Wednesday, June 28, 2006
AUTHOR INTRO: T.L. Hines
See Ya On The Net: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
TL Hines: I'm a Montana boy--raised here, went to school here, worked out of state a few years and decided I needed to be back in Montana. Not surprisingly, I suppose, I set my first novel in Montana (and my second one, for that matter). I've worked in advertising and marketing for more than 16 years, and also spent time as an editor of a trade magazine during that period, but I've dreamed of publishing fiction since I was 12 years old. Key trivia fact: as a teen, I was an undefeated 3-0 in air guitar competitions, in which I performed songs by ZZ Top.
As a writer, and a reader, I tend to love crime fiction and slipstream fiction--any work that depicts our real world, but throws in an element of the supernatural or fantastic. Why this is, I'm not sure. But I bet it has something to do with discovering Stephen King at a young age, and watching a lot of Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" as a young buck.
See Ya On The Net: Tell us about your current book?
HINES: WAKING LAZARUS is a supernatural thriller about a man who has died and
returned to life three times, becoming a cult celebrity in the process. To hide from his fame, he changes his name and hides in Red Lodge, a small Montana town. But when children in the area start disappearing, and when a mysterious stranger shows up on his doorstep, he begins to discover he has the secrets to catching the abductor--buried in the mysteries of his own deaths. For a taste of the story, people can read the first chapter at my website - http://www.tlhines.com/firstchap.html
See Ya On The Net: What aspect of God do you most hope readers will take away after reading your book?
HINES: The book explores the aspect of God I still find amazing: that He works in all our lives, even when we're indifferent or antagonistic toward him. I didn't become a Christian until age 27--I considered myself an atheist before then--and that was the thing that most struck me when I sat down and began to think about my own journey to faith. God had been at work, trying to push me toward Him at many different points; each time I refused, God was patient and gave me another opportunity farther down the path.
See Ya On The Net: What was the most profound lesson you learned while writing this novel?
HINES: Even though you write a book for an audience--for other people--you're also writing it for yourself. You're writing to get something important about yourself on the page, even if you don't know what it is at the time. That, in itself, is a profound lesson: to realize the act of writing itself is as much telling a story about yourself as it is telling a story about your characters.
See Ya On The Net: What do you do to improve your craft?
HINES: I think the single best way to improve your writing is to write. Plain and simple. Doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's writing. The second best way is to read. Read the genre you're passionate about, of course, but also read other genres to discover what makes stories work. So I write every day, and I read every day. I'm not a big fan of books, tapes or courses devoted to craft. I don't care much for method at all, because I don't believe there is a true method that works for everyone. We each have our own unique method that works best for each of us. It's up to us to discover that method.
See Ya On The Net: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
HINES: I like this question, and it's an easy one for me to answer. Any time someone discovers I'm a writer, he/she always says one of two things: 1) I've always wanted to write; or 2) Oooh, I have a great idea for a book. My answers are: 1) Then you should write; and 2) Then you should write. I wish non-writers would understand that I don't really need more ideas. I have plenty--more than I'll ever be able to write about, because not all of them develop into full, novel-length ideas. So if a non-writer has a great idea for a book, and she's really passionate about that idea, she's the best person to write about it. Make that leap from non-writer to writer. Tons of us do it every day.
See Ya On The Net: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?
HINES: I think the single most important thing a writer can do nowadays is have a web presence of some kind. It may be a web site, it may be a blog, it may be a Myspace page, but it should be something. Being on the web will make many, many contacts for you, and will help you learn so much about writing by putting you in touch with several different communities of writers. Not coincidentally, those contacts will also help you start building a network of people interested in reading your work. It's all good.
See Ya On The Net: What is a favorite book from your childhood?
HINES: It probably won't surprise many people to find out my favorite book from early childhood was "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. I also remember ordering a book called "How to Build Your Own Monster," but was bitterly disappointed when it ended up being comical and didn't REALLY tell you how to build a monster. When I was 12, I discovered an obscure book by a writer few people have ever heard of: "The Shining" by Stephen King. That book made me want to write.
See Ya On The Net: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
HINES: I'm reading an interesting ARC right now called "Shadows in the Mist"by a first-time novelist named Brian Moreland. It's an interesting mix of military thriller and supernatural thriller, and I'm quite enjoying it. Recently, I also put in a few late nights on Ariel Gore's "The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show" and George Pelacanos's "The Sweet Forever." Every book keeps me up reading it, I suppose--I always spend the last few hours of my day reading.
See Ya On The Net: What resources do you use on the net?
HINES: Any I can find. Really. I enjoy blogging--although I'm more of a once or twice a week guy. I envy people who have the energy to blog every day; I'm not that organized. I've started podcasting. I have my main web site, and a special web site for readers called the Other Side--where people can sign up as Volunteer Publicists for my book, in exchange for unique prizes such as a share of royalties or a role in the next book. And of course, the net is the first place I turn to for research or questions. Google early, google often. I spend a fair amount of time in writing communities such as Zoetrope studios (www.zoetrope.com), Absolute Write (www.absolutewrite.com), and Dave Long's faith*in*fiction community
See Ya On The Net: How can readers get in contact with you?
HINES: My web site is www.tlhines.com, which includes more than you'd every really want to know. All my contact information is there, ranging from email to Myspace and LiveJournal pages to IM contacts.