Saturday, May 9, 2015

Featured Author: Timothy Klein

About the book

Evelyn's heart was getting a little crusty. Blame it on a sleazy boss and an even sleazier ex-boyfriend.

She was settling in for another lonely Saturday night, when a knock on the door interrupted her routine. The guy claimed to be an angel, sent to help fix some of her "relationship issues." But an angel? And not a cute, cuddly little cherub like she had seen on greeting cards, more like a rhino stuffed into blue jeans and work shirt. No, this guy means business.

Evelyn needed a little heavenly help, especially regarding her lack of a love life. And it would take a miracle to straighten out her career. But it turns out she's the one who needs straightening out.

Interview with Timothy Klein

Tim, welcome back to A Blue Million Books. What’s the story behind the title Cries from a Crusty Heart?
My characters came up with it. During their first conversation, Pale mentioned that Evelyn's heart was getting crusty, and the title came from there.

Is this book a standalone or do readers need to read the series in order?

This started out has a fun, even silly, little project. It got more serious than I expected and several people have asked about a second book. If that happens, you'd want to read them in order.

I see the book is available on Kindle for $1.18, why such an unusual price?
No comment, I'll make you read the book to find out.

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
I'd split it between airplane fuel and camera lenses. I collect vintage lenses and adapt them to my digital cameras. Lenses that cost hundreds back in the seventies can now be had for $20 and some produce amazing images. Of course, others are now collector's items worth thousands.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
With regard to writing: there are no rules. I've read all the rules, and I've read a lot of popular, classic and best sellers, most of them break the rules. If you focus on the rules, you'll end up writing the same bland drivel that everyone else writes.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

Unfortunately, yes. We run an engineering design company during the day (and often into the night as well).

How did you meet your wife? Was it love at first sight?
It was "spite" at first sight! My wife was the little brat who ran around with my kid sister. Couldn't stand her! In fact, once I was complaining to my mom about her, (I was about 15; Marlene would have been around 10) and Mom said, "You shouldn't say things like that about her. Things change. You could grow up and marry her." I replied that I'd join a monastery first. Mom was right! Things changed. Besides, I would have been a lousy monk.

If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
The Winchester 22 caliber pump rifle. My father bought it new back in the fifties, and it was the first gun I ever fired. Dad gave it to me several years ago, and it's also the first gun that our kids fired.

What would you like people to say about you after you die?
"Wow, he sure didn't look 107."

Good one! What would your main character say about you?
Evelyn is a little upset about how silly I made her look in the bar scene. She also thinks that I have a breast fetish but recognizes that all men do, so she just ignores it. However, all was forgiven once she got to the end of the story.

How did you create the plot for this book?
I never intended to write a novella like this! It was a dark and stormy night, (really, it was), and I was supposed to be working on the Saga series.

Instead, I was thinking about neighborhood politics and just how upset certain people were with others over trivial matters. There's an old proverb: "If God listened to every shepherd's curse, there would be no sheep." I started wondering what would happen if people knew that God was going to carry out the curses they so casually toss around? The story just started from there.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
I have a very low tolerance for plot holes, and I don't like coincidences. I don't expect every detail to be absolutely perfect and I'm willing to stretch reality a bit, but get the main stuff right. Someone, probably someone famous but I don't remember who, has said, "A coincidence can get your hero into trouble, but never use one to get them out of trouble."

I guess that's two pet peeves.

Do you have a routine for writing?
No. I should have but I don't.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Almost all my writing is done at my desk in our hangar. Some guys have a model airplane on their desk, I have a full size Cessna 172 next to mine. It actually belongs to a buddy of mine that doesn't have a hangar. I told him he could keep it here as long as he doesn't check the hour meter.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
We met a freelance editor several years ago who was an acquaintance of a friend of mine. He was working full-time at another job but needed some extra cash. He seemed like a good match and we had him start reviewing the first draft of The Saga of the Ellen Jane.  He got through the first third of the book and his comments/edits were, for the most part, very perceptive and helpful. He was reviewing the last third of book, when he asked a question regarding the plot that was explained in the middle of the book. I told him to go back and reread that chapter. 

Suddenly, I get an email, (at about 1:00 in the morning), from him telling me that this is the worst book he ever read, that it needs a complete rewrite and he can't work with us anymore! Turns out he even emailed the friend who had introduced us and told him, in even more colorful language, that the book was complete trash.

Lessons learned:
1. Be suspicious of an editor who brags about having over fifty different jobs in the last thirty years. (Not fifty contract gigs, fifty-some different full-time non-editing jobs.) Something isn't right.
2. If a potential editor is pounding down more beers at the party than everyone else combined, something isn't right.
3. If you hire the individual in spite of the warnings listed above and they send insulting and somewhat incoherent comments after clearly not reading the entire book, ignore the bum and move on. This leaves several possibilities:
a. He was toasted when wrote the email.
b. He was toasted while he was reviewing the book, which is why he missed several chapters. Once sober, he realized that he hated it.
c. Most likely, he was toasted the entire time.

In any case, you have just figured out what wasn't right and you now know why he had fifty different jobs...

What would your dream office look like?

A larger hangar with my office on the second floor. It would be built in the WWII retro style with a domed roof. My Beech AT-11 (from the Saga series) would be down below.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

We started Stearman Press based on the following three Laws of Publishing:
1. Getting a book published by a traditional publishing house is more work than writing the book.
2. It doesn't matter who publishes the book, it is up to the author to promote and market their book.
3. The only people making money in the publishing business today are the publishers.

Are you happy with your decision to self-publish?
It's more work than we expected. When we started, I only envisioned the original The Saga of the Ellen Jane trilogy, so starting a publishing company sounded like fun. However, I now have outlines for at least a dozen other stories and would like to spend time writing, not picking fonts.

If you self-published, what steps to publication did you personally do, and what did you hire someone to do? Is there anyone you’d recommend for a particular service?
Everything except the editing. We have hired professional editors because you really need someone objective to review any work. We've done all the cover art, book design, file generation etc in-house.

What are you working on now?
I'm supposed to be finishing the third book of the Saga series in time for my wife's birthday.

About the author

Timothy Klein was blessed (though he didn't always see it that way at the time), with a mother and a grandmother that were English teachers. Even though literature was a major component of his life, he rebelled against the Grammar Police, focusing on aviation and engineering.

Years later, while skimming the romance novel his wife was reading, he remarked, “I can write better stuff than this!” “Well,” she replied. “Go do it.” 

So he did. The first result was The Saga of the Ellen Jane. A World War II adventure/romance series set on the north coast of Brazil.
He hadn't expected to write a novella about love, hate and the words we use. It just happened. Granted, it skates casually onto some theologically thin ice, but it will get you thinking. Besides, it's not the first time he's been called a heretic.

Connect with Timothy:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads