Larry W. Timm is a husband, father, minister, and writer. He’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is currently serving as the chapter president for the South-Central Chapter of ACFW that meets in Wichita, Kansas. Larry writes a blog about the writing journey at www.larrywtimm.com.
INTERVIEW WITH LARRY TIMM
SS: Why do you write?I believe in the power of story to reach and engage people as no other form of communication can. If you think about it, we learn many of our most important life lessons via a story. That started when we were children. The Old Testament prophet Nathan used a story to convict King David. And was there ever a better story teller than Jesus Christ? The power of story is that it impacts both sides of our brains. I write suspense because that’s what I like to read. I love using tension and conflict to illustrate the battle between good and evil. And I love taking people on an emotional journey that stretches their imagination and enlightens their mind. But probably the simplest reason is that I believe God has called me to write. And in addition to preaching and teaching the truths of God, writing is another powerful way to be an ambassador for Christ.
SS: When did your writer’s journey begin and what has it been like so far? What have been a few high points for you?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. But it was about 3 years ago that I decided to chase my dream of being a novelist. I joined ACFW, and started attending the South-Central Chapter, and those decisions have been so incredibly important to me. I couldn’t imagine going on this journey without the camaraderie of fellow writers, and I love the people that I get to meet with at our local chapter. I’ve completed two manuscripts which have been edited by Deborah Raney. I’ve experienced the incredible pleasure of getting to meet some of my very favorite writers in person, and even been blessed to become friends with some of them, like Nancy Mehl and so many others. And this past year I was blessed by getting to meet another of my favorite authors, René Gutteridge, and even had her critique some of my writing.
I’ve experienced the ups and downs, like any aspiring writer, but have enjoyed every part of the journey so far. I’ve worked hard to study the craft, learn from the comments of contest judges and those who have critiqued my work, and tried to stay open-minded and teachable.
As to the highlights, I’d have to list the two ACF W conferences as up there, because I had the privilege and honor of meeting some of my favorite suspense authors, as well as the blessing of making new friends, and learning from people who genuinely care and want to see me succeed. I also had the privilege of having an article included in the premiere edition of the ACF W Journal magazine. And I was excited to be a double semifinalist in the 2012 Genesis contest, and a finalist in the First Impressions contest this year. I was also thrilled to be the runner up in a contest sponsored by the Central Florida Christian writers and the Florida Christian Writers Convention this year. Another highlight was getting to do an interview with Terri Blackstock for my blog.
SS: What is your blog about and where can people find it?
I started my blog about a year ago with the intention of keeping it specifically focused on writing related things. So every post on there has to do with writers or writing or something related to those topics. I want to make people aware of the incredible stewardship of story that has been entrusted to those who write. I try to use a mixture of humorous posts and serious posts to inspire and encourage writers. I really want to make people, especially writers, laugh and think at the same time. If I can encourage a writer who is feeling down or promote the privilege of writing, then I feel as if the posts are useful. And I have to say, I love preparing the “Top 10” lists that frequently appear on the blog. Some time ago I even wrote a poem called “Ode to Writer’s Block” or “How I Almost Became a Romance Writer.” And I want to promote other writers, so I’ll be doing more interviews on the blog. My blog can be found at www.larrywtimm.com
SS: What attracts you to the suspense genre?
It’s a thrill ride in words. I like to put my characters in tough situations and see what they’re made of. On an emotional level, I love the challenge of taking a reader on an exhilarating journey that leaves them wowed and wanting to get back in line and go on the journey again. On a spiritual level, I think the suspense genre provides incredible opportunities to show how light can penetrate darkness and how good can survive or conquer evil. And in the nitty-gritty of real-life, I think the suspense genre can leave people exhilarated and filled with hope at the same time. Suspense can grab people on so many different levels.
SS: Who or what has helped you grow the most as a writer?
Other than God himself, of course, my incredible wife and children have helped me in more ways than I can begin to say. They continue to sacrifice for me and support me. I could not pursue this dream without them. In addition to my great family, the wonderful writers who make up the South-Central ACFW chapter are a constant source of inspiration. And I have to especially mention Deborah Raney because her coaching and mentoring during the editing process has taught me so much about writing. Additionally, belonging to ACFW has provided many wonderful opportunities for growth. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my wonderful congregation at Gracepoint because they allow me time off to go to conferences and things.
SS: How do you mesh being a minister and writer? And what other jobs have you had that help your task as a writer?
I look at writing as another way of communicating the truths of God. In both my books so far, I’ve had preachers as major characters and have tried to present them realistically. I’ve had many jobs in my life, and they’ll all play into various books eventually (grocery store worker, janitor, city employee—which included duties as a trash truck driver, parks manager, and cemetery sexton). For several years I was a full-time Funeral Director, and am planning a series of suspense books with a funeral director who finds himself in various messes.
SS: What are your goals as a writer?
Other than continuing to grow in the craft, I’m anxious to send out proposals on my latest finished book with the hopes that I can get an agent soon. Also, I’m beginning my next book, which will be book one in a series. And I want to grow my blog, continue to promote writing and encourage other writers. In addition, I want to help figure out strategies to reach more men through Christian fiction, and overcome the stereotype that it is only for women. I think this would benefit all suspense writers.