Todd McClimans is the author of the American Epochs series of time-travel novels featuring Ty Jordan and Kristi Connors, two middle school students who stumble on a plot by their history teacher to change the outcome of the American Revolution. When Dr. Arnold whisks them along with him back in time, to protect his secret, they land smack in the middle of the Revolutionary War. Now Ty and Kristi must find a way to stop the traitorous plot, and get back to the present. The author, a self-proclaimed history buff and fantasy nerd, is a school principal and former fifth grade teacher who lives with his family in York, Pennsylvania. To date, three books in the series have been published by Overdue Books, an imprint of Northampton House Press. TIME TRAITOR was a finalist for the NAESP Children's Book Award.
SIX MINUTES WITH TODD MCCLIMANS:
Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an author is Todd McClimans, author of the American Epochs series. The first book, Time Traitor, has received the LitPick Top Choice Book Review Award.
One student says, “Time Traitor is a riveting tale of misadventure, greed, history, and friendship” (https://litpick.com/review/time-traitor-american-epochs-volume-1-review-moseso).
Be sure to pick up your copy today (https://amzn.to/2wM0sYW).
***How did you get started writing?
I've always considered myself a writer. As a kid, I would write short stories, mostly fantasy and detective stories. These were the type of stories I loved reading. My first attempt at writing a novel was a Hardy Boys spinoff when I was ten (I WISH I still had this :-). It wasn't until college that I decided that I wanted to write formally. I was going to school to be a teacher and decided to add a 2nd major of creative writing. I started my first fantasy novel, The Elf Prince, my senior year in college. A few years later, while teaching fifth grade, I came up with the idea of the America Epochs series.
***Who influenced you?
I've had so many influences. My first was my mother. When I was five, she read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe aloud to me and I fell in love with talking animals, kings and queens, knights, magic, and all things fantasy. She helped instill a love of reading in me and that voracious reading lead to a love of writing. My former students were huge influences on me as well. I loved writing with my students and they helped take my writing to the next level. They were my first real audience and they helped me hone my writing voice.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My favorite book to read with students is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I love any book that challenges readers' thinking and makes them question what is really going on. I love escaping into fantastical worlds where anything is possible and anyone can be a hero. I love reading historical fiction and nonfiction. I believe that we have to learn about and understand our history in order to build our future.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Just do it! I meet a lot of people who say they want to write a book and are looking for advice. My best advice is to stop talking about it and sit down and do it. We all have stories in us; it’s just a matter of writing them. Write what you know best, write about what you love. If you love dogs, write stories about dogs. If you love football, write stories about football. Set aside time to write and simply write.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
I love to write in the woods. There’s something about trees, cool breezes, and chirping birds that inspires me. With that being said, it’s rare that I get to write in perfect places. For the last 9 years, my writing desk has been in the corner of my kids’ playroom (I lost my office when my wife and I had our second child). It is not the most visually inspiring setting and there are definitely no cool breezes or chirping birds. But if I wait for the perfect place and the perfect time to write, I’ll never write. It’s all about mindset. I have stories to tell. I’d prefer to marinate my stories in wildflowers and pine, icy mountain lakes, and a gentle whoosh of wind through leaves. But I can write just as well amid Matchbox cars, Barbies, and Lego castles.
***What else would you like to tell us?
Read, read, read, read, and write, write, write, write. Real writing is rewriting. Know that most of what you write won’t be publishable at first, but don’t be discouraged. Like anything else, the more you write, the better you will write. Don’t try to be perfect because none of us are. Just write and your level of perfect will come. The more you revise, the better your writing will become.
Thanks for joining us, Todd. We love your comment about how writing will never happen if you wait for the perfect place and time. May that be an encouragement and inspiration to others who have struggled to start writing.