Friday, August 19, 2011

Why a reader calls my work “Dark Fiction”

Each week, I have attempted to hone my efforts to reach readers in a way that will matter to you and will also give you a glimpse inside my life and heart. As I have evolved this blog and my messages here, I keep coming back to “What would I want to read?” and “What would I want to know if I were you?”
Finally, the answer has occurred to me. A reviewer of my afterlife novel Under-Heaven referred to my work as “dark fiction.” Up until I read that review, I had always thought of myself as a positive writer with love and hope at the center of my fiction…but I now believe that reviewer was absolutely correct. By now, you all know that I had a pretty horrible childhood.  For me, there aren’t a lot of cheerful memories, and dredging up what few I have is like revisiting a graveyard. I was a somber kid and my childhood was something I survived not something I enjoyed. I don’t blame my parents. They loved all six of us, their children, but they themselves came from dysfunctional homes. They were no more qualified to raise six children than I am to perform brain surgery. My parents did their best but their best was a disaster.
So that’s where the darkness in my fiction comes from. For the first fifteen years of my life, I wanted nothing so much as to curl up into a tiny ball and disappear. Of course I have no choice but to mine those dark emotions. How could I not? BUT I refuse to write a novel with an unhappy ending.
Fiction has to be better than life…or why bother!
I will, however, drag your emotions through the mud. I will make you cry and scream and plead for the characters that I will make you love?  I know sadness and I lived hopelessness every day. I doubt any child has ever prayed harder or longer for the world to somehow get better. Tears streak my cheeks as I write these words, a statement which I know many people find hard to believe. I’m an ex-bodybuilder and a guys’ guy. You’d more expect me to punch something than cry. But when you come limping from the shadows of a difficult past, the scars never really go away. That hurt and pain stays with you…always.
John Locke told me to write a blog that will give you the essence of my writing. This is it. If you read my work, you will care about my characters. You will cry a lot. But by the end of each and every story, I will have you smiling and happy that you are alive. My characters win…but they earn it.
I hope I’ve earned your readership.
Buy my books. It will be the best 99 cents you’ve ever spent.

The Santa Shop is Christmas seen through the lens of suicide, a quick, simple and emotional story that will have you questioning everything from homelessness to charity:

Under-Heaven is the best “dark fiction” book I’ve written so far. If you want a complex and powerful book, try this one.  And if you see this ending coming, I’ll owe you dinner and a new Cadillac:


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  2. Wow...what a powerful post. "when you come limping from the shadows of a difficult past, the scars never really go away"...Chills and stuff.

  3. I found John Locke's book helpful too, Tim. I can tell you took his advice to heart. This is a very thoughtful, thought-provoking post.

  4. Thanks, KK, Merideth. I really appreciate the comments. I also just joined a certain blog with no blogging in it ;-)

  5. That's a wonderful post, Tim. Life's just not a level playing field is it, but the people I really admire in life are not those born with intelligence into supportive backgrounds (not to say there aren't many of those I like and love) but those who make it good despite the odds. Good on you, I wish you all the best in writing and life. Are your books just e-books? If you have paperbacks, let me know and you've got a sale!

  6. Hi, Jackie. Thanks so much for the kind comments. "The Santa Shop" and "From My Cold Young Fingers" (the ARC of "Under-Heaven") are both available in paperback. I suspect you would enjoy "From My Cold Young Fingers" more because it is a more complex novel, but I'm proud to have written both. I think bookstores can order both. Of course, can be purchased on Amazon, etc... is where they can be purchased most affordably and signed.

    Thanks again :-)

  7. You have my interest. I will be ordering Under Heaven with my next group of books to devour. I love stories with twists. If I figure out the end I will take dinner, but I will pass on the cadillac.What I really want is a white VW convertible bug. Just sayin.

  8. If that's 'dark fiction', I wonder what other fiction does? Isn't the reader supposed to love the characters? And if you don't do terrible things to them, where is the conflict? Well, in the sense that if nothing bad ever happens to the characters, readers won't feel any tension when a character is in danger, because nothing bad ever happens! Maybe I am writing dark fiction and I don't even know it. There's not much I won't do to my characters.

  9. Your books sound great, Tim - I may have to buy one! You explain your emotions and your past in such a heart warming way - not self pityingly and definitely not the stuff of misery memoirs. I wish you well in all you do.

  10. I just read the Santa Shop and it was amazing . You are such a talented writer , honestly. here is my review I hope you will leave a comment , it'll be an honor .


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