Dusk 2My friend Timothy Stedman has published his first book, Dusk:Lessons By The Fireside. Today, I’m sharing an interview with Timothy, and providing details on your chance to win a copy of his book.

Before we get started with the interview, I’d like to share the summary of Dusk with you, so you’ll have  a bit of context:

It was an average Tuesday for N. C. Ellison, Neach, closing down the bar, but then came the attacks that changed everything. A simple mugging started it, but multiple attacks from different sources confirmed it. Neach has some atypical abilities. Join Neach during the first steps into his new world as he is forced to stay on the run from the authorities and a number of other unknown hunters while trying to understand what he has become. He will meet many others on this path, others who will help him, others who will hinder him, and others who claim to know him from some other life. But who will he trust, and how will his decisions ultimately influence the force that he can become. While learning about the height of his new skills, he must also face the horrible price that comes with such power. What path will he choose? Honor? Indifference? Immortality? That is a choice that Neach will have to make on his own.
And now, Timothy Stedman
  1. The acknowledgements say that the Dusk story was inspired while you were recovering from a TBI. That made me wonder if there was particular symbolism to Neach’s emotions. Am I reading too much into it?

As far as a particular symbolism to Neach’s emotions, I think you may be reading more into it.  At least as far as I intended but let’s be honest, the TBI made me realize how complex, and quite honestly screwy the brain is.  I would not doubt, at all, that some of his emotions were influenced subconsciously by what was going on with me.  Emotions aside, there was also a definite correlation between Neach’s introduction to his new world and my recovery.  Recovering from a TBI is a long process which involves learning to do some of the simplest things again, things most people (myself as well previously) take for granted.  It really is like learning who you are all over again and how to function with and around other people.  “Welcome back to puberty.  You loved it so much we are glad you came by for a second visit.”  I jest, although recovery is a difficult and involved process, I think the best part about it is that I’m still here to talk about it.  It could have been just a little bit worse.  So to return from my ramblings, although I don’t see Neach’s emotions as a conscious symbol of my recovery, his basic introduction to this new reality definitely is.


  1. Because I know you, I kept hearing your voice in my head as I read the book.  And maybe in my mind, Neach resembles you a bit.  Is it weird to have your friends reading something you’ve written?  Was it scary to hand it over for the first eyes to see and critique?

That’s funny, because you are not the first person to tell me that they heard my voice inside their head when reading.  It probably sounds like me because while basically all the characters are combinations of myself, people I know, and sometimes generic stereotypes of heroes and villains, all of the dialogue is still coming out of my head, Neach more than others. I think my biggest fear handing it off to the group of friends who read it first, was whether or not they would give me an honest critique because they were my friends.  I had to trust that no one was going to dance around to be polite, and as they all promised they would not, and we all met after everyone had read it and had a very positive, and extremely helpful and productive, book club meeting full of praise and problems with the story.  I did not change everything that was discussed, but tweaked a few things to make them clearer and outright added others to help the book as a whole.  As a (very new) author, my feelings are as such:  Some people will not like my book.  They may not like the genre, my writing style, or the story as a whole, but I can’t worry about that.  There are people who will enjoy those things as well, and I hope to entertain those folks with something I absolutely love doing.  I love making these things up, connecting all of these dots, and seeing others enjoy the fruits of my not-so-right head.


  1. Reading Dusk made me finally check out Gogol Bordello. Are you the type who listens to music while you write? Who do you prefer or does it depend on what you’re writing?

Until late in life, I never learned to play an instrument. (I still can’t play one decently… maybe one day.) Music, however, was always a huge part of my life, and I reference lots of the music I like when I am writing.  In fact, some of my favorite writers are brilliant poets/songwriters (Justin Sullivan of New Model Army and David McWane of Big D and the Kids Table), but in most cases, no, I don’t listen to music when I am writing, but it also doesn’t distract me.  I’ve gotten to a place where I can sit anywhere at home and write with few or no distracting sounds, or go to my neighborhood pub and sit at a corner table and write with lots of distracting sounds that I have no control over. (Speaking of the neighborhood pub, the chapter in my book to which you are referring to was inspired by the Midway Pub (even though the scene in the book does not take part in a bar.) One night while throwing darts, that particular song started and everyone on the dart-board side of the pub sang the first line very loudly, and we were all happily surprised when the other end of the pub loudly sang back the next line.  Lots of little things like that in my book come from real situations that I adapt for my book. They are just changed a bit to fit the story properly.)  Back to the original question, though, if I am listening to anything, it is probably of the punk/ska variety


  1. Is Thoughts and Draughts based on a real place?

Both Thoughts and Draughts and Rudies are not based on any one bar in particular but really a conglomeration of many different bars I have been in. A lot of Rudies would be based on the neighborhood pub I mentioned earlier, The Midway Pub in East Atlanta Village.


  1. What else are you working on, and when can we expect it?

Two completely different sides of the spectrum (sort of)  My favorite authors growing up were Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein and I have written (circa 20 years ago) a few children stories.  The problem there was that I cannot draw and they just sat around for a while.  However, in the past year I have been working with a friend and illustrator to get my first children’s book “The Great Miraculous Puddle Stomp” self-published as an e-book.  I’m looking at February or March depending on external conflicts.  I think children’s books are extremely important.  We need to gets kids reading and enjoying reading when they are young.


For those that have no need for children’s stories I am currently working on the second installment of “The Fires of Pi” series.  It’s hard to say when I will be finished as I am a high school teacher in real life, and that takes up some time.  I also have an internet radio show (again ska/punk) Friday nights from 8-9pm on eavradio.com.  Those two things coupled together with writing make up the triumvirate of my working/tasking life, and when you mix in friends and family time can be scarce.  However, the story is outlined and well under way.  I am getting better about scheduling time and making myself write and I would assume a year or so until the first run comes out to my reading group for criticism, then formatting, and finally publication.  I don’t want to set a specific date though, as things change and grow when the story continues, causing me to have to rethink some aspects of it.  I don’t want to have to rush things to fit a schedule, as I would rather have a solid story than a quick one.


  1. What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned about the writing and publishing process? What would you share with aspiring writers?

As I mentioned, I have been writing children’s stories for a long time, which stemmed from writing poetry, and I have taken various creative writing classes in both high school and college with mixed results.  I think the best advice I could give anyone was what I took from Mark Sheppard at Dragon Con.  While on a panel he basically said (and I am paraphrasing) if you have an idea, write it down.  No one will hear it or see it if you don’t.  Write it down.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but you will never know until you start.  It was after that panel that I decided to write a novel.  I always wanted to, but never had the patience or drive.  I’ve spoken to lots of my friends who also have mentioned interest in writing, but they don’t simply sit down and do it.  It is time consuming, it is difficult, and at times frustrating, but you simply need to stick to your guns.  Also, self-publishing is easier than it ever has been.  You just have to make sure you dot all of your ‘i’s and cross all of your ‘t’s (formatting is a pain; easy but a pain)


One thing I have personally learned from taking on such a large endeavor is that no matter where you thought your story was going to go, it changes as you write it.  I’m not really sure how many left turns “Dusk” took me on while writing it, but it was a lot.  Don’t be afraid to take those turns.  A few times, the turns led to a dead end and I even had to back up, delete a chunk of the story, pick a new direction, and continue on.  On other occasions the story took me in directions I hadn’t even considered which, in my opinion, were better that my original ideas.  I think that is part of what I love about writing: seeing unknown places where my own crazy stories lead me.  I just hope other people get as excited reading these twists and turns as I do writing them.


  1. Who do you like to read? Favorite genre? What’s in your to-read pile?

As I said, I will always have a love for Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, but as far as most of the books I read now?  Mostly fantasy or science fiction.  I enjoy the Dresden File books by Jim Butcher, as well as most of the hundreds of Star Wars books to this point (especially the Timothy Zahn books.)  I found a book with an interesting description in a thrift shop, bought and read “Monster”, and then bought most everything A Lee Martinez had written.  Another of my favorite authors is Christopher Moore.  Start with “Lamb” and then move on from there.  As far as my to-read pile, I don’t really have one.  I’m currently reading the latest in the Dresden Files series, but for the most part just read things that my friends and family recommend.


  1. Anything else you want to share with readers/potential readers?

If you are a potential reader, I hope that title is only temporary and that you soon become just a reader.  You can give me any feedback on my Facebook page (T. Stedman) I always enjoy hearing what readers think.  Just like any endeavor, constructive criticism is what makes me improve.

You can follow Timothy on Facebook here.

You can find Dusk here.

Leave a comment on this post, and you will be entered in a drawing for your own e-copy of Dusk.