Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Tour With Author Tim Rowland

It is with great pleasure that I welcome author Tim Rowland here today as he makes a stop on his Premier Virtual Author Book Tour for his release of CREATURE FEATURES, a must read for animal lovers.

Tim is an award-winning columnist at Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Maryland. He and his wife Beth decided to add animals to their life and soon found they had an assortment of farm animals. Tim used those daily experiences with the animals for his newspaper column and from the column came CREATURE FEATURES, his second book of animal essays.

CREATURE FEATURES contains more than 75 warm and funny essays, from the introduction to the farm of bovines Cleopatra and Heifertiti, the Belted Galloway beauties, to the further antics of Hannah the English Bulldog and Juliet the tiny Siamese, along with assorted donkeys, pigs, goats, horses, chickens, geese-and of course, more of the joyful bouvier des Flandres named Opie-that's sure to provide loads of smiles and even outright guffaws.

I reviewed the book yesterday and must say it’s a delightful read for animal lovers and even those without pets in their life will get a chuckle or two out of it. 

Tim joins us now and has graciously answered some questions about his book and writing for me.

Mason - Have you always wanted to write or was there an event that led you to writing?

Tim - There were two driving factors: One was a love of the language and magic I felt arranging words on a page to communicate thoughts in new and interesting ways—and the other was an acute lack of skill when it came to doing anything else. It wasn’t as if, for example, becoming a mechanical engineer was ever an option. Fortunately I realized this early on. 

When I was in fourth grade, I was producing my own newspaper. It had a circulation of three, since that’s the maximum number of carbon copies I could make on my manual typewriter. After a very short amount of time my newspaper went belly up, so in that respect I was about 30 years ahead of the curve.

Mason - What advice have you received about writing that you pass on to other inspiring writers?

Tim - Read. Hands down, read. A writer develops a voice by ingesting a wide variety of sources that meld into a single, unique voice. Also, for young writers, this is a big help when it comes to grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and such.

Mason - How did you come to write this particular book?

Cover for Tim Rowland's Creature FeaturesTim - This book is an accumulation of experiences, and quite honestly began as therapy. As referenced above, non-writing activities are not a strength, and animal husbandry falls into this “other” category. So there were any number of growing pains, most of which, fortunately, had quite a humorous side.

Mason - With the book’s release, as you look back what was the biggest surprise that occurred while putting this book together?

Tim - That the real-life experiences had piled up so fast. This was both good and bad. It speeded turnaround time on the book, obviously, but it is also a pretty good indicator that my foray into virtual zoo keeping was rarely “smooth sailing.”

Mason - What message would you like readers to take away from your book?

Tim - Trying time can be viewed in two ways. One, they can weigh you down and make a person feel put-upon. Or they can be seen through a humorous lens, at which point even your bad experience have some good.

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

Tim - Probably something environmental or recreational. I’m an outdoors person at heart, so every so often I want to share the joy I discover while bicycling or hiking. And I like to mix recreation with history, just to add an extra layer—and no doubt some humor will find its way into the material as well.

Tim, thanks so much for joining us today and giving us a look at why you write. I especially like your take on viewing trying times. If we don’t see the humor in bad experiences, they will weigh us down quickly.

A little more about Tim. He has written for numerous history and outdoor magazines and news syndicates nationwide. In addition, he has authored several books including: Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War; All Pets are Off: A Collection of Hairy Columns; Petrified Fact: Stories of Bizarre Behavior that Really Happened, Mostly; Earth to Hagerstown; High Peaks: A History of Hiking the Adirondacks from Noah to Neoprene; and Maryland's Appalachian Highlands: Massacres, Moonshine & Mountaineering.

Tim is also keeper and lackey for a wide assortment of mostly non-useful, freeloading critters, aided as always by his trusty (well, mostly trusty) companion Opie.

For more on Tim and his writing, visit his website at http://www.timrowlandbooks.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Have you encountered fun stories while dealing with your pets? What is your take on dealing with trying times?
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  1. Tim, thanks again for guest blogging today. Your stories of life on the farm with the animals are both inspiring and hilarious. Pets do keep us entertained. Wishing you much success.

  2. Tim's style sounds reminiscent of James Herriot's Vet series - I remember reading those in elementary school and I loved them. Off to check this out - thanks :)

  3. What a cool book! I love Heifertiti :) Thanks, Mason.

  4. Thanks again for taking part in the tour and hosting Tim!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.