TIMOTHY GAGER: MY SOBRIETY IS THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN MY LIFE
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Timothy Gager is the author of eleven books of short fiction and poetry. The latest one – The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan (Big Table Publishing) is his first novel. The works of our next featured author were published in more then 300 journals. It’s time for the next portion of Q&A
– What is your last book The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan about?
– It’s about redemption of character/characters. It’s extremely dark in its humor but if you are interested in the brief rundown, it’s the story of an unethical psychologist and all the quirky people he treats. It’s funny, serious and tragic.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– It started as a 500 word flash piece published in The Legendary in about 2007, Diary of an Angry Psychologist: Wednesday Appointments. The piece was something that I wanted to expand on, as I loved the idea of those particular characters.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The moments, weeks or months that I paused, (often those gaps being beyond my control), in the process. Starting up again was always the most difficult thing. I can best describe it as switching for the day shift to the night shift, it takes a week or so to get back to where you feel comfortable.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Bill Sloan has some slight elements of myself, but I guess all the characters in the novel have some elements of myself and my thoughts. It’s mot based on myself or any other person I know. His patients are more closer to me and some folks I know.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I started the first draft in 2009 and that draft was finished in 2010. It went through a few revisions and I shopped it to agents and publishers. Big Table Publishing signed the book in 2013 and from there we began another revision and a few editing sessions.
– The Shutting Door, Short Street and Twenty-Six Pack are your other well known books. Would you tell us more about them?
– I’d say Treating A Sick Animal: Flash and Micro Fictions belongs in that grouping, but Short Street and Twenty-Six Pack are books of longer short stories where I dove into the grittier side of sex, drugs and alcohol. I was kind of an “expert“ back when those were written in the early 2000’s but in the reality of my own life, which shows up in those books, hadn’t made my personal life unmanageable enough to get help. The Shutting Door is a book of poetry that is themed from my bottom and my recovery. I’m very proud of my recovery and of course, of that book.
– Who are you?
– I’m an average guy with two kids and a condo in Dedham , Massachusetts. I am not “The Great I Am”—I am nothing special but I’ve had a special life.
– What are your writing habits?
– I try to write every day and finish what my goal is for the day, whether it’s a draft to completion or a certain word count. When writing The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, I set a goal of 15,000 words a month or 500 a day. I was able to write 500 words a day pretty easily and often more, so I could have a day off during that month. If I worked consecutively, I never started from a creative dry place. Currently, as writers do when books come out, I am in a promotional phase and I’m writing much less, but I still get things out there.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– Yes, I’m very pleased. The book is doing well. I’ll be releasing another book of flash fiction, in 2015, mostly from works I’ve published since 2008 in various journals. I’m working with a publisher to put that together. Also, I’m plotting out a novel based on one on my stories, Joe The Salamander.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– I try to use every means possible. Contests, give-a-ways, social networks, readings. I toured the West Coast of the United States in October. I find the best way to get the word out on a book is the word of mouth—people listen to people, right?
– You are founder of Somerville News Writers Festival. Is it tough to organize such a meeting and what are the most positive results of it?
– Doug Holder and I did it for eight years and by the eighth I was exhausted and there wasn’t much gratitude. Everyone from the advertisers to the venue to the guests wanted more than I could give. Don’t get me wrong, it was a tremendous event and I met many writers who I never would have had the chance to meet. I got to speak to Rick Moody and Juno Diaz about writing, and shared the stage with two Pulitzer Prize Winners, Robert Olen Butler and Franz Wright. I had the opportunity to renew or form relationships with Massachusetts Super Stars Andre Dubus III, Steve Almond, Jennifer Haigh, and Tom Perrotta. I cherish all of that and also from that was and the association with the event got me noticed as a writer, promoter and person involved in the arts.
– What do you prefer – short fiction or poetry?
– Depends on the day
– Do you remember the first time when you decide to write something and what was your inspiration?
– I guess inventing my own baseball games I could play on a table top doesn’t count. Also, I won’t count any song lyrics I wrote back when I played music. In terms of short fiction, I wrote something on an old typewriter about a friend who was a crack head, and at the time, I found it very amusing. Let’s see, that was in the early 1990’s and then I probably went two years before I wrote anything else. At the time I had no plans to ever write seriously or to be published .
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
– What is the greatest accomplishment in your life? My sobriety. Help is available if you want it, not just if you need it. Today I am the product of a pure miracle. I have a good life.
Check out more about Timothy at his web page
Take a look at his books: