Mr. Henrik Tamm has worked as a conceptual designer in Hollywood for such film as Black Panther, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Edge of Tomorrow, Shrek, The Chronicles of Naria and much more. He's also an illustrator and, at times, an artist. For now I'll mainly focus on his superb talent as a children author in which he wrote about a Ninja named Timmy. This outstanding book series has been translated in eleven languages and so far there has been four books in the series with more to come. So fellow readers, thanks for stopping by to get to know Mr. Henrik Tamm and his current work.
1. How did the idea of Ninja Timmy came to you?
While visiting Beijing, some friends and I were eating cake one evening on the roof of a building in the oldest part of the city. A grey cat approached us from across the rooftops, insisting on having a taste. It made me wonder what his life was like, who is friends were, and what he might look like in a ninja suit.
2. Do you ever get writer’s block when writing Ninja Timmy series? What do you do to get back on track?
Sure, of course I do. I often just skip the section I’m having difficulty with, and write a scene that’s clearer in my head, or simply more fun. That in itself will often inform the section I left behind.
3. How many drafts did you do for the first Ninja Timmy novel?
I wrote the first draft very fast, while hanging out at Lake Como in Italy. After that followed countless revisions and many rounds with my editor. I forget how many.
4. What’s your favorite sentence/dialogue from Ninja Timmy series?
I like the Blue Rabbit’s inner monologue. His reasoning for justifying his actions. I think it’s good because it’s truthful - anybody can identify with wanting a real soul. I tend to have the most fun when writing the antagonist point of view.
5. Do you have a goal to write a certain number of words a week or when inspiration strikes?
I don’t, really. But if I’m not on a film, I do write every day. Sometimes I write three thousand words, other times fifty. A good day for me is a thousand words. I’d love to say that I have a strict schedule, but I don’t. I tend to write in spurts. A whole chapter in a single evening, then spend several days tinkering with it. I do want to get to a place where I have a regular work-schedule.
6. Is there a possibility that Ninja Timmy series could be in visual media?
Yes, and I’d love that. My background is with film, and I think the books would make a wonderful kids television series or even a film. There has been talks with various studios, but nothing has materialized yet. I’ve been approached about computer games as well, and am open to that.
7. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
How lonely it can be. In film, I was always surrounded by other creatives, and we were all working together to create something bigger than one person could ever produce. I love being the sole author/creator, but I miss the camaraderie of film.
8. Where is your favorite place to write?
Lake Como. Ha. that’s where I wrote the first book, and it was great. A bit of a once off, but it got things going. Now, I write mostly at home in my studio, but also venture out sometimes - cafes or bars. It’s tricky to find a spot that’s private, yet buzzing, if that makes sense. I’ll often wear my earphones and listen to the sound of rain where I write.
9. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For Timmy, here and there, and not for very long. Honestly, I create most of those stories from scratch. It’s fantasy, and I love making up worlds and the characters who inhabit that world. That’s what I’m good at. Making stuff up. If there is a detail about how a submarine works, or how steam power might make a motorcycle run, I’ll read about that, or watch a video about it. But I have other book projects in the works that are much more research-heavy, involving the inter-war years, and old Scandinavian history. Too much research can bog me down, so it’s a balancing act.
10. As a young person, who did you look up to most in regard to illustrating and writing?
As a kid, I was a huge Frank Frazetta fan. Star Wars made a huge impact on me as well. I later worked with Joe Johnston, one of the main illustrators on the first Star Wars films. He was directing at the time, but I remember once he came into my office and corrected my perspective on a drawing. That was pretty special.
As I matured, I adored the painting of Anders Zorn, the Swedish artist.
For writing, I read tons of fantasy as a kid, everything from Tolkien to the Dragonlance series. And of course Astrid Lindgren! Nowadays, I love the writing of Paul Auster, Neil Gaiman (who doesn’t), and find much joy in Le Carré. His writing is just so elegant.
11. What is your current favorite book?
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. I also loved Pax, by Sara Pennypacker.
12. Are you a morning writer or night writer?
Night, definitely. Something about the stillness, and knowing everybody responsible is getting a good night’s rest for the workday tomorrow.
13. (fill in the blank question): If I wasn’t afraid I would_ignore this question__
Ha. Seriously, fear hasn’t really been a problem for me. Not as far as my work goes, anyway. I decided early on I wanted to be a conceptual illustrator for film, and I did that. To a very high level. Shrek is known across the world, and I had a ton to do with that film. I’m proud of that. Then I decided to start writing, and that’s going pretty well. Oh, I do love racing cars, but don’t have the balls to risk my life the way you’d have to to become really good.
14. What’s your favorite thing to do in the winter?
Just walk around in the snow, if there is any. The forest, the city, it doesn’t matter. I used to ski a lot. I live mostly in Los Angeles now, and rain is our winter fare.
15. What do you like best about yourself?
My imagination and my determination. It’s a tie.
16. What advice do you wish someone had given you when you were younger?
To be smarter with money, I guess. Buy a house, settle down sooner, that kind of thing. But I was never very good at listening. Then again, if I had been, I might not have become an artist or a writer.
17. As conceptual designer in Hollywood, which movie did you have the most difficulty creating its world and how did you overcome that challenge?
Each film poses its own unique challenge. I think you have to pay attention to the tone of the story and specific taste of the project’s helm. That said, the first Narnia film was tricky, since not much prior art had been created for C. S. Lewis’ world. I wanted to push it more fantastical, more whimsical, but the director wanted to stay more realistic, so I had to respect that wish.
18. Last question, what is the one thing everyone should eat or drink if one should visit Sweden?
Sill! Or herring, as it’s known to the rest of the world. There are many varieties, and is often locally made, cured with local spices. Goes well with snaps, a very strong spirit. Each country has its own specialty snaps.
I'll definitely try out sill (a.k.a herring) wherever I find one especially if I get the chance to visit Sweden. Thanks to Mr. Henrik Tamm for agreeing to do this interview. Everyone should look into his Ninja Timmy series. If you want to get to know more of him then please check out his website as well:www.henriktamm.com/about/. As always, thank to you for visiting my blog. Take care and I hope your day is going well so far. I hope for your return again.