Twenty-Five Years in the Making - The Story Behind the Story of "The Neighbor"
by Tim Law
Please welcome Tim Law to the Writers Journey Blog this week to tell us the story behind the story of his upcoming novel, "The Neighbor."
Twenty-Five Years in the Making - The Story Behind the Story The Neighbor
I have always loved to write, from a very young age of five or six I was making up stories which my mom would write down. When I was eleven or twelve, I wrote a story about my primary school class and how we all squashed into a super-fast race car (yes all thirty of us plus the teacher) and drove around the whole of Australia. This story was “published” and included in the school library. Needless to say, I have always been writing and telling stories, not overly sporty or very social.
Whenever I found life challenging, I would therefore retreat into reading or writing. High school ended up no better, in fact I would probably say that it was one of my most challenging times of life growing up, and in that I am sure I am not alone, though it sure felt lonely back then. My havens at that time, especially in the later years of high school were away from the oval and the basketball courts. The places I loved to visit during lunchtime break were the library for the range of books I could enjoy on my own and the games of Magic Cards that I could play with my friends, and the Computer Room where I could unleash my imagination and create strange and ridiculous stories, straight from my mind and onto the page.
It was during these later high school years when I stumbled across this incredible film made by Jim Henson called Labyrinth. It would show at least once a year on television, sometimes, if I was lucky, more often than that. Watching such a film, alongside movies like The Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story somehow influenced my own ideas of what a story could be, where I could take my characters, and the weird, wonderful, and impossible situations that I could put them through.
And so, The Neighbor was born, a five-chapter children’s story that was fun to write, but never went anywhere further than the school printer and then a draw at home. It was one of many strange tales that entertained me over a lonely lunchtime, a way to keep out of sight of bullies, a way for me to unleash some built up creativity in a world where science, mathematics, and other such subjects were very absolute.
And then we jump ahead twenty or so years and I discovered the wonderful world of online publishing. 2018 was a real eye-opener for me and a time when I discovered that there was a gold mine of opportunity for short stories and poetry if one knew where to look.
In 2019 and 2020 with lockdowns and uncertainty I found a rhythm to my writing and my submissions and thanks to the encouragement and guidance of some writer friends, and a whole wealth of support from friends and family I set off on an online journey to establish my name as an author.
Jump a few more years ahead and I find myself rummaging through some old boxes in search of a story I remember writing so many years ago… One rediscovered story triggers another, and another, until a landslide of my old works from my teenage years all come crashing down around me. I considered retyping them all and altering the shocking grammar along the way, but thankfully discovered the magic of scanning, copying, and then dumping a whole heap of text into a word processor; a long job made extremely short thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
So that is how it came about that I suddenly found I had a treasure-trove of tales and a few ideas of where to send them… Some got knocked back and I had to seek out a home again, but it gladdens me that the wonderful team at Dark Myth Publishing (https://theworldofmyth and https://mythmart.com) immediately said yes when I sent them chapter one. In fact, they created a whole new genre section on their site for Children’s Lit when I sent them The Neighbor, a place where I and others have been able to share many new stories too.
The World of Myth is a world for everyone and everything and their marketplace Mythmart has a great range of books, comics, T-Shirts and other paraphernalia, quite literally there is something for everyone.
So, after the fifth and final chapter of The Neighbor had been published I was planning to submit the whole entire manuscript to the Open Contract Challenge for that year, when Steph and Dave from Dark Myth Publishing contacted me about their wish to publish it instead.
This has triggered a brand-new journey of growth for me as a writer, the new adventure of publishing. Now, I did have a go at publishing in the past, wandering lost and alone down the rabbit hole of self-publishing when I should have asked for someone to guide me or at the very least taken a torch. The messy result of my first novel, a fantasy adventure titled The Eleventh Tome (available to purchase from AMAZON) had made me cautious about self-publishing again, and I still had no idea about how to market myself or my stories to big name traditional publishers, and so with a heavy helping of uncertainty but a large enough dose of optimism I took the digital hands of Dave and Steph and followed them along a road that they had walked many a time before.
Now, major edits, minor edits, and a few slight hick-ups later I am the proud author of a real book… It is a book with a publication page, a dedication page, proper formatting and an incredibly cool looking front and back cover. As a librarian these things are important to me, and it saddened me somewhat that my initial attempt at publishing did not meet all of these requirements.
All in all, I like to believe that both The Neighbor and The Eleventh Tome are great stories, but I get a little shiver of joy in my very writer soul when I think of what I have been able to achieve, twenty-five (or so) years on from writing that first scene.
For those who are interested in The Neighbor, I would recommend it for children aged 7 to 12 years, or any over 12 years who are (like me) forever young at heart. Copies can be ordered prior to May 9th via the link https://www.mythmart.com/product-page/the-neighbor-by-tim-law or direct from MythMart on or after May 9th. I truly appreciate the opportunity to share the story behind this story, and to share with other likeminded writers the excitement I feel.
Bio: Tim Law is an author of fantasy, horror, detective and general fiction who heralds from a little town in Southern Australia called Murray Bridge. A happily married father of three, family is very important to him. Currently working at the Murray Bridge Library in the role of Manager he has dreamed since high school of becoming a full-time author. Working for a library, surrounded by so many wonderful stories it’s difficult not to be inspired. The greatest inspiration of all for him comes from asking “what if?”
Many of his short stories and general musings can be found at http://somecallmetimmy.blogspot.com.au/
The Neighbor from M-Kids Press is Tim’s first children’s novel.