The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 19, 2013

Mike Pound: How can a normal guy create an insane fiction character?

Tim Dorsey appears to be a fairly normal guy.

Sure, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt on a cold night in Kansas City, but he also was wearing a hooded jacket because, as Tim put it, “I’m not insane.”

Other than his shirt preference, Tim seems to be normal. He has a wife and kids, and he lives in a fairly typical subdivision near Tampa, Fla.

So why does he write novels that feature a serial killer named Serge Storms, his drug- and alcohol-obsessed sidekick named Coleman, and a host of unsavory, sick, violent characters? And, how does Tim make it all so funny?

According to Tim, you can blame it on Florida.

Many of the oddest scenes in his novels, Tim said, come straight out of the newspaper.

As an example, Tim said he recently came across a tidbit in a Florida paper about a couple who desired to get — shall we say — amorous in a trash bin and managed to get robbed by two other people who were already in the same bin.

“The stories are too good to be true,” Tim said.

I first came across Tim’s novels several years ago when I picked up a copy of “Hurricane Punch.”

By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked.

So when I saw that Tim was going to be at Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan., on Monday to talk about his new book, “The Riptide Ultra-Glide,” I had to drive up and chat with him.

Besides discovering that Tim is a pretty normal guy, I also discovered that he is outgoing, friendly and very down-to-earth. He made it a point to greet every fan who came into the store, and he talked with them all at length. And in case you’re wondering, Tim’s fans are normal, too.

Sure, he has fans who send him pictures of tattoos they have gotten in honor of his books — “(John) Grisham doesn’t have that,” he said with a laugh — but he also has fans who knit during his appearances.

“If you look at the demographics of my readers, I have more women readers than men, and half of my readers are over 50,” Tim said.

On the other hand, Tim said that according to the Florida Department of Corrections, he is the most popular writer in the state’s prison system.

“My kids are so proud,” Tim said with a laugh.

Tim said that as a rule, the majority of his fans are normal and polite, which is why, he thinks, they like the fact that the hero of his novels is a serial killer.

Serge Storms is not a random serial killer. The people he disposes of tend to be awful, greedy, selfish characters who prey on others and deserve their fate.

“Rude people get their way simply by being rude, and Serge takes care of them,” Tim said.

And, yes, Tim admits that there is a lot of Serge in him.

“I’ll drive away from a confrontation (with a rude person) thinking of ways to kill them,” he said.

A native of Florida, Tim worked as a reporter and editor at The Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999, which allowed him to become somewhat of an expert on Florida history. His novels are filled with fascinating and often obscure state landmarks and tales related by Serge as he and Coleman buzz up and down the state.

Asked to describe Serge, Tim paused for a second.

“He’s clearly insane,” Tim said.

Of course, insanity can be a relative thing, and somehow in the Florida of Tim’s novels, the insane Serge often is the only person who makes any sense.

Tim’s novels aren’t for everyone, but if you aren’t put off by a serial killer with a heart, plenty of violence, a lot of drug and alcohol references, strong language, and evil villains who often meet their demise in bizarre fashion, you might pick up one of Tim’s novels.

But remember, you have been warned.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter