and so on; not to mention the daunting task of being published kept me from pursuing writing. Now, later in life, the advent of self-publishing made it easy for me to write stories, put them out in the world, and not worry that I wasn’t technically proficient. I asked myself, “Why should I let the fear of not putting a comma in the correct place keep me from telling a story?” Checking for correct punctuation is what a future editor is for – right? Life’s too short to let anything stand in the way of a dream. So, when people refer to me as a writer I tell them that I like to think of myself as simply a story teller.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The short story series I’m writing now is about Tom Zombie, a virus-stricken ex-cop struggling for redemption from his past actions, while the world is in the throes by a zombie pandemic. The tagline I’ve used is: Adversity can create an unlikely hero.

I actually didn’t set out to write a zombie story, but the opening sentences that I used for the first installment, Zombie City, came to me while I was cutting the grass. At first, I didn't know what to do with it, but after kicking it around in my head for a few days I kept adding to it and it surprisingly led me in the zombie direction and it’s been pretty fun.

My goal with this series is to not make it a typical zombie gore fest, yet still have the elements that zombie fans would like. Each installment is designed to be a quick, fun read that hopefully keeps the reader wanting more. So far, there are a lot of loyal readers emailing me about how much they enjoy it. Many are in the UK.
How do you come up with story ideas?
Often, I'll hear something on the radio, a phrase, see a photo, have a dream or sometimes I will come up with a title idea or a sentence or scene and then figure out how to use it. I never go seeking out a story. I usually let inspiration strike me.
Do you have a writing process?
I wish I did. My life would be a whole lot easier. I've tried many tools and organizational methods over the years, but always found it hard to conform to any of them. Usually, I just write when the mood strikes. I write a story outline to flesh out my kernel of an idea, but it is always tentative. As I write, the story takes on a direction of its own and by the end, bears very little resemblance to the original outline.

I suffer greatly from writer's block, but I find doing lots of research seems to help motivate me and loosen the blocks. Also, keeping a small notebook handy to write down any nuggets that pop into my head is important for me.

I tend to write story scenes out of sequence as the ideas come to me, then I later find a way to stitch them all together. I used to write the scenes down on index cards, but now I use a wonderful software program called Scrivener to help me organize scenes.
Why do you write short stories rather than novels?
When I come up with a story, I simply write until the story is finished. I don’t aim for a certain word count and I try not to add too much fluff that people won’t care about. However, I do have two novels in the works. One promises to be a compelling series.
What types of stories do you like to read?
I must say that I am picky about what I read, but the range is wide. I cut my teeth on Sherlock Holmes, so I like to read a good mystery. A well told story of Americana like The Grapes of Wrath is wonderful. Thriller, suspense and supernatural stories (if they’re not too cheesy) are good page turners. I also like a good autobiography and quirky non-fiction (like Mary Roach’s stuff). For their writing style and storytelling, my top favorite authors are, Stephen King, Frank McCourt, Kurt Vonnegut and Dan Brown, to name a few. I also like to read new authors if the book jacket blurb grabs me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has enabled me to reach an instant audience that in the old days would have been near impossible for a first time indie author. Through the various distribution channels, I have been able to connect with readers all over the world. I cannot thank Smashwords enough for giving indie authors an opportunity to follow a dream.
Published 2016-09-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Zombie Survival - #5 in the Tom Zombie Series
Series: The Tale of Tom Zombie. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 23,780. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror
The world has been decimated by the living dead that were created by a government too arrogant to adequately contain them. The only thing Tom Dexter and the remainder of the living can do is try to survive. But, in a world overrun by zombies, there’s more than just zombies to fear.
Zombie Redemption - #4 in the Tom Zombie Series
Series: The Tale of Tom Zombie. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,860. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
For Tom Dexter, Iceland held a horrific truth about the zombie pandemic, but he also made an incredible discovery that fuels his determination to pursue his one last shot at redemption by getting back home to find his daughter and, if it's not too late, save mankind.
Conversations with Corpses
Price: Free! Words: 1,110. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
A free vignette for the loyal readers of the Tale of Tom Zombie eBook series.
Zombie Resurrection - #3 in the Tom Zombie Series
Series: The Tale of Tom Zombie, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,420. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Tom Dexter is determined to uncover how deeply the government is connected to the zombie epidemic, but faced with a global pandemic, is it too late for the truth make a difference?
Zombie Lies - #2 in the Tom Zombie Series
Series: The Tale of Tom Zombie, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,860. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
Tom Dexter discovers that he has committed a murder that he can't remember. He is even having trouble remembering things from his past. As he tries to put the puzzle pieces of his life back together, he becomes entangled in a military conspiracy surrounding the zombie epidemic outbreak.
The Time Traveler's Lament
Price: Free! Words: 2,000. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
For two decades Eric Montague has traveled back in time to the scene of his wife’s fatal accident. Even though he grieves for her constantly, he is willing to repeatedly relive the heartache of her death because it is the only way he can hold his wife again… if only for a moment. When a curious stranger appears Eric is soon faced with a new reality.
Zombie City - #1 in the Tom Zombie Series
Series: The Tale of Tom Zombie, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,110. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
“My name is Tom Dexter. Some call me Tom Zombie. I contracted a virus – the Zombie virus they call it now; an epidemic with a deadly strain that’s creating killer zombies. This damn virus cost me my career, my family, and it’s gonna take my life..."
The Hog Killin'
Price: Free! Words: 1,370. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
(3.00 from 1 review)
A Tennessee mountain family finds their tradition of a yearly hog killin’ upset by family tragedy.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,340. Language: English. Published: February 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(4.00 from 1 review)
When suspense author Rob Peters returns to a mountain cabin retreat for inspiration he accidentally hits a dog with his car. After being tormented by scratching and growling outside his cabin at night, and the feeling that something is stalking him by day, Rob is convinced that the dog has returned from the dead for vengeance. Is it just paranoia or is there truly something to fear?
The Dirt Eaters
Price: Free! Words: 4,640. Language: English. Published: January 17, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » African American fiction » General
(4.00 from 4 reviews)
Set in the 1960s of America's rural south, a young black woman is forced to reckon with her cultural eating disorder of eating dirt.
Stages of Invisibility
Price: Free! Words: 1,090. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
For anyone who has felt they were vanishing from existence.