Rhode Island native Tim Baker moved to Florida in October 2006 and has been writing ever since. His first novel, Living the Dream, was released in 2009 and he has since completed eight more novels. He primarily writes fast-paced crime stories that take place in the seaside community of Flagler Beach, FL and has also written a collection of short stories and two novellas. Visit his website for more information on his books.
That’s a great question – I think I would have to sum it up by saying I write books that I’d like to read. I’ve always been a fan of stories that grab me and make me hang on until the ride is over. I try to do that in my books. I’m not a big fan of over-descriptive prose and long drawn out explanations that tend to take the reader out of the action. I try to follow the words of my favorite writer, Elmore Leonard, “Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.”
Another good question – I tell people all of the time, “If I didn’t work a full-time job, I could easily write 3 or 4 books per year…and even if I only used the ideas I currently have, I could write for about 5 years non-stop.”
I get ideas all the time and when I do I jot them down on a piece of paper until I get to my computer where I immediately create a folder for the idea with a working title. I then create a “word” document with my thoughts about the story. Often I will add to it as more elements come to mind. By the time I’m ready to begin work on it I usually have a fairly decent idea of what the story is all about.
Thank you! I consider that high praise indeed. Carl Hiassen is definitely one of my favorite authors! Being compared to him on any level is very flattering.
I would have to say he has influenced my work greatly with his offbeat stories and characters as well as his humorous plots and situations. Especially since his books, like mine, take place here in Florida.
Other writers who have influenced me are the aforementioned Elmore Leonard. His mastery of dialogue and the way he allows his characters to tell the story are two of my biggest writing goals.
Another Florida writer – Tim Dorsey – has also had a big influence on me. Dorsey, like Hiassen, has a great knack for creating hilarious plots and wonderful characters.
Finally, I would have to say Stephen King influenced me greatly. I’ve always loved the way he uses small details to make the reader feel as though they are part of the story.
It’s very interesting that you phrase the question the way you did, because the motivations for my move to Florida were weather and work.
I spent my last three years in RI as a self-employed home-improvement contractor, but unfortunately I have zero business acumen. So when I was offered a job in Florida I took it. It also didn’t bother me getting away from the cold.
I immediately fell in love with the Florida lifestyle to the point where it inspired me to write a book (albeit accidentally). Once the gate was open, there was no stopping – and here in Florida we seem to have more than our share of, shall we say, unusual news stories…more than one of which has inspired either a story idea or inspirations for characters.
I think a writer’s location is a large influence on his work, especially for writers like me who use their location as a setting for their work.
In addition to the physical aspects of martial arts training, the necessity for mental discipline and focus are, in my opinion, invaluable tools for a writer. There is only one path to success as a writer – hard work and dedication – and I truly believe that my martial arts training helped me develop these traits before I even knew why I needed them.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a non-profit organization based in Yorktown Heights, NY. They provide guide dogs at no cost to any blind person. Since I can’t possibly describe such a fantastic organization in a short space, I will encourage people to visit their website.
I have always loved dogs so when I had the opportunity to become a puppy raiser for such a wonderful group I didn’t hesitate. Taking part in the puppy-raising program was, next to being a parent, the single most rewarding experience of my life. I can’t imagine an easier and more enjoyable way to help people in such a huge way.
Many people ask if it’s difficult to raise a puppy for 14 months and then give it up. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, but the satisfaction and joy of seeing the change your puppy brings to a blind person’s life completely eliminates any sadness you may have felt.
I’ve never heard that particular quote before. In all honesty, I’m on the fence about it.
I would never go so far as to say that writing is easy. It is, at times, frustrating…and always challenging, but that’s as far as I would go. Maybe because it’s something I enjoy doing so much that I also don’t see it as “hard.”
When I was about ten-years-old, I found a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in my mom’s bookcase and starting reading it out of boredom (I was probably grounded and had nothing else to do!). The story drew me in so quickly and easily that I couldn’t wait to find another book and see what other worlds were out there waiting for me. It would be the beginning of a life-long love of reading.
As for writing, I have always enjoyed it, but it was never something I thought I would pursue as a vocation. It was a happy accident that my first novel, Living the Dream, was ever written. How I came to write it is a bit of a long story which can be found on my website (www.blindoggbooks.com) for those interested.
Wow – so many – but if I had to list one book for all writers to read, especially independent authors, it would be The Fine Print of Self Publishing by Mark Levine. The publishing world is changing daily and it can be intimidating to a new author. There are lots of things to avoid and Mr. Levine’s book is an excellent resource.
Actually, Full Circle was completed and released in 2015. The story of my false start on Full Circle can also be found on my website, but suffice to say that after a 27-year hiatus the book I began writing on a whim was resurrected and has become one of my most popular novels.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to discuss my work with you and your readers!
Thanks for the insightful interview! I especially enjoyed reading about your writing process, Tim.
Also, thanks for the recommendation of “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.” I’ll have to check it out!
Great interview and since I love Carl Hiaasen I’ll have to pick up one of Tim Baker’s books.