Thursday, July 28, 2011

Author Spotlight: Tim Ellis

From Tim's Website:
I started writing about four years ago, but before I wax lyrical on the now, let me take you back to 1953. I was born in the bowels of Hammersmith Hospital, London, on a dark and stormy night. Grew up in Cheadle, Cheshire, frequently visiting Beach Road in Old Colwyn, North Wales where my Gran lived. After a handful of years at a Primary School in Cheadle Hulme, which I can't remember the name of, I went to Broadway Secondary Modern school in 1968, but left before taking my CSE examinations - I hated school. These were the days when you could leave school with no qualifications and walk into a job. It was during this period that I discovered one of the main musical and literary influences in my life – Leonard Cohen, and began writing poetry. A collection of my poems was duly despatched to a publisher and subsequently rejected. I therefore had my first rejection slip as a 15 year-old boy. After leaving school, I had three or four mind-numbingly boring jobs before finally joining the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in 1971 at the tender age of 18.

I spent 22 years in the Army – which is a story in itself - leaving as a Regimental Sergeant Major in 1993. During this time, I wrote reams and reams of drivel on weighty topics such as Army Medical Organisation, Leadership, Military Law, etc. I did, however, find another three literary influences in JRR Tolkien, Bernard Cornwell, and Isaac Asimov. After leaving the Army, I was employed as a Senior Financial Manager in a Secondary School, and took up writing with a vengeance – assignments and dissertations for two Masters degrees, and a PhD Thesis.

Following 10 years of counting a dwindling amount of beans, I became a teacher of Psychology and Sociology and devoted another 6 years of my life to writing – lesson plans, objectives, outcomes, etc, but I did find more literary influences in Conn Iggulden, R.J. Ellory, and Stieg Larsson. I also began – at last – to write fiction myself.
In January 2009 – days before my 56th birthday – I had a heart attack. By this time, I had already researched and written two Historical novels on Genghis Khan (Warrior: Path of Destiny and Warrior: Scourge of the Steppe), and a YA Science Fiction novel (The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation). It was also becoming increasingly difficult to go to work and teach when what I really wanted to do was write fiction. I was lucky in that I was financially able to take the decision to retire, and by August of 2009 I was a man of leisure and a full-time writer.

In 1968, becoming a writer of fiction wasn’t a career option for a 15 year-old working-class boy without any qualifications. It took over forty years of living life before I could choose that option. Since retiring, I have written book after book – now standing at ten (plus a collection of short stories), branching out into crime, fantasy, and science fiction. I’ve acquired a drawer full of rejection slips, but I have had some small minor successes. My YA Science Fiction novel was accepted for publication by a small press in America, I was awarded two short story 3rd prizes, and had four literary agencies request the full MS of Solomon’s Key, which ultimately came to nothing.

Anyway, in March of this year I uploaded all of my books onto Amazon, Smashwords, etc., and made them available for the Kindle. To date, I have sold over 3,700 books, which is not bad for someone who left school at 15 with no qualifications!
For the future – well, I’m a writer now – and in a way it’s what I’ve always been. I’m currently finishing the third book in the Parish & Richards series called The Flesh is Weak, which should be available for downloading by mid-August 2011. I then plan to finish another YA Science Fiction novel called The Timekeeper’s Apprentice, which is already half written, and I've been asked to 'please finish Quigg 3: The Skulls Beneath Eternity Wharf'. I’m playing about with a biopunk novel called Triple Helix set in an alternative Victorian London, and another dozen ideas such as one called Footprints of the Dead about an American ex-policeman who lives in a haunted town and... Well, you'll just have to read them all. I have so many ideas, which I turn into the first chapters of novels so that I don't forget them, and then put them on here. One day, I might get round to finishing them, but in the meantime you can read them.

Also, I've talked about snippets of my life on my Book Blog, times like the Isle of White Festivals in 1969 and 1970, my time at the Royal Engineer's Apprentice College in Chepstow, Gwent, my ancestors - especially David the One-Eye. Well, if you want to know more - read them!

You can visit Tim's website at to learn more about him and his books.

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