Jamie Tinker is the author of The Widow’s Warning, an epic fantasy novel with a mix of traditional and new magic.
Tell me about Jamie Tinker
I’m originally from Bangor, Maine, where my family owned Betts Bookstore. I left for the Navy right after high school, and I’m still in uniform today. I’ve lived in Italy, Iceland, Japan, and Cuba, and seen about 20 other countries along the way. I now split my time between San Diego, California, and Bahrain.
Do you think being from Bangor affected you as a writer?
I think being from Bangor, Maine and my parents owning the store were big influences that made me want to write. Stephen King’s It, written almost entirely in Derry (Bangor), really opened my eyes to the possibilities as a writer. I think I saw the world a little differently after reading that book as a teenager.
Did you ever meet Stephen King?
No. I did have him autograph the first SK book I owned, The Eyes of the Dragon, but that was a long time ago.
Do you like his writing style?
I do. There’s a lot to learn from reading his books, especially his book On Writing. He’s a great storyteller and writer.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I do. I’m a big fan of internet radio, like Pandora and I-heart. It allows me to quickly mix up whatever I’m in the mood for.
What inspires you to write?
Usually, it’s the ideas themselves. Since I travel a lot, I see a lot of new things that give me ideas for stories and characters. I don’t have some deep message I’m trying to teach the world, and I don’t have an agenda other than just sharing the ideas in a way that I enjoy writing, and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading.
Did you wake up one day and think “I want to be a writer?”
Yes. Like most writers, I think I always wanted to be one. I tried to write my first novel in 8th grade, but it didn’t survive. When the right ideas came together in my head, I woke up the next day and knew I wanted to be a writer. That feeling is still a lot like winning the lottery, fifteen years later.
Is writing something that “compels” you, do you “have to” write?
I don’t have to write. I’ve taken breaks as life and the day job demanded, but I can safely say that my life is better when I’m writing. Writing makes me happy, and that’s the important part.
Have you dabbled in any other genres?
I have, I’ve tried two horror novels, a collection of horror short stories, two military thrillers, and some travel writing. Not all of those were finished, but they were all fun. I see myself publishing more than just fantasy in the next few years.
What gave you the idea to write The Widow’s Warning?
My second attempt at a horror novel was about a fantasy writer being harassed by his readers who thought he owed them the next book in a series he’d given up on. In writing that book, I had to create the main character’s backstory, including some of his fantasy series.
When I realized that the fantasy part was more fun to write than the horror, I quit the project and started writing what is now The Widow’s Warning, which was the fictional series in the main character’s backstory.
Did you find it difficult to write a female lead character (being a male)?
I did, and I still do. I never planned on a female protagonist and a collection of strong women in the first two books, so I’m testing the limits on what I can write. I want to be believable, but there are some subjects and situations I know I wouldn’t do well right now. It’s a great challenge.
Your writing style is different than most fantasy novels I’ve read. It’s shorter and much more direct. Do you think that will be an issue?
I don’t think it’s a problem. I want to tell a story quickly, without entire pages of description and so much world-building that it slows down the plot. I know that’s strange for a lot of fantasy, but I think the genre needs it right now. I like the big 500-pagers as much as anyone, but I’m not writing them yet.
Genre readers are very smart, more experienced in reading than I am at writing, and they can figure out what’s going on all by themselves. I don’t need to explain myself much, and I don’t mind some things being inferred instead of stated. I think the readers get the choice to see what they’re looking for, not all of what I’m trying to say.
The third book in the series will probably be a bit long to end the trilogy, but I won’t change my style. I’ll just have more story to tell.
Why did you decide to go indie instead of traditional publishing?
Part of it is because of the story I wanted to write and the current state of the fantasy genre. While heading down the traditional route, I was told that the book should be pointed more directly and the Young Adult audience, and that I should push/rush a romantic plot line into it. Even in the brainstorming sessions, people were looking to meet the market instead of publish the story I wanted told. I’ve tried to chase the market before, and it never works.
If I thought I had only one book in me, or if I had a day job that let me put writing first, I would have kept chasing the traditional model by querying more agents, but this is fun. I’m constantly learning new things, I have more books to write, and I’m in no hurry with the overall series. Not everything needs to be jammed into one book.
Do you have any words of encouragement to new writers or writers that might feel discouraged?
There’s a lot to get discouraged about. Even with our current revolution in publishing that’s come with E-readers, blogs, great communities on social media, and more tools than ever to communicate, reaching readers is still difficult.
The most important advice is to keep writing. Just write because you like it, because it’s a healthy use of your free time, and because your life is better when you’re writing.
Challenge yourself with new ideas, and learn your own voice by writing your current project all the way to the end. Until you have a completed manuscript, there’s only so much you can learn. The real lessons happen once you’ve finished something and are willing to invest a lot of time and energy in making it publishable.
How can people get your book:
The Widow’s Warning is available on Amazon Kindle right now. I expect to get it on a number of other platforms throughout the year, and in paperback when once I finish an art contest to decide the back cover.
Any last plug?
Take a tour of Bangor with my dad, Stu Tinker, at SK tours of Maine. I plan to do it when I come home at Thanksgiving. People come from all over the world to see the Bangor written in Stephen King’s books, and anyone who likes his books can have a real treat by seeing their own city in a different light.
Seriously, do it.
Thank you Jamie for taking the time to talk to me. I wish you continued success with all your writing, and I can’t wait to read the next book.
Jamie can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
His website is http://jamietinker.com
He can also be reached on Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads.
Links to all those are on his website.
His book, The Widow’s Warning can be found at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DFLJBXI
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Now for the giveaway part 🙂 Jamie TInker is offering 3 copies of his e book, The Widow’s Warning to readers of this blog. The first THREE people to correctly answer this trivia question (hint: the answer is in the interview above) in the comments section will win! Easy huh? All you have to do is read!
The trivia question is: What does Jamie’s Dad do?
Happy reading! Stay tuned for more news about Jamie Tinker and The Widow’s Warning 🙂