Waldorf man co-pens political fiction novel
Tim Treanor is no novice to the writing process, but he is to the publishing scene.
The 65-year-old Waldorf man collaborated on a novel titled “Capital City” that was recently published by Stratus Books Limited, a U.K.-based company.
Along with Lee Hurwitz, a Rockville-based writer who works at the Library of Congress, Treanor penned a novel surrounding the inner workings of a corrupt Washington, D.C. mayor as he tries to run for a fourth consecutive term and madness ensues. Hurwitz’s background, working in Washington government during the Marion Barry years, provided much of the framework of the novel.
“The truth was stranger than fiction in the D.C. government when Barry was mayor,” Hurwitz said. “It was a crazy environment to work in. So, after I left the District government in 1989, I started working on a novel called ‘Capital City’.”
“This guy is kind of like Marion Barry on steroids,” Treanor said of the connection between the real and fictional mayors. “Barry certainly was no saint, but I don’t think he killed anybody or had anybody killed, at least not to my knowledge.”
The book is the first published work of both authors, though Treanor has written about 20 different works in his lifetime, including short stories, novels and plays. His first novel, a work of science fiction examining the tense relationship between the United States and Russia as they try to take control over Mars, was written when he was 17.
“It was awful,” Treanor said of his first endeavor.
Recently, his play “Dracula: A Love Story” was staged in the ninth annual Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, in addition to an interactive murder mystery play staged by the Port Tobacco Players and toured to other local theaters.
Treanor, a trial lawyer for the federal government, and Hurwitz met at a Washington Independent Writers conference in the early 2000s. Hurwitz told Treanor about his book and his desire to find a co-author. Interested, Treanor then met with Hurwitz’s literary agent, Diane Nine, and from there the pair began to collaborate, sending each other about 10 drafts of the book before it was completed. Treanor said Lee’s first draft “had good bones,” but because he didn’t have much experience in fiction writing, Treanor helped develop the characters and various side plots.
“Working with Tim was great. He is a skilled writer and very easy to work with,” Hurwitz said.
“It was a dream,” Treanor said of the joint authorship. “Lee had no ego. He wanted to make the best book possible… If every collaborative experience were like this, then authors would be clamoring to collaborate.”
Though neither had collaborated on a book with a fellow writer before, Treanor said that much his writing is rarely a completely solo effort.
“Writing is often collaborative depending on what you’re doing,” Treanor said. “Dracula: A Love Story” involved advice and suggestions from directors and actors involved in the festival and Treanor said each person brought something different to the table.
“It was my play but it had their fingerprints all over it with my enthusiastic consent,” Treanor said. “It’s not entirely a crusade of my own.”
Treanor credits Hurwitz’s persistence in finding a publisher for the book and Nine’s expertise.
“I can’t stress enough the usefulness of a good agent,” Treanor said.
Throughout the process, Treanor said he learned to “temper my expectations” as a writer.
“When I first started writ- ing, I expected to get published, go on ‘The Today Show,’ become a lecturer or speaker and tell others how to write like me, talk to [Steven] Spielberg about movie potential. It’s not that way at all,” Treanor said.
Treanor said the journey to become a published author is much more difficult and involves more rejection than he originally imagined. Still, he states the author who takes rejection personally will have the hardest time succeeding.
Now, Treanor is working on a three-novel series about what happens when the baby boomer generation hits retirement age and Social Security, Medicare and private pension systems max out. As a solution, the leaders in his novel have developed a virus which attaches to the remains of the Salk polio vaccine, which stopped being administered in 1962. They figure if they can wipe out the boomers, they can bring Medicare and Social Security back into balance, Treanor said.
Treanor will have a book signing for “Capital City” at the Books-A-Million in Waldorf at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.
“Capital City,” the book co-authored by Waldorf resident Tim Treanor, centers around a corrupt Washington, D.C. mayor as he aims to run for a fourth consecutive term.
Tim Treanor of Waldorf collaborated on a political fiction novel, titled “Capital City,” with Lee Hurwitz, a Rockville-based writer. Treanor will have a book signing event at Books-A-Million in Waldorf at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.