Friday, July 8, 2011

Dishing it up with Tim Ellis

Today I have the pleasure of dishing it up with Tim Ellis. Tim was born in the bowels of Hammersmith Hospital, London, on a dark and stormy night, grew up in Cheadle, Cheshire, and now lives in Essex with his wife and five Shitzus. In-between, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at eighteen and completed twenty-two years service, leaving in 1993 having achieved the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major). Since then he has worked in secondary education as a senior financial manager, in higher education as an associate lecturer/tutor at Lincoln and Anglia Ruskin Universities, and as a consultant for the National College of School Leadership. His final job, before retiring in 2009, was as Head and teacher of Behavioural Sciences (Psychology/Sociology) in a secondary school. He has a PhD and an MBA in Educational Management, and an MA in Education.

He has been learning the craft of writing fiction for four years, and is the author of ten novels including: Warrior – Path of Destiny and Scourge of the Steppe (Adult Historical Fiction charting the life of Genghis Khan); The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation (YA Science Fiction); Orc Quest: Prophecy (YA Fantasy); Solomon’s Key, Body 13, The Graves at Angel Brook, A Life for a Life, The Wages of Sin, and Jacob's Ladder (all Adult Crime Fiction); and a collection of short stories: Untended Treasures.

JET: Can you tell us about your latest book?

Tim: The Wages of Sin – The second in the Parish & Richards series, which was published mid-April, has been well received by readers. Usually, when people buy A Life for a Life, they also grab The Wages of Sin while they’re at it. I loved creating the characters of seasoned detective Jed Parish and new recruit Mary Richards and I know readers like them too. Parish is cynical, Richards is naïve and innocent, but not that naïve she doesn’t have the men around her dancing to her tune. When it comes to relationships though, she’s useless and this is further developed in the next book with devastating consequences. Hopefully, readers will see the development of these two characters in this second book and want more!

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

Tim: I love them. I read them, and watch them on TV and film, and I suppose we all want to write what we love to read and watch. Recent thrillers that grabbed me were: Steig Larsson’s trilogy and the Swedish films – both were brilliant – I loved Noomi Rapace as Salander she did a fantastic job; The Killing (which is coming back to BBC 4); Wallander (the books by Henning Mankel and the Swedish films); Spiral, Frost, Dalzeil & Pascoe, Case Histories – How long have you got?

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Tim: Social networking – I know, you’re surprised at that. Trouble is, I want to write 24/7 and it takes an effort to do anything else. Once I’m throwing myself about a bit, I enjoy it, but its guilty enjoyment because in the back of my mind I have books to write, characters to develop, people to kill!

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Tim: Publishing all my books and realizing people were reading and enjoying them. Receiving emails from ‘fans’ – Now that’s spooky having fans at my tender age!

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Tim: I don’t know about growing up! That was a long time ago before books were invented. More recently though: Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, Steig Larsson, Leon Uris, Tim Willocks, Carlos Ruiz Zafon – how long have we got?

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Tim: Forever! I got my first rejection at 16 years old for a book of poetry. Like most people, life got in the way, so I started writing four years ago with a view to writing full time in retirement, which is what I’m doing now. But… I often think what I could have achieved in the writing world if I’d started 40 years ago!

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Tim: I spent a year researching Genghis Khan when I could have been writing!

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Tim: Strangely enough, the one that hasn’t really taken off yet… Orc Quest: Prophecy. It was a lot of fun to write and I had some great reviews from beta readers, and it’s got some of the best characters I’ve created. I’m going to write the second in the series soon. If people like rooting for characters, there are lots to root for in this book. If you haven’t read it yet, put it on your bucket list!

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Tim: Even though I’ve written 11 books I consider myself a novice still. So, from one novice to another: Do it! Learn everything about the craft, but in the end you just have to do it – write that book – the readers will tell you in no uncertain terms whether you’re any good or not!

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Tim: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Tim: Steak – yum, yum with Tim’s world-famous crunchy coleslaw!

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Tim: Beach – I like the mountains, but lying on a beach reading is the next best thing to snorkeling in the coral reef at my age.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Tim: Rock ‘n’ Roll – I was brought up in the era of the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Tim: Digital – I write directly on computer now, and I very rarely print my books out. Digital is the future – save the trees!

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Tim: Neither. If there’s nothing decent on TV I’d rather write.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Tim: Coffee – I don’t mind tea, but coffee does it for me.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Tim: Both – I like lots of salt on my food (he says guiltily), but I like to follow it with chocolate (he whispers even more guiltily!)

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Tim: Both – I can go for a bestseller, but I have lots of back shelf finds as well.

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Tim: It ain’t gonna happen – maybe!

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Tim: I’m currently writing the third in the Parish & Richards series called The Flesh is Weak. I’m at 40,000 words and it should be released mid-August. What I can say is that it’s about murdered children, but that’s not all. Also, Parish begins the search for information about his parents, but gets something else instead. Richard’s poor choice of men and her counseling continue; two new detectives join the team temporarily, and one of Kowalski’s children goes missing. I also have a fourth in the series in mind called: The Shadow of Death. I have a YA Science Fiction novel at 30,000 words called The Timekeeper’s Apprentice that needs finishing, a third Quigg book called The Graves Beneath Eternity Wharf (one reader who emailed me begged me to write another Quigg book, so she’ll be pleased about that!), and the second in the Orc Quest series called The Last Human – I can’t wait to get on to that one!

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Tim Ellis and his work at the following places:

Tim’s website:

Orc Quest website:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Next week is a busy week here on my blog. On Manic Monday, I’ve got J.Carson Black, on Tuesday, I’ve got Katie Salinas and next Friday, I’ve got Pam Jennoff on tap.

Have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to swing in next week and help make my guests feel welcomed!

Until then,



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