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Interview with author Tim Byrd

May 22, 2009
MOV Parent

MOVPARENT: If you could go back in time and tell your high school/middle school self one thing, what would it be?

BYRD: "Keep your eyes on the prize and write, write, write."

I decided to be a writer when I was five; forty years later, my first book is coming out. I procrastinated, put lots of time into things I didn't get much satisfaction out of, and didn't have enough faith in myself. So I'd encourage the younger me to get on task a lot sooner so he wouldn't have to struggle quite so much, or at least could struggle instead to build a longer writing career.

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MOVPARENT: What advice would you give teens wanting to become published authors?

BYRD: Read. Read a lot. Read everything you can get your hands on. There's a learning process in becoming a writer that's far more than just knowing your native language and learning how to type. You have to absorb the ways other writers use their imaginations to build a world on the page, and somehow in the crucible of your mind, those ways get melted down and form into something all fresh and new: the way you use your imagination. If you're going to be a writer of any worth at all, you first need to be a carnivorous reader.

Also, and this part is just as important, write. Write every day. Finish things. Revise them. Write more. Play with words. Write, write, write.

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When you finish something that you're proud of, send it out till someone buys it. Till they do, write something else and send it out. Repeat. It's as easy as that. And as difficult.

MOVPARENT: Which of your characters do you most relate to and why?

BYRD: That's easy: Doc Wilde himself. He's more tanned, more fit, and way more accomplished than I am, but he shares my hunger for knowledge and experience. Most importantly he's a dad before he's anything else, putting his kids ahead of everything else in the world.

MOVPARENT: What inspired you to write this story?

BYRD: I've always loved pulp adventure fiction, which grew as a form during the Depression in the 1930s. I grew up reading reprints and scavenged copies of pulp era science fiction, fantasy, and mystery, and a big favorite of mine was Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze. His adventures were full of exotic locales, twisted villains, brilliant gadgetry, and constant action.

When I became a father, I looked for stories to share with my son that had that old pulp spirit, and didn't have much luck. Doc Savage and The Shadow were out of print. There were some contemporary movies available (the Indiana Jones flicks, the first two Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser, The Shadow with Alec Baldwin), and there were some good modern pulp books for adults by writers like James Rollins and Matthew Reilly, but not much for kids.

So I decided to write some pulp for him. Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is the result, a modern-day homage to the pulp greats, full of cliffhangers and gadgets and world-threatening villains being vanquished by a stalwart family of adventurers.

MOVPARENT: If you could go anywhere on an adventure, where would you go and why?

BYRD: That's a very long list, but if I could head out right now, to anywhere, I'd throw on a pack and disappear into the really wild areas of the Hawaiian islands. Not the resort areas, the jungles and mountains and rugged shorelines.

Naturally, my son would be at my side.



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