Author, Tim Parsons, shares his thoughts with us in this interview! Thank you, Tim, for spending time with us. If you want more info or links, you'll find them below.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: I am voluntary Chaplain to the Ambulance Service and my first ever shift was 12 hours with a Paramedic who’s name is Chris and he showed me a book his daughter had written based upon her health experiences since she was very small. This inspired me to write a story about real life calls I have attended with the Ambulance Service and hopefully the series might develop into something like the Fireman Sam episodes. I saw a need to educate upon the Ambulance Service and at the same time I want to long term open a 24/7 retreat centre where people can get more support.
2. Can you tell me about the book?
Answer: Paramedic Chris Episode one is based upon a hoax call to a patient, Zara is placed with Paramedic Chris for the day and all is not as it seems.
Episode two, Paramedic Chris A Helping Hand is based upon a call to patient suffering from loneliness and Paramedic Chris and Holly are able to help re build the gentleman’s life.
3. What is your writing process like?
Answer: It took me quite a time to get the stories together but I have found writing idea’s in the back of the Ambulance on the way to calls has helped me keep the idea’s fresh in my mind.
4. What did you learn when writing the book?
Answer: I have learned how to keep the books short because I could go into further details, for example I have taken medical advise from colleagues and found it hard to condense that into a children’s story.
5. What surprised you the most?
Answer: I have been surprised at the response, since launching Episode one in February 2018 I have sold over 600 copies and the books are now going onto a new deaf channel in the UK.
6. What does the title mean?
Answer: Paramedic Chris stands for helping people, both physically and mentally.
7. Was the character inspired by a real person? If so, who?
Answer: Yes, as stated above, the real life Paramedic Chris, his daughter has battled a rare cancer since she was two (now fifteen) and she has written stories based upon her health, this inspired me to create the Paramedic Chris books.
8. What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?
Answer: Paramedic Chris in Episode one was able to see a family re united and episode two was able to see somebody go from being lonely to being involved with groups.
9. What advice do you have for writers?
Answer: If you have a good idea, go for it, don’t let other people put you off. Everybody has a book in them.
10. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Answer: Energizes me as the idea’s keep pouring in from other calls when I start writing.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Answer: Thinking huge volumes of your books will automatically sell, marketing is very hard and a continued thing to work on.
12. What is your writing Kryptonite?
13. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Answer: Certainly do write what people are looking for as this engages and highly important when educating upon the Ambulance service.
14. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Answer: I have written two episodes of Paramedic Chris and plan to do future episodes.
15. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Answer: Two published, Paramedic Chris and Paramedic Chris A Helping Hand, currently have piles of written work ready for publishing.
16. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Answer: Each time I go out on Ambulance calls I take note of the calls and seek advise from colleagues in the service.
17. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Answer: I am still part time as I have not sold nowhere near the volume to secure an income which would pay a full time wage.
18. How many hours a day do you write?
Answer: Roughly two.
19. What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
Answer: All based upon real life emergency calls since I have worked for the Ambulance Service four years ago.
20. What did you edit out of this book?
Answer: There were a number of corrections which my wife and publisher altered.
21. How do you select the names of your characters?
Answer: As stated above, the real Paramedic Chris was my inspiration and the other characters were names which came to my mind.
22. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Answer: I work as voluntary Chaplain to Ambulance Service and write same time.
23. What was your hardest scene to write?
Answer: Episode two was hard based upon a lonely patient as this is a common call which we attend, always heart breaking to go on these calls.
24. What is your favorite childhood book?
Answer: Fireman Sam.
25. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Answer: Six months
26. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
Answer: Longhand then computer.
27. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: Not until I started work with the Ambulance Service did I believe I could do this, I was told growing up I would never succeed and this has now inspired me to succeed.
28. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Answer: I found it hard to find the time more than anything.
29. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
Answer: I aim to do minimum of two A4 pages each day.
30. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Answer: Is ongoing with the various calls we attend.
31. Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?
Answer: Yes, I love reading David Walliams books to our Children, I love theology books, second World war books and reading my Bible Daily.
32. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
Answer: Educating upon the works of the Ambulance Service.
33. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
Answer: I would feel disappointed but see the next event as an opportunity. Never give up.
34. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?
Answer: I believe that was a story called Burglar Bill.
35. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Answer: None at all.
36. Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
Answer: My colleagues in the Ambulance Service who are over worked and under rated.
37. Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
Answer: Wife, parents and children.
38. Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
Answer: The real Paramedic Chris.
39. Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?
Answer: Very true, it is extremely hard to get your books known and sold.
40. Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?
Answer: I never write word-perfect drafts, my wife has to proof check them.
41. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Answer: Yes, a few times but I have kept going and found an excellent publisher.
42. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
Answer: I have not had any experience of this.
43. Is writing book series more challenging?
Answer: It is a challenge but with my work it helps as I am always getting new ideas from different calls.
44. Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?
Answer: It certainly is, that is why I write idea’s down after each call.
45. Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?
Answer: Yes, plenty!
46. Can you tell us about your current projects?
Answer: Developing more series of Paramedic Chris.
47. Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?
Answer: Yes, I highly value my wife’s input.
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