If you haven’t heard of our new project, the On Fire anthology, this interview series will showcase our authors lives beyond their ignited tales. In Tim Jeffreys‘s “Combustible,” a young dad with a special power confronts his rockstar older brother.
What is the first book or story that made you cry?
I don’t know that I’ve ever been moved to tears by something I’ve read. Many books have left me in stunned silence on turning the last page. I just finished T.C. Boyle’s novel The Tortilla Curtain, and I was really hoping for some kind of happy ending for the characters, but (spoiler alert) their situation just gets worse, and worse…and worse. I can’t remember the last time I was so shocked by a book’s ending.
How many books do you usually read each month and what are their genres?
I read a lot of short stories, and I’ve generally got five or six books on the go at once which I dip in and out of. These range from horror/weird fiction to non-genre writers, like Raymond Carver or Alice Munro. I actually don’t read that much genre fiction, and I’m very selective when I do. I usually have a novel on the go as well, but in the past few years, I’ve developed a real love for short fiction, so novels don’t get as much attention. I think it’s something to do with having small children, and – as a result – a shorter attention span.
What is the title of your next story and what will it be about?
I just finished a story called ‘Peace,’ which is about two people brought together by war – the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. There’s a very subtle supernatural element. It was my first attempt at writing a story with a historical setting, which wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined it would be. Once you’ve done your research you have a ready-made world for your story, which means there’s less that you have to imagine.
What audience are your stories intended for?
I write primarily for adults, but some of my stories might be suitable for younger audience, although not the very young.
What interesting thing did you learn while writing your last story?
I learnt that the Basque language is completely different to the Spanish language.
Do you use one or more professional editors, and if so, what types?
I have used a professional editor in the past, but I’m not sure how useful this was. The advice offered seemed to me rather generic rather than born from an understanding of the story or my writing. The best advice usually comes from your own inner voice.
What marketing techniques do you find most effective?
I haven’t found an effective one yet. I’d rather be the kind of writer people discover for themselves and then want to read more of than the kind who’s constantly spamming people with release dates for their new book. People need a reason to read your work other than you’ve told them to. I suppose the best way I can think to market myself is by writing and publishing and hoping to pick up readers along the way.
If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self about becoming an author?
I would tell myself to start submitting my work to magazines and anthologies much sooner than I did. It took me about ten years to find the courage to start submitting. When you start writing, it’s easy to tell yourself you have nothing to learn, but as soon as you start submitting you realise (in my case at least) ‘Oh my God, I have so much to learn!’. Seven years later, I’m still learning. The submission process, as disappointing as it can be a lot of the time, will ultimately make you a better writer. A writer can’t learn anything in isolation.
Tim Jeffreys is the author of five collections of short stories, the most recent being ‘Another Shore’. His novella, ‘Voids’, co-written with Martin Greaves was be published Omnium Gatherum Media in 2016. His short fiction has appeared in various international anthologies and magazines. He also edits and compiles the Dark Lane Anthologies where he gets to publish talented writers from all over the world. In his own work, he incorporates elements of horror, fantasy, absurdist humour, science-fiction and anything else he wants to toss into the pot to create his own brand of weird fiction. Visit him online at www.timjeffreys.blogspot.co.uk.