Thursday, January 30, 2014

Interview with Tim J. Finn.

Full Name:
Timothy Joseph Finn / professional name is Tim J. Finn.

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?

Boston, Massachusetts

Current hometown:
Needham, Massachusetts

Favorite city and why?
Boston, probably because it’s my birth city, and for the good times I spent “playing” there - movies, plays, occasional trips to Fenway Park and the original Boston Garden, the former infamous Combat Zone red light district, an excellent setting for horror stories.

Birthday / Age:
5/31/1957 / 56

How would you describe yourself physically?
Slightly above average.

How would someone else describe you physically?
Someone once did describe me as “cute comfortable.”

The first thing people notice about you is…
My introvert’s demeanor.

Religion, if any?
“Lapsed” Catholic - I believe in the message if not the organization.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I was once diagnosed with a social phobia if that counts… I have a germ and dirt OCD that sometimes creeps its way into other areas.

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
Never smoke anything of any kind, or drink.  When I answer someone’s question, I sometimes answer what I think they’re asking instead of what they actually asked — I try to be too intuitive sometimes and look for a hidden agenda.
My room-mate does that all the time.  I often have to say, “Well, that’s all fine and well, but the questions I asked was…”  I also do the same thing, but usually when someone is asking me a difficult question.
I can’t speak to your room-mate’s case, but I guess us writer types are so used to thinking why we made a character say certain dialogue, or maybe why they told us what they wanted to say, we do the same in “real” life.

Current occupation / Dream job:
Receptionist at one of the branch offices of one of the country’s top 100 environmental engineering and consulting firms (not a designation they made up for themselves, like that old commercial “they earn it.”)
Dream job would be the one Stephen King has, along with that success.
I think that one’s taken.
Maybe someday he may actually retire and someone will need to fill the void.  Yes, high hopes, while I pause for the inevitable laughter.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Write mostly, read, watch a smidgeon of TV and occasionally a DVD.  Sleep is entertaining for me also, I have pulled ideas for a few stories from my dreams and nightmares.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Link up with other survivors and hunker down in a safe place, like the original Dawn of the Dead until things went sour.

Weapon of choice:
.44 Magnum with fragmentation bullets.

Do you have any special skills?
Writing, trained former radio DJ, cool head in a crisis

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Yes.  Earned a BA in English; originally went to be an English professor and writer on the side, worked at the college radio station and decided I liked that profession better than teaching.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Yes, luckily I didn’t have many, thanks to the extreme generosity of family members.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
No pets at present.

What is your favorite animal?
A dog.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Me first drivers on the road, liars, users of other people, close minded people, bullies, people who believe they know what is best for everyone in every situation.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Shrimp is the favorite, baked beans are the least favorite.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
To quote the X Files, “the truth is out there.”

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
The first fan letter I received during my first radio job.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
My first job lay off.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Yes, several times.  Well, for one of them, I’ll just warn people, don’t misinterpret an exotic dancer’s attentions when she’s drink mixing…and definitely don’t go and do it a second time.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Given money, that I shouldn’t really part with, to a family member who was in even worse shape than I.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Lied to myself about a person’s intentions and forgave them countless times, to my own detriment.

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
I’d like to pull the switch on Whitey Bulger, one of the most despicable persons that ever walked the earth, and I’d be saving taxpayers the expense of housing and feeding him.

What do you do?
Front desk receptionist — answer phones, greet visitors, deal with mail, etc.  Part time, I am a budding and sometimes published horror writer.

How did you get started doing what you do?
The receptionist gig was the result of training during my various temp office work assignments.  The writing part, way back in middle school… I collected (and still have) the original Aurora Monster model kits.  The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare intrigued me since it seemed to have no basis in movies like the rest of the creatures.  I wrote my own back story for it, decided I enjoyed the experience, and I was off and running.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
The reception bit, register with a temp agency and take advantage of any training opportunities they offer.  The writing part: Write, write and write your ass off, which since you’ll be sitting most the time you are writing may be contrary advice.  Be persistent, something will pop, although maybe only your sanity at times.  Jack Ketchum gave me this tidbit, given him by Robert Bloch, when I first approached him about my writing aspirations… don’t do it unless you have to.  (A little name drop, sorry, but Ketchum is one of my favorite authors and also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.) 

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on / finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
Phase 1 of my writing career consisted of mostly of form rejection slips for short stories I hope no one ever remembers reading.  (Sorry, slush pile readers at Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.)  My first acceptance came from a small press magazine called Moonbroth while I was a junior in high school.  I placed a second story with them, but the owner/publisher had terrible health problems and passed on before my stories were ever published.  I did have several film reviews accepted by for the love markets.  I took a major hiatus from writing, still thought about it, but I didn’t do much about it, until several years ago.  More rejections followed, until 2011 when my story “Misfortune” was accepted by Rymfire Books for the Massachusetts edition of their State of Horror anthology line.  Over the past couple of years I’ve had stories published in anthologies from Angelic Knight Press, Zombie Works Publications, Grinning Skull Press, Strangehouse Books and a recent acceptance by Strange Musings Press for their Alternative Hilarities 2 collection.

What projects are you working on now?
A short story about a vampire hunter I created back in college returning to the stomping grounds — that infamous Combat Zone — that helped create him.  I also have a story told from the point of a serial killer in the works, and several sketched ideas, including one about a James Bond type who battles monsters.

What are you watching?
About all I watch on a regular basis is Svengoolie on Me-TV Saturday nights.  I’ll also look in occasionally on Law and Order: SVU (mainly for Mariska Hargitay) and Castle.

What are you listening to?
A variety of whatever catches my fancy—CDs I’ve played recently include some Elvira hosted horror music collections, Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly, the greatest hits collections of Sheena Easton, Paula Abdul, Blondie, Pat Benatar and I think I’ve about worn out my Joan Jett and the Blackhearts greatest hits CD.
When I’m writing, I use sports talk radio for background noise.

What are you reading?
I’m trying to catch up on my backlog of Fangoria and Gorezone.

Favorite author / book?
Jack Ketchum and Off Season are my up to date favorites.  But I always have a place in my literary heart and bookcase for a British crime writer named John Creasey.  He provided the main reading material for my junior high and high school years.  He wrote books featuring a number of series characters (the Baron, the Toff, Gideon of Scotland Yard, Inspector Roger West, etc.)  His struggles and eventual triumphs are a source of inspiration.  He collected “oodles” of rejections slips, well into the hundreds and beyond, before finding success, in a big way.  He was also extremely prolific…the mystery section at my local library could well have been termed “Creasey and a few others.”  He probably seems a little quaint and “veddy British” to modern readers but he did provide me with the proverbial hours of reading entertainment and for that if nothing else I will always appreciate him. 

Favorite band / song?
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and their song Light of Day.  To quote “I’m feeling okay/Just got a little lost along the way/But I’m just around the corner from the light of day.”  I liked the movie of the same name also, but I then I have some kind of crush on Joan Jett…rock and roll women, well, rock!!  On the softer side, I am a bit partial to Johnny Rivers Slow Dancing.

Least favorite band / song?
I have many shuddery musical memories from my DJ days, but as I consider them, Escape (The Pina Colada Song) from Rupert Holmes is the one that rises to the top.  I liked its clearly delineated instrumental beginning that allowed me to “hit the post” (talk to the vocal), but the song itself left a sour taste, maybe a bad pina colada taste, behind.  By the end of it, here’s two people in a relationship that had no qualms about cheating on each other, who apparently didn’t know much about each other, all happy and giggly that they discovered they’re both unfaithful ignoramuses.  Break up already, but please, don’t sing about that situation.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Full time writer - a successful one.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Stephen King.  Ben Franklin.  Doctor Who.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
My first radio job—I was still impressed by being in the “entertainment” business and I worked at night when there were no bosses around.
Worst was my last job - I’d get in all kinds of kinds of trouble going into any detail. (I had to sign a little document when I was downsized out the door.)  Not that 12 hour shifts as a busboy/dishwasher could be classified as fun and games, either.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
No, sir, you were thorough through and through.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.

About the Interviewee:
Tim J. Finn is a born and mostly bred New Englander, residing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for most of his life.  He spent his college years in the cornfields of Iowa attending Grinnell College, where he earned a BA in English.  Finn has worked as a short order cook, busboy, office temp, radio DJ, copywriter and data entry clerk while pursuing a writing career.   He currently works full time as a receptionist at one of the country’s top environmental engineering, design and consulting companies.  He only occasionally hurls epithets at the busy switchboard he monitors.
Finn first started writing in his early teens.  He entertained his Catholic school classmates with tales of horror and the supernatural, much to the consternation of the good nuns.  His first story accepted for publication was a zombie adventure, featuring the mythic/voodoo type of zombies instead of the latter gut munching variety.  After a lengthy literary hiatus he placed a story in the Massachusetts edition of Rymfire Books State of Horror series.  Finn’s stories have also appeared in the second volume of Angelic Knight Press’ Satan’s Toybox series entitled Toy Soldiers; the Monsterthology anthology from Zombie Works Publications; From Beyond the Grave published by Grinning Skull Press; and Strange Versus Lovecraft: A Strange Anthology from Strangehouse Books.  Finn is a member of the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Society.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
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Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
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