I have to admit, I was compelled to reach out to Tim because of my 9-year-old son. He is a huge fan of Tim's series of sports books where the protagonist is a terrific baseball player, yet struggles with grown up issues which all adolescents have to cope with at one point in their lives.
If you're keeping score at home, Tim is also an attorney who played defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons for 8 years. He's also been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a star player at Syracuse University where he graduated as the valedictorian. He's extremely busy with a career as a journalist as well as coaching a local high school football team. Somehow Tim found time to answer some questions, even one my son wanted to know. Thanks Tim.
HAVING KIDS OF MY OWN AND COACHING YOUNG PEOPLE IS THE KEY TO THE DEPTH AND SCOPE OF MY CHARACTERS.
2- Benji is the comic relief for all the tension provided in your stories, is he based on any one person, and do your kids chime in with their own Benji-isms?
BENJI IS BASED ON A REAL AND CLOSE FRIEND OF MY SON TROY. WHEN I STARTED THIS SERIES, HE WAS 12. HE NOW PLAYS FOR ME ON THE VARSITY FOOTBALL TEAM.
3- Even though your novels are written for kids, you manage to incorporate very mature themes throughout your narrative --divorce, steroids, bribing umpires. Was that a conscious decision, or a product of mining for good material to draw from?
I CONSCIOUSLY DEVELOP MY STORIES AROUND THESE KIND OF THEMES. MY FIRST PRIORITY AS A WRITER IS TO ENTERTAIN KIDS WITH ACTION, RICH AND BELIEVABLE CHARACTERS, SHORT CHAPTERS, AND ACCESSIBLE LANGUAGE. HOWEVER, I FEEL THAT KIDS ARE VERY SMART AND THE LIFE LESSONS I'VE LEARNED AND THE ONES I TRY TO IMPART ON MY OWN KIDS AND THE KIDS I COACH ARE ALSO ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS TO MY BOOKS.
4- Are your kids involved in sports and have they ever provided you with material for your stories?
MY KIDS SPORTS ACTIVITIES DO PROVIDE MUCH OF MY MATERIAL, BUT I ALSO USE MY OWN EXPERIENCES WHICH REMAIN VIVID IN MY MIND'S EYE. (THOUGH NOT A LOT OF OTHER THINGS SEEM TO!)
5- Since you're a multi-talented author with many adult thrillers reaching the NY Times bestseller list, how has the emergence of digital devices affected your own career and how do you see it affecting the future of publishing?
I PREFER BOOKS TO E-READERS, BUT I HAVE AN E-READER AND I THINK WHATEVER FORM KIDS WANT TO USE IS JUST FINE. IN A WAY, E-READERS CAN MAKE STORIES EVEN MORE ACCESSIBLE AND THAT'S A GOOD THING. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE TWEEN MARKET I'M NOW WRITING TO WILL REMAIN ONE OF THE STRONGEST (IF NOT THE STRONGEST) SECTOR OF THE BOOK MARKET.
THANKS, GARY. I APPRECIATE YOUR KIND AND VERY INTELLIGENT OBSERVATIONS ABOUT MY BOOKS.