Tonawanda News

Features

June 16, 2013

Kenmore native has first novel published

Tonawanda News — Kenmore native Tim Johnson didn’t have the stereotypical tormented writer experience when he wrote his first novel, crime thriller, “Savannah.” 

There were no late nights and long days filled with writer’s block, a fact some writers might be envious of. 

But that doesn’t mean Tim, who has lived in Toronto for the past 10 years, didn’t work hard to complete the book about a man in dire straits after he’s unable to pay some gambling debts he owes.

Tim, who has worked as an elementary school teacher for the past 11 years, never had much of a desire to be a writer growing up, or even once he went to college. It was just something he started doing about five years ago — he wrote amusing little short stories to keep his cousin entertained during his long hours in an IT job. 

Slowly he started showing more and more of his work to friends and family, culminating in the short story that was the basis for “Savannah.” Enough people showed interest that he decided to expand the story into a novel.

“Two summers ago I sat down and literally everyday I wrote,” Tim said. “I would write for 2 or 3 hours until my mind went numb and my writing got sloppy. I had never written anything like that ... 104,000 words.”

“But I found that when I’m at home and it’s just me and it’s quiet I can really get going,” he said, adding that he kept thinking, “This is fun, I’m having fun.”

He described the first draft as “rough and sloppy,” so with the help of a co-worker, and now, personal editor, he rewrote “literally every sentence.”

Tim could have spent his summers off from school hanging out with friends or doing fun, outdoor activities, but he said he was inspired by his grandmother, Dorothea Johnson, of Kenmore, to keep at it each day and finish the job.

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