Interview with Andy Tilley, author of RECYCLING JIMMY
RECYCLING JIMMY is a truly original tale. Its premise? A bungled suicide attempt inspires a new business idea for Briton Jimmy Gee.
KH: Congratulations on the upcoming release of RECYCLING JIMMY. Where did you get the original idea?
AT: The idea actually came from a conversation that I overheard (and I have no idea if there was any truth in it or not) concerning something called 'bum wars'. From what I can remember, allegedly there was a group of US college boys who went out in search of homeless people and then paid them (reasonably small sums of money I might add) to do stupid stunts whilst they ran the video. Things like setting their hair on fire or running into walls. Sick I know, but it got me thinking and I just took this to the extreme where Jimmy (who has recently attempted to take his own life) and Kevin come up with the idea of filming spectacular or 'comical' suicides in order to sell DVD's. Thankfully though, ss the book develops, it becomes clear that the service that the two heroes are offering has a lot more compassion than it would seem at face value.
KH: Tell me about your path to publication. Any do's and don'ts you can share?
AT: The first pit fall I came across with this manuscript was paying money to an agent. It was a mistake and nearly cost me the contract with Kunati at one point. The agent turned out to be, shall we say, a little on the shady side. I actually missed one publication window but thankfully, Kunati stood by me and the book. So, if you are going to use an agent, do your homework and preferably take one on recommendation. There are also a number of legitimate sites out there that update lists of reputable contacts. All I would say is use them. If I had done this, then I would have saved myself 6 months of uncertainty.
KH: What are you doing to publicize this new release?
AT: This has been difficult for me, given that the release is in the US and I spend my time between Algeria and the UK. Naturally Kunati, along with IPG, are promoting me hard at a national, retailer level and my profile is building. Good strong reviews are a key feature of this process and the book has received these from a couple of big review houses (Booklist and ForeWard). As the author, I'm doing my bit on the web. Guest blogging, either structured within a virtual book tour or just posted in isolation, can generate a lot of buzz. I'm currently scheduling a virtual book tour to coincide with the release date in early September. I blog regularly on the Kunati site too and I am very close to getting my Myspace page up and running. I have it started but when I returned to work last month I had to leave the responsibility for finishing it with my 16 year old son, but unfortunately I didn't realise that he would be too busy having his nipples pierced and kissing his girlfriend to get around to finishing it ! If he thinks his nipples are sore now, wait until I get hold of him...
KH: Okay, I think we get the idea. Next topic. Book trailers are gaining popularity to promote new books. Yours is no different. (view Tilley's trailer at www.kunati.com)
AT: The trailers are cool aren't they? Kam, the art designer, has done a fantastic job with all of them, cover work included, but I particularly like my trailer. The exploding parachutist is pretty much exactly what was in my head as I played the scene out.
KH: What do you enjoy most about the writing process?
AT: Without doubt it's the opportunity to get all that stuff that keeps me awake at night out of my head! I'm exaggerating here, but it's true that I like to think a lot and taking an idea to its most extreme conclusion is something I enjoy. Writing a piece of fiction is my way of creating an environment where these ideas can be realised and I get real pleasure from expressing them through the character driven plots.
KH: What else in on your writer's drawing board?
AT: I've got the follow up to RECYCLING JIMMY submitted. The working title is Last Laugh Limited and it's a direct follow on. I've also completed another manuscript, The Memoirs of a Goldfish which is also based in Manchester but this time around completely new characters. I like the premise of that book very much; Daniel Fletcher wrestling with the science of relationships.
KH: What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give to an aspiring writer?
AT: 1. Trust your editor. 2. Edit your work 3 or 4 times before submission, preferably with someone who is not involved in the whole publishing process….but not your mum if you write the same kind of stuff that I do! This way you will have more chance of preserving your identity by the time the final edit has been completed. 3. Finally, if you're not enjoying writing it, chances are nobody will enjoy reading it.
KH: Where can someone contact you about your book?
AT: The best place at the moment is via Andy Tilley on the author page at the Kunati website.
RECYCLING JIMMY released September 1, 2007. Read it. You won't be disappointed.