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Prelude to the novel MADD INLET:


In 1969, during the crux of the Vietnam war, Jack Tagger is on the run. As the war in Southeast Asia rages on, he has made the moral decision to resist the draft. In his effort to avoid the authorities and the war, he seeks refuge on a desolate coastal barrier island where unbeknownst to him, while avoiding one war, he finds himself unwittingly caught in the middle of another deadly land-war between two very powerful men at Sunset Beach, North Carolina. When a Native American shaman summons the spirit of an innocent victim of that conflict, Jack is again forced to make a potentially lethal choice between good and evil and he learns that, like Madd Inlet, what runs smooth and meandering on top, does not always belie what runs just beneath the surface.

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The "Kindred Spirit" mailbox on Bird Island, NC.

On a secluded stretch of beach far from the nearest public access point and nestled between sand dunes is an unlikely sight – a mailbox…with a bench next to it. The bench is where you sit to pen your innermost thoughts; the mailbox is where you place the journal when you are done. More than just a receptacle for pieces of paper, the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island holds the wishes, thoughts, prayers and dreams of those who walk the 30 minutes to share and bare their soul and draw comfort from the act of doing so while enjoying the soothing sounds and sights of undeveloped beach, ocean and horizon.

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Sunset Beach is a seaside town in Brunswick County, North Carolina.


The seaside town of Sunset Beach had its start in 1955 when the land it occupies was bought by a property developer. Development began in earnest with the completion of a bridge connecting the beach island to the mainland in 1958. 


One-third of the town's area occupies a barrier island between the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway; the remainder of the town extends onto the mainland to the north. Undeveloped Bird Island is directly to the west.


Since most of Sunset Beach and the adjoining Bird Island coastal reserve encompass a barrier island, the only way to get there from the mainland was by crossing a wooden pontoon bridge (swing bridge) straddling the Intracoastal Waterway and adjacent marshland. The old pontoon bridge was replaced with a modern, 65-foot-high arc bridge in 2010. 

Bird Island and Madd Inlet are integrally linked. Bird Island is approximately 1,300 acres adjacent to the coastal resort town of Sunset Beach, North Carolina. 


Bird Island was previously separated from Sunset Beach by a tidal creek (Madd Inlet) that could be easily crossed only at low tide. Accretion of ocean sand (due to hurricane activity in the 1990s as well as environmental activity to fill in dune grass) has gradually filled in the tidal creek so that two separate islands became one.

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Tim Swink is the grandson of a North Carolina tobacco farmer. He has seen hard times and good harvests, and known men whose lives have gone out of control. Thus, he brings a lifetime of experience to his debut novel, Curing Time.


Curing Time is tobacco's season of harvest, a time of transformation, when the leaf is made golden by subjection to fire and heat. Tobacco farmer Hume Rankin endures his own curing time in the summer of 1959. When the rains won't come and the crops wilt in the field, he solicits the magic of an old, blind black woman. She warns of the dangers of calling on the middle world and tells him once those spirits are unleashed, it is they who decide when and how the spell unfolds. Hume dismisses her warning, to his peril.

When his life-long nemesis, Worth Baker, who has always had his eye on Hume's land as well as his wife, is found dead, all eyes are on Hume. He faces the all-too real possibility of losing his land, his family and even his life. Sitting in a jail cell, uncertain of his own innocence, he finds himself lost and a long way from home.

Recalling the old woman's warning, he is haunted by the possibility that he may have played a part in his own demise.

EXCITING NEWS: Curing Time will be re-published August 2022 by Tim Swink's new publisher: TouchPoint Press

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In this page-turning sequel to Curing Time, his breakout novel, Tim Swink picks up the story of Hume Rankin and his family in North Carolina, particularly the idealistic Thomas, in this titillating tale of southern mystery, murder, and manners, proving there is always a cost to going home. Swink firmly lodges himself in the tradition of southern fiction, where nothing is simple, the land is dusty and mud-caked, and issues of race have been and continue to be ever-present, but this tale is also about how family is what matters most, though sometimes even this may make you pay the highest price.” 


In this Curing Time sequel , Thomas has returned to look for the daffodils that used to bloom in Walt and Daisy's yard every spring, as they sat underneath the big oak trees sipping cold water just drawn from the well. The day of Thomas' return was a blustery April day in 1990. T.S. Eliot's tortured, cruelest month—the one that could not make up its mind, offering the hopes of gentle days, yet delivering mostly broken promises.



FEB. 13, 2024

The much anticipated 

sequel to

Curing Time

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Tim Swink at the book signing for

Curing Time at  Barnes & Noble Booksellers





Curing Time by Tim Swink is a southern tale, highlighting the struggles of North Carolina tobacco farmers, circa 1957-9. The plot braids together a love story, local folklore, legacy farming, and predatory banking. Farmer Hume Rankin is pitted against a big Bank and the inevitable agribusiness juggernaut that will influence its lending practices.


The Curing Time prologue presents a cinematic beginning: Two travelers discover evidence of a grisly crime in an idyllic forest creek, and this is an alluring launch point for readers. Chapter one then takes the timeline back two summers, and here Swink begins building toward a dramatic conclusion.


                   …excerpts from the Curing Time review by Anne Weisgerber for Change Seven Magazine

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