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TIMOTHY JAY SMITH - AUTHOR & WICE ALUMNUS

When Tim attended the Paris Writers Workshop in 2005, he had just moved to Paris, and was well into his second novel, Cooper’s Promise. It was a challenging book for several reasons. He had decided to write it as a ‘closed mystery’, meaning it was told entirely from the POV of the protagonist, not several characters. "Cooper, the main character, is gay, and I was unsure how far to take that. Finally, the story is about human trafficking (a 14-year-old girl is trafficked into prostitution), and had I captured that seedy world? Did it feel authentic?"

Tim said “What appealed to me about the PWW was that it was a small group that would meet for several hours each day. It wasn’t a workshop where you submitted ten pages with the promise of thirty minutes of feedback. Instead, everybody submitted thirty pages and had a couple of hours devoted to their work. The work gave structure to the discussion, instead of the instructor having a list of things to cover and using the work as an excuse to discuss them. That may seem like a fine line, but it was a valuable distinction in terms of getting in-depth guidance on a manuscript already underway. Of course, we covered the three-act structure, showing not telling, and character development through actions not words, but through the perspective of a manuscript in our hands, not a rigid course outline.

It wasn’t until 2012 that Cooper’s Promise was published. Tim had written a few screenplays and another novel in the interim. But when it was finally published, Kirkus Reviews called it “literary dynamite” and named it one of the Best Books of 2012. “In some measure, I have to credit the PWW with its critical success, and to my success as a writer on the whole. I never studied writing at college, only through workshops, and the PWW was definitely the best.

Timothy has published three novels — Cooper’s PromiseA Vision of Angels, and his 2019 release, The Fourth CourierFire on the Island, his fourth novel, will be released next year. All are set in exotic foreign locations where he has lived and worked. He is represented by one of New York City’s most prominent literary agencies, Trident Media Group, and his publisher, Skyhorse Publishing (Arcade imprint), is the fastest growing independent publisher in America.

This novel, which is based on experiences shared by the author while travelling and living in Israel, is excellent. It tells of the impact of power struggles, fear and misinformation on everyone whether Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.
Army sharpshooter and deserter Cooper Chance is trapped. Recruited from Iraq to fight in an African country ravaged by a chronic civil war, Cooper wants nothing more than to go home. Unfortunately, the only thing awaiting him in America is jail, and Cooper is acutely claustrophobic. Whether he likes it or not, he now leads the life of a mercenary, in a gritty world filled with thugs, prostitutes, and corrupt cops. To survive his desperate circumstances, Cooper trades diamonds. One day he wanders into a diamond shop, where he meets Sadiq, a young merchant as lost in the world as he is. As they fall in love, Cooper has no idea Sadiq has ulterior motives. Meanwhile huge oil reserves are discovered nearby, and the CIA offers Cooper a way home without jail time if he agrees to carry out a risky, high-stakes mission. Cooper will do anything to get home-except sell his soul to the devil. But when a teenage prostitute he has promised to save suddenly disappears, Cooper finally relents.
It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it's feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.
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