Bright Lights #15 - Tim Queeney - The Atlas Fracture

Happy Labor Day!

I'm back, with another Bright Lights interview, and today I'm talking with a fellow member of #TeamOrange  

Tim Queeney lives up in the wilds of Maine and spends his time writing thrillers and sailing. This is a dude who knows his starboard from his...ummm...the other one. And, just to show off, he can totally do it in the dark using celestial navigation! He might be part Wizard.

And just to clarify, I'm pretty sure he doesn't use celestial navigation to write thrillers...

...anyway, enough of my stupidity. Here's Tim. I'll let him do the talking...

Tim Queeney

Q - Hi Tim, tell me a little about your new book/story 

A - It’s called The Ceres Plague. This one has my main character, Perry Helion, fighting the compelling and murderous Dr. Taylor Crandee and the shadowy cabal that backs him, known only as Paracelsus Enterprises. My last book The Atlas Fracture was set in Antarctica and this one takes place at the other end of the earth above the Arctic Circle in the Bering Sea, Alaska and far eastern Russia. 

The first Perry Helion novel

Q - You've written thrillers and humorous historical fiction, will you continue to vary your output or are you looking for a niche?

A - I’m concentrating on my Perry Helion thriller series right now, but I’ll definitely vary my output. Have a bunch of different types of stories I want to write, including science fiction, a few novels based on my childhood and family, more humorous-type stuff that may strike some people as funny, more thrillers and a romance/witch/end of the world story. But I will probably stay away from horror because but I find it a bit frightening. 

Q - Do you read the same stories you like to write?

A - Yes. I love good thrillers. But I read all kinds of material. Good writing is always worth it. 

Q - Where do you stand in the Traditional Vs. Self-Pub argument? Is it even an argument?

A - I don’t think it is an argument. Both paths can provide a writer with satisfaction. Personal goals are a big part of the choice. If you absolutely have to have a publisher who will print paper copies of your book, then trad is the way to go. If you want to control all the aspects of your brand, self-pub makes sense.
For example, if you’ve received a court injunction that specifically bans you from telephoning, texting, emailing, sending letters or packages via the US Postal Service to any member of the publishing business in perpetuity then self-pub is clearly right for you. 

Q - Did you have a bolt of lightning urge to write or is it something you've always just done?

A - I’ve always done it. It’s a challenge, but it’s also intoxicating in a strange way that lives on for hours after I finish, like the echo of a favorite song or your love calling your name.

Q - How do you make the time to write? Do you set a schedule or grab the moments when they come?

A - I’m a night owl, so I write by the light of the moon. 

Q - Do you have a favorite place to write?

A - I envy folks who can write in small snippets at a coffee shop, or in a doctor’s waiting room or surrounded by distractions. I’m sadly dependent on writing at my desk, with a bit of music playing. 

Q - Where do your ideas for stories and characters come from generally?

A - I can’t answer that question. I really don’t know. I just hope they keep making the trip. 

Q - Did you use Beta Readers? If so, could you explain what you're looking for from them?

A - Yes, Beta readers are worth their weight in gold (or at least potato chips). They usually provide wonderful insight into small errors but also larger story structure problems. 

Q - What do you think are your particular strengths as a writer? Dialog, action, description...what are you most comfortable with?

A - I’m pretty comfortable with dialog and action. They are fun to write, but I think you need to be careful with the parts of book you do well. You can’t be too comfortable. I definitely need to keep honing my skills in just about every facet of writing. As the 90-year-old cellist Pablo Casal said when asked why he still practiced four hours a day: “Because I think I am making some progress.” 

Q - What compels you to write, drives you to keep going, even on the days you'd rather just throw in the towel?

A - It’s an itch that can only be scratched by a keyboard. 

Q - What's your favorite word? 

A - I’m a fickle word lover, always falling in love with new ones. But I think they understand. 

Q - How important is it for a writer to also be a reader?

A - Important. But I think the writing comes first. Writers write. You have to keep up the word wrangling to get better. Reading everything you can definitely helps, though.

Q - How do you choose your next story?

A - My next one is the continuation of my Perry Helion thriller series. Like most writers, though, I have way more ideas than time. So many ideas I could go on for years without sprouting a single new shoot. I’ll never get to them all. Of course, maybe not all of them are as brilliant as I’d like to think.

Q - If you won $100 million on the lottery tomorrow would you still write?

A - With wild abandon.

Q - Have you ever lied to get out of something so you could write instead?

A - Yes, I avoided an old friend just so I could scribble a few more lines. Interestingly, the great writer Alice Munro recently stated that, at age 84, she is putting down the pen for good. Part of her plan: to spend more time with friends and with other folks.

Q - Do you have any advice for newbie writers? Those who are yet to start on their journey?

A - Keep writing, no matter what. Just imagine you’re getting paid by the word.

Q - And finally - You're going to be stranded on a desert island (for a wee while) but I'm going to allow you to take 1 book, 1 piece of music, 1 movie, a bowl of your favorite dessert and 1 person you'd like to share the island with for a while (alive, dead, fictional or matters not) What are your choices...and if you want to elaborate...tell me WHY? 

A - Book: Just about anything by Charles Dickens or Kurt Vonnegut

Music: La Femme D’Argent by Air - Love listening to it again....and again.

Movie: Reign of Fire - Great concept and just damn entertaining. <>

Dessert: Indian pudding with vanilla ice cream - Okay, so I'm from New England <>

Person: D.B. Cooper - What’d he do with the money?

Thank you for dropping by Tim! 

You can connect with Tim on Twitter or Facebook and read more about his writing at

His books are available on Amazon in the UK and US and I suggest you head over and pick one up...PRONTO!



  1. Great interview! Congrats on your new thriller, Tim! The cover rocks. Loved your answer about your fave word. That made me giggle. :D


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