SciFy Shenanigans: Tim Niederriter

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Hey Space Cadets, how’s everyone doing today?  I’m doing fantastic, I am just finishing my super-duper secret project!  Looking forward to my next project.  Still working around appointments for my family as the sole driver for the family!  But what can you do – family must come first!  Well, enough about me.

Let’s get right to the point of my latest blog posting!  Yes, I’ve gotten bit by the interview bug!  I have the Warrior Weekend Series and the ‘SciFy Shenanigans’ interviews.  I’ll send out the interview form to any author that fits those niche categories.  If you know anyone you want me to interview, contact me through my blog and I’ll give it a shot!  I love giving everyone a chance to get personal with the names behind the books they love, so here goes nothing!

 

I wanted to help you get to know these wordsmiths, so I created a template for the authors to talk about their latest book and their creative process.  They’ll be able to pitch the other stuff too, of course, but many authors have deep backlists.  It’s hard to get into the weeds with those prolific literary giants, so I took a weed whacker to the mess.  Here are the final results!  The questions are in no particular order, so grab your seat while your minion makes your popcorn and enjoy the ride!

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of All Ages……

 

 

First, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I guess you could say I started out with a pretty solid pedigree to be interested in science fiction. Both my parents were physics professors at one point. They were also big readers, and I soon became one, too, along with my three brothers and my sister. I really diverged as a teenager when I started writing fiction of my own, though.

 

 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m pretty open about this, but when I first tell people they’re often surprised to learn I was diagnosed with autism before entering my teens. I use a lot of what I know from going through treatment and taking medications in a few of my books, especially the more near-future ones.

 

I’ll go out on a limb and assume that if you write books, then you also enjoy reading them.  What other genres do you enjoy, and how have they affected your writing?

I love science fiction and fantasy of all kinds. After studying English in college, I can safely say I’m not as big a fan of literature. As far as how my tastes have affected my writing, I have a pretty eclectic set of favorite genre books, though there is usually some action and some darkness in what I write.

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Who are your biggest writing influences?

That’s a tough question. As a teenager I gained a lot of respect for Orson Scott Card’s work, and not just his “Ender’s” series, but more recently I think Dan Simmons’ “The Fall of Hyperion” has probably been the biggest stand-out, as it’s a great example of a whole universe-sized mystery being part of a human story. On the fantasy side, Brandon Sanderson definitely shaped how I approach that genre, though his books are a bit on the HUGE side for me these days.

 

Who are your favorite authors and books?

Other than the influential ones, I can say Joe Abercrombie’s “First Law Trilogy” is up there.

I recently finished reading Rachel Aaron’s “The Legend of Eli Monpress” series and enjoyed that a lot.

I’ve read a lot of traditional works lately, but I enjoy a fair number of independent authors in SciFy and fantasy as well. Mostly those are less solid in my head as to how they stack up against each other because they’re more recent reads.

I’m also a big reader of mythology, from Norse, to Celtic, to Chinese, to Indian.

 

How did that love of reading lead you deep into the trenches of the writer’s life?

I dove into writing fiction at age 14, still really engaged with Orson Scott Card and with an interest in Norse Mythology. My first book was very much a space opera with elements of Norse giants included. Planet-sized giants against space fleets. What more could you want?

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What is your preferred writing style?  Do you have a favorite point of view; first person, third person, etc.?  Feel free to answer as both a reader and as an author!

I normally prefer to write in third person, as that is usually what I read. However, lately I’ve been writing more first-person stories, or stories with a mix of first and third.

 

When did you get serious about your writing as a career, instead of writing as a hobby?

I think when I turned 18 I started taking things more seriously. Still, it took me until I left college to start getting solid at completing full books worth of work. However, I first tried ghost-writing and freelancing for a while. A few years after that I decided freelance writing wasn’t working for me and took the plunge to really try to make money off my own work.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? 

I usually think I’m a morning person. Right now, I try to block out seven hours each day for writing and editing tasks, five days a week.

Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?

Officially, no. But if I get 3500 words a day I won’t complain. I can do a lot more in seven hours, but that’s kind of the minimum goal when I’m really humming.

 

What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer the sound of silence? 

I listen to music, frequently heavy metal or death metal while I write. Some of my funniest or most touching scenes have been written to the sounds of heavy guitars and grunts or growls.

Okay, time for another random question.  What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think landed you on the government watch list for?

I don’t do much research, which is one reason I like writing speculative genres. Figuring out what the effects of a kinetic strike would be up there, but just recently I googled illicit drug information for the series I’m currently working on, to use as reference for the biotech effects of certain substances I invented.

What is your current novel?  Can you tell us a little bit about the premise?

My current novel is book two in the “Clean” series, with book one out as we speak. Book two is called “The Cleanway” and takes off from the psychic-network driven society introduced in book one to include a conspiracy run by a powerful figure that our heroes must unravel, all while dodging some vigilantes who are using mind-wiped humans, called cleans, as zombie-like soldiers.

The Cleanway is apparently a series, where can we expect it to go?

I just started book three, and I expect this series is going to be traveling far and wide. Though it starts in just one city, the distances covered in each book will grow with the scope of the story, maybe even to the stars.

Where did you find the inspiration for The Cleanway?

Funny thing about that… I dug pretty deep to write The Cleanway I definitely felt a bit of inspiration from the original Sherlock Holmes stories, because the first-person narrator ended up being one of the least powerful characters in the book.

I also have scenes that just pop up in my head, then never leave, and I put a few of those from years ago in this book. A certain car chase on a highway comes to mind.

The characters from The Cleanway are sent into a gladiatorial death match. Who wins? 

I’ll tell you this much. The heroes are screwed! Well, Rebecca would be okay, but with a fair number of insane, superhuman death machines in the book, I’d put this guy called Tooth at the top of the list.

What was your favorite part of writing The Cleanway?

I loved getting to develop parts of the world I always knew were there, but never thought about thoroughly until I needed them. Nothing like discovering some of the coolest moments in the whole story!

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing your main characters from The Cleanway?

Maybe if Idris Elba put on a few pounds he could play Jeth, but I really don’t think of actors as important in that way. I will say this, there would need to be a pretty scary actress to play Yashelia, though. She might be human-shaped but she’s all monster.

When you develop your characters, do you already have an idea of who they are, or do you let them develop as you go?  The age-old plotter versus pantser, character edition.

I develop my characters from a springboard of a few notes. Mostly, I let the characters come to me as I write and change as I go.

How did writing The Cleanway differ from your previous novels? 

It’s a little more down to Earth than my other books. The characters in this book may be able to connect to each other mentally, but they’re the most “normal” or “human” kind of heroes I’ve written.

If The Cleanway had a theme song, what would it be?

I’m a bit of a metal head, but I think, because of all the chases in this book I’d say Danger Zone by Danger Zone, and yes, I accept anyone who quotes Archer at me because of this answer.

The Cleanway is full of many amazingly talented characters and I imagine it was really fun to create some of them, but which one was your favorite and why?

I think Thomas is my favorite, because he changes in ways that surprised me throughout the story. He started as a simple place-holder, in a lot of way. However, in the writing he turned into a very reliable and often heroic guy.

And to bring us home, what advice do you have for writers who are just starting out?

Listen to advice but learn to trust your instincts as a storyteller.

Finally, where can readers and future stalkers find you?

 

I hope you enjoy this little conversation, and if you want to find out more about Tim Niederriter then follow the rabbit trail to their den of insanity!  If they don’t like it, beat ‘em with a carrot and keep on truckin’!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

->As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

 

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