They say “write what you know” and that’s what Tim Kehoe, inventor, did when he wrote The Invisible Mind of Vincent Shadow a wanna be toy inventor. Tim lives in St. Paul Minnesota with his wife and five children.
Q. After being a successful toy inventor, what prompted you to write a children’s book?
I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. In fact, just like in my new book The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow, I had a secret attic "lab" growing up too. But instead of inventing toys, I invented stories in my secret lab. But then I didn't do much writing until Brad Pitt's production company contacted me about creating a children's movie together. That's when Vincent Shadow was born!
Q. When did you start writing this story? And how long did it take you to finish it?
I started in the fall of 2007 and worked on it for about eight months.
Q. What did you find the most difficult about writing your book? How did you overcome that?
I find it difficult to judge my own writing. Toy inventing is much easier. If you set out to build a toy plane that really flies, you know it is working when the plane takes flight. It can be much harder to know when a scene or chapter is working. I rely heavily on my wife and kid's reactions.
Q. I understand you self-published your book and then got picked up by Little, Brown. Can you tell us about that process?
Yes, I originally self-published the book. And I really enjoyed the process. I hired an illustrator, purchased Adobe's InDesign software, and laid out the entire book myself. I printed a few hundred books and started knocking on the doors of local bookstores. I had a lot of support from local bookstores in the beginning, but it was local author Vince Flynn that finally helped me land a publisher. Vince put me in touch with his agent and we received a couple of offers within weeks.
Q. Do you have another book in progress? If so, will it be about the same character or a different character?
Yes, I actually just finished the second Vincent Shadow book. It will be out later this year.
Q. Do you have a writing tip to share with our readers?
I found that I need to develop a detailed outline before I write a word. And then I give myself permission to completely ignore it when the characters decide to go in another direction.
Attention toy inventors – check this out.