Tim Green: ‘I am not a great writer but feel I am a really good writer’

Tim Green knew he wanted to write when he was 8.

“I loved football and reading,’’ the former Falcons linebacker said. “I dreamed of playing in the NFL and writing novels.’’

Green began his first novel early in his career with the Falcons, a book that took five years to write and get published. It came out in 1993 (Turner Publishing ), entitled “Ruffians.”

Working with some of the world’s top publishers, he went on to write 14 suspense novels and two nonfiction tomes over the next 15 years. His books have been on The New York Times bestsellers list multiple times and, since 2009, he has branched off into children’s books. His 17th will be published in September, he has Nos. 18 and 19 finished and is working on his 20th.

Green says he writes all the time.

“I can be in the car going to pick up my kids from lacrosse or football and I am writing in my head,’’ he said. “I consider myself blessed to be able to write books. I hesitate calling it work. I am a pretty intense person and a lot of the day I am either reading or writing.’’

While has always written on a computer, Green said his first foray into writing came longhand.

“When I was in college (at Syracuse), I took a course and actually wrote longhand,’’ he said. “But as soon as I knew I wanted to write for real, I bought this desktop computer.’’

Is his editor heavy-handed?

“I just wrote a book that was really clean and had very little editing and was one of my best books,’’ he said. “But two books ago, it was disaster. My agent read it and said it doesn’t work. I said, ‘So it needs some work.’ And she said, ‘No, you need to start over.’ I am not a great writer but feel I am a really good writer because I work hard at it and I am proud of my writing.’’

Green has a reading initiative with the NFL called “Play60/Read 20’’ and also talks at more than 100 schools yearly about reading and writing. He has spoken to more than 500,000 students across the country. He also spends the money he makes for speaking on books for schools and libraries.

“I don’t look at publishing as a money-making venture,’’ he said. “Kids who read get smarter, do well in school and are more passionate to others. It is my way of giving back. I am not curing cancer or procuring world peace but with reading, just trying to make the world a better place.’’

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