Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.
As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.
Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.
When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it. And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!
Link to excerpts from Untimed:
Andy Gavin's Bio:
Andy Gavin is a serial creative, polymath, novelist, entrepreneur, computer programmer, author, foodie, and video game creator. He co-founded video game developer Naughty Dog and co-created Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. He started numerous companies, has been lead programmer on video games that have sold more than forty million copies, and has written two novels.
His first book, The Darkening Dream, has been well-received by fans and critics alike. Publisher’s Weekly called it “gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying.” Untimed is an even more ambitious follow-up. It is a lavish production with a cover by acclaimed fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen and twenty-one full page interior illustrations by Dave Phillips.
Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $24.00 hardcover
Publisher: Mascherato Publishing
ISBN: 9781937945053 ebook, 9781937945046 paperback, 9781937945039 hardcover
Release: December 19, 2012
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Who was your favourite author as a child? Who is it now?
When I was very young I used to obsessively reread certain novels, among them a number of Alexander Key books like The Forgotten Door and The Case of the Vanishing Boy. Now-a-days, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is probably my favorite. I have a lot of favorites though: Dan Simons, Tim Powers, Orson Scott Card, Guy Gavriel Kay, Sherri S. Tepper, Octavia Butler, Ian M. Banks, Jack L. Chalker, Robin Hobb, Stephen King, Gene Wolfe, Katherine Kurtz, Vernor Vinge, and many more.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an author?
I’m a lifelong creator and explorer of worlds. As far back as first grade I remember spending most of the school day in one day dream or another. I had a huge notebook stuffed with drawings, story bits, and concepts for an elaborate Sci-Fi/Fantasy world I cobbled together from bits of Star Wars, Narnia, and Battlestar Galactica. By fourth or fifth grade not only was I loosing myself in every fantasy or Sci-Fi novel I could, but I was building Dungeons & Dragons castles and caverns on paper. Then from 1980 on the computer.
Over the following decades I wrote dozens of stories and created and published over a dozen video games all set in alternative universes. And as an avid reader (over 10,000 novels and who knows how many non-fiction volumes) it was no surprise that I eventually decided to write some books of my own.
Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a special spot?
My work space is extremely messy but with a great view of Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. I write on a 12 core Mac Pro with two Apple 30” monitors. Yeah, I’m a computer geek, and an Apple weenie to boot. I write in Scrivener which is a totally awesome writer’s word processor. Any writer still using Word is crazy J.
Unless something distracting is going on I try to have my butt in the chair by around 10am (after working out) and more or less keep it there until around 6pm. If drafting new prose I try to do about 2000 words a day. I write, then I do a polish pass. If I had to rewrite significantly during that pass I’ll do a third sweep to cleanup.
Can you tell us a bit more about your book and how it came about?
Typically, Untimed began from a fusion of ideas. Lingering in my mind for over twenty years was a time travel story about people from the future who fell “downtime” to relive exciting moments in history (until things go wrong). I worked out a time travel system but had no plot or characters. Separately, in 2010, as a break from editing The Darkening Dream, I experimented with new voice techniques, especially first person present. I also read various “competition.” One of these was The Lightning Thief (the first Percy Jackson novel), which has an amazing series concept (if a slightly limp execution). I love mythology and history, and liked the notion of something with a rich body of material to mine. I wanted an open ended high concept that drew on my strengths, which brought me back to time travel.
Some of the mechanics from my earlier concept merged well with a younger protagonist, voiced in a visceral first person present style. I started thinking about it, and his voice popped into my head. I pounded out a chapter not too dissimilar from the first chapter of the final novel. Then the most awesome villain teleported into the situation. I can’t remember how or why, but it happened quickly and spontaneously. Tick-Tocks were born (or forged).
When you write, do you plan the storyline or just go with the flow and see where it takes you? Plotter or Panster?
Personally I find the two different modes: plotting vs. just writing, to use different sides of the brain, and therefore useful to stagger. I can only handle a few days of plotting before I need the release of getting it out there. There really isn’t any rush in writing as good as just pounding out a great scene that’s already gelled in your head, and it’s even better when the scene and characters take on a life of their own and bring something novel to the process. Looking back on it, I realize that as a computer programmer I took this same exact alternating approach (between designing the algorithm and just coding) and that the rush and rhythm were nearly identical.
Time Travel is a tricky subject to write as there are so many variables and knock on affects. Did you ever struggle keeping things in order? Did you have any techniques that helped you?
First of all, I had to come up with a unique new system that allowed multiple visits to the same time period, but wasn’t too overpowered. If your characters are too powerful, there is no jeopardy. So I had to invent all the restrictions and deal with the issues of paradox (and I think I have a crafty new solution there). Then I had to figure out how to make returning to the SAME action actually interesting for the reader. That was even harder.
Getting the overlapping / paradox stuff working took a lot of diagramming and experimentation.
If you could live in any time period which would you choose and why?
For cool factor, I’d want to be an incredibly rich Patrician Roman, living by the bay of Naples a good 80 years BEFORE the eruption of Vesuvius. They had heated pools, awesome frescos, three day banquets, and… slave girls (just kidding). Actually, today is really the best, and that’s one of the themes of Untimed. We have more personal freedoms, more overall wealth, and much, much better medicine. Try getting an infection in the second century BC.
Are any of your characters based on people you know?
Perhaps, but I’m not telling. Really, like most authors, I just borrow bits and pieces of traits from people I know and even from characters in other books and movies. Literary tradition (I include TV and film here) supplies a lot of rough templates.
How many books will there be in the series?
At least three. I have outlines for that much. Really rough outlines I’m only partially happy with – but that’s the way of it. I’m never happy with the outlines. I hate outlines. They bite.
What was the hardest thing about writing this series?
Action and dialog scenes are easiest for me, with scenes involving deep emotional crisis are the hardest. One of the worst to write in this novel was right at the act 2/3 break (a notoriously difficult spot) where Charlie comes to the realization that his Dad isn’t always right. There’s a lot of exposition in this scene, and a lot of conflict. Trying to keep it moving and lead to a believable outburst was a real challenge. Multi-layered time travel action is easy by comparison.
Actually, that’s not totally true, as when Charlie has to come to the same time and place multiple times makes for a sophisticated puzzle. Just one layer can be complex in its own right, like the central church fire scene. Repeating the action is really hard, in no small part because you don’t actually want to repeat, that would be boring.
A lot of authors have playlists for their books. Do you like to listen to music whilst you write and if so can you give us any recommendations?
I’m a very eclectic music listener. 70s and 80s rock. Some new stuff (including Lady Gaga and Katy Perry). Lots of classic Jazz (like Miles Davis), lots of classical. All sorts of weird stuff from Ottoman court music to Tibetan monastic chants to medieval Spanish tunes.
Lyrics interfere with serious writing or editing so trance techno is one of my favorite genres for that. Or something spacy like jazz or Tangerine Dream if I don’t want to pound.
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