Friday, August 7, 2009

Author Spotlight: Tim Whitney Q&A

Alright guys, well Mr. Tim Whitney, Author of Thanksgiving at the Inn, was kind enough to let me interview him! Here's a little...

About Tim Whitney

Tim Whitney grew up in South Portland, Maine and now splits his time between Dallas, Texas and Whately, Massachusetts. He completed his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Northeastern University and has an MBA from Western New England College. He works as an international manufacturing consultant and vice president of operations for a growing company in Garland, Texas. His interests include fishing, camping at the Cape, snow-skiing, and spending time with family and friends. This is his first book.

Ever since his mother left, life hasn’t been easy for Heath Wellington III. Between his father’s (Junior’s) bouts with alcoholism and literary rejection, and Heath’s own wrongful suspension from school, there hasn’t been all that much to be thankful for. Ever since his mother left, life hasn’t been easy for Heath Wellington III. Between his father’s (Junior’s) bouts with alcoholism and literary rejection, and Heath’s own wrongful suspension from school, there hasn’t been all that much to be thankful for.

But following the tragic death of estranged grandfather Senior, father and son alike stand to inherit a life-changing fortune . . . with one catch.

Heath and Junior must spend the next three months managing Senior’s bed and breakfast, located in the same Massachusetts home Junior has spent the last eight years trying to escape.

Upended from his everyday life and relocated to a town where everyone knew and loved the grandfather he can’t even remember, Heath finds an inn full of some of the strangest people he’s ever met, such as:

• Winsted, the old, wise Jamaican man who used to lead the prayers in Senior’s factory;
• Mrs. Farrel, an elderly woman giving away her late husband’s fortune letter by letter;
• Mustang Sally, the muscle-bound, tattooed grease monkey who doubles as a children’s author;
• Carter, the silent TV news junkie and secret Harvard graduate.

And at a nearby school is Savannah, Junior’s first love, and her adorable, autistic daughter, Tori.

But most of all, there’s Junior himself, vinegar to Heath’s oil. As Heath adjusts to his new world, what he needs most is to start anew with his father, to understand that Junior, too, is dealing with loss, and to realize that, even in the most tragic of times, there’s a lot in life to be thankful for.

So that's a snipit about what his novel is about! Here's the Q&A!

1. Where are you from?

South Portland, Maine

2. When and why did you begin writing?

I started jotting down notes and collecting my thoughts over the summer in 2005 and began writing in the fall. It was around Thanksgiving when I submitted the first few chapters for review on The decision to write the book came while having dinner with a friend. I was kicking the idea around with him and he challenged me by asking, “Why don’t you just do it?”

3. What inspired you to write your first book?

My inspiration for the characters and events came from all over the place, including various life experiences. The main inspiration for the theme of the book, however, came from working briefly with handicapped children over twenty-five years ago as a high school senior back in Portland, Maine. It was an experience that truly changed my perspective on life.

The inspiration for the setting came to me while living in an old farmhouse in Whately, Massachusetts, which has remained in one family since the late 1700s and would make a perfect Bed and Breakfast. The attic was filled with vast quantities of family history.

4. If you are suddenly interrupted in the middle of writing, how easy or hard is it to get back to where you left off?

Are you kidding me? I have 2 kids and a fulltime job as a VP of a Company!!! I always get interrupted! But seriously, the best way to keep focused is to segment your writing into what you want to cover that day- some people write a scene at a time, others outline. I tend to do a little of both. It is important to remember that know matter how well you outline, when the creative side of your brain kicks in a story has a way of taking a new direction on its own! That being said, I do my best writing when I'm alone and on the beach or a getaway bed and breakfast in Guatemala.

5. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I’m hopeful readers will connect and take away different bits and pieces which relate to their own journeys through life. Ultimately, I hope people will remember that life is filled with opportunities to be grateful, and that life is too short not to be thankful for all we have.

6. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I can never choose just one, but if I had to... Mark Twain because he had such a keen wit and brilliant sense of humor.

7. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I think the biggest challenge for any author writing his first novel is battling through the many adversities that come from inexperience and ending up with something that’s truly worthy of being published.

Most first novels end up in a bottom drawer, incomplete. The biggest struggle every writer faces is the voice of self-doubt that is ever present until he gets over the hump and finishes the first draft. Realizing that this inner dialogue is normal, and the literary equivalent of a performer’s stage fright, is all part of the challenge.

8. Did you learn anything from writing your book, if so what was it?

Yes- I learned a tremendous amount about the craft of writing while finishing this book. (Mostly how NOT to write one!) What I mean by that is most first novels end up in the slush pile for a reason; writers learn so much about the process that you absolutely can not learn without going through the it for the first time. For me, the biggest lessons revolve around writing structure, plot, and character development. I also learned the hard way to back up my computer on a regular basis!!

9. Do you usually outline the stories for your books before you write them or does the story just develop as you write?

A little of both actually. With Thanksgiving at the Inn, I had it outlined in my mind where I wanted to take it. That being said, because I did not have enough formal writing education or outline, I painted myself into several corners.

10. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Yes! I would have outlined it from the beginning and cut the time it took to write in half!

Alright well there you have it! Thanksgiving at the Inn is set to release Sept. 1st! Click HERE to check out more info about the novel, or you can click HERE to pre-order! Or check out the first chpt HERE! So I want to give a huge thank you to Mr. Whitney for allowing me to interview him =) Review of Thanksgiving at the Inn will be here soon so keep a look out!!

In honor of this book, the comment question of the blog is...
What are you thankful for? lemme know in the comment section below!

As always,

That Chick That Reads

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