Why did you decide to be a writer?

I was firstly motivated by the movie „The Wizard of Oz” when I was five. I’ve been into writing in the various genres since the age of ten. Up to recently I’ve written mainly in the form of „serious” literature, though. GAMES OF LUST is my first novel in the form of light entertainment.

How did you choose your authors pseudonym?

Tom is the English equivalent of my first name. Latimer used to be a male first name in Middle English between the 11th and 15th centuries. It meant interpreter or „Latin speaker”. I used to be an interpreter myself, so that’s why the name, and I also speak Latin, even if not perfectly. Latimer is a word of Old French origin. The Normans brought it to England where it became a popular surname.

How did you get your first book published?

Probably with a bit of luck, just like everyone. With my proof copy I approached the publishers who were known to deal with my style of writing. I wrote too many, I think I sent about 10-20 e-mails. A number of them did not even offer me a reply, but this is quite common. Many publishers offer an interest on their website, but it’s just not realistic. I think there were also some who rejected my writing because they were simply not interested in the content. Others replied, but they set impossible standards. Then there were those publishers who showed real interest in my proof copy. I contacted them personally and I agreed a deal with one of them. I think I just dropped lucky because I’m aware that some budding authors are applying for months or years.

Where do you get your inspiration and the choice of topics for your books?

I keep my eyes open. I’m not afraid to admit that I listen to other people when I’m talking to them and I pick out and utilise incidents from their lives. Of course, I’m always careful to change the details so that they are not identifiable. Mostly I just take an event, a thought or a gesture. It’s interesting that even when I’m watching a film it’s usually just a sentence, a gesture or a deed that I really like, so this is what I will extend upon. I spend my whole life in contemplation because many stories are coming to fruition in my mind at the same time.

I have written a crime story. Would you be willing to read it?

I’m neither a publisher nor an editor and not even a critic. I have very little free time outside of my work and my everyday activities, so I don’t read other people’s proof copies. I suggest that you apply to the appropriate agents and editors who specialise in this genre. There are many of them and they will direct you into the right channel. It won’t be easy, but good luck to you!

What did you do before you became a writer?

It’s a long story. Basically, I’m a teacher and economist. I’m a university graduate and I spent years teaching English. Then I worked in the private sector. I worked in sales, as a procurator and in the fields of humanities. I think I’m a record-breaker as I’ve hardly been an employee for someone else, I’ve always been self-employed. I recommend the same to everyone. Freedom offers you the possibility to embrace the most creative thoughts.

Are you a family man? Do you have children, a wife or a partner?

I never discuss my private life publicly and in exchange I never ask anyone about this. I’m a writer, not a celebrity or other public figure.

Do you like vampire stories and fantasy?

No. I like reading stories where I can feel the events could have happened to anyone, anywhere and anytime to a wide scale, so it’s not unrealistic fiction.

Where do you live?

In the countryside or if I’m travelling, abroad.

How could I meet you?

At writer-reader meetings and book signing days. The exact appointments will be indicated on this website. To get informed in time I suggest that you sign up for the newsletter.

Do you believe in God? What is your religion?

I believe in a leading creative power and you can call this power God if you choose to do so. I come from a mainly Christian (Roman Catholic and Protestant) background. I was baptised as a Roman Catholic, but I’m not a practising believer. I’m totally offended by bigotry within religion. In my opinion, that’s not very much different from fanaticism.

What is your political belief? Which side of the fence do you stand?

I’m all for democracy and I’m not really liberal. I lean to the political stand that takes constitutionality and human rights seriously, is able to compromise, is honest by at least political standards, respects its political opponents and the interests of other countries and it keeps to the obligations that were undertaken in the international political agreements. This is the political stand that rejects extremities and violence, the one that you don’t feel is superior to you and it does not control but serves the public because this is what it’s supposed to do in the first place.

In your Bio you said that you supported various charities. Which ones?

Mainly the ones to do with children’s diseases and children’s welfare. Apart from those, the plight of dogs, cats and other pets is also very close to my heart. And, of course, the Hungarian Red Cross, of which I’m a member for a decade now.

What is your favourite colour?

Is this some kind of psychology test? Blue, green, red, yellow etc. I’ve no issues about colours.

Are you on any other website?

I have a page on Facebook in Hungarian. Other than that with the Internet you can never really know what information you will find about me uploaded by others.

What is your opinion about plagiarism?

First, let’s make it clear, what plagiarism is. It is if an author takes something created by another author, is that right? Well, this has never happened and it never will. It’s a different story, though, that every writer, and I do mean every single writer, reads an awful lot to actually become an author. It’s inevitable, moreover, essential that other authors exert an influence and inspire you. However, it doesn’t mean that you take complete sentences from them, but just that they influence your vocabulary, style, editing, values and how you view the world in general. The influence of another writer upon someone does not constitute plagiarism. The influence is necessary for the artistic development while plagiarism is simply stealing.

I was not able to turn a blind eye to the use of language in your books. You write with a flowing sense of words, rich in vocabulary, which makes me think that you are well cultured, but at the same time you use colourful language, write about sex, drugs and violence and you seem to discuss homosexuality and lesbianism openly. Do you not fear to affect the younger generation by your choice of subject matter?

To be honest, if my books get into the hands of children, it’s not really my fault, is it? It’s the responsibility of the parents to vet what books their children read. I don’t write bedtime stories, so I don’t intend my stories for children. On this understanding, it’s possible to blame anyone, like all the radio stations and television channels, magazines and newspapers for material that gets into the wrong hands. Take one of the news programs on TV. The key words are the following: exploded, killed, raped, beat, assaulted, derailed and the list is endless. I believe that my stories are not at all as brutal as real life can be. Of course, I write about crime, criminals, people who have gone off the rails, prostitution, drugs and everything else that goes with crime. My stories don’t happen to gentle-minded poets, daydreaming primadonnas or academic geniuses, but everyday ordinary people. That’s why I cannot rose colour my stories. Those who crave for that sort of thing should read romantic novels with a happy ending. Swear words are everywhere, just like drugs and crime, and as for those who have a problem with sex, I think something must be wrong with them. Sex is one of the most beautiful gifts this life has to offer. In addition, homosexual sex and lesbian sex both have a place here. It would be lacking in truth to avoid these topics. I’m extremely tolerant with other people and I assume my readers will share my views. I believe that what I write is totally acceptable.

Do you use other pseudonyms as well?

I sign my non-crime stories and poems in Hungary as Tamás Latimer.

Do you like people?

Of course, I do, otherwise how can it be possible to find life worthwhile?

I would like to become a writer. Could you give me some advice?

Oh, sure! Get yourself nerves of steel! Seriously speaking, I think you are about to choose one of the most rewarding, but most difficult profession. I don’t think I’m competent enough to tell you how to make your way in writing. This is a totally individual subject. Those who write have something to say and they obviously enjoy what they are doing. Believe me, style and vocabulary is purely a question of technique. In my opinion, anyone can become a writer if they have a tiny glimmer within them; call it a gift or talent that predetermines them for this choosing. These people will be able to develop and be creative. Others will have little chance. Of course, you can always try, but there are few things that are more pitiful than a story of poor vocabulary, full of repetition and without true grit. If you want to become a writer, first, you have to read a lot and try to cultivate your own style. After that just write, write and write. Even when you feel that nothing comes to your mind just keep on writing. This is hard work. You can always write, but the question is how much you will feel the need to eradicate next day. It happens to me that I have to rewrite a whole paragraph 5 times.

How do you write a book? Do you just simply sit down to write it? Or do you do it after careful planning?

I think if you just start something without planning you cannot even construct a dog kennel. A crime story, the classic spine-chilling „suspense” that is, requires some quite serious preparation. The way I work is that first of all I think of the storyline and the punch line. It’s very important to have something astonishing or spine chilling as the climax of the story, otherwise there is no point to it. This phase is completed years before the actual writing. I make up a chart about the characters and here I list their names, ages, physical appearance, occupation and all other details. I keep this chart in front of me at all times and I often consult it while I’m writing so that I don’t confuse characters. It would come through as an incongruity if someone was, say, a blonde, and 200 pages later that same person would be brown-haired. The chart helps me to be aware at any given moment who is who. By the end of the story I get to know my characters perfectly and I regard them as old friends. When I feel it’s time for me to begin writing my story I sit down and I make a first draft for every chapter. I make up a list about the sequence of events, who enters the story when, does what, says what and what effect this has on the continuation of the story. The first draft is about 5-10-page-long and it’s made up of scenes like in the case of movies. I keep making fine adjustments to this first draft for weeks and often for months. I write notes on the margins, connect parts by arrows, and refer to other parts etc. until I end up with everything totally scribbled across. This is how it suits me because it means that I’m WORKING on the story. This phase includes checking out the scenes, the characters and other factors, even travelling there and collecting information from friends abroad. It happened, for example, that I phoned an American friend of mine to ask him to go and have a look at a certain building in Los Angeles and tell me how many steps are leading up to the main entrance. There was a scene set there in my book and I hadn’t observed this little detail when I was there myself. My friend did have a look and phoned me back and then I knew how to describe the scene so that it would be true to reality. By the time I actually sit down to write my book I’ve already constructed the main issues of the story, so all is left is the mechanics of the thing and the typing.

What is the most difficult thing when trying to write a novel?

The storyline, which is thinking of the content and the dialogue. The dialogue is actually the most difficult to think of within the story. For a conversation neither to be too much nor too little, not meaningless and not simple-minded, that’s ART or creative literature, itself. People usually take decades to absorb this because it cannot be taught. You either have the feel of it or you don’t.

You are writing about the tasting of drinks in such a physically pleasurable way that I found myself getting a craving for some of the whiskeys you described. Which is your favourite drink?

Practically I’m a teetotaller, so I never drink alcohol. At one time I tasted all the different drinks and then I stayed on water.

What is your opinion about master classes in creative writing?

Those who provide them are obviously doing very well out of them. And those who take part in these courses have little chance to become a good writer. I think that those who ARE to become good writers would have no need to undertake a course like that. I feel that it’s merely money down the drain and I’ve heard of some that were organised here in Hungary, and almost ended up in scandal. The writers-to-be had to hand in a piece of writing at the end of the course and „the literary greats” evaluated it in such a subjective, slipshod and unprofessional way that it ruined the credibility of the whole course. There was also a complaint occurring that they didn’t even bother to read the completed handed-in writings. Is this what a budding author who’s full of hopes and aspiration needs? Read and write and you will progress. Those who provide such courses for a lot of money haven’t taken part in such a course themselves.

Are you teaching nowadays? Would you give a lecture?

Maybe once I will give one. Nowadays I’m not into teaching. I have no patience and no time. I believe that only those should give lectures who have a proven track record behind them so they are not doing it to make a living, but for pleasure, and because they have something meaningful to say.

Can you give me your autograph?

Of course, so long as you come to a book-signing day and present me with your book. Then I might even decide to write you a few well-meaning words as well as my autograph inside. I don’t send autographed photos through the post, that’s what movie stars do.

I think that you are a cynical, inconsiderate, despicable, contemptuous, unthinking, manipulative, perverted and amoral sod. What do you think about that?

You’ve forgotten lazy, inflexible, irritating, scum, underhanded, brute and pig. Well, look, talentless dud and bad writer don’t seem to be included in your characterisation. I guess if you hated my books you wouldn’t know what’s inside them, which, to me, means that you do read my novels and you like my style. Otherwise why would you read them? I also think you are envious of me, which I’m particularly happy about. This is enough for me, your criticism is not much interest to me.

How long do you think you will continue as a writer?

So long as it gives me pleasure and I feel I have something to write about. Believe me, I won’t force it. I’ll only do it as long as I don’t become pitiful or boring. I have an everyday normal job, so I wouldn’t go hungry without writing.

As I understand, you live in the countryside, in a detached house. Are you interested in nature, maybe even gardening?

My garden does look very nice, it’s taken me a lot of planning and work to make it look that way. I consider my home my island of calm, I can recharge my batteries there. I like the birds, the bushes, the trees, the scent of the flowers and the sight of the bird feeder in winter in my garden. I’m a protector of the environment and I try to live an environment-friendly life.

How long does it take you to write a book? Are you a quick typist?

If I write continuously it takes me about half a year to write a book – and that’s excluding the planning and making the first draft. There are some days when I’m unable to write because I have other engagements and there are days when I can write 20 pages. On some days I just make some corrections to one or two sentences. It all depends on the length of the novel and how involved I am with other commitments. Yes, I’m a quick typist, you’d be surprised to see me type.

How do you make a living? From your books or is it another means?

By working very hard, however unbelievable that may sound.

Can I download facts, information or extracts of your books etc. from your website?

This website is protected by copyright. You cannot use any of the contents on here for commercial purposes. You can quote me at certain places, using quotation marks, of course, but you must state the source and I’ll inform you that I’m not giving my consent to any fanatical, extreme troublemaker or media organisations to use my quotations. I will always take legal action against such people.

Whats the title of your next book?

The title of my next book will always appear on the home page of this website. If you are interested in my new publications, please, sign up for the newsletter.

How can I contact you?

I don’t have a public e-mail address. You can write to the editor of this website at mail@tomlatimer.com . I sometimes have a look at it, myself, when I have some free time, but I’m afraid it doesn’t guarantee you will get a reply to your message.

If I have an idea, would you pick up on it and write a book?

Thank you, it’s very kind of you, but I only utilise my own ideas.

Do you have favourite authors?

I’ve read a large number of Hungarian and foreign writers. I’m a chain reader. However, quite interestingly, none of these writers are crime writers.

Are your character heroes based on yourself?

Oh, no…. Do I look such a multiple personality? That would border on schizophrenia. I create my characters on the basis of traits in others.

What is your opinion about racism? Are you not interested in selecting it as a theme? Are there any other issues that make you think?

I suppose you mean racial prejudice and discrimination and its different types and ideologies. Yes, of course, I’m very interested, but you have to tread extra carefully to approach this topic so that you remain credible. I’m sure I will, in the end, come to deal with this topic, though, and it might actually get to be a main theme running through one of my books. To answer the second half of your question, a topic that I will certainly write about is controversial religious sects. This topic is becoming more and more of an up to date thing, unfortunately.

How much of a bond do you have with your characters?

Just a harmless bond really. I created them, so they are like children for me in a certain sense. However, if the storyline requires it I wouldn’t hesitate to discontinue with any of them.

Do you not feel your lifestyle a little away from average?

Where did you get that idea from? I live an everyday, calm and normal life. I don’t feel that I’m an eccentric because this way of life is totally natural to me. Of course, it’s not an average sort of life, but it’s okay for me and it suits me.

You ve written about prostitutes and the varying types of sexual contact. Have you ever tried these things yourself?

My short answer is that it’s nothing to do with anybody else what I’ve done and what I’ve not done, but to be even more curt, I’m a writer so what I write is usually fiction.

Do you have an idol that you admire?

No. I just have people who inspire me.

Do you have a favourite actor?

No. It’s the portrayal that interests me, not the actor.

You write a lot about pleasures of the flesh. Are you so driven by your urges?

To the centre of my being. I’m a fella, I can’t help it.

Do you think its right that you describe sexual perversions in your books? For example, sadomasochistic sex, or other homosexual or lesbian acts? These are perversions.

Well, if you think so then either you live in the Middle Ages or you had a very narrow and over-protected upbringing, which has affected your judgement. We have no right to judge people who are acting in a different way to ourselves just because it’s not to our taste. Don’t think that I like every single one of these different perversions in my books. I just write about them because they are part of life and I’m not going to pretend that they are not. By the way, none of the above-mentioned alternative sexual practices are perversions. This view from the past has long since become dated. Every action taking place during sex that’s done with mutual consent and pleasurable is natural. If you have a different view, that’s okay, it’s only my personal opinion, not a scientific fact.

I have read that your fan club is growing bigger and bigger. Why do you think your stories are so successful?

Maybe because they are fascinating and credible. They are about people and for people.

When you are actively writing can you tolerate other people around you or do you prefer to have quietness?

Total quietness. If I had the opportunity, I would place myself on a desert island

You put your feet down in words very firmly and squarely. Are you not afraid to lose fans through this?

I don’t need fans. I have readers. I like and respect them and they know it. Those who like my books will take me on board for what I am i.e. a human being. I’m not more friendly or more unfriendly than others, but it’s true to say that I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s pointless to soft-soap people, they appreciate honesty and truthfulness much more.

Can I ask whats your favourite hobby?

Writing, travel, photography, gastronomy, languages, politics, music (classical, jazz, soul, music from a wide variety of countries), films, shall I go on? I’m never bored.

Do you have a favourite TV programme?

I hardly ever watch TV, except for some political topical debates.

Do you have many friends?

People who claim to have many friends, in fact, don’t really have any close friendships. I only have a few friends in my life.

Do you have a timetable for your work?

Well, I’m unable to write in the morning. I’d rather do other duties at that time of day, like make phone calls or fix meetings for example. The earliest I can begin typing is in the afternoon, but I find the best time for writing to be night-time and the early hours around dawn.

Do you find inspiration comes easily to you?

I think inspiration is just a word and it’s a bit like esoteric or the paranormal. Inspiration is intangible. It’s nothing but an overrated notion that’s suitable for making the writing profession sound somewhat unattainable and magical. Listen carefully! I don’t believe in inspiration. Writing is work. The same kind of work like teaching, directing the traffic or working as a shop assistant. Okay, so it’s not the same, but if you are waiting for inspiration, you could be waiting for a long time. A good writer can write any time, it’s just that some times are better than others. To know what form I’m in will be proven next day when I find out how many corrections I have to make.   Successful writers who take their profession seriously write almost every day. Sometimes they work more, sometimes they work less, but they are always working. And that’s because despite all mystifying rumours that defy logic writing is nothing but hard WORK. Therefore, you shouldn’t wait for inspiration, just keep your eyes open and work unceasingly.

Do topical events occurring in the world influence your stories?

Yes, it happens to me quite often that I hear about something or I see something and I expand on it later.

Is it you who writes your books? I ve heard that there are some best-selling writers who employ others to do the writing for them and then the book is published under the name of the famous writer.

So you’ve seen the movie „The Ghost Writer”? I’ve heard from some editors and publishers that even in Hungary there are well-known writers who make use of up and coming new talent to write their latest success story. That is, of course, kept well under wraps. Well, you can be sure that what gets published under my name has been written by me. The more practised eye can actually spot the differences in style as a good writer has their own typical use of words and editing method, which easily identifies him/her. I won’t say that a best-selling writer’s style cannot be imitated, but it’s difficult to obtain a perfect replica.  Those who you’ve mentioned are not well-known writers but simply shameless charlatans.

What do you like the most and the least in writing?

The biggest treasure of a popular writer is his freedom to work at a time of his own choosing. You are not tied to strict office hours or an imposed agenda. If you choose, you can get up at 11 a.m., especially after staying up until the early hours. The worst aspect is that you have to meet higher and higher requirements from readers and popularity is a fickle agent. If you feel you are unable to keep your normal standard -which can happen to anyone- it makes you feel uncomfortable and anxious and you cannot blame anyone for it, except yourself.

Could you give some advice to would-be writers?

There are no miracles. No one can do it, only you. Just work hard and write every day. Even if you don’t feel like it or you feel your strength is not at maximum capacity, just do what you can and write what is possible. Success will never come to you unless you earn it and you have to work for it on an everyday basis.
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