I’m welcoming author Tim Cagle to the eBook Review Gal website today. Tim writes legal and medical mysteries. His books include Unexpected Enemy: Ultimate Revenge and Whispers from the Silence, both available on Amazon.
Tim has some excellent and compelling information and advice for readers so let’s get started!
Please tell us a bit about yourself:
I have a B.A. degree from Kansas State College and a J. D. Degree from Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts. I am married and live in the Boston area. My wife is a former hospital executive. I have been a trial lawyer for several decades concentrating in medical malpractice, products liability and wrongful death cases. I was also a law professor and taught courses in Torts, Evidence and Negotiations in the Legal Context. You can imagine what a huge hit I was as a plaintiffs’ lawyer with all the doctors at my wife’s Christmas parties.
I have also been a professional musician, singer and songwriter, am now an author, and had two books published in 2017. The first book is called “Whispers from the Silence” and is a love story about two songwriters based on my time in Nashville writing songs. That book usually makes people ask the following question: “Why would a Boston lawyer write a romance novel about two ex-Texas songwriters in Nashville?” I always tell them it’s because people love books about goddess women, hot guys and sizzling music, but would beg for a lethal injection if I wrote a story about hearsay.
My second book, “Unexpected Enemy”, is a medical/legal thriller about a woman who goes for in vitro fertilization and gets a mysterious stranger’s sperm. It’s based on my legal career. I was also lucky enough to have just signed a contract with my publisher for my third book, another medical/legal thriller called “Class of Two”, which is the story of an 18-year-old basketball star with a heart condition, who gets a defective cardiac pacemaker and suffers brain damage when the device fails. It’s also the story of two lawyers, one black and one white, who were ex-college roommates in Texas during the height of the civil rights struggle, and became estranged, but reunited to represent him in his trial against the most prestigious heart surgeon in Boston. The book is set to be released in the summer of 2019.
Speaking of your latest book, Unexpected Enemy, can you give us a brief synopsis?
This is the story of a woman who gets the wrong sperm at a clinic. I got the idea for this story when my wife and I went through infertility treatment. That process made me wonder what might happen if a mistake occurred during the transfer of sperm for fertilization. I also was inspired to write this story because our treatment was unsuccessful and I could see firsthand the pain my wife, Linda, experienced by not being able to conceive. That’s why I wanted to dedicate this book to everyone who has been affected by infertility, especially those who did not achieve the success they wanted.
With such a successful law career, what motivated you to start writing?
Before I started writing, music was my main hobby and I turned professional and started writing songs during college. That led to the time when I was a young lawyer (sometime during the War of 1812), when I shut down my practice and went to Nashville to try to break into the music scene by writing songs. Unfortunately, my big break never broke and I learned I would always be a songwriter trapped in a lawyer’s body.
After I left Nashville and returned to Boston to restart my practice, my legal career took off and I started writing as a means of escape because all my cases involved significantly injured victims and the pressure to help them was always intense. It was almost like I kept hearing the words of legend Billy Joel, in his hit song “Piano Man”, when he said people came to see him play so they could ‘forget about life for awhile’.
When I saw that the stories I was writing might have commercial appeal, I began to take writing more seriously, but I was so busy trying cases and teaching that I had to stop. Now that I am semi-retired, I can finally devote the necessary time I need to write successfully.
My books are based on my own experiences. I have been lucky enough to engage in a multitude of life’s great adventures and I love sharing them with readers. I have also been fortunate enough to spend many hours onstage, whether I was entertaining a crowd, coaching athletes, teaching law students or trying to persuade a jury.
With a couple of published books under your belt, what part of the writing process would you say you find the most challenging?
Knowing what passages to keep and what to cut, or in the words of another song lyric from Icon Kenny Rogers in “The Gambler”, ‘you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em’. I truly enjoy the creative process and the value of sticking with something until it’s finally finished.
I find that writing dialogue is often the most challenging. As a songwriter, I looked for ideas by listening to people speak. Throughout my legal career, I have been obligated to listen and observe everyone around me, especially witnesses. That’s why I trained myself to dwell on every word of testimony, because I often have to cross-examine about a prior inconsistency. Based on this concept, I try to write dialogue by listening to the way people actually speak and then refining it into the way most people wish they could speak. All of us find ourselves in situations we wish we could relive so we could respond differently. I try to have my characters respond in ways that leave them with no regrets.
The second most challenging part of writing is editing. I try not to dwell on pointless details and have found it is often a fine line between description with precise feeling, and excess. I have heard people describe a novel by saying, “I just read a book and it really picked up after the first 95 pages.” As an author, I believe that is a waste of time. My goal is to do everything I can to try and avoid wasting the first 94 pages, especially with tedious descriptions and lame dialogue that drags.
And now for something REALLY important…What’s your favorite go-to writing snack?
Bourbon..sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
I love everything that’s bad for you. At my age, I want to live life to the fullest and I don’t have the time or the desire to eat healthy so I can live for an extra month while gurgling on the front porch of a nursing home. So, if I get invited somewhere for dinner, I pray someone breaks out the pizza, chilidogs, beer and barbecue, while I pass on the tofu-kelp-cardboard-edamame-veggieburger finger sandwiches and pickle-brine, sagebrush-extract cocktails.
What book could you live in and why?
When it comes to my own books, I have lived through every one of them, but especially “Whispers from the Silence.” That title refers to the way I write a song, usually by staying up all night, staring at the walls, pacing the floor, often times with illumination only from a single flickering candle, waiting for the silence from the shadows on the wall to whisper the lyrics to me. Writing songs is probably the toughest thing I have ever done.
How can readers connect with you?
I love connecting with readers and other authors, via my website and on social media: