Interview with Kyle Timmermeyer

How did you get your start as a writer?
I've been writing for about as long as I can remember, and even before that, I was always borrowing the coolest places, characters, weapons, costumes, and themes from my favorite movies, TV shows, books, video games, and comics, including Disney movies, Transformers, GI Joe, Ninja Turtles, the Chronicles of Narnia, Final Fantasy, and the Marvel and DC universes. I would imagine what would happen if all these interesting things were mashed up against each other.
When I was in about 8th grade, I realized that this "slashfic" approach was something of a universe unto itself. At that time, I was really into the Ronin Warriors anime, and I saw the same kind of "elemental" theme going on in Captain Planet, an earlier guilty pleasure of mine. So I decided to put my own elemental warriors into this universe and see what happened. And, just like that, I knew there was an epic novel (series) in there.  I ended up writing a hundred pages in a summer, and I kept going for over a decade.
Can you describe the source of your inspiration?
I feel I've discovered that writing LEGEND OF THE ELEMENTALS is one of the main purposes of my life, and that sense of purpose is my driving motivation. I could talk about many more of the little things I've seen and experienced that go into my book, but there's no better inspiration than really believing in what you're working on. And I believe that holds true for every kind of work, not just writing. A message that one might find in LEGEND OF THE ELEMENTALS is that everyone has a talent, a function, a place of best fit. It's been true for me, and that sort of idealism, that spirit of inspiration, is
something I want to share with the world.
Name some of your favorite authors.
My biggest literary influences include Terry Brooks, Brian Jacques, Lloyd Alexander, and Tolkien.
What one piece of art, be it music, book, film or picture, do you think people must experience before they die?
“Must” is a strong word, but, uh, Legend of the Elementals? No? Hmmm... I'll humbly suggest the Bible. Forget its controversial content and the fact that reading it informs understanding of the three great monotheisms. The Bible is the most widely recognized and read text in the world, containing the original source material for many archetypes in literature, art, film...
How did you approach the writing process itself?
I had written a bunch of short stories, all of them comic, some with my brother Steve's help, leading up to this. Bucketman, Wimp Tournament Fighters... Great stuff. We had a lot of fun on our old DOS machine and the loud dot-matrix printer with its line-feed paper... Oh, how times have changed. I had even tried my hand at a hundred-page comedy novella named after the main character, Stu Pidd. It was non-stop burp jokes. There were ninjas, too, I'm pretty sure. Quality stuff. Too bad that, in transitions between computers, this classic has been lost to the world!
I hadn't thought too much about trying my hand at a more serious novel. At first, once I realized I really had something, the whole idea was so new and exciting for my newly teenage self... the sheer fact that I was giving form to this awesome world in my head kept me going almost every day, pumping out pages. I wanted to make it truly epic, something to rival Lord of the Rings, and, once that 8th grade summer was over, I really talked it up to my new friends in high school. I had sold myself on the idea: go big or go home.
Somehow, my page count for Lord of the Rings was only 1,000 pages, and, with such an intimidating goal, simply having the ideas wasn't enough to get them on paper. The ideas have always come faster than the pages. I finally got over the idea that “more is better,” since Tolkien's compulsive focus on visual/physical detail packs up the word count and is, actually, something of a turn-off for me. But with the focus on the challenge, I was able to force myself back to the computer to put in the hours, and I set my goal of finishing by the time I completed high school. And I realized that I wanted to be an English major, that writing was my calling.
But I still hold that first summer of 100 original pages as about the most productive that my writing has ever been. I kept trying to replicate those months, and was able to convince myself I had accomplished it with super-focused editing, and the release of 2 books in 3 months when I first published on Amazon.
The closer I got to the end of high school, the more stressed out I got about my goal. And I slowly realized that forcing myself to write a book that, for all its serious moments, is intended to be a diversion... my stress would ultimately show on the pages. So I gradually let go of that strictness in my writing discipline, and I firmly believe that taking my time has worked to the series' benefit.
I have found that once I am able to force myself to set aside a few hours, sit down in front of the screen, and re-immerse myself, the writing still comes easily, and I end up having to tear myself away once something like “I really have to sleep,” comes up. And years went by like this. My four years in Japan went by, and I found myself in Korea, done with a second and, quickly, a third comprehensive draft of the entire series. And I realized how old I was getting, how different I was from my teenage self. I know teenage Kyle would love what I've got here, and I knew that I needed to get it published before the meddling of old Kyle messes it up too much. And so here I am, self-published.
As I indicated, the rest of the series is in late drafts. I consider myself as having completed, basically, the writing process. From here on out, I think it should be mostly an editing process, as determined by demand and the very little I know of marketing strategies...
What kind of research is involved in writing Legend of the Elementals?
One great, trite piece of writing advice is "Write what you know." It makes things easier once you realize that your previously-established expertise and your life experiences have been "research." For example, I could/can converse, read, and write (well, type) in Japanese at a translator level, and I lived in Japan for 4 years, so dropping a good bit of Japanese influence in the book gives it an edge that doesn't take much additional research. And I think that there's no shame in embracing the fact that one of the benefits of writing a book for the fantasy genre is that there's very little (objective, outside) research to be done on a world you're making up!
That said, one of my major pet peeves when I read fantasy is a lack of realism. And so I've found myself doing a lot of research in order to keep my book realistic, though that's not really work as much as it is a hobby. I read tons of news every day, doing my best to keep up with current, international events to inform realistic characters, situations, interactions, and reactions. I look at the history and present conditions of repressive regimes, for example, in order to portray a realistic dystopia in the Empire of Devidis. I've done my best to travel all over the world— Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Italy, Peru and my native US—mainly because I love international adventure, but also because I can experience things similar to what my characters might experience. Is it research? I guess so...Is it fun and interesting? Definitely yes.
How have your favorite books influenced your writing?
As far as the legend aspect, I devoured Greek and Roman myths when I was a kid, and Arthurian stories, too, so that was a big source of initial inspiration. I credit Dr. Seuss for my openness to the weird and wacky alternate universes.
My favorite series from my teenage years are The Chronicles of Prydain, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Redwall series. The fantasy influence is strong in my books. To give a specific example, the pirate vibe in Book 2 is almost totally due to Brian Jaques, while the changeable first-person storytelling style, from different perspectives of members on the same team comes directly from K.A. Applegate's Animorphs. I get nostalgic for Goosebumps and the My Teacher is a Monster series that I enjoyed as a younger teen, so the monsters in my books take at least some of the inspiration from there. Obviously, LOTR is a big influence, though it wasn't until high school that I finally read the books all the way through. Terry Brooks' earlier Shannara books are a more fun, more easily re-digestible read for me.
What are you trying to accomplish as a writer?
Personal fame doesn't hold any interest for me—more detriments than benefits—and even if I could be making enough money on sales of the book to retire, I don't see myself lazing about. So, the main goal right now is to increase readership. I am writing this novel series because I truly believe in it, that it has a lot to offer the world. That is a big reason why I've put BOOK 1: REINTRODUCTION online for free. I just want to inspire the world.
What are you working on next?
I'm always working on the next book in the series. Even though the raw writing process is over with, I'm constantly thinking about Legend of the Elementals, comparing it to other things I read, even conversations I hear, to tweak and tighten the wording.
What do you think will happen to you in the zombie apocalypse?
First off, a zombie apocalypse isn't something to fear, because when your greatest environmental hazard is also your only source of food AND reproduction... starvation, amplified by heat or cold will make it a short reign of terror. Any real zombie virus that addresses those issues is, at best, years away. That said, where I'd be is “screwed” because I don't (and likely won't) have any specialized combat or survival training. In my English-teaching line of work, I wouldn't count on meeting up with friendly experts before something unlucky happens to them or me. So please blow my head off if I get bit. Where I'd LIKE to be is somewhere fortified and disease-free, with my family and plenty of non-perishable supplies. If I also had a good computer and working internet connection, I think I'd be pretty happy.
Surprise me.
I'm a cyclops. I wear a fake left eye.
Published 2013-08-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Initial Adventures of Bucket-Man and His Ostensible Enemies
Price: Free! Words: 3,020. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Humor, Fiction » Children’s books » Comics & Graphic Novels / Superheroes
What Bucket-Man lacks in superpowers, he makes up for in having an overturned bucket for a helmet. With a mighty lack of common sense, he faces insane challenges from Ninja Janitor and Boring Man. And then come the *Spoiler Alert* plot twists and unlikely team-up! And these are just the first 4 of 19 stories available in the full compendium: The Adventures of Bucket-Man and His Ostensible Enemies!
The Adventures of Bucket-Man and His Ostensible Enemies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,650. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Comics & Graphic Novels / Superheroes, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Humor
What Bucket-Man lacks in superpowers, he makes up for in having an overturned bucket for a helmet. Bolstered by a lack of common sense, he faces insane challenges across 19 stories from the likes of Ninja Janitor, Boring Man, Nuclear Electromagnetic Gravity Man, Swamp Ass, and Burp Man. For all the quirkiness of comic book superheroes—light on the superheroics, heavy on the comedy—it's Bucket-Man!
Legend of the Elementals: The Complete Series
Series: Legend of the Elementals. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 377,880. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Get all 7 books, plus extra content, at a discount! Legend of the Elementals is an epic dystopian superhero fantasy series, wherein twisted wizard Devidis tricks four modern teens--Ryan, Erin, Kris and Jason--into helping him set off an apocalypse in Tokyo. To survive, they have to make the most of their freshly discovered control over the elements: wind, fire, water, and stone.
Legend of the Elementals, Book 3: Reform
Series: Legend of the Elementals, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 59,970. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Find your purpose. Take your chances. Save your kingdom. Legend of the Elementals continues!
Legend of the Elementals, Book 2: Release
Series: Legend of the Elementals, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 40,680. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Discover your talents. Embrace your destiny. Take charge.
Legend of the Elementals, Book 1: Reintroduction
Series: Legend of the Elementals, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 44,720. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Get tricked. Get trapped. Get trained. Get free? The legend begins!