Friday, September 12, 2014
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Maximilian Timm
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
There really isn't a moment in time that I can look back on that was the definitive moment or decision. My career as a writer was an evolution of thoughts, decisions, career choices and gradual education. I was an athlete growing up, so all of my thoughts and actions were geared toward sports and being a jock, but when I went to college and started to focus my time on the arts, I discovered that not only did I have a knack for the medium, but (most importantly) I really enjoyed it. Truthfully, I was always a storyteller; since a very young age when my sister and I would play make-believe in our backyard evergreen, I have been surrounded by stories. My family is made up of the some of the best storytellers I know, and I fed off of that excitement of imagined adventure. It didn't quite come out of me, though and in a practical sense, until I was mid-way through my college career.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
Since I focused so much time on sports when I was a kid, my dad - bless his artful soul - tried to convince me to read in between my hours on the baseball diamond or running up and down a basketball court. I started gradually by reading autobiographies of athletes (my dad was pretty smart), but when I found James Howe's Bunnicula series of books, I really started to fall in love with reading. When I found Tom Sawyer and then The Hobbit, I was hooked.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The WishKeeper?
There has been a lot of soul searching over the past decade of my life. Nothing tragic or drastic, but the same kind of soul searching any twenty and thirty-something experiences. "Who am I?" "What's my purpose here?" That kind of thing. It has always been a challenge for me to "grow up". Very basically, I simply don't want to (haha), and this back-and-forth of being forced to be an adult, and yet still very much feel like a kid inspired my thoughts which then inspired my actions. Thankfully the actions were healthy ones and I channeled the thoughts into my writing. So with that ammunition of never wanting to grow up (that Peter Pan syndrome), I decided I would continue reading children's stories and young adult material, even though I was well beyond the intended age range. Truthfully, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings gave me an outlet to dream, imagine, and live in a make-believe world while still being an adult.
But while I was doing all of this growing up stuff, I found that doubt began to creep into my life. Doubt that would keep me from pushing forward and going after my dreams. That small theme lead me to believe that I was in some way flawed or broken, and I eventually learned that so many of us think this way; this way of life that stunts our innate abilities. Through this internal struggle, I was able to consider how difficult certain people's lives actually in comparison to mine. The people who are deemed "unfit" or handicapped or physically incapable of doing things other "normal" people can. It eventually spawned my little hero, Shea. Shea, at her core, is a handicapped teenager who just wants to fit in. I can't imagine how difficult it is for kids who have physical ailments that keep them from participating in all of the fun other kids can who are not handicapped. It's heartbreaking, really. So, I wanted to create a hero for those kids; a hero that proves just because you may be different, doesn't mean you are incapable.
4. Of all creatures, why did you choose fairies as your main species?
It wasn't a conscious choice, really. In the early drafts of The WishKeeper there weren't any fairies at all! I tried writing a story about a man who had lost his kingdom and didn't know he was born of royalty from this fictional land (this was the first incarnation of Grayson's character). Eventually, through the drafts of Grayson's adventure, he met a small fairy with a chipped wing. Her name was Shea and as I developed the story, she just became louder and more important. After some major rewrites, she pushed her way to the top of the list and forced me to write her story instead.
5. Would you like to, if you could, be a WishKeeper or stay a WishMaker?
I love this question because I've never really thought of it. I always just considered myself a WishMaker simply because I'm human and not a fairy! I think, at the end of the day, I would prefer to remain a WishMaker, but it sure would be fun to experience the magic of flight and to see the world through the eyes of such a small yet powerful little creature.
6. Will we ever see another Paragonia book?
I laughed at this question because even though I have Books Two and Three "in progress", they are taking longer than I expected to finish, and I tend to wonder on the same question!
Long story short, yes you will see Book Two (The WishMaker) and Book Three (The WishingKing) within the next couple years - less I hope.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I love comedy adventures. The Romancing The Stones and Indiana Jones movies. One of these days I'll release a story that consists of wild adventure with a lot of laughs, but the fairies come first.
8. What was your original goal while writing The WishKeeper?
I answered this one in questions #4.
9. What would you do if you were faced with Shea's issues: the crippled wings and the constant teasing?
I don't know if I would be as strong as Shea, to be honest. A lot of myself is in the Thane character, and I modeled Shea after who I wish I could be. She is my little inspiration because I just don't know how difficult a life it would be to be the lonely and physically altered outcast - especially in a world where these creatures completely rely on their wings and flight.
Thane, in Book Two, will be dealing with some major personal issues; issues that I will most likely have a difficult time relaying to the audience. I'm doing what I can to be faithful to the little guy.
10. Would you like to see The WishKeeper in theaters or on TV? If so, what actors would you like to see play your characters?
Of course! What writer wouldn't like to see their creation on screen? I've thought long and hard about which actors could play certain roles. Bryce Dallas Howard is an amazing actress (and person), so I would love to see her take on the role of Elanor, Shea's mom. For the rest of the characters, for some reason, I bounce between a lot of different actors and I hesitate to call them out here mainly because I don't want to affect any readers' imaginations. I like the readers to come up with their own images. If and when the movie version ever comes out, they'll be able to rejoice and/or complain over the casting choices. :)
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
Thankfully, I see myself doing the same exact thing I'm doing now. It took me a long time to get to a place to be content with my career, and if I never make a million bucks doing this, I will be perfectly OK with it. I just like telling stories, so I will continue doing that as much as possible. I would like to get out to book conventions and local book stores more to do some readings and perform some book signing, however. Hopefully the next decade allows me the freedom to do so.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
Duh, playing shortstop for the Chicago Cubs!
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
It's rather obvious since The WishKeeper is the first book in a trilogy, so I am currently working on Book Two, The WishMaker. I am also writing a couple screenplays - I'll always be a screenwriter in some way.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
I hesitate to say Tolkien, primarily because I think I would be so intimidated by him that I wouldn't be able to get anything done. He would, of course, be any fantasy writer's dream come true. A possibly more realistic one would be Patrick Rothfus (author of The Name of the Wind and The Kingkiller Chronicles series). Pat is a Wisconsin native like myself and just a great, down to earth, warm-hearted soul. He is always friggin brilliant, so I would love to pick that brain of his.
Oh, and can I say Neil Gaiman too?
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
--I was a star athlete (primarily track and field) for most of my life.
--I have driven from Chicago to Los Angeles ten times...in nine different cars...in 11 years.
--I have never actually met a fairy...but intend to one of these days.
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