Thursday, December 4, 2008


It's time I talked about my up and coming book, Evil? Cover art is up, and it looks like this:

Not bad, eh? I'm very happy with it.

So what is Evil? all about? Well, brace yourselves... it's a tiny bit naughty. It's similar to Epoch in that it is a fantasy/comedy, but the subject matter is a little more grown up. Generally, it deals with issues of teen sexuality, and a very religious town's reaction to those issues.

Specifically, it deals with masturbation.

Yes, a book for teenagers that deals with the private act of self-pleasure. I'm not sure how I got away with it, either. Some people get very uncomfortable with this subject matter. Some call it the Sin of Onan, or even self-abuse. I call it a perfectly natural part of life, and I think it's high time somebody wrote about it. So I did.

I'd like to point out here that Evil? is not a tasteless or gross novel. I treat the subject matter seriously; the comedy of Evil? comes from people's response to it.

The story (as much as I can reveal here) goes like this: Stewart, a teen living in the predominantly Christian town of Ice Lake, becomes a social outcast when he is caught masturbating in the shower. Ejected from his home and shunned by the community, Stuart suspects the reaction to his 'sin' is far from healthy and normal. Could some supernatural force be influencing people's minds? Or is his act really that... Evil?

Like I said, it's a bit more mature than my other books. But not much more. There's still plenty of action, adventure and jokes to make fans of Epoch very happy.

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment. The book will likely be released sometime in 2009; I'll update when I know more.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I've just completed the first draft of a new novel, tentatively titled Apoca-Lynn. I feel good about the story, and relieved to have it all written out. But is it finished? No, not even close.

As I typed the words The End, I was well aware that there are several issues with the book that need to be addressed. Some characters need more of a backstory. Others need more of a physical description(I'm really bad at those). There are also story points that need to be worked out in order for the novel to make sense.

Once I've dealt with those things, am I finished then? Still no. After that, I have to get the book read by other people. My wife, Violet, likes to have a read, and she's good at picking up on details I've missed. My agent sometimes has feedback to offer as well. When I've incorporated their notes, the book is finally ready to sell.

But it still isn't finished. If a publisher buys the book, they'll have changes of their own to suggest. I've had to do substantial rewrites on both Epoch and Evil? to get them ready for the market. Their requested changes can seem harsh at first; my author ego protests, "wasn't it good enough the way it was?" I've been very lucky to have worked with some terrific editors, however, and the changes they've asked for have made both novels better.

Plus, once I get into them, rewrites can actually be a lot of fun. I get to take my characters out for another spin, and see what they'll do under different circumstances.

When the book is printed, bound and in stores, then it can be considered finished. Good thing, too. I've got lots of other stories that need attending to!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More On Names

As I typed that title, I realized that if you say it fast it sounds like the title for this post is Moron Names. Gave me a chuckle.

Anyway, I wanted to write a bit more on the names I choose for characters, specifically the characters from Epoch. A lot of names from that book had more than just random selection to them, though I would not go so far as to say they had Deep Symbolic Meaning. Some of the names were simply little in-jokes that only I will get. Why? Because it made me smile.

There will be one or two Spoilers in the next few paragraphs. If you haven't read Epoch yet, leave your computer and go read it immediately. I'll wait.

Vincent, the hero of Epoch, has a cool and not ordinary first name. His last name, however, is Drear, short for dreary. I wanted to suggest his life had been fairly normal and boring until the events of the book. Mind you, this was before I decided he had fanatically devout parents who routinely locked him in the basement. Nothing ordinary about that.

Chanteuse Sloam is a combination of things. Her first name is French for singer, I think. However, I never imagined her as a singer. The name just sounded right to me. It suggested something spiritual(to me, anyway), which was right for her character. Her last name is half sloan(some old neighbours of mine) and half loam, which Wikipedia defines as a soil composed of sand, silt, and clay. Very appropriate for a character in touch with Mother Earth.

Most of the Elves got their names from Transformers. Grimbowl sounds a bit like Grimlock, Optar comes from Optimus and Megon from Megatron. Oh, and Dr. Ritchet was one vowel removed from Ratchet. Hey, I love Transformers. I'll squeeze bits of their names in wherever I can.

Barnaby, the school bully, was a name far removed from any typical bully name. That seemed appropriate, since he's not a typical bully. His two bodyguards, however, are an homage to the early works of the great Gordon Korman. The heroes of his first novel, This Can't Be Happening At MacDonald Hall, were Bruno and Boots. I named Barnaby's bodyguards after them as an homage.

But the one name I put the most into (and here's where the Spoiler Alert goes into full swing) was Pharley Seamore Edwards, the CEO of Alphega Corp. It turns out that Mr. Edwards is a Centaur, a creature that is half-human and half-horse. I wanted to hint at Edwards' true nature without giving too much away, hence the scenes of him munching on hay (and saying nay). His name is full of horse references: Pharley comes from the horse movie Phar Lap; Seamore comes from Seabiscuit; and Edwards is a reference to the famous TV talking horse, Mr. Ed. Gosh, I'm clever, aren't I?

As I said earlier, a lot of the name references are things that only I will get. It's not that I'm trying to deprive readers of anything; I just like to have a bit of fun. If you're ever wondering about a name from one of my books, drop me a line and ask where it comes from. I'd be more than happy to oblige.

Bear in mind, however, the name might just be something I thought sounded cool, and nothing more than that. You never know. But I do.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Naming Characters Is Fun

Character names, like story ideas, come from all over. Some are names from people I know (a first name here, a last name there) while others are a blend of words or sounds that I like. I most often write humour, so I'll often try and slip something funny in there, too.

The main characters in Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters are Conrad Viscous and Knowlton Cabbage. In their case, I just liked the way the words sounded together. I'd had a friend named Conrad when I was growing up, and Viscous simply came to me as the ideal last name for him. He isn't a particularly sticky or slimy character; I just liked the word. Knowlton was a name I'd heard around and I just liked, and Cabbage went well with it the way Viscous went with Conrad. Sometimes you can't explain name choices like that; they just sound right in your mind's ear.

Other character names from that book had different origins. Pakfrida, the alien spirit who befriends Conrad, was a combination of my grandparents' names. My grandmother on my mom's side was named Frida, and my grandfather on my dad's side liked to be called Pac. Pakfrida was a grandfatherly sort of character, so I put Pac with Frida to get a unique name. Javix, the bounty hunter who helps Conrad, came from the cleaning fluid Javex. I just liked the sound of it. Cyscope, the main villain, had a name similar to that of Cyclonus, a Decepticon warrior from Transformers. Both characters are intelligent and ruthless, and I like to honour Transformers whenever I can.

Like I said, names can come from anywhere. One thing I try to do with them, however, is make them unique and memorable. I avoid common names as much as I can for main characters - it's more fun that way. Bill Jones isn't that unique or memorable. Conrad Viscous is. At least I think so.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Epoch - The First Beginning

Epoch had one false start, back before I knew what it was really going to be about. After the concept came together in my head(see my last post), I took a stab at the story that proved to be the wrong direction.

Originally, Vincent was to be playing soccer when he saw the elf, and his brother Max was dead. Max, in this version, had been a soccer star when he'd had an unfortunate accident, and Vincent was expected to fill his shoes completely. He wasn't any good at soccer, and he resented his parents for pressuring him into it. Then he sees an elf hiding under the bleachers, and realizes his life is about to get a lot more complicated.

That was the way Epoch would have started, but then I had an even better idea. Another look at that 2003 comet book reminded me there were lots of ways the world could end, and wouldn't it be fun to start an end-of-the-world novel with all those ideas together? I changed the location from a soccer field to a school science fair, and then other great ideas suggested themselves. For starters, Max was now very much alive. Then came the idea to make Vincent's family religious, and more ideas sprang forth from there. Plus, I was able to give Vincent a best friend (Big Tom) and an enemy (Barnaby) and introduce them both in the same scene.

I didn't throw away the original beginning. I like the idea of a character having to fill the role of his dead brother before coming into his own. It didn't work for Epoch, but maybe I can use it in the future. Who can say?

Epoch - The Concept

One of the most common questions authors get asked is, where do you get your ideas? Sometimes that question is a little more specific, such as where did I get the idea for a particular book. I tell people who ask me that my ideas come from all over, plucked from the world around me and the events happening in it. When a few of those ideas come together, I have the concept for a novel.

The ideas for Epoch came from many places, and didn't solidify into a concept until sometime in early 2005. I'd just finished the sequel to Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters, and I wanted to write a stand-alone book before moving on to Soul Hunters 3. In the summer of 2004 came across a book that predicted a comet would destroy the world in 2003, and that gave me a good laugh. It got me thinking of the apocalypse, however, and it reminded me of something else I'd read while visiting my sister in Vancouver.

You see? Ideas from all over.

Anyway, my sister's roommate had a very funny computer game, and the instruction manual for it was just as entertaining. Mixed in with the details of how to play the game were random jokes, and one of those jokes came in the troubleshooting section. There were some serious troubleshooting questions about what to do if the game doesn't load and things of that nature, and then there was one like this:

What if your computer is covered with insects?

The answer stated that the insects indicated the end of one age and the beginning of another, like the Age of Aquarius or something. I very clearly remember the next line: "There is nothing you can do. Our epoch has come to an end."

When I read about the comet impact that didn't happen, my mind immediately pulled up that line, "our epoch has come to an end." What if, I thought, the dominant species of Earth has only a limited time on the planet - an epoch? What if human beings are just the latest in a long line of dominant species? What if creatures of myth and fantasy - elves, pixies, trolls - were actually creatures from history whose epoch had come and gone? And what if humanity's time is almost up?

All that came together in my mind, and I knew I had a book. What was more, I couldn't wait to start writing it.

That's how Epoch was born.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Worlds Of Tim - Welcome!

Hello and welcome to Worlds of Tim! My name is Timothy Carter, and I created this blog to interact with the people who read my books. Worlds of Tim is a look behind the scenes for the creation of my novels - "special features", if you will. It is my hope this blog will serve to give a richer experience to the people who have enjoyed my work.

I write primarily for the Middle-Grade and Young Adult market. In English, that means kids aged 8 to 10, and teenagers. Currently, I have two MG and one YA novels in print. They are: Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters, my first published novel; Closets, my first ebook; and Epoch, my most recent novel. I will discuss each book, and include new novels as they are published.

While I'm discussing the stories, characters, and themes of my books, I invite visitors to this blog to leave comments. Tell me how I'm doing, and let me know if there is something you want me to talk about. I look forward everything you, my readers, have to say.