A little of column A, a little of column B. I was originally interested in writing Middle Grade books, and had a number of manuscripts ready to follow up my first published novel Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters. The publisher, Llewellyn, told me they were no longer interested in Middle Grade because it didn’t sell very well. They were, however, about to launch a Young Adult imprint named Flux. Did I have anything written in that age range, they asked. Of course, I replied, knowing full well I did not. Then I took one of my Middle Grade manuscripts, raised the age of my main characters by about three years and sent it in to them. That book became Epoch, my first YA novel.
After that, I figured YA was the best genre for me to start building an audience with. By the time of Epoch’s publication, I had several young adult stories in mind. It was an adjustment, but a good one. I realized I have a lot to say regarding adolescence and high school, and the stories keep coming.
2) Is there an author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
Ooh, let’s see… Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin would be the top three on my list. Thanks to them, I learned how much fun words can be.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future
My most recent novel, The Cupid War, was released last August to much Internet acclaim (and I’ll pause here to offer up a great big thank you to every person who reviewed it, blogged about it, rated it or recommended it. You are all awesome). It’s the story of a teen boy named Fallon, and it begins with his death.
In life, Ricky Fallon was a depressed teenager desperate to escape his smothering friend Susan Sides. After accidentally falling to his death, he becomes something more. Fallon joins those responsible for spreading love to the living – the Cupids. But the afterlife isn’t like a box of chocolates. Fallon must deal with an obnoxious leader while fighting the Cupids’ enemies – the Suicides. If that weren’t enough, Fallon discovers that his former friend Susan just might be the deadliest being on either side of life. When Fallon meets Trina Porten, a teenage girl with a psychic gift, he makes a valuable ally among the living. Together, they must convince the Cupids of the threat Susan poses before Susan discovers the full extent of her power.
For my current writing project, I’m having a go at the whole vampires-in-high-school craze. I’m not one to jump onto someone else’s bandwagon, but I will point and laugh at that bandwagon as it goes past! I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first draft and having a lovely time.
I’m also pulling together some ideas for another middle-grade novel. I’ve been developing a character for several years now, and I think his time has come.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get
Yes it was. And then suddenly it wasn’t. I began my search for a publisher back in 1991 and received many form rejection letters, but managed to get a few short stories printed. I thought I’d struck gold in 1994 when I submitted a novel to a brand new publishing company that a friend had told me about. They gave me a contract and everything, and it seemed too good to be true. Because it was. They dropped the deal when they realized real money would be required to actually publish something.
I kept writing, and my stories got better. I encountered some publishing scam artists, and learned what “Share The Risk” means. I published more stories, even got into screenwriting for a very brief period, and continued to produce novel-length fiction. Then, I finished work on what would become Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters, and had it accepted by the first publisher I submitted it to! A year later, my first novel was published and in stores across North America. The process was nowhere near as simple as I’m making it out to be (they wanted substantial rewrites, for one thing), but that’s basically how it happened.
As for landing an agent, well, that happened with the publication of Epoch. When I had the contract in hand, I asked my publisher to name for me some agents that they’d worked with, then I contacted those agents and eventually chose one of them. He helped me negotiate the contract, and would go on to get me two more novel deals with Flux. Sadly, he retired from the agenting business, and I am once again on my own.
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? Would you consider
the indie route?
Nah. This eBook thing is just a fad. Give it a year and print will make a strong comeback.
Ha, ha! Seriously, I will absolutely consider going E. In fact I already have one novel published in ebook format – Closets, from SynergEbooks – and my three YA titles are available now as downloads. I plan on taking a look at many other ePublishers – including the Amazon option – in the near future.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot
to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to
write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are
Again, columns A & B. I’ve had a lot of fun with social media lately, gaining friends/followers and posting pictures and other content to my blogs. It can be a bit of a distraction from my novel writing, if I let it.
There is an expectation from publishers that authors will use the Internet to sell millions of books. Some publishers and even agents have gone so far as to tell new authors not to bother with writing a book until they have a sizable online presence. It’s as if they think that social media sites are a kind of electronic magic, capable of creating an instant readership. The Internet can be used for building an audience, yes, but it’s hardly something you can do over the weekend. I’ve been at it now for many years, blundering away and making mistakes and taking advice when and where I can. It’s slow going, but I’m getting there.
Developing an online presence can and will help an author get the word out about themselves and their work, no question. Leaving an author with the sense that their book’s success or failure depends entirely on their social media efforts is both short-sighted and crazy. For the best chance of success, an author and his publisher need to work together.
Info about the author:
Timothy Carter is a writer of far-fetched fiction for young adults and the young at heart (and mind). Born in England during the week of the final lunar mission, he has a great love of outer space and tea. Timothy is the author of The Cupid War, Epoch, Evil?, Closets, Section K, and Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters. He lives and writes in Toronto with his wife and cats.
To know more about Timothy, please visit his Social Media:
To buy his latest book, simply click on the cover below: