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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Tim Baker, author of Pump It Up

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Tim Baker.

About Tim:

Tim Baker was born and raised in Warwick, RI and spent the first 25 years of his adult life in the Architectural industry…thinking it was what he loved. It wasn’t until he relocated to Florida in 2006 that he discovered how much he loved writing. He is also fond of music, motorcycles, sports and dogs. He has written six novels, all fast-paced, crime fiction thrillers and has co-written a zombie apocalypse novella.

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Tim!

Tim has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him!

About My Characters

Before I begin – I would like to thank Darlene for allowing me this space on her blog and thank you, her readers, for indulging me for a few minutes!

I’d like to talk about characters. Creating characters is my favorite part of writing. I don’t know how other writers work, but in my books – the characters drive the boat. After all – isn’t that the way it is in life? People control events, not the other way around.

When I come up with a concept for a new novel, I (unlike many other writers) don’t outline the story or map out every event, twist and turn. I know the beginning and I have a basic idea of how it will end…what happens between those points is largely controlled by my characters.

So far I’ve written six novels and one novella – they are all set in the same area (Flagler Beach, FL) and there is a certain group of characters who appear in all of them, to one degree or another. This is fun for me and each time I write another book I learn a little more about my characters, because I try to figure out how they would react to the story as it unfolds.

Like I said – I don’t know how other writers do it, but this is my method and it’s not without its challenges, and one of those challenges is making sure my characters stay true to themselves from story to story.

It was easy in my first book, Living the Dream, because I had no idea, at the time, that I would be carrying these characters forward. I was not bound by precedent. I had free rein to make my people whatever I wanted them to be.

By the time I reached my latest release, Pump It Up, I had 4 characters who had taken on lives of their own.

There is Ralph, the wheelchair-bound bookie who has more control in the county than the elected officials.

Ralph’s right-hand-man is Ike. A 6’-6”, 275 pound ex-Navy SEAL who has a tendency to bend the rules. Even though Ike maintains a close association with Ralph (a known felon) he has a very strong moral compass.

Then there is Brewski and Didi. Brewski is Ike’s closest friend. He is a rough and ready biker with a “shoot first, ask questions later” attitude. Didi is his wise-cracking girlfriend. She is a perpetually bored chain-smoker who believes that the shortest distance between two points is too far to travel.

As you can see, all of these people have strong personalities, so it’s important for me to maintain them from story to story. If I were to have Didi get all mushy and emotional just to suit a story, my readers would disown me.

Without question, Ike is my favorite.

Ike was written into Living the Dream as a minor character. His role was minimal and I think he only appeared in three or four chapters. We (I) didn’t know much about him then. In book 2, Water Hazard, Ike was close friends with the protagonist and he was called in for assistance with a deadly scenario. This is where his personality really formed.

Throughout the next three books, Ike was a key figure—sort of a knight-in-shining-armor, there to make sure bad things didn’t happen to good people. By the time Pump It Up was released it was especially challenging (and a lot of fun) to see how Ike would fare in the world of transsexuals, transgenders and transvestites.

During the editing phase of Pump It Up, the editor suggested Ike respond to a certain situation by saying “whoopsie” (I kid you not). My reply to her…”Ike is a 6’6” Navy SEAL…he would not say ‘whoopsie’!!!” Once again…being true to the character as opposed to changing the character to fit the story.

Ike is such a strong character that another writer friend of mine (Armand Rosamilia), who writes zombie/horror stories, asked if I’d be willing to co-write a zombie novella with him and put Ike in it (along with Brewski and Didi). At first I was skeptical, because Ike lives in (are you ready for this) “the real world”. There are no zombies in Ike’s world…so I was a little unsure, but eventually I decided that fiction is fiction so what the hell.

Once again, the challenge was to insert the characters into a story and stay consistent with what I had created. The book, Dying Days: The Siege of European Village, was a ton of fun to write and I have received lots of feedback from fans who loved Ike’s role in it.

When I read a book, my enjoyment of it, or lack thereof, is largely controlled by the characters—and therefore, I try to make my own characters enjoyable for you.

Now that I think of it, some of my favorite authors (Elmore Leonard, Tim Dorsey, Robert B. Parker and Janet Evanovich to name a few) all have strong, compelling, recurring characters…so I feel like I’m in pretty good company.

People ask me quite often if any of my characters are supposed to be me…

My answer – which I will explore in depth in a post on my own blog  - I think there is a little bit of me in all of my characters.

Thank you for reading.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Tim!


Two lucky winners will win a copy of Tim's book, Pump It Up!

Grand Prize (US only): Paperback copy of Pump It Up

Runner-up Prize (Worldwide): Digital copy of Pump It Up

What begins as a quiet walk along scenic A1A in Flagler Beach, Florida quickly becomes a near death experience for vacationing Dave Ryan after he witnesses something very bizarre.

Ex-Navy SEAL Ike is enjoying a quiet evening with friends, drifting peacefully off the Florida coast. Things take a turn toward surreal when Ike suddenly has to rescue a man thrown from a nearby boat and left to drown.

Ernie Boudreaux makes his living preying on people’s vanity and insecurity by offering back room cosmetic procedures. He will also go to great lengths to protect his operation…up to and including murder.

And then there’s Saffire…the mysterious link to Ernie’s past returned to settle an overdue debt.
Ike will do whatever it takes to protect his friends…Ernie will not forfeit his cash without a fight and Saffire wants a pound of flesh – preferably Ernie’s.

The result is a high stakes free-for-all with several lives and a lot of cash on the line.

Buy Links:

To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

The giveaway is open worldwide and will close at 12:00 AM CST on February 8, 2013.


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