Thursday, November 13, 2014

Interview with Timothy Spillane, author of Four Before Their Time

November is "National Prematurity Awareness Month" (Nov. 17 is "World Prematurity Day").There are nearly a half million babies born prematurely in this country every year. 

Title: Four Before Their Time
Author: Timothy Spillane
Publisher: Skitterbird, LLC
Pages: 342
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Anne had it all. She was a physician, an Army officer, and a great wife. She'd be a great mom, too. But the joy of pregnancy is short-lived after an ultrasound reveals that Anne isn't just pregnant, she's really pregnant - with quadruplets! Now her dad, Tim Spillane, is a grandfather four times over, and much too soon. Just 24 weeks into her pregnancy, Anne delivered, and not one of Tim's grandkids weighs more than half a mug of coffee. So underdeveloped that even calling them babies feels wrong, the odds of just one of them surviving - let alone all four - are heartbreakingly low. And even if the children pull through, they face the likelihood of disabilities so severe that they'd have no real quality of life. It all seems hopeless until Tim's wife observes that just seeing the quads is like "being allowed a glimpse into the miracle that grows in a mother's womb." Four Before Their Time is the true story of four babies surviving on a razor's edge, one mom's overwhelming and guilt-ridden entrance into parenthood, and an entire family's experiences with extreme premature birth. It will take all the faith, hope, and resilience the Spillane family can muster - along with more than a few miracles - just to get the quadruplets home.

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  • Four Before Their Time is available at Amazon.

How have you been able to use social media (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) to help market your book?

Somehow, I managed to survive more than a half century without Facebook, Twitter or any of the other web-based conventions that promise to stretch our social networks around the globe. I’d like to think that a good book can still make it on its own merit. I have, however, started using Facebook – maybe you can teach an old dog a new trick! I post regularly on my book page ( ) 
and my author page ( 

Do you have any advice for new authors looking to promote themselves on these sites?

I’ve found that book “giveaways” attract a lot of attention on Facebook. But it hasn’t translated into sales for me yet. I think it’s a slow-build process. Don’t expect anything about you or your book to go viral – ever.

What type of writing routine do you have? Any tips you can share about it?

I’m not passionate about writing. I look at it as a job. I sit down and do it when it needs to get done. But I do enjoy it. I’m a carpenter by trade and in the same way I build things with wood I try to craft my thoughts with words. You build out an idea or scene one piece at a time. It’s fun to see what you can accomplish.

How has it been trying to balance your writing with your day job and/or family life?  Is there anything you would change?

I’ve had my own business for the last 25 years. That gives me the flexibility to write when I want. The focus of Four Before Their Time is family, so writing the book has been a mostly positive experience from a family perspective. But I do get crabby sometimes (especially when working through the edits!). My wife puts up with me as best she can through those times.

Setting is an extremely important aspect in grabbing your readers attention.  What made you choose to set your book like you did?

Four Before Their Time is a family memoir, so the setting is really an emotional place rather than a physical setting. The heart is where this story unfolds. Everything else is window-dressing.

What types of books do you read?  How do you think they have influenced your writing?

I read non-fiction mostly, auto-biography, biography and history. I read poetry from time to time. I try to make room for Shakespeare. I love the Book of Psalms. The Psalms’ passionate discourse about finding our way in this world colors the way I view life and, hence, how I write about it.

Tim and his wife live in Chester County, PA and are the parents of three daughters. They became grandparents when their daughter, Anne delivered quadruplets in April, 2010. A graduate of Colorado College (1979) with a degree in English Literature, Tim returned to school to earn his Masters of Public Health from Drexel University in 2005. He has worked in residential construction for more than three decades but is now focusing full-time on his writing. He currently serves on the executive board of Graham's Foundation, an organization for parents and families going through the journey of prematurity. 

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