Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Tim Cagle. I will admit to being of legal age but will have to plead the 5th amendment on any further development of this question.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Massachusetts, in a town about twenty minutes north of Boston.
Fiona: A little about yourself, you education, family life, etc.
I have a B.A. degree from Kansas State College and a J. D. Degree from Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts. I have been a lawyer for several decades concentrating in medical malpractice, products liability and wrongful death cases. I was also a law professor for many years and taught courses in Torts, Evidence and Negotiations in the Legal Context. I have been a professional musician, singer and songwriter, as well as an author, and had two books published in 2017. The first “Whispers From The Silence” is based on my time in Nashville writing songs. The second book, “Unespected Enemy”, is a medical/legal thriller about a woman who goes for in vitro fertilization and gives birth to a stranger’s child after receiving a death sentence because she got the wrong sperm.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am finishing the sequel to “Whispers From The Silence” and starting a new legal/medical thriller about a nationwide defective cardiac pacemaker scandal.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing years ago as a hobby. When I saw that my stories might have commercial appeal, I began to write more seriously, but my law practice grew so busy I had to stop. Now that I am semi-retired, I can finally devote the necessary time for my writing career.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In college, I took a creative writing course from a very tough professor. He was extremely intelligent, highly creative and inspired me to dig deeper into my passion for creativity. As tough as he was, I prevailed and received one of the only A grades he ever gave. That taught me I could write.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My life experiences. I have been lucky enough to experience many of life’s great adventures and I love to share them with others. I have been a student, athlete, coach, army officer, singer, songwriter, attorney, law professor, sales representative, author and an entrepreneur of several businesses. I have been fortunate enough to spend many hours onstage, whether I was entertaining a crowd, coaching athletes, teaching law students or trying to persuade a jury. I love to share those experiences with readers.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It’s how I write a song, usually by staying up all night, staring at the walls, pacing the floor, often times by candlelight, waiting for the silence from the shadows on the wall to whisper the lyrics to me. Hence the title, “Whispers From The Silence.” Writing songs is probably the toughest thing I have ever done.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I try to tell a story but keep it conversational. I also strive to keep the reader involved.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My books are based mostly on facts with identities changed to protect privacy. I do exercise my literary license and alter events that are true in such a way to disguise them in a scene.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I feel I have to travel in order to achieve authenticity. It helps me when I want to incorporate the details into a scene.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publishers for each book. For “Whispers From The Silence”, I also provided the props including my Martin guitar, Stetson hat and microphone stand, as well as the crumped paper sheets on the floor to simulate a songwriting session. For “Unexpected Enemy”, the publisher suggested a raging fire burning behind the title, which I thought was perfect.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I believe that good should triumph over evil and I think love should always triumph over hate. I also try to show genuine feeling in my characters, not just by words but by actions.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I love the writing of Leon Uris and Mario Puzo. Their words remind me of a symphony and these authors captivate me by serving as a conducter while they weave and blend their stories.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Besides my wife, Linda, I have a few professional writing colleagues who helped me continue to write.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Hopefully, in perpetuity. There will never be a shortage of material.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would avoid listening to people who do not know what they are talking about. Plus, I’m sure I could have found areas to impove with a final rewrite.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That every word counts and that there is no such thing as too many rewrites. One of the best quotes I ever heard was that the only reason writers publish is so they can stop rewriting.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
There are many fine actors/actresses available. For “Whispers From The Silence”, my preference would be one that has a musical background to show the audience how it feels to write a song. For “Unexpected Enemy”, there are many great actors/actresses to play the lead roles, but Gary Sinise and Laura Linney seem to stand out for me. If I can talk a producer into casting an old songwriter who is trapped in a lawyer’s body, I would like to audition for that part.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Stop listening to agents and editors who exaggerate their own self-importance.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Listen and observe everyone around you. You will be amazed as to what you can learn from people. Many writers seem to struggle with dialogue and seem obsessed with pointless details. It is a fine line between description with precise feeling and excess. That’s why I’ve always been intrigued when people say, “I just read a book and it really picked up after the first 95 pages.” As an author, I do everything I can to try and avoid wasting the first 94 pages, especially with dialogue that drags.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Strings: Atonement” by Andrea Rendon.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Chip Hilton series by Clair Bee.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Life and people. I’m a sucker for a sad story, mostly based on my career of representing victims who sustained catastrophic injuries. Also, many of the people who have given me the most vivid memories are those clients I could not help because the law or the circumstances were against them. Still, I carry their memories with me because of the injuries they sustained and because nothing can make them whole again.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
No one in particular.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Music is still my main hobby. I teach guitar to my neighbor’s teenage daughters. Naturally, there is a musical, as well as age, gap as they refer to all my songs as “Civil War Campfire Songs”. Still, despite the age difference, it gives me the opportunity to show them how music changes while often staying the same. For example, their favorite singer is Taylor Swift and her hit “Stay, Stay, Stay” is one of their favorites. I put together a cover of that song while alternating the lyrics from Maurice Williams and his hit song from the 1960’s “Stay”. It was a great way to confirm my theory that music is a universal language, and it keeps being recycled through the years.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy both drama and comedy although most comedy shows today rely on sophomoric, uninspiring humor. I enjoy clever, well written scripts, with insightful and inspired writing.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods, I love everything that’s bad for you. Colors, no preference. Music, I love it all, but I write in the country/classic rock genres. I also believe today’s country is an extension of 1950’s and 60’s rock and roll. For example, listen to Garth Brooks’ mega-hit, “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till The Sun Comes Up” and try not to think of Chuck Berry or Don Felder and Joe Walsh of the Eagles playing lead guitar.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Create an alternative way to tell stories.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I want my favorite song lyric from Leonard Cohen: “Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free…….
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is: www.TimCagleAuthor.com and it contains my blog as well as the information and links for my books. My Amazon book link, as well as my social media links, are also enclosed:
Find Tim here