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Interview with Tim Goff

He was born and raised in the frequently frozen realm of Alaska, where he came of age on a homestead at the very edge of the road grid. This upbringing gave Tim a range of skills, leading to a range of jobs, finishing with a dozen years as a US mail contractor. Tim enjoys reading and has been attempting to write since his youth.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I have worn a suit and tie twice in the past thirty years. Were it not for photographic evidence, those who know me would not believe this.

Q.2 What inspired you to write The Empire series?
Much fantasy deals with war or the buildup to war. I wanted to look at what happened afterward - veterans, ordinary people, and others dealing with a nation they no longer recognized. I also wanted to incorporate Lovecraftian strangeness and menace.

Q. 3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
I am finishing up the third rewrite of Empire: Spiral, the fifth book in the Empire series. I hope to release it and the last Empire: Judgment book in early 2023. After that, I intend to revisit an old project, the Labyrinth series, set in the same world as Empire.

Q.4 What is the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Keeping in mind that the opposite sex often views things very differently.

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I used to just take an idea and start writing. Usually, I wrote myself into a corner. Anymore, I don’t start writing a tale without solid ideas for the beginning, middle, and end. I will use a 2-3 page outline for novels to keep the scenes straight.

Q.6 How long, on average, does it takes you to write a book?
I finished the first drafts in a few months. I then set them aside for weeks or months, so they’ll ‘read fresh’ for the rewrite. The rewrites take longer. The whole process - maybe a year, give or take a couple months.

Q.7 What’s your writing schedule while working?
I wrote most of my books while working full-time. The writing was something I did late at night, right before bedtime. Even with being semi-retired, I still write primarily at night.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I have been working on a model railroad for years. There is also a cabin I am thinking about building.

Q.9 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have finished eight novels to the second rewrite stage - six for ‘Empire’ and two for ‘Labyrinth.’ I also have passable rough drafts for several other books, along with about 30 shorter works. My current favorite is the one that just hit print: Empire: Metropolis.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
Marketing is a mystery. Until eight or ten months ago, my focus was on writing, not marketing. That said, my books aim to an audience that appreciates fantasy and dark fantasy. I have tried ads on Facebook and elsewhere, along with an assortment of book promotion sites. Results are hit or miss. (Usually, miss.)

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
Dwarf. Solid. Capable. Pragmatic, get things done kind of people.

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books, who would it be and why?
Tough one. Right now, I would say the wizard Lysander because he’s highly knowledgeable and a bit of a mental wreck who could stand a good meal.

Q.13 What three things can a reader expect from your books?
A. 1.
Weird creatures and monsters, often Lovecraftian, sometimes hostile, sometimes helpful.
2. Characters dealing with past trauma, usually from military service and other events.
3. Social change and upheaval.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
One of my personal rules is that ‘big stories are actually lots of little stories.’ Hence, there are many minor characters that wander in and out of the tales. If I had to choose, I’d say Lysander the wizard because he kept doing the right thing even after getting screwed over repeatedly.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
That would be Marianne at Premade Digital Book Covers. Finding her took many an internet search. Typically, I send her some notes and a rough sketch in MS Paint - and then she works wonders.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
The rule here is to keep the main characters' names short and easy for the reader to remember. That said, I have books that give lists of names from various regions, and I will visit baby name sites that give the names meaning. Many of these names I will alter a bit to allow for language drift.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Someday, I hope to get book reviews.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
I really cannot say.

Q.19 Are you excited about any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!)? What are you reading right now?
This is a tough one because I read so much. New books that impressed me as of late are - 

Rice’s 'Eve of Snows' - whom I know from the ‘Mythic Scribes’ site.

TW Erwin’s 'Monsters, Maces, and Magic' LitRPG series, whom I also know from Mythic Scribes.

Scudiere’s 'Nightshade Forensic FBI Files' series has some issues but is one of the better Urban Fantasy series.

Abe Moss’s Lovecraftian 'Dread Void' series is one I keep up with.

There are others, but these are the ones that come to mind.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
I have attempted to write fantasy/SF stories since my long-ago youth. I tried writing stories with AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) game mechanics for a long while, but that didn’t work well. 

Finally, I ditched the game mechanics almost wholly, focused on the characters - and joined the Mythic Scribes site to hone my writing skills. That and NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) gave me the boost to actually finish novels through the rewrite stage.

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