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: or Mybook Paperback: or  Mybook  Hardcover: 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.

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