Name Tim Chapman
Where are you from
A little about your self, ie your education family life etc
I’m a former forensic scientist for the Chicago Police Department. I currently teach writing and tai chi chuan. In my spare time I paint and play the saxophone. I’m married to a lovely and patient woman. We have a dog named Mia.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My short story collection, Kiddieland and other misfortunes, was just released.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing ad copy in the late 90s. I hated it, so I went back to school to learn how to write fiction.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When a literary journal finally published one of my stories.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to talk about some of my experiences as a forensic scientist, and I thought a novel (Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold) would be more fun, and give me more room for embellishment, than a memoir.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think my style is kind of a cross between John Steinbeck, Elmore Leonard, and Will Eisner.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My wife found a poem by Thomas Hood that related to the story, so I used a line from the poem.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are several; the importance of family and the caprice of the justice system, but I guess the primary message is that a person should do what he or she knows is the honorable thing to do, even if there is personal risk involved.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
That’s a tough question. I try to imbue all my characters, both good and bad, with some part of myself. In that sense, there’s a lot of realism. In terms of facts, I tried to be as accurate as possible with the science, based on my own experience and feedback from other forensic scientists.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Absolutely. Wait, I mean, oh no, it’s all made up. ;^)
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?
Mysteries by Hammett and John D. MacDonald. Short stories by Flannery O’Connor and D.H. Lawrence. Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck. Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently rereading the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on the sequel to Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold. The working title is The Blue Silence.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My writing group from Northwestern University. We call ourselves the Big Tomato Sky writers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Sort of. I’d like it to be my main focus, but I don’t want to give up teaching.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. It’s perfect!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Probably like most authors; I loved to read as a child.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. Here’s part of a scene from The Blue Silence.
McKinney took a quick diagonal step out of the path of the gun but toward the man, hoping to close the distance between them. The gun followed him, and then quickly swung back. McKinney heard a growl and caught a flash of black out of the corner of his eye as Hendrix darted past him, and suddenly the kitchen was filled with noise. Hendrix dropped at the tall man’s feet, and the man was aiming at the dog, preparing to fire again. McKinney leaped forward, hitting him low, slamming his open palm into the man’s ribs, and sending him reeling backward. The gun went off, but the bullet missed, tearing into the wood floor inches from the dog’s head. The tall man grunted and steadied himself with a hand on the porch railing. He was bringing the gun back to aim when McKinney landed a front kick to his chest, sending him over the railing. McKinney looked down into the yard. The man was stretched out next to a picnic table, his head resting on the concrete patio, his legs across a bench.
McKinney ran back inside to the big poodle. Hendrix’s eyes were shut and there was a small pool of blood under his stomach, but McKinney could see the rise and fall of his chest. The dog was still alive. He rolled Hendrix further onto his side to find the wound. There was a hole in his abdomen and another in his back. The bullet had passed clear through. McKinney grabbed two hand towels and a bandage roll from the hall closet and bound the wounds as tightly as he could. He cradled the dog in his arms, picked him up and went out the back door, kicking the manuscript box back into the apartment as he ran. He glanced at the man’s body as he hurried down the steps. It hadn’t moved.
Later, all he would be able to remember about the drive to the veterinary hospital was that his vision was blurred by his tears and that he was begging the dog not to die. “I love you,” he said, over and over.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did (with input from my publisher). I’m also a visual artist.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The numerous revisions.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Revise, revise, revise!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Show your work to people who know what good writing is and who aren’t worried about hurting your feelings.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably one of the Tom Swift Jr. books by Victor Appleton. Tom Swift was a kid who was also a scientist and an adventurer.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Mel Brooks’ 2000 Year Old Man bits make me laugh so hard that I cry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
Marx and Lennon (Groucho and John)
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Wait, I’m not finished, yet.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Martial arts, painting, photography, and playing the sax.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve pretty much done whatever I wanted to do. I’ve had over fifty jobs, studied at two colleges, and travelled all over the world.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
|Pro Book Marketing
|Gilbert K. Zachary|
Bright and Yellow
Hard and Cold
“Chapman…blends his expertise in analyzing evidence with a cunning plot. [He] obviously knows his stuff, from what happens at the bench in the lab through what happens in court, a stark contrast to many mystery writers who just skirt along the edges of forensics…[He] also knows his history and vividly brings to life the old Karpis/Barker bank-robbing gang of the 1930s…An intriguing and enlightening read.”
—Connie Fletcher, Book List
Tim Chapman’s Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold (Allium Press of Chicago, Trade Paperback $14.99, E-Book $6.99) tells a powerful story that will rivet readers’ attention as it explores the lives of three men in search of elusive goals. Part contemporary thriller, part historical novel, and part love story, Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold masterfully weaves a tale of conflicted scientific ethics, economic hardship, and criminal frenzy, tempered with the redemption of family love.
McKinney, a forensic scientist, struggles with his deep, personal need to find the truth behind the evidence he investigates, even while the system shuts him out. Can he get justice for a wrongfully accused man while juggling life with a new girlfriend and a precocious teenage daughter?
Delroy gives up the hardscrabble life on his family’s Kentucky farm and ventures to the rough-and-tumble world of 1930s Chicago. Unable to find work, he reluctantly throws his hat in with the bank-robbing gangsters Alvin Karpis and Freddie Barker. Can he provide for his fiery young wife without risking his own life?
Gilbert is obsessed with the search for a cache of gold, hidden for nearly eighty years. As his hunt escalates he finds himself willing to use ever more extreme measures to attain his goal…including kidnapping, torture and murder. Can he find the one person still left who will lead him to the glittering treasure? And will the trail of corpses he leaves behind include McKinney?
About the Author
Tim Chapman is a former forensic scientist for the Chicago Police Department who currently teaches English composition and Chinese martial arts. His fiction has been published in The Southeast Review, The Reader, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and the anthology The Rich and the Dead. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Ellen.
Media professionals wishing to review Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold or interview its author, Tim Chapman, should contact GK Zachary 845-493-0468 or email him Gilbert@ProBookMarketing.com