Monday, July 26, 2010

Character Interview with George Sullivan

My name is George Sullivan, and you can find me in the newly released romantic comedy The Sweet Distraction. It’s available at

Hello George! What makes you special?
What differentiates me is that I’m a full-time author of mystery/thrillers with no day job. Most writers have something reliable to fall back on, but I chose to make this my vocation and let the cards fall where they may. Having no steady paycheck makes it difficult at times, but I manage to get by and have a great time with my life.

Tell us about your most current adventure.
My latest adventure, The Sweet Distraction, was released on June 1, 2010. In this story, I’m about as far down the food chain as you can get—my last few books haven’t sold well, I drink too much, I sleep around and I’m in hock to a nasty bookie named The Greek for a gambling debt there’s no way in hell I can repay. I don’t know what other train wreck is in store, but my agent arranges for me to write the life story of a notorious mob boss named Vito Pasquale, who is a big fan of my books. The offer he makes is too good to refuse and I think I can write the book, get my reputation back on track, take the money and run. What I don’t see coming is his hot daughter, Cookie. Man, this is one woman who doesn’t like taking no for an answer when she sees someone she really wants, and even though I try to keep her at arm’s length, she wears me down and we start a hot clandestine affair. I only hope her father doesn’t find out! I’d look terrible in a cement overcoat in the middle of Lake Erie.

If you could offer your author advice, what would it be?
The next time you write about me, how about showing more of the kinky sex I like to indulge in once in a while? Hey, I’m a footloose player with a lot of adventures to my credit. How about sharing those with the world?

Are you happy with the way people perceive you?
I’m pretty happy with the way people perceive me. I’m laid back, but I like to have control over my life and I’m the original Good Time Charlie. The only people whose perception I could care less about are the critics. Nothing against them because they have a job to do, but I think critics are about as useful as training wheels on a bowling ball. Of course, the fact that they trashed my last couple of books probably influenced my opinion.

Tell us a little bit about your world.
I live in a nice little apartment in Kettering, Ohio outside Dayton. In addition to writing, I like to gamble, play the field and hook up with friends for fun. I take the business of being an author seriously and have fun doing promotional things like interviews and personal appearances, especially when they take me on the road. My philosophy on life is to enjoy it now because you only go around once and I’m afraid I might miss something good. I’d never forgive myself for that.

Is humor important? Why or why not?
It’s very important. I’ve never been keen on people who take themselves too seriously. Being serious about your work is one thing, but you have to temper whatever life throws at you with some laughs. Otherwise you’ll just walk around being gloomy all the time, and who wants to be around people like that? You have to follow the philosophy live, laugh and love. That and a good bottle of Irish whiskey will get you through just about anything.

Is expressing love difficult for you? Why?
Yeah, it is difficult for me to express. In my thirty-two years, I got into a serious relationship once and it turned out to be a disaster. It’s never been easy for me to say the L word to anyone and the one time I did, the fallout was so bad it still gives me nightmares.

Did you do anything special after your first adventure?
I took Vito Pasquale up on his offer of an all expenses paid trip to Tuscany for a month, with Cookie as my companion. She’d been there before, but it was a new experience for me. Man, what a great time we had! Something about that place brought out the lusty beast in both of us, and the food and wine was pretty good, too.

What’s the kinkiest thing you’ve done?
A few years ago, I took a trip to Jamaica, alone. I was there to research a new book and see the sights, but what I saw at the clothing optional beaches beat the natural scenery. One night I hooked up with a group of partiers and after a few Mojitos, the fun began. That was my first orgy and it went on all night. I lost track of how many were involved, but it was the first time I’ve ever had sex on the beach. It was fun, but I made a disturbing discovery—that sand gets ev-er-y-where!

What’s the oddest thing you’ve seen or done?
On my trip to Jamaica, an acquaintance took me to a Santeria ritual, complete with an animal sacrifice. I’ve never been an overly devout person, but that sent me running to the nearest parish looking for salvation. Spooky stuff!

Tell us what it’s like to spend a day with you.
When I’m working on a book, I follow a pretty regimented routine. I’m generally up by 7:00 and working by 7:30 or 8:00. I’ll stay with it all morning and most of the afternoon if I’m really on a roll, then knock off around 5:00. After grabbing something to eat, it might be party time, hitting a couple of local bars and clubs I like, maybe catching a ball game or a good music group. If I’m under a deadline, the work continues through the evening until I can’t see the computer screen anymore, then I crash. I might take a break to catch a good movie on TV, preferably a classic film noir, and I usually have jazz playing in the background when I’m working. If I’m taking a break to get my head together, I’ll walk at one of the local parks or call a buddy to play racquetball.

What’s the one thing you wish you could change about yourself or someone you love?
Sometimes I wish I’d take planning for my future a little more seriously and stop living in the here and now. It’s fun, but I tend to forget that I’m not getting any younger and this won’t last forever. I tend to put off little things, like annuities and retirement planning.

How do you deal with stress?
Long walks on hiking trails are great for unwinding, and so is playing racquetball. There’s a tremendous amount of angst to be relieved by belting that little ball across the court.

Tell us about…
One time we held a release party for my second book and I was approached by an attractive woman. She chatted as though she knew me very well and she looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place her. I thought, Wow, an honest to goodness fan who’s followed my career! Then I remembered that we’d hooked up a couple of years earlier. I couldn’t remember her name! Talk about embarrassing.

Finally, is there something you wished we had asked, but didn’t?
Yeah, I figured you’d ask if I’m going to return in another adventure. I wish I could answer that, but it’s really up to the guy who created me so I guess we’ll both have to wait and see. He’s probably waiting to see the royalties before he decides if I’m worth talking about again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Author spotlight with Tim Smith

Dear Tim, thanks for agreeing to this interview. I have to ask, what has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
I suppose having an active imagination and the desire to create something that people would enjoy. I’ve always been a creative person, whether it was music, art or photography, and I reached a point where I wanted to add writer to the list.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
I felt elated, like a lifelong dream had finally come true. If I recall, my feet didn’t touch the ground for three days. Even now, five books later, I still get the same feeling when a new one has been accepted for publication.

How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
Definitely a plotter. With me, an engaging plot is everything, whether I’m writing contemporary romantic comedies or mystery/thrillers. Even erotica needs a reason for the characters to get it on, unless your story is about the life of a professional escort.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
Colorful characters, realistic dialogue, believable yet imaginative situations and great atmosphere.

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?
When you find a good story idea that you’re passionate about, discipline yourself to sit down, write it, polish it, and don’t give up your dream of getting it published.

What influences your writing? And why?
This may sound odd, but my biggest influences have come from movies. I appreciate good cinematic story telling, especially anything scripted by Billy Wilder and Blake Edwards. When I think of what to say in certain life situations, I’m more likely to quote Billy Wilder than Oscar Wilde.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently developing a new romantic intrigue series, but with a twist: the only recurring character will be the male lead, with a different woman drifting into each installment for him to get involved with.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
I can’t fairly narrow it down to one, so here are four, in random order: Raymond Chandler, James W. Hall, Carl Hiaasen and—Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!—Mickey Spillane.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
To get them right, I’d have to say they’re difficult. There are only so many ways you can describe kissing and what usually follows without being clichéd—the trick is finding new ways to tell it.

Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
I write in the thriller and contemporary romance genres. I began as a writer of thrillers then decided I wanted to try something different, so I wrote my first romance. I like to alternate between the two to keep myself sharp. With the new series of romantic intrigue I’m working on, I think I’ve found a way to satisfy both urges.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
The Florida Keys, no question. It’s my favorite place to hang out and do research when I’m not parasailing or seeking out the perfect Pina Colada.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
When I hit a dead end I put away whichever project I’m working on, take a few days off, then work on something else for a while.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
My day job is working as a case manager for adults with disabilities. Although it’s very rewarding it’s also stressful, and writing provides a good release. Then again, so does a good bottle of twelve-year-old Scotch.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Mt biggest reward is having someone tell me how much they enjoyed what I’ve written. When they say I can’t wait to read your next one though—man, it doesn’t get much better than that!

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
I’ve had fun writing all of them but it would be a toss-up between two. My favorite thriller was my third one, The Vendetta Factor, because I threw out the rules and added liberal doses of satire. My favorite romance novel to date is my upcoming release, The Sweet Distraction. I had a lot of fun with this one because I went primarily for laughs while telling a good love story against a subplot that became funnier the longer I wrote.

How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
My characters have to have flaws to make them believable. I don’t wish to offend anyone, but I’ve never been a fan of the knight on a white horse type of hero. I write contemporary stories and in the real world, those guys just don’t exist. I believe everyone has some event that shaped their personality, and it’s my obligation as a writer to use it to give the characters depth. As for settings, I try to stay away from locations or situations that have been overexposed. My two romances took place in Dayton, Ohio instead of somewhere exotic like Florida, and it was a challenge to make the Gem City look romantic.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
For those who have read any of my books, I’d like to say thank you, and if you liked them, tell your friends they were written by Tim Smith. If you didn’t like them, say it was Nora Roberts.

Check out Tim’s webpage at: