Author Tim Northburg is another writing friend I met through Northern Colorado Writers. He’s produced titles in both non-fiction and fiction, running the boundaries from sales to fantasy/sci-fi. Juggling full time work, three daughters in Ballet and writing, he’ definitely a man who practices what he writes.
1) Along with “Otterocity” you’ve published several other books. Share with us those titles and a brief description of each.
Otterocity! Bring a Joyful Spirit to Your Life
Otterocity is a story about bringing a joyful spirit to your life, no matter what challenges you face in society, the economic climate, or life in general. Follow Corry Samuelson as he embarks on a journey from Fort Collins, Colorado to San Juan Island, Washington to film a group of Sea Otters. Here, he meets an otter he names Lizzie and uncovers simple truths about otters that he infuses into his life, to bring about change and a joyful spirit, during his struggle with the economy, work, and the death of his friend/boss.
Along with Otterocity I have self published several works of fiction as well as non-fiction. Here are two of them:
We all have goals. Not all of us write them down, monitor them on a daily basis, and work towards achieving them. This workbook will help you understand who you are, where you have been and where you are headed. It will also help you set and monitor short and long-term goals to help fuel your furnace and achieve the success you desire in all areas of your life.
Angels and demons fighting for control of the universe . . . ancient spirits or Greek Gods ruling over the Earth . . . Merlin and magic influencing mankind. What if it were all true? Unlock the secret codex of the supreme rulers of the cosmos. Discover the Decnalab history and lore, as well as uncover the prophecy that foretells of the enchanted one, that will come from humankind. This champion will mark the return of the original utopian order and fight to regain control of the universe and stamp out the evil that has plagued the Decnalab supremacy.
2) Of those titles, which is your favorite and which has caused you the most heart ache?
I would say The Decnalab Codex is my favorite, it sets up the saga I have been working on for many years. It is my favorite because I wrote it from the point of view of the android robot that is the Companion Learning System Robot of my main character in The Artifacts of Merlin Saga. and I have a lot of foreshadowing and hidden elements in the prelude that will get explained as I roll out the eight books in the series. I am now releasing the first novel in the series that has been in the works for the last nine years.
Otterocity has caused me the most heart ache. Several elements or “mustard seeds” that make up the foundation of the story are close to heart but. I did embellish a lot, but I hope that the emotion connects with the reader.
I also want to add that Fuel The Furnace Goals Workbook is the book I use most. I use it at the beginning of each year to set goals in all areas of my life. It is great looking at it throughout the year and crossing off the goals I accomplish.
3) I think your choice of the Otter is the best animal to demonstrate the many traits in your book “Otterocity.” Did you consider any other animals? If you were told by an agent to pick a different animal, would you choose a different animal or a different agent?
When I first set out to write Otterocity I was reminded of several books I liked to read. Gung Ho was one of them. In the book the character meets a mentor who teaches her management principles through lessons from watching squirrels, beavers, and geese. I was enamored with how the author used those animals to bring meaning to one’s purpose. Another book was Rhinoceros Success. This author also equated a rhino’s characteristics to achieving success. So, I thought long and hard about the perfect animal that I could use in my story to apply a similar allegory. I thought through a list of animals including lions, eagles, and bears, but it didn’t feel right. Then one day I was thinking about the time I went to the Denver Aquarium with my daughters and watched the otters at play. I did some research and found that Sea Otters have many characteristics that I could use to bring spiritual meaning to my story. I played with different words for the title and decided on Ottertude and through research of Otter habitats along the coast I picked the coast of Washington to be the home of my otters. After more research I found San Juan Island and a small marina/campground to be the ideal setting. I finished writing my book a year later and when I went to register the domain name and Ottertude was taken. I had to modify the name of my book and I played with several suffixes like Ottergy and Otterocity. Ocity means ‘quality of’ and I thought it was a perfect fit. If an agent asked me to pick another animal, I would choose a different agent. This book wouldn’t be what it is with another animal.
4) You are involved with Canyon Concert Ballet in Ft. Collins. Have you ever performed ballet, any other dance or act on stage?
I have not performed ballet or danced on stage. I did take an acting class in High School, but that is about it. My daughters dance at CCB and they get their talent from my wife who danced Ballet at the Royal Academy in England.
5) Speaking of ballet, have you ever, or would you consider writing a storyline for a ballet? Instead of Swan Lake, maybe something like Otter Pond? If so, tell us about your idea.
I did have an idea a few years back that is a love story about two dancers. I don’t know if it would be a storyline for a ballet, more of a book with ballet in it. A boy and girl meet in ballet class and have a connection. A few years go by and she moves to New York to become a principle dancer with N.Y. City Ballet. The boy stays back and becomes an engineer or something. They meet on the streets of N.Y. one day and re-kindle their relationship. However, this is still an idea in my head. Maybe one day it might become a book.
I do infuse dance into my writing. I did choreograph a dance scene in my first Bacon Finnegan novel where they are at a corn festival and watch dancers perform a ceremony. Also, one of the main female characters knows ballet and karate. I intend to have her use those skills combined and call it ballarate.
6) It’s crunch time and you’ve got just a moment to decide. It’s all or nothing. Your choice: Play quarterback in a Super Bowl for any team you wish, but winning is not guaranteed or realize what most writer’s dream about and have one of your titles top the New York Times Best Seller list for one week. Which do you choose and why?
As a kid I played football in the back yard with my friends and fantasized about being Joe Montana playing in the Super Bowl and throwing to Jerry Rice. I do watch a lot of football, root for the Broncos, and wonder what it would be like being a quarterback in a big game. However, I would have to pick having one of my titles top the New York Times Best Seller list for a week.
Playing in the Super Bowl and throwing a few touchdowns would be an amazing feeling, but you can only score a few times. With each book that I sell, I get that same feeling. It is exhilarating knowing that someone is going to read my work. Having a book on the best seller list means that thousands of people will be reading my story. That would be like scoring thousands of touchdowns. I am a writer at heart, and I hope to inspire people to achieve success in their lives. Hopefully my books will do that. Finally, the Super Bowl is one hour of play, but Books last throughout history. That is why I would choose the best seller list over the Super Bowl.
Thanks Tim for taking the time to tell us a little about yourself and books.