Author and new friend of mine Tim Parks stopped by my blog for a special interview and book announcement. 🙂
Thanks so much, Tim, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you first start writing, and why?
Tim Parks: I started writing stories when I was five. My mom would drive me to kindergarten class early, so I could write stories about Gumby and Pokey with my teacher Mrs. Treadwell looking on. I had an insatiable imagination and was always asking “what if?” Writing became an avenue for quenching that thirst, of creating scenarios that were primarily pop culture-based and giving them my own spin and voice.
JSC: Tell me a little about The Scheme of Things – when did you decide to write it, and why?
TP: I would always tell people my coming out story, which involved running away at age 16 to Los Angeles and staying with a man 30 years older than me and going under a different name and pretending to be 18. So I decided that there might be something there to serve as my first novel. They say write what you know and it was something I knew all too well.
JSC: Is the book autobiographical?
TP: Well, the term I have come up with is “faction,” meaning that it is certainly based on instances in my life. However, I get to ramp up some of it for the sake of fiction and put my character Henry Dodge is some precarious situations.
JSC: What’s the setting for the book? Is it a place you are familiar with, or did you have to do a lot of research?
TP: I was very familiar with setting, it had been living inside of my head, not always a street that you want to take a stroll down at midnight, ha ha. But, Henry’s hometown is mine, which is Encinitas, California that is located in San Diego. And the book also takes place in Los Angeles, which I am also very familiar with in being a Southern California native
JSC: How would you describe the book in five words?
TP: Wonder Years Meets Boogie Nights.
JSC: Have you published anything else before?
TP: I published a story called “The Basketball Star” when I was 12. It was really a thin-veiled plea for my parents to get me a puppy, as Mark the character in the story wins the big game – spoiler – and he is rewarded with a golden retriever named Rusty. Yeah, that didn’t happen for me. Then when I was 31, I began my freelance writing career and I have interviewed over 300 celebrities, like Janet Jackson, Chelsea Handler, John Waters, Margaret Cho, Stevie Nicks and too many to list. I also write a column called Hollywood for a local gay publication called The Rage Monthly, which lampoons all things Hollywood. I’m lucky to be able to do what I do and am grateful for all that “useless pop culture knowledge” that has accumulated in my brain and can be incorporated into my writing. I can’t change the oil in my car, but I can correctly answer any type of movie and TV trivia. My friends have nicknamed me “Rainman” because of that ability.
JSC: What are you working on next?
TP: I am currently working on the sequel to The Scheme of Things.
JSC: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream, and why?
TP: Well, that would be vanilla, because – fun fact – I am allergic to chocolate.
And now for Tim’s new book: The Scheme of Things:
The Scheme of Things, a coming-of-age story with a thriller twist, poses the question: Have you ever had a secret? For young Henry Dodge, every day is an exercise in keeping his. Whether it’s his sketchbook falling into the hands of his older brother, John, or saying the wrong thing to his parents Big Ed and Kate, which may tip them off to the fact that he knows he is different.
He would rather spend his afternoons with his friend Kelley, perfecting their disco moves than join in with the neighborhood boys and their sporting ways. When Danny Woodson moves into the neighborhood and becomes his brother’s best friend, Henry’s world is turned upside down, as his attraction to him is electrifying. In an effort to find a place to hide, Henry turns to TV, movies and music that provide him a great escape, a solace, which he can’t get from the world-at-large.
Unfortunately, the nighttime soap operas of the 80’s plant the seeds of a scheme that involves running away to find Danny in Los Angeles. But the City of Angels holds only devils in disguise, backstabbing and heartache, as Henry thinks he has found shelter in The Palace of King George and his court of supporting players. In a tale that is equal parts comedy and heartbreak, Henry struggles to find acceptance and eventually going against the grain to find his place in the scheme of things.
For all intents and purposes, I am undead, not quite alive, not quite
corpse. The life I have been living is disappearing with each passing
mile, and the one I want to live remains a mystery before me.
My head is pressed against the window of the train; my breath,
sharp and low, fogs the window, marking time with the sound of the
wheels meeting the tracks. I am heading to a destination that is for
now, in this moment, punctuated by small pinpoints of light stretching
out before me as readily as the infinite blackness.
This seems to be a fitting analogy to my life.
Amazon paperback: Click Here
Barnes & Noble paperback: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-scheme-of-things-tim-parks/1123959929?ean=9781682898710
Ever since the age of five, Tim Parks knew that writing was in his blood, and began writing short stories, one of which was published when he was 12 in a children’s magazine.
Fast forward to now and Parks has amassed over 300 celebrity interviews, including Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, John Waters, Olivia Newton-John, Margaret Cho and Chelsea Handler to name a few. He relishes in the fact that he has gotten to thank the people who have populated his pop culture landscape over the years.
His 16 year freelance writer credits also include numerous other arts and entertainment pieces, including being a columnist that lampoons all things Hollywood.
He has written for The Gay & Lesbian Times, The Rage Monthly and Gay San Diego in his hometown of San Diego; and has also contributed to reFRESH Magazine and the websites Digital Spy in the U.K. and afterelton, which is owned by MTV and Logo.
Even though his first novel, The Scheme of Things, is fiction; Parks likes to consider it a work of “faction,” as many of the events in the book are based on actual events in his life. He lives in San Diego, California and is currently working on the follow-up.