Tuesday, November 21, 2023

David Whittet the Independent Author Network Interview


David Whittet

David Whittet is a family doctor, a multi-award-winning independent filmmaker, and an author.

Storytelling has been in David’s DNA for as long as he can remember. As a child, a dramatization of Oliver Twist had a profound effect on him. In its day, Dickens’ novel reformed the poor law, which convinced David of the written word’s potential to change the world.

He decided then that he wanted to be a writer. Subsequently, A J Cronin’s novels inspired David to become a doctor, especially The Citadel, which pre-empted the National Health Service’s foundation in the UK and beyond. Further proof that books change lives.

Medicine is a constant source of inspiration for David’s writing and brings a gritty realism to his work. Like writing, general practice is about being interested in people’s stories. The colourful cast of characters David has met throughout his career––colleagues and patients alike––breathe life into his writing.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

David Whittet: Goliath and the Gang is the second book in my Gang Girl trilogy. The first novel introduced us to Alicia, the daughter of a notorious gangster. We shared both the joy and despair of her lifelong struggle to break free from the Gang and build a new life for herself.

In Goliath and the Gang, we meet Aaron, Alicia’s beloved son. Aaron is cruelly separated from his mother when he’s just five years old. Raised by his aunt after losing his mother, Aaron’s uncle bullies him mercilessly, and his cousins treat him with disdain. His dream of making something of his life, of becoming an entrepreneur like his late father, rapidly disappears in the wake of his miserable childhood.

The sudden appearance of a mysterious Māori diviner sparks hope in Aaron’s heart. Is she the anonymous patron who will change everything? And will he win the heart of her haughty foster daughter?

Twenty years later, Aaron is the CEO of an industry-leading power company and still fighting the Godzone Gorillas—the Gang that kidnapped his mother.

IAN: Is the Gang Girl series available in print, e-book, or both?

David Whittet: All my books are available in print and e-book. Gang Girl is also available as an audiobook. I plan to make an audiobook of Goliath and the Gang.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your books?

David Whittet: This is my author page on Amazon, where you can buy copies of all my books.

The Gang Girl audiobook, beautifully narrated by Romy Hooper and Paul Harrop, is available from Audible and all major audiobook platforms worldwide.

I also sell personally signed books through my website DavidWhittet.com

IAN: What inspired you to write Gang Girl?

David Whittet Gang Girl was born of the twenty-plus years I spent working as a rural doctor in a remote New Zealand community with a strong gang presence. Goliath and the Gang takes inspiration from my move south to the beautiful Waitaki District, with its magnificent lakes and hydroelectric power stations. Privatisation of the power industry remains a contentious issue in New Zealand. It was headline news when I first drafted the story in the early 2010s, with the government selling shares in Mighty River Power, as it was called back then. Power and conflict against the stunning background of the Waitaki Valley proved the perfect canvas to take Alicia’s story to the next generation.

IAN: How did you come up with the titles?

David Whittet: Goliath and the Gang begins with a mother reading her five-year-old son a bedtime story, David and Goliath, from a book of Bible stories. After finishing the story, Alicia is abducted by the gang and cruelly separated from her beloved son, Aaron. Left in shock and determined to avenge his mother’s kidnapping, Aaron decides then and there that he has two sworn enemies, Goliath and the gang. I chose matching titles for the series to ensure continuity. The first book is Gang Girl, followed by Goliath and the Gang, and the final book will be Godzone and the Gorillas.

IAN: How much of the boos is realistic?

David Whittet: While Gang Girl and Goliath and the Gang are works of fiction, Alicia and Aaron’s struggles reflect those of themany extraordinary men and women I have met in the course of my work as a family doctor in rural New Zealand. Alicia’s plight, in particular, has resonated with readers. At the heart of Gang Girl, we have a strong woman determined to take charge of her own destiny. In these remote communities, many women battle to escape poverty and build a new life for themselves. Their courage is my inspiration and the lifeblood of the story.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

David Whittet: While my second novel, The Road to Madhapur, is also fictitious, it draws on my personal experience of family medicine in both New Zealand and India. My first-hand knowledge of medicine in the raw and many real-life events helped shape the story. I have relived these episodes while writing the book. My time at a remote township in the Mayurbhanj district of India was during a period of considerable unrest following the recent murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines by Hindi militants. The community remained in crisis, with the tension between the Hindu and Christian communities threatening to ignite at any moment. Graham Staines’ widow, Gladys, stayed on in the Mayurbhanj and continued to provide a home for leprosy victims. I was privileged to meet Gladys and witness her extraordinary work caring for the poor and the destitute.

IAN: What books have most influenced your life?

David Whittet The art of storytelling has been part of my being for as long as I can remember. As a nine-year-old, I looked forward to Sunday evenings and the classic serial on television. A dramatization of Oliver Twist inspired me to become a writer. Dickens’ novel brought enormous social reform and forced the repeal of the poor law in Britain and beyond. The written word could change the world, and I knew then that I had to be an author. Books also influenced my career choice. A J Cronin, a doctor and a writer, is now largely remembered for the popular TV series Dr Finlay’s Casebook. But it was his early novel The Citadel that inspired me to become a doctor. Cronin’s book exposed inadequacies in the health system and shamed the British government into launching the National Health Service. A model subsequently replicated throughout the world. Proof positive that books change lives.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

David Whittet: Of all the incredible books I’ve read this year, Homecoming by Kate Morton stands out with its captivating multi-generational story and exquisitely crafted writing. Kate Morton wrote the book during the Covid-19 lockdown, having returned to her homeland in Australia, much like the story’s protagonist. This gripping story has stayed with me long after finishing the book.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

David Whittet: With three books published and three more in progress, am I ready to hang up the stethoscope and become a full-time writer? Not quite. Medicine is a constant source of inspiration for my writing. Like writing, general practice is about being interested in people’s stories. Without the colourful cast of characters that enter my consulting room each day––who knows? My words might dry up.

IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

David Whittet: I am a New Zealander, and my debut novel, Gang Girl, is set in our beautiful country. However, my second book, The Road to Madhapur, has a much broader scope, spanning rural New Zealand and the vast plains of India. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted my plans to revisit Madhapur to research the book. My current work in progress, Threepence on the Carpet, also has a vast canvas. The story follows Tommy, a would-be Kiwi musician, on his overseas experience in London in the swinging nineteen sixties. Although much will have changed from the novel’s setting, I would love to return to London for inspiration.

IAN: Who designed the covers?

David Whittet: I am fortunate to have found the incredibly talented New Zealand designer Holly Dunn. I have worked with Holly on the covers for each of my novels. She has a gift for capturing the spirit of a book in her cover designs. Holly’s expertise has helped me develop an author profile, which is crucial in the present indie publishing environment. We are already working on the covers and internal design for my next two books¾before I have finished the manuscripts!

Like editing, cover design can make or break a book’s success¾and an author’s career. I’m so glad I found Holly.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your books?

David Whittet: I’m not sure if my research for Gang Girl was the hardest part of writing the book, but it was definitely the scariest. Determined to make the novel authentic, I fronted up to a notorious gangster’s house. My heart beat even louder than the rottweiler that greeted me at the gate. I banged on the door. No reply. Muffled voices came from inside. Then, a nine-year-old boy gingerly put his head around the doorframe. 

‘Is your father at home?’ I asked.

‘I’ll go and ask him,’ the boy answered.

A loud voice boomed from inside. ‘Is it the cops?’

‘No,’ the boy replied. ‘It’s the doctor.’

‘The doctor? We didn’t call the doctor. Are you sure it’s not the cops?’

‘Positive. It’s the same dude that stitched my hand.’ He shot me an evil look. ‘And it bloody hurt.’

When the gangster finally emerged with his full-facial tattoo, he told me about his daughter’s lifelong struggle to escape the gang and forge a life of her own. I have endeavoured to capture that brave woman’s spirit in every page of Gang Girl.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

David Whittet: Seize the moment! It’s never too late to follow your dreams. I was nine years old when I decided that I wanted to be a writer, but I published my first novel in my sixties. Age is no barrier! Take every opportunity life affords us, and remember, in years to come, it’s the missed opportunities we will regret most.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

David Whittet: If only there were more than twenty-four hours in the day! I am currently working on three new books, each competing for my time. The buzz surrounding the launch of Goliath and the Gang has inspired me to complete Godzone and the Gorillas, the final book in the Gang Girl trilogy. I feel a great responsibility to the many readers who have told me how much they have enjoyed the first two books. Alongside Godzone and the Gorillas, I am working on my next stand-alone novel, Threepence on the Carpet. Tommy is a Kiwi musician caught up in the hippie movement while on his overseas experience in Britain in the 1960s. During the day, he works for a South African-owned bank. But at night, he writes and performs anti-apartheid folk songs with his flower power girlfriend. There’s trouble when his two worlds collide. Writing Threepence on the Carpet has been a blast—it’s full of real-life occurrences from the sixties, like the Aldermaston marches, the ban-the-bomb demonstrations, the political scandals, and, of course, The Beatles. This was truly the decade that changed Britain and sent shockwaves around the world.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Seas of the Zovah by Tim McKay

Seas of the Zovah - Book Two of the Draemeir Chronicle 

Destiny calls from the ashes of Kartumol.

The battle for the fallen fortress is over.

But the war for every soul in the land of Naevoroth is about to begin.

Darkness hides in every heart, and no one is who they seem. Heroes become villains when the quest to vanquish evil comes at any cost.

In the sequel to Rise of Dresca, the last soldier of Ceremai disappears.

Those whose lives he forever changed will begin to piece together the mysteries of their world and the powers growing within. Hunted by the corrupt and malevolent alike, they’ll band together against the ultimate threat.

Or die trying for those who come after to find a better way. 

About the Author:

Tim McKay is an unrepentant indie author from Ottawa, Canada. He used to be a pastor, still cares about good and
evil, and still strives to create meaningful experiences for others. He has degrees in history, theology, and public policy, along with a diploma in professional writing, but likes nothing more than hiking in the woods, running along the Rideau Canal, and connecting with the people he loves. Oh, and reading a good book.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Glendall C. Jackson III - The IAN Interview

 Glendall C. Jackson III

Glendall C. Jackson III is an award-winning writer who has long specialized in deeply-reported non-fiction. Naked Came the Detective, a mystery that explores the hidden world of high-end sex work, is his first novel. He has previously published two non-fiction books, one of which was a national best seller, under a different name. Naked Came the Detective has earned many laudatory reviews and won a first-place prize in the Paris Book Festival.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Glendall C. Jackson: In many murder mysteries, the call girl gets killed. This novella turns that tired trope on its head. A skilled and versatile sex worker learns that one of her clients, a prominent businessman, was brutally murdered just hours after their last date. With her unique access to the upper echelon of Washington D.C. society, she embarks on an investigation that leads to a shocking discovery. The book is intended to provide a vivid portrait of high-end sex work.

IAN: Is Naked Came the Detective published in print, e-book or both?


IAN: Where can we go to buy Naked Came the Detective?

Glendall C. Jackson: Amazon.com.  Barnes & Noble.

IAN: What inspired you to write Naked Came the Detective?

Glendall C. Jackson: There is a lot of misinformation about sex work in the media and I thought using a literary format might get closer to the truth than a typical nonfiction account. I recalled that a U.S. government analyst had once written a detective novel set in North Korea because he wanted to portray the reality of that country without worrying about the typical negative judgements required in government intelligence reports. I decided the same concept could be applied to a novel about sex work. Many people do not realize that high-end sex workers learn a lot about their clients lives and secrets. That gave me the idea that a sex worker could investigate a murder using her client list.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Glendall C. Jackson: I just winged it. I had the general idea that each chapter should focus on a client or friend of the main character, with the names (as these were pseudonyms) in alphabetical order. So, I knew from the beginning there couldn’t be more than 26 chapters. I wrote the first draft very quickly, in about three weeks. Then I spent three months fixing and adjusting the plot and adding in descriptions and literary touches.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Glendall C. Jackson: My working title at first was simply Sex Worker Detective. Then I remembered there was a famous literary hoax in the 1960s called Naked Came the Stranger. A group of newspaper reporters joined to write a bad erotic novel and it became a best seller. It seemed natural to call my book Naked Came the Detective.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Glendall C. Jackson: The mystery is all made up. But I worked hard to get the depiction of high-end sex work accurate. I interviewed several sex workers. In particular, a retired sex worker provided a great deal of insight into her experiences and clients and even provided some helpful documentation. Some of the scenes in the book come directly from stories told to me by sex workers. I also had various drafts reviewed by sex workers, including a prominent writer on sex work, to ensure accuracy. 

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Glendall C. Jackson: I have been a writer for many years, but it’s been strictly non-fiction. I decided to write this book under a pseudonym so it did not get confused with my non-fiction writing.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

Glendall C. Jackson: I did. I have some experience in graphic design and photography.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing Naked Came the Detective?

Glendall C. Jackson: The hardest part was coming up with an interesting and compelling plot. As a nonfiction writer, I am used to writing about things that have already happened and finding out why. Now I had to invent a storyline — a part of my brain I had not used much before. I didnt really know where the story was going until I started writing it and adding in the puzzle pieces.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing Naked Came the Detective and what was it?

Glendall C. Jackson: I learned that I enjoyed writing fiction. I have been thrilled by the very positive response and perhaps I will continue on this path.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Glendall C. Jackson: Undecided. This book was intended as a stand-alone but some reviewers have urged that the main character should return in a sequel.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Richard R. Becker – The IAN Interview

Richard R. Becker

Richard R. Becker is an award-winning, best-selling American author. His debut collection of literary fiction and psychological thrillers began as a project to write one story a week for 50 weeks. It broke into the top 100 literary short story collections on Amazon for three consecutive months. It also won first place in the ABR Book Excellence Awards, Spring 2022 BookFest Awards, 2023 Book Excellence Awards, and was a finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards.

His debut novel Third Wheel was released in August 2023 to positive reviews and is on track to become an Amazon best seller. It was named a finalist in the Global Book Awards.  

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Richard R. Becker: Third Wheel is a powerful coming-of-age thriller about belonging, betrayal, and breaking away. It is the story of a boy trying to find his identity in the pre-boomtown hours of Las Vegas, 1982.

Brady Wilks, a 14-year-old transplant from the Midwest, forges a brotherly bond with an older teenage neighbor and inherits a friend group that accepts him more than his family at home. But everything begins to unravel when a small-time drug dealer joins the group and tempts them into making big money by selling cartel-supplied heroin.

Desolate and gritty, Third Wheel follows Brady as he navigates life, an improbable romantic interest, and a Mob connection in the dusty suburban outskirts of this infamous 24-hour desert town. Estranged from his family at home, Brady takes chances on random and fragile relationships until the stakes and consequences threaten the lives of those he cares about.

Third Wheel is a triumphant debut novel, and Brady Wilks is unforgettable as a transformative protagonist. Five-time award-winning author Richard R. Becker once again shares his unique insight into the human condition.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Third Wheel?

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Apple  Walmart  

Google Play  Bookshop  Kobo

Everywhere books are sold

IAN: What inspired you to write Third Wheel?

Richard R. Becker: Third Wheel picked me more than I chose it. I was working on a short story collection as a follow-up to my debut collection, 50 States. The plan was to write 50 stories that followed up or intersected with those in 50 States.

When I wrote the short story Third Wheel, I immediately knew it needed to be my debut novel. I could see the second, third, and fourth chapters easily. So, I published my second short story collection as a 10-story Kindle exclusive and committed to writing my novel. Twenty-four weeks later, I had the draft in hand.

IAN: How much of the book is realistic?

Richard R. Becker: While Third Wheel is fiction, I gave Brady some of my childhood to serve as a framework. I’m sure this was one reason I was drawn into writing his story. We’re different in how we react to and handle circumstances, but we share many experiences.

This isn’t that unusual. Many writers use little bits of their lives in their work. I’m no exception. Some of the stories in 50 States are grounded in truth as well.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Richard R. Becker: My work is as eclectic as my reading. It fits best within the literary fiction spectrum but almost always with a genre-bending twist. For example, about half the stories in 50 States would be considered literary fiction while the balance would be considered psychological thrillers and speculative fiction, with paranormal undertones.

Third Wheel is a coming-of-age literary fiction, but with a crime thriller backbone. The stakes are considerably higher than most coming-of-age stories.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Third Wheel?

Richard R. Becker: I’ve always believed that we take out of books what we bring in with us. However, I did want Brady to come away with something. I wanted him to learn that it’s never too late to change direction.

No matter how hard life feels or how many bad things happen, it’s never too late until it is catastrophically too late. In the novel, the question is whether or not he can learn this lesson in time.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Richard R. Becker: Writing literature may be new for me, but writing as a career isnt new. While I didnt initially set out to be a writer, Ive enjoyed a successful career as one. Ive been an advertising copywriter, journalist, and creative strategist for more than three decades. The primary difference is that Im now writing my own stories instead of everybody elses.

I still work with a handful of select clients and dont see this changing anytime soon. Maybe Ill feel differently by a fifth, a sixth, or a tenth novel.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Richard R. Becker: Writing is a job. Its best to treat it as such. I would have never finished 50 States had I not set Mondays aside to start a short story and then commit to completing it by the following week. Thats how my first project began. It was a challenge to write 50 stories in 50 weeks.

I followed the same process for Third Wheel, writing one chapter a week for 24 weeks. By setting a deadline, I could remind myself that these projects were just as important as any other job deadline I might have to meet during the week. And then, after I finished the draft, I invested even more time in making it right — maybe eight months of revisions, reviews, editors, beta readers, and production.

IAN: If you had to choose, which writers would you consider mentors?

Richard R. Becker: There are too many to include, really. Generally, I credit Earnest Hemingway and John Updike for writing straight, honest prose about people. It doesnt matter what genre you are writing in or how far afield your plot might be; we tune in to characters we care about, whether or not we like them.

Aside from those writers, I must mention Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, and David Mamet. Ive taken online master classes from all of them, and they helped me take my work to the next level.

IAN: Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?

Richard R. Becker: More than a few. Im especially fond of S.A. Cosby, Murakami Haruki, Jandy Nelson, Joe R. Lansdale, and Pierce Brown. They are all very different writers, yet they enjoy exploring the human condition as much as I do.

There are dozens of other writers I could name. My list of favorite books has swelled to about 100 different titles by almost as many authors. Im looking forward to discovering and adding more. Ive even opened up a small online store to help promote them.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Richard R. Becker: I’m currently writing a psychological thriller set in Maine. The story stands alone but exists within the 50 States universe as does most of my work.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Richard R. Becker: Yes, thank you very much. This journey has been incredible for me—from commercial to literary writing. I am so grateful that thousands of people gave my first book a chance, and now it seems thousands more will do the same for Third Wheel.

The support has been inspiring and even overwhelming at times. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Tim McKay-The IAN Interview


Hey there, I’m Tim McKay. I’m an author, editor, and marketer from Ottawa, Canada. I used to be a pastor. I like to say I still care about good and evil, and I still strive to create meaningful experiences for myself and others. Now I do it through writing.

I have degrees in history, theology, and public policy, along with a diploma in professional writing, so the journey to become an author has been a long one. But it’s a hunger I’ve always had, and nothing in my life has felt so right as when I put my stories to paper.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Tim McKay: Rise of Dresca is the opening chapter in what I hope to be a much longer series.

My goal was to create the sort of book I loved as a teen. The kind you can’t put down and you finish in one or two sittings, realizing with a start that you lost track of time and it’s 3am and you need to sleep so you can pass that math test tomorrow (or, now, today).

Rise of Dresca is like that. It’s dark, intense, action-packed and fast-paced. The fantasy world is rich and detailed, so you feel like you’re there, but I tried to focus more on the experience, letting readers feel the magic for themselves. The first encounters with “draemeir” magic in the book and the sword duel scenes suck you right in and feel every blow, every spark, every thrill.

All you really need to know beyond that is that this book has lots of monsters and dragons. Evil is everywhere, and no one is safe. It’s meant for older teens and young adults, but I also wrote it with busy adults in mind who still love fantasy but just don’t have the time for 800-page epics.

IAN: Is Rise of Dresca published in print, e-book or both?

Tim McKay: Both. You can find Rise of Dresca on Amazon in eBook (and Kindle Unlimited), paperback, and hardcover versions.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Rise of Dresca?

Tim McKay. Here are the Amazon (US) links for Rise of Dresca and universal links to your local Amazon store for those outside the US. Ebook: Amazon.com or Mybook Paperback: Amazon.com or  Mybook  Hardcover: Amazon.com or Mybook

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Tim McKay: Oh, definitely. I try to keep a very fast pace to my writing. So I vary my sentence lengths but lean heavily on short, punchy sentences to drive the action.

I also spend much more time describing sensations than traits. You won’t find walls of text detailing the bark consistency of trees in forests, but you will find vivid descriptions of how my characters experience magic or the emotional (and physical) pains and upheavals they go through during the story. And partnered with the fast pace and sense of flow I try to create, those rich but action-driven descriptions really pull you into the scenes and make them feel real. It lets the reader relax their mind a bit and allow the story to take over.

And that’s another thing about my style. I aim for vivid but simple. You won’t have trouble reading the words and seeing the pictures as I describe them. I think a lot of authors, especially new authors, are so busy trying to impress readers with convoluted and flowery language that they rob their stories of imagination. Some readers are looking for something denser like that, sure, but I write very intentionally for those seeking intensity, entertainment, and a rich reading experience that hooks you and never lets up.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Tim McKay: Without giving too many spoilers, Dresca started out as my name for a dragon encountered early in the book. This dragon, along with the main character Valdaris Drascar, stays pivotal to the series going forward. But ultimately the name Dresca refers to Valdaris Drascar, alluding to the transformation he undergoes in the book and the direction his life will take over the course of the series. I can’t say more than that, except to hint that my book is one where you might have to pay attention to chapter titles if you really want answers ahead of what the story reveals.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Tim McKay: I have a lot of fun answering this question, starting with my copyright disclaimer on the first page of the book. Only a few early readers have noticed it, and all have had a good laugh. Most fiction authors add a standard disclaimer about any resemblance to events or people in the book being purely coincidental, but I decided to go a step further. I added this line:

“If you believe you see yourself reflected in the pages that follow, try to remember: there’s no way the author likes you enough to incorporate you into his work.”

My friends and family got a kick out of that too.

But to give a better answer, I think any honest author would tell you it’s impossible for the events and people in your life not to seep into your books in some form or other. I’m very careful when writing not to slip into caricatures and to avoid depicting real individuals, but even my most outlandish characters have some basis in real traits or attitudes I’ve witnessed over the years. So the range of wild personalities you see should give some idea of the life I’ve lived – it’s been an adventure!

IAN: How is Rise of Dresca from others in your genre?

Tim McKay: I put a lot of thought and effort into making my book different from what’s become the norm in fantasy. For starters, my book is much shorter than your average epic (Rise of Dresca hits about 54,000 words), even though it’s just the first part of a longer series. I wanted my book (and the chapters inside) to feel bite-sized, something more digestible for those new to the genre or who love fantasy but just don’t have the time for egregiously long books. I went for longer than a novella, shorter than a King or Tolkien book.

I also wanted something more accessible, so I broke a few formatting norms. My book has larger print in a sans serif font, increased line spacing, a full space between paragraphs, and no indents. It looks and reads much more like a story you’d read online, and that’s by design. The printing industry just hasn’t caught up with online accessibility standards, and that was something I wanted to push back on.

IAN: Name someone outside of your family members who you feel supported you in the creation of your work.

Tim McKay: My best friend Greg, going back to when we were thirteen, has supported me more than anyone. He’s one of those impossibly kind people without a bad bone in his body, and he’s stuck by me through all the ups and downs of my life. He’s also an incredible web developer and single-handedly designed my author website, which has built some awesome traction for my book.

So, naturally, I gave him the first signed proof of my book, with a few choice expletives in the note that anyone who knows my story would find doubly entertaining.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Tim McKay: Absolutely. I treat writing as both art and investment. I’m creating something of value, both entertaining and meaningful, and I want to share that with the world. But it’s also an investment in the opportunity to do more of what I love. Every book bought or downloaded lets me create more, and honestly, I’ve never felt so fulfilled in my life.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Tim McKay: I’ve wanted to be an author since the day I learned how to juggle. I was ten.

Our gym teacher brought in a friend who knew how to juggle and taught us some of the basic motions. None of my classmates took it any further than that, but over the next few weeks, I taught myself to juggle using marbles or rubber balls from among my little brother’s toys. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Juggling was always an escape for me. I would think better and my imagination would go wild. So whenever I was bored as a kid or stuck in “less-than-ideal” situations, I’d start juggling and fly away into worlds of fantasy. Most of my childhood was decent, but it took some darker turns if I’m being transparent here. And even as a kid, I knew those situations weren’t okay.

So fantasy became my way not just to escape, but to imagine a better world, refusing to believe that what I saw was “how it has to be.” I think that’s what makes fantasy fiction so powerful. Even when it delves into darker themes and conflict with terrible evils, it teaches us to push back and stand tall, fighting for the world as it could and should be.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Tim McKay: Brace yourself. My book is one that will have you gripping your chair from start to finish. The intensity doesn’t let up and you’ll finish hungry for more. I loved books like that when I was younger (and still do), and I hope you will too.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Tim McKay: I’m about 5 chapters into the sequel for Rise of Dresca. Minus a new prologue, it picks up right where the first book leaves off, and I’m hoping to publish sometime in February 2024. So readers won’t have to wait long for answers.

The Draemeir Chronicle will be at least 6 books.