Raw Nerve is a political action thriller where Gideon. the main protagonist goes undercover to find out what the Ku Klux Klan are planning as America is about to elect the first black president.
What will Gideon unravel on his undercover mission? Meet Gideon and the challenges he needs to face in Raw Nerve, the political action thriller that I’ll be chatting about with author Tim Rees. Tim, first things first, what inspired you to write this action thriller?
I wrote Raw Nerve after I asked myself the question: Why didn’t Colin Powell run for the White House.
That’s an interesting question to pose and answer. Was there a personal reason for you that caused you to ask this question? Were these thoughts based on your own experiences in life?
No, not really. The story was conceived and born through my imagination. Surprisingly, as I’m Welsh and living in the UK, when a New York agent signed me, she thought I must be African-American after reading the book.
We (my agent and I) didn’t succeed in finding a publisher because Raw Nerve was considered too controversial. I think the readers must judge for themselves.
I think that’s the best policy. Have you spent time in America as part of a literary pilgrimage or research for this novel?
Yes. I went to New York – to meet a publisher for Raw Nerve, funnily enough – and went to the Chelsea Hotel and then walked to The White Horse Tavern where I drank a beer in his honour. Dylan is also a Welshman.
I find it interesting that you went to the US after you wrote the book. So without daily interactions with a large number of Americans, how did the characters of your life form?
With all my novels the characters walk into my imagination fully dressed and fully complete individuals, although when writing General Travers, I did visualise the great actor Morgan Freeman.
Well, I can see how Morgan would inspire some solid characters! When you write do you keep returning your focus to the inspiration behind your characters, the characters themselves or something else?
I write through my imagination and my focus is on the scene and characters that come to me.
What message did you imagination and lead you to in this book?
How inanely ignorant racism is. But this is a novel that is 100% entertaining and does not preach a message.
Your work doesn’t preach messages, but you always write messages into your stories, right?
Yes always. For some reason I seem attracted to difficult subject matter, such as Raw Nerve. But my focus is always to entertain because I believe it is through entertainment that difficult or controversial subject matter is more easily digested.
Taking on the challenge to present such difficult or controversial subjects must take a huge amount of effort on your part. What do you feel that you learnt from taking the challenge of writing this novel?
To listen to the characters. Gideon did something in the novel that would change my planned plot. Thankfully I went with him because the resulting story is much stronger.
Do you find the surprises that writing gives you exciting and energising, or does it get a bit frustrating from time to time?
Oh, energises! Absolutely! I love the whole process.
With so much love of the process, I’m sure you have more writing in the works. What can you tell us about your current project?
I working on my fifth novel, which a sequel to my fourth. I have a lot of stories I want to write.
With a few stories ahead of you and a few behind, what do you think of how your voice as an author has changed as you’ve spent more time dedicated to the craft of writing?
I think it’s grown much stronger. The reason I have now re-launched Raw Nerve, which is my first novel, is a reader wrote to me and gushed about how excited she was after reading it and wanted to know if I’d written any other novels featuring Gideon. I was talking to another author about that and she said that a great story is always a great story and I should market it again.
Have your thoughts around marketing extended to the creation of an author brand? Have you started building on yet?
No, I haven’t, which is something that reflects through my novels because they are all so different. Maybe I should have considered a genre and style that would have branded me better.
Branding and marketing can be spun to bring different stories together, it just depends on how you creativity spin it. You know what, let’s practice spinning a little creativity now so you can get working on your style soon. Let’s try the first question, if you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
It would be big, round and cuddly and I would call her Love.
Nice solid start, what’s your suggestion for the next question if, money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Because they go out on a limb when lending money.
Oh, now that’s a great answer I haven’t heard before. Extra points for originality. See if you can get some more with the question why is a square meal served on round plates?
So you can chase the peas around the edge.
Those poor peas never do make it to safety. What happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
He would be able to fly for real.
Nice. And finally, can you inspire us all to fly into the online stores to pick up a copy of this book by sharing your favourite line. What’s your selection?
When Peach Tobias insists Gideon try escargot, he replies, “I’d rather chew on a leper’s sock.”
Yep, I think I agree with Gideon on that one! With answers like that, I’m sure there are a few more people who are keen to meet Gideon and share his quest. Tim, thanks for sharing a taste of your work with us today, and I can’t wait to see how many people your story touches.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Raw Nerve ( ASIN: B006ZLHKII )‘.
Want to find out more about Tim Rees? Connect here!