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Tim Marquitz is the author of Armageddon Bound, the first in a series of books known as the Demon Squad series. Mihir Wanchoo was lucky to be able to sit down and interview Tim regarding his writing styles, his recently published book, future plans for the Demon series, and various odds and ends.
Come back at 12:01 PM EST to Fantasy Book Critic, for a special contest to win a personalized autographed copy of Armageddon Bound or an ecopy of Tim Marquitz's novel.
1] Thank you very much for agreeing to participate in the interview. To start with could you explain in more detail why you decided to become a writer, your journey towards publication, and what it felt like to finally see your hard work’s culmination onto bookshelves?
Thank you for taking the time to interview me.
Writing has always been something I’d enjoyed, though I’d never really thought seriously about committing any time to it until somewhere around 1995. A buddy of mine showed me a novel he’d written and it kind of sparked something in me that said I could do that. I sat down with an idea I’d had fluttering around inside my head and started writing. I didn’t get very far before I realized the execution sucked.
Frustrated, I kept at it and slowly, very slowly, started figuring things out, becoming obsessed along the way. It took me a while to get the basics down and to figure out how to get the words on the paper to resemble the images in my head, but it finally came together. It’s only been a couple of years since I managed to coordinate the whole process and do some measure of justice to my ideas, though I’m still learning how to do it better.
After piling up rejections, getting to see Armageddon Bound on the shelves of my local Barnes and Noble was amazing. Sadly, it was short lived given the nature of print-on-demand, but it helped to reinforce my determination to become a career author.
2] How did you get started in writing? What were the types of books you think helped get you hooked on reading and thereby set you on this path as well?
My mother loves to read and she instilled that interest in me, taking me to the library all the time. I used to read everything I could get my hands on, from science fiction to detective novels, fantasy to historical reference books. Though I’ve recently narrowed my reading down to a select few authors due to being a picky reader and to keep from being too influenced. I still take time out for Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and everything that Clive Barker puts out, as well as the occasional Stephen King book.
I used to write horrible, tough-guy noir stories when I was younger as well as a bunch of dark poetry so it was like my subconscious was pushing me toward writing, but I’m a little dense. It took me a while to get the message.
3] Some writers like to plot out where the characters in their book are going to go and how they are going to grow. While other authors like to let the characters take on a life of themselves. Which type of writer are you and is there an example of a character developing into something that you never expected?
I started out just writing without any kind of prep work, but I learned real fast that I ran into plot trouble doing it that way. After a few tough novels, I began to outline the plot while leaving the visual details to my imagination. Doing it that way allows for constant movement forward while leaving me plenty of room for fun ad libs.
My ideas are pretty clear in my head before I even begin to write, so I can’t really say I’ve encountered any surprise character development in my novels. There are plenty of little adjustments as the picture solidifies itself in my head, but nothing drastic.
4] How would you classify Armageddon Bound in terms of genre and how would you convince a new reader to give your book a try?
I tend to classify Armageddon Bound as Dark Fantasy, though I can see it being called Urban Fantasy, perhaps even some variant of noir.
I’d convince a reader to check out Armageddon Bound by telling them it’s an action-packed, sarcasm-laden, ride through the deepest, darkest trenches of Hell, but in a fun way.
5] When you began writing Armageddon Bound did you plan it to be the first book in the series or was it a standalone in which you saw further possibilities?
Once I got into writing Armageddon Bound, it became clear that the world was so wide open I could write a hundred stories in it. I really enjoyed the concept, so I knew pretty early that I wanted to do more with it.
6] Who are your literary idols and which books are your favorites amongst the many genres that you read in?
First and foremost, it has to be Clive Barker. While I strive to be original and pave my own path, it is Clive’s work that I hold up as the standard bearer for my personal success. I love almost everything he’s put out, having re-read each more times than I can recall.
Along with Clive, I’d have to say Jim Butcher is a big influence. His Dresden Files books inspired me to try something different with my writing. The result was the Demon Squad books.
7] What books have recently impressed you the most? What are you currently reading? What titles are you most looking forward to?
I haven’t done much reading for pleasure recently, but I have been enjoying the Emperor series by Conn Iggulden. I’ve also really liked Ed Erdelac’s The Merkabah Rider series.
8] What do you do when you are not writing or reading books? What are your other hobbies?
Between working, going to school, writing, editing, and my family, I really don’t have much time for anything else. I squeeze in listening to music whenever I can. I also go out to the park on Saturdays and beat people up with padded weapons, but that’s really the extent of my excitement these days.
9] How many books have you planned in the Demon Squad series? What can you tell us about the progress on the second book and could you tell us anything about it [title, plot?]
I haven’t set any limit on the Demon Squad books. As long as they’re still fun to write and the stories are interesting, I’ll continue the series.
The second book in the series is already written and I’ve begun the third. The working title for the second book is Resurrection, while the third is At the Gates.
In Resurrection, Frank is caught up in a plot to resurrect the most powerful demon to ever hold the title of Anti-Christ.
10] What led you to the choice to write this book using the first person narrative, especially in your debut. How difficult/easy was it? What's your idea in the debate between using first or third person narratives in any story?
While I normally write in third person, Frank had too much attitude to be confined to a distant POV. As the story evolved, I realized it couldn't be told from any other perspective and come across the way I envisioned it. Because I was so comfortable with Frank, the first POV just flowed. I had no trouble at all.
I think both third and first person narratives have their place in storytelling. It really depends on the story you want to tell and how deep inside the characters you need to delve, as to which one you should use.
11] In your bio you mention quite a variety of jobs previously how did they inspire you in your writing, could you recall any macabre incidents which might be interesting to the readers?
I use all of my experiences in my writing. I think they help to create more diverse, more realistic characters and visuals.
I’m not sure if my experiences qualify as macabre, but I’ve spent time sitting in a shallow grave separating baby bones from coffin pieces. I’ve buried hundreds of people and have dug up a handful or two along the way.
12] What specifically was your intention behind writing this book and what research did you undertake while writing about it?
Since I began to take writing seriously, my goal has to become a career author. Armageddon Bound is the first step on that career path.
I really didn’t do much research for Armageddon Bound. I spent a few minutes examining the hierarchy of angels, but that was it.
13] Out of all the characters in your book, who is the most fascinating for you to create/write about?
I love writing about Frank. While he’s simple on the surface, there’s an underlying complexity to him that challenges me to find new ways to torment him.
14] You also describe yourself as a “Metalhead” and “raised on a diet of Heavy Metal” could you enlighten us on what your music list usually sounds like?
I listen to a wide variety of metal music, though I’d have to say that Doom Metal dominates my playlists these days. Nothing sets the mood better than the somber dirges of My Dying Bride, Anathema, Candlemass, and Solitude Aeturnus.
15] You are also an aficionado of Live Action Role playing games esp. Amtgard. How did you get started into it and what your current rank in it?
I started in Amtgard when I was fifteen. Big into role playing games, a buddy of mine saw what could only be described as live Dungeons and Dragons being played in a local park, and I was hooked from there.
I’ve earned a number of titles and awards while in the club, but for me, it’s all about getting to hit people with padded sticks.
16] In closing, is there anything else you’d like to add? What can we expect in the future from you?
As for what I’ve got coming up, I’ve a serial, post-apocalyptic ghost story entitled Sepulchral Earth, coming out through Damnation Books in March. After that, I’m planning on releasing the second book in the Demon Squad series, though the details have yet to be worked out.
Everything else after that is up in the air. Thanks for letting me ramble on.