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Tim Johnston Books In Order

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Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon

Tim Johnston is a bestselling American author that writes thrillers and short stories. The carpenter is best known for ‘Descent’ and ‘Irish Girl’.

Tim Johnston grew up in Iowa City which has a strong literary heritage. His mother loved poetry but the author was more interested in drawing.

Eventually, his love for reading and writing was sparked and he never looked back. However, the fact that the author grew up in one of the most significant literary locations in the world did not inspire him to write, at least not consciously.

Johnston attended the Universities of Iowa and Massachusetts Amherst. He also filled the role of George Washington University’s writer-in-residence.

Johnston’s work has earned him the O. Henry prize, the Katherine Anne Porter Prize (Short Fiction) and the Gival Press Short Story Award.

+Literary Career
Tim Johnston read a lot of Stephen King. As a child, he was drawn to thrilling and exciting stories, and that is all he ever read.

But when he went to college, he encountered a new crop of readers that opened his mind to an entirely new literary landscape. Johnston learned to discern between good and bad writing.

He found that many of his peers were more interested in the craft and art of writing than mere page-turning stories. And over the years, the author found his own tastes transforming.

Even though he eventually went on to write ‘Descent’, a thriller, as a teacher of creative writing, Tim Johnston is always pushing his students to learn to write realism.
He understands that most of them are drawn towards more explosive fiction but he also knows that they must learn to describe real life if they are to master their craft.

In fact, Johnston, for his part, did not set out to make ‘Descent’ a thriller. When the idea for the story first came to him, the author initially focused on merely writing the best sentences he could produce.

Over time, the story took on a whole new life and went into directions that the author could never have anticipated.

Tim Johnston’s first ever novel was actually YA, though, again, it was never Johnston’s intention to write for the Young Adult genre. The author designed ‘Never So Green’ to be an adult novel with a young adult protagonist.

But ‘Farrar, Straus and Giroux’, the company that eventually published the novel decided to market it as YA. You won’t find the author complaining, though.

‘Never So Green’ put Tim Johnson on the map. And from there, he began to go from strength to strength.

Most people know the author more for ‘Descent’ than anything else. But ‘Descent’ was actually Johnston’s third work of fiction.

‘Never So Green’ was received well enough when it was published in 2002, but the author did not truly make his mark until ‘Irish Girl’ came out in 2009. Johnston’s expectations for the success of the short story collection were quite tempered.

And, more than likely, ‘Irish Girl’ would have gone unnoticed by the publishing industry.

But then ‘David Sedaris’ read and loved the title story. His decision to include it in his own collection of stories changed everything. The endorsement gave the author the visibility he needed to attract interest from certain awards.

Of course, Tim Johnston doesn’t believe that David Sedaris alone made his career. As far as the author is concerned, his eventual success was the result of several moments and stepping stones.

But Sedaris’ decision to call ‘Irish Girl’ one of his favorite books of the year in the New Yorker was definitely significant. All the independent bookstores that Johnston had contacted beforehand and which had shown little to no interest in his book events suddenly opened their doors.

The transformation was startling and it seemed to happen almost overnight. By the time the author began to promote ‘Descent’, his fans were foaming at the mouth at the chance to consume his next work.

Interestingly enough, the idea for ‘Descent’ came to Johnston at a time when he had effectively taken a break from writing.

The author was in Colorado doing carpentry work with his father. The work kept him quite busy but it was also mostly mindless.

So over time, Johnston’s thoughts began to wonder, taking him to new settings and introducing him to the family that would eventually take center stage in ‘Descent’.

While the idea for the story took shape pretty quickly, it took Tim Johnston quite a while to write it down.

Johnston isn’t the sort of author that can write in short bursts. He needs to put an entire day aside just to focus on his novels. His carpentry work at the time did not avail him any such opportunity, so he had to wait a while, though his patience was rewarded.

Caitlin Courtland couldn’t wait to trek through the Rocky Mountains. Her eighteen-year-old runner’s heart demanded the challenge. So her family used the summer vacation before Caitlin started college to tackle the mountains.

Caitlin’s parents hoped that the serenity of the setting would repair their marriage. But then the worst came to pass. Caitlin and her brother Sean went running one morning and only Sean returned.

Now the Courtlands are fighting tooth and nail to survive a nightmare that threatens to destroy their lives. They have to solve Caitlin’s disappearance whilst also opposing the forces that are pushing them apart.

+Never So Green
When school finally ended, Tex Donleavy couldn’t wait to spend his summer in the company of his father’s beautiful girlfriend.

But then he was abandoned at his mother’s doorstep and everything changed. Ever the book worm and determined to keep his deformed right hand out of sight, Tex was ready to hate his summer.

But then the unexpected happened; Tex met and found that he actually liked Farley Dickerson, his mother’s oaf of a husband. Then he joined Farley’s Little League team and formed a strong but confusing bond with his stepsister.

Now Tex’s summer is shaping up to be the most adventurous of his life. There are secrets and surprises at every turn, some of which will change everything Tex thought he knew about his family.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Tim Johnston

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