Shells Chats with author Timothy Long

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first ever story, which is long dead and hopefully buried, was a Conan wanna be fantasy yarn. I can’t even remember the name but I must have been around 12 years old. I worked on it in a ratty old notebook. If I wanted to change stuff I had to cross it out and draw arrows all over the place. After that I didn’t really write much until I was in High School.

How has the Gotham Writers Workshop helped you with your writing?

I took quite a few classes there. I liked the format of the online version. We had weekly writing assignments and discussions. One of the most unique things they offered was the critiquing part. When a piece is submitted, and we had to critique two a week, the story has to sit in a virtual glass booth. The other classmates critiqued the piece and I was often left a quivering piece of writer-wannabe. I have to say that I learned more from critiquing other’s work than from reading the reviews of my own work. This remains true to this day.

As an author, how much of yourself goes into your stories?

My characters tend to be very off the wall while I am a down to earth normal Joe. I have read reviews of my work where the reviewer said something like “This writer must have issues because his character Kate likes to chop up men.” The fact is, I don’t have anything in common with my characters. They are made up figments of my imagination. Characters tend to write themselves in my books. It’s like they have the pen in hand and just guide me along.

You have written short stories, what would be the most challenging about writing short stories based on your experience?

Keeping them SHORT. I went through a phase where I did flash fiction just so I could keep the stories shorter. When I was writing a lot of shorts they would end up in the 7,000 to 10,000 word range. Well there isn’t anything short about that. Sometimes it is nice to read a short story in ten minutes and be done with it. It took me a long time to figure out a nice balance between the two.

How has Bizarro fiction been adapted into your writing style?

Not as much as I would like. I like to read bizarro but it is hard for me to write. I prefer to have characters that are a bit more logical and grounded in reality. I don’t know if I will ever try to write in the genre again it doesn’t come as naturally as I had hoped it would.

Can you tell us a bit about The Apocalypse and Satan's Glory Hole?

It’s just about the best book about the end of the world, Satan, and gloryholes ever written! So Jonathan Moon and I set out to write a short book about the end of the world and these two guys that communicate via a bunch of weird little toys. We were going to write it like a pair of blogs.

Somewhere along the way we wrote a 300+ page book about the four horsemen (as you have never seen them before) coming to Earth and losing their way amid the chaos. Jesus kicks a bunch of butt. There is a whole troop of militant lesbians … it’s an insane book.

How was it to work with Mr. Moon?

It was great. He and I tossed ideas back and forth like crazy. It was a great experience working with him. We chat almost every day even if it is just via short messages. I find Moon’s work to be dark and disturbing and I suggest readers check out his work right away.

There has been a bit of controversy about The Apocalypse and Satan's Glory Hole content and title, how do you feel about that?

I think most of the controversy was self-generated. Mr. Moon and I wanted to make it look like we were in trouble for it. See, that’s the genius of ‘us’ in action. We went for shock value with the title. The most common thing people say is “I want to read it just for the title alone” which makes me smile.

Where can we find The Apocalypse and Satan's Glory Hole?

It is on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other online sites.

Can you tell us a bit about The Zombie Wilson Diaries?

This book asks the eternal question. What would a guy do if he was stuck on a deserted island with a really hot girl? I’m sure men everywhere will give you an answer. Now – what if the girl is dead. Not just dead but a zombie? The book is the chronicle of a man stuck in that very situation for thirty days. I had a lot of fun working on this book and wrote it as an online blog. My publisher really pushed me to turn it into a book and it has done very well. The book had a series of local newspaper reviews and it was even named one of the best zombie books of the year on Barnes and Noble’s website.

Where can we find The Zombie Wilson Diaries?

Head over to to read the first 10 days. I am also working on a sequel and post new chapters as I finish them. You can purchase the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Any future projects in the works?

I do have a new series in the works but I can’t really talk about it right now. I have an offer and my agent (that is a new development!) is helping with the negotiations. As soon as I can, I will spill the beans.

How do you handle marketing your work?

Mainly social networking and conventions. I find that the cons get me in front of a lot of people and word of mouth builds around that. Plus I always see sales increases at cons. I hand out a business card to anyone that will make eye contact. Con’s have led me to meeting a lot of interesting people from crazy fans to big name writing and movie stars. At zomBcon in Seattle in October, Ted Raimi walked over to my table, shook my hand, looked at my books and we chatted a bit. You just never know who is going to stop by.

Where can people find out more about you?

I have a blog that I sadly, don’t update as much as I should. It’s at I tend to hang out on Library of the Living Dead’s forum as well as the Permuted Press forum. I spent a lot of time on facebook and welcome any new friends. Facebook is quickly becoming the best way to reach people.

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