Tim Marquitz interview (July 2011)
Raised on a diet of Heavy Metal and bad intentions, Tim Marquitz has always been interested in writing, but it wasn’t until about 1995 that the urge became a compulsion. A former grave digger, bouncer, and dedicated metalhead, Tim is a huge fan of Mixed Martial Arts, and fighting in general. Writing a mix of the dark perverse, the horrific, and the tragic, tinged with sarcasm and biting humor, he looks to leave a gaping wound in the minds of his readers like his inspirations: Clive Barker, Jim Butcher, and Stephen King.
Here on FBR we have had the chance to read three books from Marquitz this year:
After the recent release of his new novel Dawn of War, Tim kindly found the time to answer some questions with FBR reviewer Ryan Lawler
Welcome to FBR Tim, can you tell me a little about yourself.
I’m pretty boring these days. I work full time for a local school district and go to school full time in an effort to finish my sociology degree. I’ve a beautiful wife and daughter who keep me on my toes, and I spend the majority of my time writing or editing in an effort to forge a career in publishing.
I’m largely obsessed with writing these days. I think after so many years of not knowing what I really wanted to do, realizing I truly wanted to write was life changing, as clichéd as that sounds. While I’ll likely teach to pay the bills, I’m dedicated and focused on the idea of becoming an author that can live off my writing. It’s a dream, but I love chasing it.
So what is it about writing that appeals to you so much?
There’s something very satisfying about the process of creation. Being able to sit down and create a world, characters, and a story from fragments of ideas and imagery, and see the process through to the end where it becomes something real, is an amazing feeling. That feeling is further validated when people read my books and enjoy them.
Ultimately, when I look at all the things I could be doing in my life, job-wise, I can’t really see anything but writing making me truly happy.
Making a living out of writing is often seen as a difficult process. Was it difficult for you to get published? Also how did you find Damnation Books?
Actually, getting published the way I did was actually easy. I’d started the process of querying agents too early and really wasn’t ready for it. My writing had issues I hadn’t yet addressed so I received a lot of rejections, but I knew the problems were on my end.
I got in with a writing group, of which Kim Richards (CEO/Owner of DB) was a member, and they helped me clean up my writing a bunch. At the point when Armageddon Bound had been written, Kim was looking into picking up an ePub. When she went through with it and was looking for material for the first release, it seemed a natural conclusion to what we’d been doing with the group.
So for me, getting published was easy, but because of the way it came about, I work even harder to try to show I’m worthy of the honor.
Your books have some very dark and horror themes, where do you get your inspiration?
I’ve always been interested in dark subjects. I played a lot of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and have listened to heavy metal music since I was young. The whole atmosphere of 80’s burgeoning metal scene was really dark and horror influenced and that just all felt so natural.
As for the specifics of writing horror/dark fiction, I owe all the credit to Clive Barker. While he and I write differently, his imagination and amazing prose drives me to get better with every book. I look back on his books and just marvel at how seamless they are, even after I’ve read them dozens of times each. There’s a magic in his words that inspires me to follow in his footsteps.
Along the same lines as the previous question, where do you find the inspiration for your characters? You have Frank the very sexual demon and you have Jacob the abused and neglected teenager, are these characters inspired by parts of your own personality?
Yes and no. Frank is essentially me times a thousand. He’s who I’d be if there were no consequences for my actions. He’s the demon unleashed, if you’ll pardon the pun. I’m not very PC, or very concerned with the opinions of people, but I know I can’t really live like that without consequence. Frank, however, can. He’s my escape, my scapegoat and mouthpiece who allows me to step outside of conventional society and live beyond the boundaries.
As for Jacob, there is some small piece of reality to his story, as there is to all of them, but Jacob’s more a product of the world I see around me. There’s some historical reference there, but working at a high school, I see all sorts of Jacobs and they all become a part of my writing.
Dawn of War is your first attempt at the sprawling epic fantasy set in another world, and the first time you have used multiple viewpoints. How challenging was it to start writing in a new genre?
While Dawn of War is my first epic, it’s not actually my first use of multiple points of view. My first four books, of which none will probably ever see the light of day, all had multiple viewpoints.
The writing of it was fairly easy, as far as point of view went, but I think I was a little too caught up in the George RR Martin aspect of the epic early on. There’s a bit of information overload that I think sets the stage for the story, but should have been eased in a little more circumspectly. I think finding the balance of backstory and action was the hardest part of DoW and I hope to avoid those mistakes in part two.
I had stepped away from my natural inclinations for brevity and dove into the idea of the epic, and I think that part was a challenge. I’m not much for the grand scale of things or the big picture, preferring to take things in smaller bites, but this story demanded I look beyond the individual book and set up the entire trilogy in my mind. That was probably the hardest part of it.
For my own interest as well as the interest of the site, what are your three favorite fantasy releases?
This is kind of a tough one for me that really changes based on the frame of my life. I don’t think I can pick just three.
I’d say A Great and Secret Show by Barker would have to be among them. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files would be there as well, but I don’t think I can pick one out of the bunch. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series also had a bunch of great books that helped bring my focus to fantasy/sci-fi.
I know this is the copout answer, but to only choose three books out of all the ones I’ve read would be sacrilege. Harry Harrison’s The Stainless Steel Rat, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey, Jim Butcher, Brian Keene, would all have books that fit the profile depending on what day you asked me.
Finally, what’s next for Tim Marquitz? Can you tell us about any new projects on the horizon?
I’m always writing, or at least plotting something new. I’m working on the plot for the fourth Demon Squad book and I’m in the process of writing more of a thriller/suspense type book, though with my standard dark flair. I’ve also begun brainstorming a different kind of urban fantasy story based on the idea of old gods and a kind of superhuman feel, but it’s still fairly early in the planning stage. And there are the final sections of Sepulchral Earth, which are already plotted, that I need to get done, as well.
I’m currently querying agents for my fantasy book, more of a sword and sorcery story, Witch Bane, about a world ruled by witches. The story is largely a revenge tale, a warlock out to slay the witches who killed his mother, who was one of their own.
I’m also looking into releasing the third Demon Squad book around December, though I’ve made no real commitments to do so. That time frame just seems to make sense given how long between the release of Armageddon Bound and Resurrection. I want to keep Frank out there.
Thanks for answering these questions Tim, I look forward to reading more about Frank and your other characters in the not to distant future.
You can read more about Tim and his work at his website: http://www.tmarquitz.com/