Author Interview: Will Tinkham

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

I was forced to read Catcher in the Rye in high school. Read it straight through and turned back to page 1. Read it over again wondering what Salinger had done to me.

Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both?

Writing every day satisfies and energizes. I work till I need a nap.

Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?

My Americana series novels are tied together by characters who come and go through different time periods. A child in the Civil War is bound to die in the Roaring 20s. A WWI hero won’t be around long into a Vietnam story.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

It varies. No Happier State comes from Paradise Lost. If I Lie in a Combat Zone pays homage to Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone. Others are named for characters or come from mentions in earlier books. Some titles I know from the beginning, others are a struggle to come up with.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

I don’t believe in plots. I let the characters go where they may. I generally start with a historical event and see how my main character handles it.

How many hours a day do you write?

4 to 5

How much research did you need to do for your book?

Tons. Historical fiction-wise, I’m no purist but I like to keep close to the facts.

If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

All my novels are spin-offs. Minor characters in one become focal points in another. Main characters find themselves making cameos in other novels.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?

Love it all but the marketing. And my sales show it.

What is the best money you’ve ever spent with regard to your writing?

Spent $800 in 80 days hitchhiking from San Jose, CA to Vermont for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop. Got my first short story published and plenty of stories to tell.

@WillTinkhamfictionist (Facebook), @willtink (Twitter), 

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