Local talent continues

Author Tim Waggoner speaks at Dayton Metro Library

Photo: Dayton horror/fantasy writer Tim Waggoner will speak at the Dayton Metro Library main branch this upcoming Monday

By Tim Walker

Ask your friendly, local book lover which American city has the strongest literary heritage or the most supportive community for its writers, and chances are good that Dayton, Ohio will not appear on the list. In truth, however, our city is honored to have both. Along with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, the legacy and influence of legendary local writers, such as poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, humorist Erma Bombeck, sportswriter Si Burick, and playwright Natalie Clifford Barney, continues to be felt worldwide. Classes, talks, and other helpful resources for writers in the area are numerous and always welcomed by Miami Valley storytellers.

Doing his part to continue in this tradition, Tim Waggoner, one of our most talented and prolific (not to mention friendliest) local authors, will be presenting a program called “Writing Other Worlds” as part of the Fall Writing Series at the Dayton Metro Library on Monday, Nov. 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The talk will take place in Community Room 2A at the new downtown branch of the library, and is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome.

Waggoner, proud father of two daughters, has been a professor of English at Sinclair Community College for 18 years, is the author of over 40 novels and media tie-ins, and has over 100 published short stories. His most recent novel, “The Teeth of the Sea,” was just released by Severed Press last month, and he is also a contributor—along with Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, and some guy from Maine named Stephen King—to “Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre,” which just released this week from Crystal Lake Publishing.

“I also have two dogs and two cats,” laughs Tim Waggoner, speaking by phone with the Dayton City Paper recently. “At the library, what I’m doing will be a workshop—I’ve presented it there before—and it’s called ‘Writing Other Worlds’. It’s sort of a general overview of writing genre fiction—the special things you need to consider when you write science fiction, fantasy, and horror, as opposed to writing more realistic stories.”

Waggoner is familiar with the stranger side of life, and he’s been writing about other worlds ever since his first published story, a science fiction short story entitled “Shadow Play”, appeared in Wright State University’s literary magazine ‘Nexus’ back in 1985. Since then, the author has published literally dozens of novels, many of them in the horror genre, and he’s received a number of awards for his work. Several of his short stories received honorable mentions in various editions of Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s ‘Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror’ series. He won first place in the 1998 Authorlink! New Author Awards Competition and was a finalist for the Darrell Award for Best MidSouth Short Story in 1999. His novella “The Men Upstairs” was nominated for the prestigious Shirley Jackson Award, and his novella “The Winter Box” won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction from the Horror Writers Association. That same organization also named Waggoner “Mentor of the Year” in 2015.

“‘Teeth of the Sea,’ my newest novel, is sort of a horror/action-adventure, with people fighting sea monsters,” says Waggoner when asked about his more recent work. “It’s a fun book. Then I also have a short story collection called ‘Dark and Distant Voices’ which should be coming out in December. About half of my books are in the horror genre, and I’ve also done some media tie-in work, like the Supernatural series, many of which could fall into the horror category too. Years ago, I did stuff for the Dungeons & Dragons company, so that was more fantasy/adventure. So, I’m guessing maybe half to 2/3 of the stuff I’ve done is in the horror genre, or horror-related.” When asked if his upcoming workshop will be geared strictly toward writers, or whether the general public might enjoy it as well, Waggoner says “I think it’s probably geared more toward writers and aspiring writers, but anybody would get a greater appreciation of those three genres by coming.”

The Fall Writing Series at the Dayton Metro Library presents a series of free talks with published authors each year, all of whom share their own experiences and offer advice to other writers. The talks are free and participants can choose to attend any or all of the sessions. In addition to Tim Waggoner’s upcoming appearance, local authors Carrie Bebris and the Dayton City Paper’s own Arnecia Patterson have delivered talks during the past month and local author Ryan Ireland will be speaking about ‘The Writing Life’ on Monday, Nov. 27th.

Tim Waggoner will be presenting his workshop “Writing Other Worlds” at the Dayton Metro Library’s Main Branch on Monday, Nov. 20, from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. The library is located at 215 East Third Street in Dayton, and admission is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the library at 937-463-2665.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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