Wednesday, June 28, 2006

ITW: TL HINES, PT 1


For the next three days, we are featuring novelist T.L. Hines, whose brand-new debut thriller is Waking Lazarus (Bethany House):

Jude Allman has died and come back to life three times, becoming a celebrity against his own wishes. When the world crushes in around this unlikely miracle man, this modern-day Lazarus, he escapes into the vastness of Montana. He changes his name and withdraws from the public eye, trying to forget all that came before. But the past, like Jude, won't stay buried. A prowling evil circles his adopted hometown of Red Lodge, Montana. Children are disappearing, and Jude may have the key to solving the crimes—hidden inside the mysteries of his own deaths ...

Tony is also a member of International Thriller Writers, Inc.

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PART ONE.

WHO ARE YOUR LITERARY INFLUENCES?
I tend to love supernatural fiction, crime fiction and slipstream fiction. The greatest influence on my own writing has always been Stephen King; I devoured anything and everything by King in my formative years. I'm also a big fan of F. Paul Wilson's "Repairman Jack" series.

In the CBA realm, anyone who writes supernatural fiction, or suspense fiction in general, owes a debt of gratitude to Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. Crime novelists I love include C.J. Box, George Pelecanos, Steve Hamilton, James Rollins, John Connolly, James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard ... actually, that list is probably a long one, so I'll stop there.

Slipstream novelists include Ray Bradbury (works such as Fahernheit 451, more than his SF stuff), William Hjortsberg and James Blaylock. I also read a lot of SF/Fantasy when I was younger -- Piers Anthony, Roger Zelazny and Jack L. Chalker were particular favorites.


WHO ARE YOUR PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES?
I'd have to say the Inklings -- Tolkien, Lewis and Charles Williams are the best-known of them -- have had a philosophical influence on my writing. My primary aim is to tell a story, first and foremost. But, like the Inklings, I also hope to communicate something at the metaphorical level.


WHAT IS THE BEST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
The honest truth is: I'm absolutely thrilled when anyone says anything positive. My ego's that big.

Three recent comments come to mind, though. One, I was excited to get a starred review in Library Journal. The review itself was very nice, of course, but seeing that star at the beginning of the review made my day. Second was an email sent to my publisher, from a reviewer who said Waking Lazarus was the first book to ever make her actually hold her breath while reading. It's nice she took time to let my publisher know.

Maybe tops on the list, though, was a review from a reviewer who obviously didn't WANT to like Waking Lazarus. He said in his review that he didn't think faith elements have any place in entertainment. And yet, he went on to say, "... as a murder-mystery novel alone this book is compelling as well as spell-binding." When someone doesn't want to like your book, but ends up having to admit he liked it, well, that's a high compliment.


WHAT IS THE WORST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
So far, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive -- even in the major trades such as PW, Library Journal, Kirkus and Booklist. PW had a few minor quibbles, but nothing I'd term as "bad" or hypercritical. Frankly, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, as the old cliché goes -- I'm waiting for someone to post an Amazon review that says, "This book isn't fit to be toilet paper."


HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU READ A MONTH?
A couple a week, so about eight in an average month. That can vary, according to what else I have going on, of course, but I rarely let a day get by without a bit of concentrated reading time.

And I'm a fiction guy. There's enough of the real world around me, thankyouverymuch. I want books to help me escape for a while. I travel a bit across the wide open spaces of Montana, so I often listen to one or two audiobooks per month -- always unabridged, if available. Abridgments are an abomination of all that is good and holy.

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Come back tomorrow for the second part of our conversation with T.L. Hines. In the meantime, find him online at TLHines.com and TLHines.com/blog. His thriller Waking Lazarus is available at Amazon and many other fine retailers.

Related links:
T.L. HINES, PT 2
T.L. HINES, PT 3

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More ITW links:
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)
Q&A: ROBERT LIPARULO (Comes a Horseman)
Q&A: VICKI HINZE (Bulletproof Princess)
Q&A: THOMAS O'CALLAGHAN (Bone Thief)
THRILLERFEST 2006
ITW SPOTLIGHT ON CHRIS WELL (ME)
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Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction

SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.