Ana: Today we have Charles Timm introducing their novel, "Assumptions". I haven't read this book myself, but Charles was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Charles, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?
Charles: Assumptions is a story about a young woman who’s grown up in a working-class neighborhood but who, having reached the age of twenty, can no longer ignore her dream of having the finer things -- and, yes, this means the finer material things as well as matters of the heart. She wants marriage, yes, and a creative career, but she also wants to be rich, to live on an estate, to eat at banquets and play croquet. But her family is very indignant when it comes to such desires. They’ve a strict, working-class pride, expecting their children to carry on in that neighborhood, living and working and dying there, with nothing else tolerated. Assumptions is about living like this and about what one young woman does in response.
Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?
Charles: Assumptions is about being true to oneself and about how difficult that can be when loved ones refuse to allow that truth. Susan, the main character, is torn between the powerful draws of love for her family and desire for her own happiness. In her mind, these are opposing forces; and, for much of the story, she tries to have both by living two lives, keeping one a secret from the other. This nearly costs her everything.
I hope readers will find encouragement to be themselves, to make their dreams come true, and especially to realize that doing so is not the either/or equation they might imagine. The truth is, when we make ourselves happy, we do more for our families than when we give in to lifestyles that are false for us.
Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?
Charles: To be perfectly honest, my initial motivation was to add to the word count of a short story collection. I’d written one and was eager for its publication, but when I asked an editor if it qualified as a book, she told me it was too short to interest a publisher (this, of course, was before e-books made any length of interest). She said that, realistically, I’d need fifty thousand words. Well, doing the math, I realized my seven-story, ten-thousand-word collection needed forty-thousand more words or about twenty-eight more stories. Taking a simpler route, I wrote two novellas, and Assumptions is one of those.
As far as inspiration, I was trying for Jane Austen. I don’t know if a lot of men read Austen, but I do, and I think she’s wonderful. I love how her characters go from poor to rich, unhappy to happy, uncertain to certain. I’m a stickler for romance and the happy ending.
Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?
Charles: Advancing from my previous answer, Pride and Prejudice is probably the one book I was thinking about most while writing Assumptions, and readers who like that novel’s rags-to-riches, girl-gets-rich-(and kind) boy, will probably like my book. In terms of style though, I’ve been compared to Hemingway and Nicholas Sparks, as being classic and vivid, and then there’s that one recent reviewer who refused to publicly review my book because she thought it "too simplistic and in need of development." "Hemingway" to one reviewer, "too simplistic" to another. It’s so exciting experiencing what ones works of art bring out of people.
Ana: Ha, as a reviewer, I can definitely appreciate the different responses a work can evoke in different readers. Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?
Charles: This is my second book. My first was that ten-thousand-word short-story collection, which I called The Asking and Other Stories . . . That’s a work of literary fiction, too. Assumptions features a young protagonist and The Asking and Other Stories . . . features young protagonists ranging from twenty down to pre-school age. The collection has gotten good reviews, with people often impressed by the range of ages and circumstances I depict.
My next book, which I plan to have out this year, is different. It’s a knights-of-the-round-table, fair-maiden story, though it, too, features a young protagonist struggling to overcome circumstances at home and find his destiny. It’s a similar coming-of-age, rags-to-riches story, but with a male protagonist and horses, swords, magic, black cloaks, castles, betrayal, and true love.
Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?
Charles: My books -- currently only e-books -- are available through Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Apple, Diesel, you name it. Readers can reach me through my website, charlesgtimm.com, by email at email@example.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter. I like Twitter, and I check my e-mail everyday (okay, once in a while I skip a day and go to the park). E-mail is, I think, the most personal, and it’s definitely the best way to let me know you want updates or to keep in touch. I love hearing from fans.
Ana: Thank you, Charles. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?
Charles: This link will take readers to a free sample of my work. I would like to thank Ana and her readers for this wonderful interview experience. Thank you!