Author Interview – Andy Gavin


Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Yep. Right now, I’m writing two more and adapting Untimed into a screenplay.

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why? Wool, by High Howey was a totally unknown (to me) book that I recently read and really really enjoyed. if you like Science Fiction, post apocalyptic worlds, or just plain old good novels. Read this. In some ways it’s a throwback, in some ways very modern, Woolis a contained (in both the literary and literal way) post apocalyptic tale in the mould of Larry Niven or A Canticle for Leibowitz. Technically this is an ARC story, about an isolated world built to survive a destroyed environment. It’s very emotionally driven and tense.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? There are tons of good books on writing. Ones by Stephen King and Sol Stein are at the top of my list. As to a literal tool, I can’t recommend more highly Scrivener, the writer’s word processor. It won’t do any actual writing for you, but it sure will save you a lot of struggle and frustration when you do get those creative juices flowing.

Do you have any advice for writers? The simplest and the most time consuming advice is to read. Read everything you can. In your genre, in other genres, non-fiction. Everything. Of course if you’re one of those people who just never reads but somehow has the burning desire to be a writer… perhaps you should think again. Next, take your craft seriously. Read books on writing and editing, on plot and structure. Editing, and I mean professional editing, is really very important. A surprising number of published books aren’t even well edited. They’re overwritten and redundant, like this sentence. Patience. It takes a long time to improve and you’ll end up doing a lot of waiting on both yourself and others.

What do you do to unwind and relax? I’m a ridiculous foodie and wine guy (I blog about it here), to the level of being a certified sommelier and attending 27 course truffle diners. Yet, I also have a secret weakness for “comfort” food (particularly candies) like Skittles and Spicettes.

How did you come up with the title? I wanted a single word title, and I wanted it to imply time travel, so I bounced words and phrases around in my head until I came up with UNTIMED. It seemed pretty good immediately.

Can you tell us about your main character? Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can’t remember his name. So 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. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there’s this girl… Yvaine… another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine’s got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history — like accidentally let the founding father be killed — they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.

Who designed the cover? The cover photo-illustration is by award winning fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen. I found him originally for my first novel, The Darkening Dream. Back then, I combed through the more recent books in my 10,000 novel collection and put aside ones with covers I liked. Going through those I found like eight (including the new edition of Narnia!) with covers by Cliff. But it was really the Map of Time cover that totally sold me. I had to have him do mine. So I called.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? With Untimed, the hardest parts had to do with the time travel. 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.

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Genre – YA / Time Travel & Romance

Rating – PG

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