Legal Law

Interview with Tim Smith, author of "The revenge factor"

Interview with Tim Smith

author of The Vendetta Factor

Post America (2006)

ISBN 9781424141258

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (5/07)

Today, Reader Views’ Tyler R. Tichelaar is pleased to welcome Tim Smith, author of “The Vendetta Factor.” Tim Smith is an administrator in the field of human services, working with adults with disabilities. He resides in Dayton, Ohio, where he also works as a freelance photographer when he’s not busy writing and promoting his books.

Tyler: Welcome back, Tim. To begin with, would you describe the basic premise of his novel, “The Vendetta Factor”?

Tim: “The Vendetta Factor” is a throwback to the types of pulp fiction novels written by Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. It’s about Nick Seven, a former CIA agent living in Key Largo, Florida, who finds himself embroiled in a nasty turf war between two mafia families. An organization controls the action in Miami, but a rival Don in Saratoga Springs, New York wants to take charge. Nick finds himself under pressure from both families, as well as a federal prosecutor with a personal agenda, as he discovers that he has been betrayed by someone who thought he was a friend.

Tyler: The setting and your reference to Raymond Chandler remind me of old noir movies, especially the movie “Key Largo” which is also a crime story. Why did you choose the Miami area for your setting?

Tim: I have been vacationing in the Keys and South Florida for several years. When I sat down to write my first Nick Seven adventure, I asked myself a question: if I were an ex-CIA spy who wanted to go somewhere to start over, where would it be? The Keys was the obvious choice for me.

In that part of the country you have everything that lends itself to a good adventure story: exotic locations, atmosphere and sunsets to die for, nearly every nationality represented, and tremendous name recognition. When you mention “Key Largo,” most people instantly picture Bogart and Bacall. Thanks to the plethora of movies and TV shows set in Miami and South Beach, many readers are already familiar with the area. Plus, it’s better than setting a crime thriller in Dayton, Ohio, and it gives me a great excuse to go there every year to do research and parasail.

Tyler: What do you think makes your book different from all the other crime novels and mob stories?

Tim: This is not your typical cops and robbers crime thriller, where you have the police or a private detective solving the case. My hero, Nick Seven, is Joe Citizen, just a guy minding his own business with no desire to return to the action or intrigue that was part of his previous life. Once he’s drawn into the mix, he has to trust his wits and instincts to get out there and get his life back. There’s also plenty of humor and satire, including an ongoing argument between two hit men about whether Frank Sinatra or Julius LaRosa had the biggest impact on pop culture.

Tyler: Sure, Frank Sinatra was a great singer and had an Italian background and I think there were rumors about mob connections, but excuse my ignorance, who was Julius LaRosa?

Tim: To quote one of the characters, “You’ve never heard of Julius LaRosa, one of the greatest singers of all time? That’s awesome! That guy could hit a high C like I hit targets. Ever did you hit a high C?”

Seriously, LaRosa was an up-and-coming young singer on Arthur Godfrey’s daily TV show in the 1950s. (You’ve heard of Arthur Godfrey, right? Good.) One day, Godfrey fired LaRosa on air, live, for an imagined slight, and her career never fully recovered. Although I am a huge Sinatra fan, I thought it might add some laughs to have the plot as a running gag throughout the book, with no disrespect to either gentleman.

Tyler: Well, my bet is still Frank Sinatra, but thanks for the explanation. Tim, what really makes a good whodunit is often the hero or the detective. Can you tell us a bit about your main character, Nick Seven?

Tim: Nick is a former CIA spy who spent his career tracking terrorists around the world. While on assignment years earlier, his wife was killed in a bombing raid that was meant for him. After taking revenge on the man responsible, he left the service and settled in the Florida Keys, running a club on the Gulf of Mexico with Felicia, a former co-worker from Barbados whom he had always had a thing for.

Nick is cynical, cold and tough with a sensitive romantic side that he likes to keep hidden. When he was a spy, he always acted like a maverick and still insists on leading his life his way. He’s the kind of guy your mom wouldn’t let you play with, but you’d want to be on your side.

Tyler: Would you say you look a lot like Nick Seven, or is he actually a fantasy character?

Tim: A lot of my own personality traits went into Nick Seven, and I consider it my alter ego. He can do the things I can only dream of: living in The Keys with a beautiful Barbadian woman, getting involved in intrigues, beating the bad guys and winning at Blackjack and Poker.

Tyler: Nick sounds like a character that a lot of men want to be. Richard Blake, who reviewed “The Vendetta Factor” for Reader Views, said the novel has great cinematic potential. How do you envision a movie of the book and who would you like to see play Nick Seven or even some of the other characters?

Tim: I could see this as a cross between “CSI: Miami” and “Peter Gunn”, using the exotic locations I described in the book accompanied by a retro jazz score. I have always imagined George Clooney or Pierce Brosnan playing Nick. They both have the “cool factor” and sarcastic wit necessary to embody the character I created. As for Felicia, I prefer Khandi Alexander or Vanessa Williams.

Tyler: I understand that “The Vendetta Factor” is your third novel. What were your previous novels about?

Tim: “Memories Die Last” introduced Nick Seven, snapping him out of his self-imposed exile when the CIA convinces him that the terrorist who killed his wife may still be alive, forcing Nick to relive the events he had banished to the basement. a long time ago. . His investigation reveals high-level government corruption and cover-ups.

The follow-up, “Never Trust Your Dreams,” has Nick and Felicia reluctantly drawn into America’s war on terror as they try to outsmart a rogue agent from their past. Part of the conspiracy has Nick made the scapegoat for a murder he didn’t commit, one he must solve to come clean.

Tyler: I understand you’ve won a few awards for your novels. I’ve always been curious about prize contests because there are so many out there. Could you tell us what prizes his novels have won, how he entered contests, and how a writer should decide which contests are worth entering?

Tim: “Memories Die Last” won the Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice Award for Fiction in 2004 and was named Best Mystery of 2005 by “Never Trust Your Dreams” was named Best Mystery Novel of 2006 on, and “The Vendetta Factor” is currently a finalist in a contest on The citations from the first two books were a complete surprise, as I was unaware that those sites gave prizes. You’re right that there are a lot of contests out there, and I would recommend writers research the sites or organizations before entering. They must also realize that there is often a cost involved, which prohibits many hungry authors. Quite often, you have to weigh that against the potential exposure you may or may not receive and go from there. If you’re a stranger, I wouldn’t suggest sending your book to the Pulitzer people unless your horoscope was really good that day.

Tyler: Thanks for the info, Tim. What would you say were your main influences, literary or otherwise, that have inspired your writing?

Tim: From a literary standpoint, I’ve always been a fan of Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Robert B. Parker, and James W. Hall. I guess his style influenced my way of writing. My biggest inspiration, the one that keeps me writing, is the response I get from people who have read my books. The best compliment I can get is when they say “I can’t wait to read the next one”. There is nothing better than that.

Tyler: I agree with you on that, Tim. The appreciation of others for your work outweighs any other benefit. Do you consider yourself solely a detective story writer or do you see yourself dabbling in other genres?

Tim: I’m comfortable writing in this genre, but recently I tried a romantic comedy told from a man’s perspective. Surprisingly, I found that it wasn’t that hard to switch gears, especially since I was able to draw from my own experiences in relationship wars.

Tyler: What are you writing now? Will we see that rom-com in print anytime soon, or is there another episode to be written about Nick Seven?

Tim: The rom-com is currently in the rewrite and polish phase before I review and edit it. I’m also working on another Nick Seven adventure, tentatively titled “Jinx Money.” There will be more Nick stories to come, as a character with as many layers as he is will always find some kind of trouble to get into. All I need to do is look at today’s headlines and imagine what he would do in the situation.

Tyler: Thanks so much for joining me today, Tim. Before we go, will you tell our readers the address of your website so they can find out more about “The Vendetta Factor” and your other award-winning novels?

Tim: You can visit to read all about my books and see some photos of the places where the stories take place.

Tyler: Thank you Tim for being here today. I hope we can look forward to many more Nick Seven stories.

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