Author interview with Tim Kane

More than once, I’ve become friends with wonderful writers that I‘ve met online. Tim Kane is one of these people. His debut novel, Tarot: The Magician a Magical Realism YA  about a cursed tarot deck. What’s Magical Realism you ask? Let’s let Tim answer that question.

So let’s begin…

Mug Shot b and w square 300px. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?

I hail from San Diego (Chula Vista specifically). I write, and strive to read, magical realism. Unfortunately stores and publishers don’t have a Magical Realism section. So I have to scour the fantasy, urban fantasy, and supernatural sections.

2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?

I write because otherwise all those voices in my head will tell me to do unhealthy things. When I write, though, I pit the voices against each other and voila, fiction. But honestly, all the worries and fears of my day to day life melt away when I’m in the zone writing. That is, until I hit that block and suddenly balancing my checkbook seems intriguing.

Sure publishing is a risky field. But you tell me one other profession that lets you work until your last day. A good friend of mine is in his eighties (he bowls with binoculars to see the strikes) and he’s producing more books now (and selling them) than ever before. So I’ve got a long career ahead of me.

3. Magical Realism sounds like an interesting genre. Could you give us a description?

I was exposed to Magical Realism through my high school Spanish teacher. I can’t now recall the specific authors we read, but I remember being fascinated by the extraordinary elements woven into everyday life. The genre involves a highly detailed realistic setting and characters invaded by something beyond belief.  In this respect, it shares some elements with horror, but Magical Realism focuses more on awe and mystery than on fear.

Even though the seminal work is Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, I have yet to read it. (This interview prompted me to order the book, by the way). One modern novel that fits the genre well is the middle grade book Holes, by Louis Sachar. It has water flowing up hill and a curse on the main character. A great read, even for adults.

I’m drawn to Magical Realism because it carries on the tradition of Surrealism in the form of writing. I almost became an art major, and even spent time in that field, before switching to writing. My favorite artistic movement by far was the Surrealists. I’d often use automatic writing or exquisite corpse games to generate ideas. I even started a story using a Burroughs styled cut up.

4. What is it you like about the genre? Any dislikes?

My dislikes like in the looseness of the genre. Often I’ll buy a book that touts its affiliation with Magical Realism (like The Raw Shark Texts) only to find it’s more about fantasy or other dimensions. The purest form of the genre seems to come from Latin American writers, like Gabriel García Márquez. His short story, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, is one of my favorites. It’s about an angel that crash lands on a family’s farm. He doesn’t possess any angelic powers. Even though he serves as a tourist attraction for the family, they see him as a burden.

5. What do you think this ‘looseness’ is due to? Lack of interest in the genre or perhaps trying to make it more mainstream?

I think the Magical Realism genre is loose because it doesn’t have many adherents. Unlike High Fantasy or Space Opera SciFi, where you can point to numerous books and authors serving as benchmarks, we have only a scant few. Additionally, many of its aspects, the strange and unusual invading the normal, can be mirrored in genres like Urban Fantasy and Horror. (Can you tell I wrote my thesis on genre analysis?)

I certainly hope interest swells in this underappreciated genre. I tend to see more hits on the subject when I search for it. I even signed up for a Magical Realism class this May, so perhaps this is the next up-and-coming genre.

 6. What inspires you and your writing?

Whoa, that’s a big question. In terms of stories, I spend my days accumulating tidbits and ideas from everywhere. For example, on the same say, I read the legend of Gilgamesh to my seven-year-old daughter and then bought the album Beatles for Sale. One song, “I’ll Follow the Sun” struck me hard and my brain connected it and the Gilgamesh legend. My mind is already composing a story about following the sun into the underworld.

My desk is a series of scribbled notes and ideas. I started an idea journal — a big art book where I could put clippings and draw sketches and the like. It’s where I dive into to get ideas when my brain is clogged up. I adapted it from a screenwriter I met at writer’s conference, who creates mood books.

 7. What advice would you give to a new author who wants to write Magical Realism?

I think the short stories are more accessible than longer works. Check out stories like: “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Márquez or Ficciones (a short story collection) by Jorge Luis Borges. Also, movies offer a quick, visual introduction to the genre with films like AmelieThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button, or Life of Pi. All of them get the feel of magical realism right.

 8. Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What is the title and what is it about?

Since magical realism takes a “what if” approach, that’s how I tackled my first published novel. In the book, sixteen-year old Kassandra has stumbled onto a cursed Tarot deck that can twist the fabric of reality. It serves almost as genie, granting her whims and lifting her out of a depression. But be careful what you wish for. The Tarot twists her intentions toward its own end.

Rather than make this a straightforward fantasy, I wanted to have a real world, the kind you and I live in, only with the one curious object: the Tarot. What if the symbols on the cards could have a real effect on the world? You draw a card related to embarrassment, and that girl who’s been bullying you suddenly has her clothes disintegrate in class.

Halfway through the story, Kassandra actually travels inside the Tarot into a world much like Wonderland or Gaiman’s MirrorMask. It’s just the sort of surreal landscape that excites me as a writer.

9. What was your research like?

Ah research. If I had my druthers, I’d do research all the time. It’s so enjoyable to riffle through books or websites, plucking facts out like ripe apples. Yet, research doesn’t write books, and so I must restrain myself. When I’m in the middle of writing a chapter and the need arises for a bit more research, I hold off on the fact-finding. Instead I make a little note and move on, so as not to disturb the flow of writing.

10. Is there a genre that you would like to write? Something you would find a challenge?

I always enjoy reading straight realistic fiction (with nothing mystical or supernatural going on), yet I’m not sure if I could pull it off. It seems the creepy or magical always wiggles its way in.

Where to find Tim online:

Website: http://timkanebooks.com/tarot/

Twitter: @timkanebooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tim-Kane-Books/120126928003556

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tim-Kane/e/B001JRYZEK#

unnamedWhere to purchase Tarot: The Magician

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tarot-Magician-Tim-Kane-ebook/dp/B00KKYLJPQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tarot-the-magician-tim-kane/1119673782?ean=2940045980494

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/443544

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

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