Tim Callahan – Come Home, Joe

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

It’s a novel titled Come Home, Joe. The book tells a story about a family with 5 kids, the Conroy’s, who live in a subdivision in Lexington, Kentucky that used to be a horse farm. Kevin, their oldest son, and two of his friends notice an old van covered with hippie stickers at the old farm house where no has lived in years. When they check it out they meet Joe Hawkins, a troubled ex-Vietnam POW and son of the owners of the failed horse farm, who has returned after being away for forty years. The story follows the friendship of Joe and the Conroy family and how they help each other. The book is also a unique love story.

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born in Kentucky. Have lived in Ohio for 51 years, married with 3 children and a dog.

I began writing nearly 6 years ago after a visit to the county where I was born in Kentucky. The visit sparked an idea to write a book about my childhood in Kentucky. The result of that spark has been 6 novels, 4 in the “Kentucky Summers Series”, a romantic-comedy titled “Sleepy Valley” and my new novel “Come Home, Joe”.

I retired two years ago after working 35 years for the local telephone company in Middletown, Ohio, between Dayton and Cincinnati.

What inspired you to write this book?

I write about things that have affected my life in some way and I seem to always be led to those things during my writing of a book. It started out as a novel about the family and the kids in the neighborhood, but early on, Joe Hawkins, the Vietnam POW, entered the book and became the main character.

I let my imagination take over when writing a book and therefore I’m able to be led through the pages of my book. The book becomes a living organism and I’m just along for the ride. It’s exciting to write this way because when I sit down at my computer I have no idea where my writing is taking me. I know it might sound strange, but it works for me.

How did you choose the title?

Originally I had a different title, but the Publisher wanted to change the title to something I didn’t like. I reread the book and found a line near the end of the book that summed up two or three aspects of the book and I knew that moment that it would be the title. The Publisher agreed.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until the moment I mentioned earlier while visiting my birthplace. I got started by going home and sitting down at my computer and began to write. It actually came easy for me. That was how I knew it was meant to me.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really, only than I don’t force myself to write. I only write when I’m inspired or in the mood. Now that I’m retired I write mostly in the mornings while I’m fresh. I usually always write at the same spot – at my desk, in my den, on my laptop. I do enjoy having background music on. I wrote most of my first book while listening to the “Braveheart” soundtrack.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I pick names that are interesting to me. I’ve started a new romantic-comedy and one of the main characters is Irish so I did an internet search for Irish names and picked something that was unusual with character. The Kentucky Summers series that I write has lots of different characters and I pick out names from a magazine that I subscribe to that has a lot of articles about people from Kentucky’s past. Names are very important to me in my books. I love a good name.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Probably the one thing I learned from writing this book is spiritual. I believe God leads me in my writing and with this book I believe He definitely had His grace all over the pages of the book. So much so, that I made Him the narrator of the book.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I mainly enjoy books that have some humor to them, but not entirely. I love reading CJ Box, Fannie Flagg, Carl Hiaasen, and Bill Noel. I want a book that gives me characters that I care about. If it doesn’t have that, then I’ll stop reading it. I’m told that my books have that.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

At this time I’m writing the fifth book in the Kentucky Summers Series. The series is about a young boy who spends the summers with his Mamaw and Papaw in Kentucky in the fifties and sixties. They have been compared to Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Hatchet, that type of books.

The most unique thing about the series is that the books appeal to all ages. I get emails from 8 year olds to 98 year olds. The books are being used in schools here in the tri-state and I’m honored to be able to speak to students in schools almost every week.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

The only advice I can give to writers is to write about things you know or that you’re passionate about.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

My new book is already being used in junior high schools and high schools. I’ve had great response from that age group and teachers.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

I have a website: www.timcallahan.net where readers can read about each book and even read a chapter of one of my books. You can also order the books on my website, where I sign them and send them right out, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or in any book store.