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An interview with Tim Marquitz

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.

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You can read more about Tim and his work at his website: http://www.tmarquitz.com/

Our Tim Marquitz reviews

Collateral Damage by Tim Marquitz

Escaped from prison and back in his own body, life has taken a turn toward the domestic for Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg. His days are filled with diapers, formula, and baby farts, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course it couldn’t last. A raid on Frank’s home threatens his family and throws his life into chaos. He scrambles to survive, his enemies growing more numerous at every turn. Pushed into a corner, Frank must find a way to fight back before his world is razed to the ground, taking everyone he knows with it. And it’s only Monday.

"Collateral Damage is a big step forward, one that addresses the criticism of recent books while also paving a clear path forward. The story had a tight plot from start to finish, cool enemies for Frank to fight, it made me laugh, it made me emotional, it was still a lot of fun, and it left me wanting more Demon Squad right now."

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At The Gates by Tim Marquitz

At The Gates is an entertaining read that exceeded my high expectations and is by far the best book in the series. The humour and sexualism has been slightly toned down in the face of some impossible odds, but this is still unmistakeably a Demon Squad book with more than enough Frank moments to make you laugh and cringe at the same time. These books are not for everyone and if you are not a fan of the series, At The Gates is probably not going to convert you. But those who are fans will love this book, rejoicing at getting a second helping of Frank within twelve months.

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Beyond The Veil by Tim Marquitz

With Beyond The Veil, Marquitz is keeping the Demon Squad series up there amongst The Dresden Files, The Iron Druid Chronicles, and Sandman Slim as some of the best urban fantasy available. While the series has taken a turn away from light hearted and more towards the dark, it has not impacted on the entertainment value these books provide. Magic + Bullets + Explosions = Fun. If you like those series I mentioned above, then I think you will also like the Demon Squad series, especially Beyond The Veil.

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Aftermath by Tim Marquitz

What do you do when your life crumbles around you? If you're Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg you climb into a bottle looking for oblivion. Of course he couldn't even get that right. Alone and adrift, Frank's five month binge is interrupted with a boom. A nuclear one and every bit of chaos and treachery he tried to leave behind comes knocking once more. Caught up in a plot to foment a supernatural revolution, Frank is made into a pawn for both sides. But what does a man with nothing have to lose? Only everything.

"Aftermath is a fantastic Demon Squad novel, one that tells a compelling self contained story while also acting as set-up for the next half dozen books in the series. While it didn't have the emotional gut punches from the first book, it still made me laugh and laugh, and that's one of the main reasons why I read Demon Squad and Tim Marquitz books - to laugh."

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Exit Wounds by Tim Marquitz

Actions have consequences. For Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg, those consequences involve prison. Specifically, an extraterrestrial prison where he and pretty much everyone he cares about are now trapped. Bereft of weapons, magic, or a good lawyer, Frank plots a break out but the indigenous convicts and draconian guardians stand in the way. With time running out on Earth, Scarlett battling to control the mess left behind, Frank must find a way home before he ends up serving a life sentence.

"Exit Wounds is a welcome return to form for the Demon Squad series, ranking right up there as one of my favourite in the series. Marquitz managed to take some really out there ideas and mesh them with some tight plotting and a solid resolution. We were given a tiny cliff-hanger at the end of the story, but I loved it because it presents a sign of things to come for Frank rather than cutting us off halfway through a story. I'm really happy that we got so much resolution in this book, and I'm excited to see what happens next."

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Resurrection by Tim Marquitz

This is one of the best supernatural books that I have ever read, it is set in a world that really appeals to me and has characters that are consistently able to make me laugh. Marquitz has significantly lifted his game for this book, and I think it is a safe assumption that the next book will be even better. While it may not be the best book I have read this year, it is by far the most fun I have had reading a book this year, and it thoroughly deserves this high score. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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Echoes of the Past by Tim Marquitz

I said that Echoes of the Past is a book of revelations, but as I write this review I am realising this is more a book of transition. There are significant shifts in plot, character, and setting, and I am very exciting in the new directions Marquitz is taking the series. But in saying that, at the very core this is very much a Demon Squad book with all the charm, humour, and sex that you come to expect from this series. This is not quite my favourite Demon Squad book, but with so many awesome revelations and a big cliff-hanger at the end, my anticipation for the next Demon Squad book could not be any higher.

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Those Poor, Poor Bastards by Tim Marquitz

I really enjoyed Those Poor, Poor Bastards. Marquitz, Martin and Soward have put something together that I think really harmonizes and enhances each of their unique qualities. The problem is - how long do I have to wait before I get my next fill of Dead West?!

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From Hell by Tim Marquitz

The Demon Squad series has a lot in common with The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, and the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. If you have never read a Demon Squad book before, From Hell is a cheap and quick way to see if these are your types of books. If you love the Demon Squad series then this will provide a great fix while we wait for book six.

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Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters by Tim Marquitz

Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters is a collection of 23 stories focused around the theme of strange creatures in the vein of Pacific Rim, Godzilla, Cloverfield, and more. The anthology opens with a foreword by Jeremy Robinson, author of Project Nemesis, the highest selling Kaiju novel in the United States since the old Godzilla books—and perhaps even more than those. Then, from New York Times bestsellers to indie darlings Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters features authors that are perfectly suited for writing larger than life stories, including: Peter Clines, Larry Correia, James Lovegrove, Gini Koch (as J.C. Koch), James Maxey, Jonathan Wood, C.L. Werner, Joshua Reynolds, David Annandale, Jaym Gates, Peter Rawlik, Shane Berryhill, Natania Barron, Paul Genesse & Patrick Tracy, Nathan Black, Mike MacLean, Timothy W. Long, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Kane Gilmour, Peter Stenson, Erin Hoffman, Sean Sherman, Howard Andrew Jones (The Chronicles of Sword and Sand tie-in), Edward M. Erdelac (Dead West tie-in), James Swallow (Colossal Kaiju Combat tie-in).

"25 stories full of kaiju-driven mayhem with cities destroyed all over the world. Not every story worked for me, and the order of the stories was not always balanced, but the good and awesome stuff completely outshines anything bad I've said about this anthology. Sometimes humanity wins, sometimes humanity loses, but in the end this anthology, its cast of authors, and its editorial staff are the real winners. Highly recommended." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review

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War God Rising by Tim Marquitz

Sand is destined for greatness. Or so a pair of two-bit criminals would have him believe. After rescuing him from certain doom, Bess and Kaede embark on a scheme to game the War God Tournament. It’d be easier if Sand wasn’t an alcohol-soaked twit with a disturbing interest in mutton. Pitted against monsters, magic swords, and murderers galore, they soon realize winning the tourney is the least of their worries.

"War God Rising is a light hearted book intended to be enjoyed over a couple of reading sessions, designed to elicit a few laughs at the expense of the genre we all know and love. I know I can't speak for Marquitz himself, but I don't think he is trying to rail against the system with this book, given he writes a lot of heavy books himself, I think he's just trying to provide an alternative to all the darkness that seems to be permeating fantasy at the moment. It is good to have alternatives like this, they provide a measure of catharsis  that allows us to go back into those dark worlds with renewed vigour. For that reason alone, I would recommend this book. That I happen to think the book is hilarious is just an added bonus."

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Embers of an Age by Tim Marquitz

Embers of an Age is vast improvement on Dawn of War. Marquitz has taken all the issues I had with Dawn of War and addressed them in creative and stylish ways. The book is fast, action packed, contains plenty of gore and grotesque monsters, and is just a blast to read. Bring on Book 3.

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The Best of Enemies by Tim Marquitz

Power comes at a price. For Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg, that price is everything. Lost and alone, Hell closes in until Frank can’t take it any longer. He ascends to Old Town a find a new overlord has staked his claim, but Frank is having none of it. He goes to war against the usurper. Collateral damage mounts, friends turn their backs and foes unite, but it’s the ones he least suspects who make the best of enemies. 

"After the all the Heavenly treasure hunts and interdimensional skirmishes, the Demon Squad series returns to its roots with a more mundane story involving our favourite characters from the previous books. The book did leave us with a juicy cliff-hanger, which I expect will get mixed reactions, but for me it was a great tease after a solid conclusion. It looks like Frank is going to be in a real jam at the start of the next book, and I can’t wait to see how that plays out."

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Requiem by Tim Marquitz

The Blood War is a trilogy that has come a long way since Dawn of War, with Marquitz showing huge improvements in each outing. While the ending may have been a little flat, the overall journey was very enjoyable and is definitely worth your investment. Hopefully now that his epic fantasy apprenticeship is complete, we will get to see more of this genre from Marquitz.

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Eyes Deep by Tim Marquitz

No one trusts a doppelganger, and for good reason. Behind every stolen identity lies murder. For Theodor Crane, his latest crime comes with a new family, a new job, a new set of troubles, yet there’s no escaping his past lives. On the precipice of war between humans and supernaturals, Theo is thrust in the middle, charged with maintaining the balance while keeping his true identity a secret. Conspiracies and old hatreds lurk just below the surface, creeping to a head as the veil between the two worlds slowly crumbles. Failure means reigniting an age old conflict. Success means living a lie for the rest of his days. Either way, Theo loses.

"Eyes Deep is a solid introduction to a new world that has left me intrigued and wanting to know more. The recurring message in this review is that what we were given is not enough, and while I was left satisfied at the end, I wonder what this could have been had Marquitz gone for a full novel length story. I'm definitely invested, and I will be back to see where this story goes next." Ryan Lawler

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Inheritance (Heir to the Blood Throne) by Tim Marquitz

What's a vampire to do when he's afraid of the dark and passes out at the sight of blood? These are but two of the problems that face thirteen year old Rupert Bartholomew Cooke. After growing up in England's Foster Care System, Rupert is at last adopted. Then what should be the happiest moment of his life turns into the most terrifying day imaginable. His adopter, the same man whose bite turned Rupert into a vampire, is none other than the infamous Jack the Ripper. To make matters worse, Rupert is left to watch over Jack's mansion, under which is buried a portal that leads to the Source of all magic. Untrained and coping with the stresses of his new and terrible existence, Rupert is forced to defend the Source against Jack's enemies, the necromancer Mobius and his secret accomplice. With his newfound friends, Lorelei the thrall, Alistair the diminutive werewolf, and Horatio the gruff housekeeper, Rupert must battle Mobius and preserve the fragile truce between the Vampire Nation and the Legions of the Dead; all without giving Jack a reason to kill him when he returns home.

"In a genre that is overcrowded with sparkly vampires in love with sullen human teens, Tim Marquitz takes vampires, werewolves and the undead, and returns them to their rightful place at the top of the supernatural food chain. I enjoyed this book, and I think it would make for a great holiday read." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review

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Armageddon Bound by Tim Marquitz

Armageddon Bound is all about the charm, all about the wit, all about fighting and winning against impossible odds, and all about the sex. There are some big issues here that Marquitz needs to resolve for the next book in the series, more world building and less of an emphasis on sex would be a good start, but he needs to be careful that he doesn't make too many changes that compromises the identity established by this book. I had a lot of fun reading this book, and I expect the fun to continue in the future installments.

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Skulls by Tim Marquitz

Life held little interest for Jacob... until he found death. Abused and neglected, Jacob's only solace comes when he is alone in the woods or in the arms of his new girlfriend. But when he stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls, he learns what true suffering is. Drawn to examine the skulls, he finds there is more than just empty blackness behind their lifeless stares. Through their eyes he watches them die. With every glance, he witnesses another murder, the memories of the dead playing out inside his mind until reality becomes a blur. A primal cruelty awakening, Jacob returns to the morbid comfort of the skulls, over and over again. But when he happens upon a fresh skull, a victim tortured and slain for his amusement alone, he knows his time has come. Face to face with death, Jacob must choose whether to resist the darkness that dwells inside or condemn himself forever, murdering his innocence on the edge of an axe.

"After reading Skulls it is becoming clearer to me why Fantasy-Horror hybrid stories are doing so well. By taking everyday people like the neighbour down the street and turning them into a monster you can create an incredibly chilling realistic scenario that can be off-putting to a lot of readers, but by adding a few supernatural elements the story becomes less realistic, making it more accessible to a wider ranger of readers while retaining that chilling essence. If you are looking to enter this genre for the first time, or if you are looking for something a bit more edgy than your regular epic fantasy, I recommend that you read Skulls and experience the piercing gaze of the skulls for yourself." Fantasy Book Review

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Dawn of War by Tim Marquitz

For hundreds of years, the bestial Grol have clawed at the walls of Lathah without success. Now armed with O'hra, mystical weapons of great power, they have returned, to conquer. Witness to the Grol advance, Arrin can abide his exile no longer. He returns to Lathah, in defiance of death, with hopes to save his beloved princess and the child born of their illicit affair. He finds her unwilling to abandon her people. At her behest, Arrin searches for a sanctuary for them only to be confronted by the Sha'ree, a powerful race long thought gone from the world. Through them, he learns it is not just the Grol that threaten the land. Empowered by a magic never before seen, the savage nations spread chaos and ruin across the realm. With Lathah under siege, and the world on the brink of cataclysmic war, Arrin must strike a deal with the Sha'ree to take the fight to the Grol, or forever lose his one true love: his family.

"Dawn of War is a great start to a new series, showing a very dedicated and eager author who is willing to share his own creativeness."

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