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Timothy Carter
Profile by Dave Jenkinson.

Timothy Carter The second of three children in the Carter family, Tim was born in Farnham, England, on December, 13, 1972. When he was two, the family moved to Canada. “My dad had a good opportunity available in Canada that would have meant a much better life for all of us, and so we made the big odyssey across the pond. We lived in Scarborough, ON, for two years, and then we moved to Ottawa. Ottawa’s pretty much where I grew up, but my heart has always been in Toronto. I was always looking forward to getting back, and now here I am living in the city. Some people say Toronto’s a horrible, big smelly city, but I just like it.”

    “While we were in Ottawa, we had relatives living in the Toronto area, and so often we’d make trips to come and visit them. Then, of course, we’d do all the Toronto fun stuff, like Ontario Place and the CN Tower. It would be fun to go to the Ontario Science Centre to see if the little electric train was working that year. It usually wasn’t, but that was one of the things that we always had to check out. Toronto just had this aura of being a fun place, and so the ‘kid’ in me always loved going to Toronto for fun’s sake.”

    “My wife describes me as a ‘big kid’ and that’s pretty accurate. I have a very well-developed childhood side that’s never grown up. I’d like to think that I’ve developed the important things of adulthood, like the responsibility and all that, but I’ve tried to keep what’s important about childhood too. That’s very important to me and is, I think, one of the reasons I like to write for the young adult audience. I feel a bit of an understanding there that other people don’t seem to get.”

    Describing his own childhood, Tim says, “I was very imaginative. I would often play by myself or with one other friend. I could just create a whole world for myself, especially if I had some action figures or something to focus my imagination on. Then, my entire bedroom would become another world. I was very into superheroes. I loved just jumping into my imagination, and sometimes I had to be pulled, kicking and screaming, back to the real world. That still happens to this day. I’m very happy in my imagination.”

    Asked about what he wanted to be as he was growing up, Tim candidly replies, “I have to say that’s something I’m still trying to work out as an adult. There was a time when I wanted to be an astronaut, and so people would say, ‘Oh, so you were thinking of getting into the military?’ and I would reply, ‘No, I was thinking of flying through space.’ I never really put too much thought into the adult world. It always seemed like something I’d eventually have to put up with, not something to look forward to, which is not the best way to approach adulthood certainly. It never seemed like it would be much fun. Even now I’m struggling to find some ideal job where I can make money and have a pleasant day while my writing is still on the side. Childhood was taking things one step at a time, especially when I got into my teenage years. It was just, ‘Let’s get through high school and then breathe,’ but there was to be no breathing.”

    Tim studied drama at Algonquin College. “It was actually two years after high school. Again it was part of the process of trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I’d spent a year working at a Dairy Queen, and the less said about that experience the better. Then I did one year at Carleton University, and basically what that year taught me is that I’m not in any way academic and that’s the last place for me. Because I had this ambition for a while of being a filmmaker, I decided, ‘Forget about all this university stuff. Let’s find somewhere where I can learn how to make films.’ I was very much into films and still am a big film buff, especially the works of James Cameron. The first two Terminators were fantastic movies.”

    “I absolutely adore Transformers. I was right there at the beginning in 1984. I just loved it from beginning, to its end, to its many, many rebirths. I have plenty of Transformers on my desk, so many that I hardly have room for my computer. Transformers were a wonderfully imaginative idea. It wasn’t just a plastic toy that turns from one thing into another. They also gave each Transformer a character, a name, and a personality as well. One of the ways they could sell you the same toy twice was by throwing another paint job on it and saying, ‘Oh, no. He’s a completely different character.’”

    “That aside, one of the things that made the toy so much fun was that there was a story behind each Transformer, and that really sparked my imagination. I tell people that, when I saw the original animated movie in 1986, that’s what made me want to be a writer. It wasn’t the most fantastic movie, and it wasn’t the greatest story, but it had enough really imaginative concepts in it that I wanted to affect other people the way that movie affected me. That was my biggest source of inspiration then, and later on it was Douglas Adams.”

    “It’s funny that I’m writing books now because I really didn’t like them much in my early years nor in my high school years because they just seemed ‘not ‘fun.’ They were something that you had to do, something literally ‘good’ for you, like eating broccoli (though now that I’m an adult, broccoli is pretty good). Then I found one of Douglas Adams’ books, Life, the Universe and Everything the third in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. It seemed kind of funny, and so I took a look. By the end of the first page, I was laughing and hooked. It was like, ‘Reading can be really fun,’ and so just seeing how much fun you could have with words and funny concepts really did it for me.”

    “Another big step in my development was realizing how words could be used, and that books didn’t have to have themes about people living in harsh times in the wilderness and having things happening to them that, to me, seemed really boring. Reading could actually be a lot of fun, and that’s what finally turned me on to books.”

    “I’ve always been coming up with stories, but, since I wasn’t crazy about books, my medium back in my youth was comic books. I tried to draw my own comic books, and, while I achieved a certain level with my artistic ability, it was nowhere near the level where I could actually use that to impress anybody. Getting to the level where you could tell characters apart was pretty much as far as I got, but I very much liked that medium and the way that stories could be told visually. (Another of my ambitions is to have my own comic book series, but that’s for another day.)”

    “Anyway, I would try and do my own comic books, but then, after discovering the joy of Douglas Adams, I started writing my own short stories. This would have been in grade 11 or grade 12, and I was just pouring out short stories. I thought, ‘It would be fun to do this for an actual living, because I love to do it and I’m having no shortage of ideas.’ My first attempt at a novel came when I had a series of four stories. I just thought that, if I combined them all together, then I’d have something that was roughly novel length. It was called ‘What’s the Meaning of Life and Other Stupid Questions’, and it was about a bunch of people time travelling and trying to find the meaning of life and getting into all kinds of strange situations. As you can see, it was very Douglas Adams inspired.”

    “Then I started having actual novel length ideas. When I have an idea, I can tell right away if it’s going to be a short story idea or if it’s going to be a novel idea. I can guess how much effort will be required to tell it, and most of my ideas tend to be novel length ideas. They are the ones that appeal to me the most because writing, especially writing a novel, is so much fun for me. It’s like playing in another world for a while.”

    “I’ve talked to other writers who spoke about it being really easy to start their novels and really easy to write the climax and conclusion, but they really hate doing that bit in the middle. For me, that’s the most fun, being right in the middle and knowing that really cool stuff is coming and having that to look forward to. When I write, I have a vague idea of where the characters and story are going. I know exactly what I’m doing right now, and I have an idea of what’s going to happen in the next chapter, and I sort of have an idea of how I want it to turn out at the end., but that’s it. I find out the story as I’m going.”

    “It’s up to my characters to tell me, and I make a deal with them: ‘You guys can do whatever you want. Just try and bring this whole thing together for a really exciting climax at the end,’ and usually the deals works out. Sometimes I’ll have ideas going in, like, ‘This would be really cool if it ended like this,’ and I’ll make all kinds of notes about things that could happen, or I’ll set something up with the hope that it might pay off really well. If I later on decide that’s not so important, I can always go back and take it out.”

    “Generally though, as I’m going along, I’ll look at my ideas and think, ‘Will this work now or not?’ but my characters tell me how it’s going. I like the way Stephen King put it where he says he’ll come up with characters and put them into a situation. The novel is watching them try to work themselves out of that situation. I’m not one to outline everything because, for me, if I was to do a complete, very detailed outline of exactly how the story is going to be told, then I’ve already told myself that story. All that’s left is to bash it out, and that’s a lot like work. That’s no fun. It’s more fun to do it my way. Maybe at some point, if my writing gets more popular, I’ll be asked to do an outline. A publisher might say, ‘Could we have a sequel for this book. Send us an outline.’However, whenever possible, I try to keep as much freedom as I can because, for the kind of stories I do, that’s what I need to do.”

    “I started sending ‘What’s the Meaning of Life and Other Stupid Questions’ out my first year out of high school which is 1991-2 when I was at Dairy Queen. It was extremely important for me to have this writing and this ambition because that would mean that the Dairy Queen was not indefinite and that the ‘pain’ would end at some point. I tried to find Canadian places first, but I ran out of Canadian publishers fairly quickly because science fiction is not a very big market here. I used the Writers Digest which is a great book for writers because it’s just filled with very detailed summaries of publishers and what they’re looking for. Now, many publishers have websites, but back then, the Internet was just beginning.”

    “I didn’t always write books for young people. That’s certainly where my writing is going now, but when I was starting out, I was doing books for adults. Because I have juvenile-like ideas, I realized over time that’s probably where I should be devoting my attentions. I’d written about 20 manuscripts, all of them of varying lengths, before I sold my first book. Writing all those manuscripts was a great training process of playing around with concepts, starting a story, and actually bringing it through to a conclusion. I can look back on some of them now and say, ‘This is awful! Was I really so bad back then? I thought I was so brilliant!’ On the other hand, I think some of them are pretty good, and I’m desperately bitter they haven’t been published. With some of those stories, I think, ‘If I have time, I’ll rewrite this.’ However, I’ve got so many other novels on the go, it’s hard to think of when I might actually get back and redo one of them.”

    “The big breakthrough came with Llewellyn, and it involved a good bit of fortuitous circumstance. I had just finished the first draft of what would become Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters. I was going through my current copy of Writer’s Digest and found this publisher, Llewellyn, who were interested in New Age concepts (which this book certainly was), metaphysical concepts, and they also published books for kids. I submitted ‘Star Souls,’ as I originally called it, to them, and they responded saying, ‘Yes, we like this, but we think that it needs more. If you were to rewrite it with this in mind, then we’d be happy to take another look.’ Fantastic! I leapt at that chance, and then we hashed it back and forth a few times before they said, ‘Yes, we’d like to publish it.’ ‘Wow! Fantastic. I’m on my way.’ That process took about a year, and was a very pleasant experience. They had good editors with valid comments to make, and I really learned a lot in that first experience.”

    Attack cover“I started going to Science Fiction conventions because that seemed a good place to start selling Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters. I had my first book signing. I worked at the Bank of Nova Scotia for five years, and there was a Coles bookstore nearby. I’d often drop by if there were authors doing a signing there, especially if they were authors that I knew. I’d always dreamed of being on ‘that’ side of the table. Actually being on that side of the table was a big thrill for me. The first time I did a signing there, I sold 45 copies of Soul Hunters Very pleased, I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve made it for sure. I’m going to be taking J.K. Rowling off her spot.’ Unfortunately it did not work out that way”.

    Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters concludes with “To be continued?” but there has been no continuation. “I did write a sequel which also ends with ‘To be continued.’ I was half way through writing the third book when word came that Llewellyn was discontinuing their juvenile line. They now have an imprint called Flux that does young adult titles, but they were no longer pursuing Middle-Grade fiction, which the Soul Hunters books were aimed at. The rights to Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters do revert back to me once it’s officially and completely out of print. At that point, I could resell it and then tell the whole three-volume story, but, at the moment, that time’s a bit far into the future.”

   “SynergEbooks published my e-book Closets. They’re a fairly small e-book publisher that occasionally does books on CD, but mainly their books are available through their website. I sent them Closets, and they liked it and wanted to publish it. It was my chance to not only get another book out there but also to find out about e-books and see what that’s like. Financially, it hasn’t really been a success for me. My wife joked that, when I ordered 10 copies from them to be able to sell them at conventions, that was probably the biggest sale they ever made on Closets. I had tried to get Closets published as a regular book, but, like Soul Hunters, Closets is for the middle grade market. At the time, I didn’t think it was a good fit for Llewellyn.”

    Closets cover“In Closets, the concept of ‘speak cringers’ just sprang out at me when I was writing the book. That book was just supposed to be about these two kids in a family who face the monsters that come out of the closet. They learn what the rules are: monsters can’t bite through blankets and are deathly afraid of lights. The kids then go off and try to take the closets back. But then these other things came up delightfully out of nowhere and gave the book more depth. The speak cringers were one of those things too. In the book, I’m examining fear, what are we afraid of, how does that happen, and what happens when you confront that fear. The kids in that book confront their fear and become all the better for it.”

    “I got an agent about the same time that Epoch got accepted. Llewellyn had told me that their juvenile line was being discontinued and they’d turned down the sequel to Intergalactic Soul Hunters, but they said, ‘If you’ve got anything else for us, we’re starting this new line called Flux and it’s aimed at young adults. At this point, I’d had the first draft of Epoch on my computer. It was supposed to be for the same age group that had read Soul Hunters, with my idea being that, once people had got through the series, then this could be the next thing I’d give them. I thought, ‘It’s right up their alley. What if I just ‘grew up’ the characters a bit more?’ and that’s what I did.”

    “I went back and took them from being 10-year-old characters up to age 14. I tried not to rush that upgrade too much because a 10-year-old is quite different from a 14-year-old. I submitted it to Flux, and they loved it. At the same time, I asked them, ‘Can you recommend any agents that you’ve worked with?’ They gave me a few names, and I first contacted them saying, ‘Would you like to help me by picking up the sequel to Soul Hunters?’ and they all said, “No thanks,’ because it was a sequel to something that didn’t sell very well.”

    Epoch cover “Then when I tried them with Epoch, it was like, my saying ‘I’ve got a sale here, and so anyone who wants to make some money.....’ It was a much better negotiating position. I talked with a few, and, in the end, I went for the Wyley-Merrick Literary Agency. My agent’s name is Robert Brown. He’s a good guy and likes what I write. He’s helped me, too, in many ways. I wanted to just shove everything I’ve got out the door and try and publish as much as I could, but he was like, ‘Let’s hold off. You’ve got to build up steadily, and, if you’ve got too many books out at once, it’s not necessarily a good thing, especially if you’ve got two books competing with each other at different publishers.”

    “Consequently, we waited to see how Epoch would do, and, if it got good numbers, then we’d be in a better position to sell something else. I had to be patient, and I’m not good at that. So far, he’s done well by me, and he successfully got me the deal for Evil? and now we are hoping for one called ‘Cupidity.’ Now that Epoch has sold a respectable number of copies and Flux has been willing to go with me on another book, Evil?, we’re probably in a better negotiating position to try and go with other publishers with other audience levels. My agent will say if he really likes something, but his perspective is more about, ‘Is it salable or not?’”

    “I like to play around with what the afterlife’s actually like, and, while I’m not much into science, I do like to make my books’ contents seem as realistic as I can because then the reader will be more willing to go along with the books’ non-realistic parts. ‘Cupidity,’ which sort of sounds like cupid and stupidity,” is about a character who has died. Most of the story takes place in the afterlife, and he’s responsible for making people fall in love with each other. As I was writing the book, I tried to think very carefully about the question of, ‘How would this world work?’ That was fun – I like creating worlds.”

    “Normally I write comedy, and I was intending ‘Cupidity’ to be similar to Epoch and Evil?. However, it ended up being a more serious story, and so having a funny, punny kind of title probably wouldn’t work now. It’s about Cupids and the Cupids’ opposite numbers, called Suicides, who are responsible for causing depression in people. A number of different ideas of mine came together for this book, and I really hope it sees the light of day very soon. It’s a very important book to me in that I had to work hard to create this afterlife world, how it works and how its inhabitants interact with the physical world. As I did with Evil? and the fallen angels, I like coming up with a supernatural reason to explain things happening on earth and trying to get people to think about them. In Evil?, the reason why people get all worked up about one thing in particular while ignoring others is because of the fallen angels. In ‘Cupidity,’. people fall in love because these cupids are working to make it happen.”

    “As I’m learning, it’s mostly the author’s responsibility to publicize books. I want to create as much buzz for Evil as I can. I do my own flyers, and I’ve got one for Evil?. I made up a bunch for Epoch as well. I call them ‘fake tracts’ because they’re designed to be like religious tracts because both Epoch and Evil? involve me poking fun at various religious denominations. I’ve always thought that those religious tracts are, at best, kind of silly. At the very worst, they can be hate literature. Some are really quite nasty.”

    “There’s a reason why religion’s a big theme for me. I was brought up a Christian. My parents were Anglicans, we went to church, and I was a member of a youth group. It seemed like what you had to do to get into Heaven kept becoming bigger. First, you had to believe. Then, it was you have to believe, and you have to be born again. Ok, then it was born again, and you have to convert other people because you have to save them because they’re all in danger. I was trying to believe because I was absolutely terrified of what would happen if I didn’t. Then I started to really think about it, thinking being something that I would highly recommend. Some religions can be very good at trying to tell you, ‘Oh, no. Thinking about things is wrong because it will lead you astray,’ or, as I write in one story, ‘If God wanted us to ask questions, He would have given us answers.’”

    “One of the things that really helped me was when my cousin loaned me a copy of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I think it is the greatest book ever published. It’s about the religious Apocalypse but told from the point of view of an angel and a demon who have gotten used to life on Earth and would much rather the Apocalypse didn’t happen. As a result, they take steps to try and get in the way of things and slow Armageddon down. It’s a lovely, intelligent and really funny book, and it was exactly the thing that I needed at exactly the right time. Reading Good Omens sort of got me to where I am now - a very happily agnostic spiritual person without any ties to any formal religion.”

    “There was one line in particular in Good Omens that got to me, and the gist of it was this: the angel and the demon had always gone by the assumption that God and the Devil were playing this chess game for the souls of humanity. However, at the end of the book, they realized that it wasn’t really chess at all, just a very complicated game of solitaire. I just thought that was brilliant. From reading the book, I also came to the realization that any religion that’s trying to convert you to its way of thinking through fear and terror tactics is probably not something that you want to follow.”

    “If the only way to get people to be ‘good’ is to say, ‘Well, we’ll throw you into this fiery pit for eternity and you will burn constantly and be in agony forever unless you do exactly what we say because we’re bigger and tougher than you,’ then your system is fundamentally flawed. It’s like bullying. It’s like saying, ‘Give me your lunch money, or I’ll beat you up.’ And when I had that realization, I said, ‘I can’t be part of this religion anymore, at least not in the whole born-again soul-winning kind of way.’ That’s why religion’s a big theme in so many of my books.”

    “If the only way to get people to be ‘good’ is to say, ‘Well, we’ll throw you into this fiery pit for eternity and you will burn constantly and be in agony forever unless you do exactly what we say because we’re bigger and tougher than you,’ then your system is fundamentally flawed. It’s like bullying. It’s like saying, ‘Give me your lunch money, or I’ll beat you up.’ And when I had that realization, I said, ‘I can’t be part of this religion anymore, at least not in the whole born-again soul-winning kind of way.’ That’s why religion’s a big theme in so many of my books.”

    “After Epoch, someone at Flux said, ‘Can we get a book from you that isn’t about the guy who is being bullied in school?’ That tends to be a big theme of mine, bullying or the abuse of power. It’s just a very big, important thing to me. It’s something that’s not really looked at. I’ve seen TV specials on bullying and schools talking about ‘we have a zero tolerance policy,’ and I just laugh at those because I’m thinking, ‘No, you don’t.’ Maybe they try, but so much bullying happens, and it happens off camera, so to speak, where teachers and school officials don’t notice it. It’s really hard for students to come forward because then you’re snitching or you have to admit that you’re not tough enough to deal with it on your own.”

    “From my own experience, I can think of gym class where I had a bunch of people bullying me and there was a teacher watching and just sort of smiling, ‘Ah, there’s a geek getting what he deserves.’ That’s why I often have that theme of abuse of power in my books because I experienced so much of it. I can understand it, and I think there’s a lot of it that goes on that isn’t talked about. I make a point in my books of not choosing the sort of typical characters that one sees an awful lot of in young adult fiction. You tend to find stories about the guy on the football team or the really popular cheerleader. What you don’t find very often are the kids on the fringes, the ones who are labelled unpopular for whatever reason.”

    “In my experience, those ‘fringe’ kids were always the more interesting characters. I was the geek in high school, and I was friends with other geeks, and they had lots of really good ideas that other people just weren’t thinking or talking about. I had to give them a voice. Perhaps I won’t be a terribly popular author with the ‘cool’ kids, but I think there are an awful lot of kids who will be able to relate to my books because they’ll see themselves in them.”

    “In high school, becoming unpopular can happen at the drop of a hat. You walk in one day wearing a shirt that somebody has decided is not popular any more, and that’s it for you. It’s kind of silly, but, nevertheless, that’s sort of the reality. I remember the New Kids on the Block being the hottest thing. Then, overnight they were unpopular, and I thought this was a strange phenomenon. Only losers listen to New Kids on The Block? The people who were on the fringes, who weren’t worried so much about popularity, tended to be more honest because they weren’t afraid of giving an honest answer that would have them branded. They were already branded. What did they have to lose?”

    Evil cover “When the idea for the story that became Evil? popped into my head, I told my wife about it and said, “I’m going to write it for a young adult audience.’ She replied, “Yah. Good luck with that.’ For a while, I put off writing Evil? because I wondered, ‘Will any publisher actually touch this one?’ You know, I wanted to write something that was more likely to sell.”

    “But I had to write Evil?. It was just too good an idea not to go for. Then, when I submitted it to Flux, they said, ‘This is probably the least saleable premise we’ve ever received.’ However, they liked my writing, and they wanted to do another book with me. And so, here it is, published. That, in itself, is something of a miracle, and I’m very grateful to the people at Flux who were willing to take a chance on this idea and who actually do believe now that the concept is saleable.”

    “My original title of Evil? was “The Right Hand of Evil.” Flux thought it might sell better if it looked more like Epoch, which is funny because they had told me that they really wanted me to write a book that was very different from Epoch.”

    “There’s also the element in Evil? where Stuart Bradley, the central character, summons demons, and I wanted to make that public knowledge in the book because I thought it would be even funnier that he does all these things that readers know about - he’s homosexual and he summons demons. With him having all these supposed Christian no-no’s going against him that are “OK,’ why is his masturbation so evil?”

    “There is going to be someone somewhere who is going to be upset about the subject matter of Evil?. I’m sort of anticipating it. I’m not setting out to irritate anyone, but, at the same time, I know it’s going to happen, and I’m trying to be prepared for it.”

   One of the stylistic devices that Tim uses in his books is the inclusion of prologues or introductions. “I feel that I need them. Maybe they’re a bit of a crutch, but I always find it good to start the story with something that sets it up in a way. It’s nice to gently open the story up and then gently close it again, if you will. It’s the way I like to tell a story. I put the introduction into Epoch deliberately because people are going to read this book and think my character is going to try and stop the end of the world. From the beginning, my concept was always that the world was going to end, and I wanted to make that absolutely clear to the reader at the start of the novel. That way, I could differentiate Epoch from all the other apocalypse novels where ‘The End’ is called off at the last minute. The idea of having chapter numbers counting down instead of up was also part of that, and I was so pleased that Flux went with that concept, too. That, and sticking with Epoch as the title.”

   Tim says he loves to have fun with characters’ names in books. For instance, in Evil?, there are two “fallen” angels. “Brightly seemed like a good name that this guy would choose for himself, and Feltless felt right for the other one. Both of them were reflections of the far extreme of religious nuttiness. I’m thinking of those people who hold up signs like ‘Fags burn in hell!’ outside the funerals for gay people who’ve just been killed. What drives a person to do that and to think that it’s right? Could it be something supernatural? The truth is, no, there actually are people that evil. That fact can sort of be easier to swallow if you can say, ‘It is possible that they’re influenced by outside forces that think they know what’s best.’”

   The concept of souls appears in many of Tim’s books. “I’d like to believe that I have a soul, and that all people have them. In a lot of my spiritual questing, I’ve heard of some concepts that sound good to me. I like the idea of reincarnation, where people live many lives on earth in order to learn and better themselves. I won’t go so far as to say that I believe that - I have no evidence to support the notion - but reincarnation’s an idea that makes a lot of sense to me. It makes a lot more sense than the idea that you’re on earth for only one life, during which you have to accept this one deity or else will burn in hell in eternity. That concept, fear aside, just makes no sense to me whatsoever.”

   “So, I go as far as believing that people have souls; it’s a concept that’s very interesting. I like metaphysical concepts, thinking about what is out there in the afterlife in terms of angels and demons and all that. It’s sort of like fantasy stories where there are dragons, imps and goblins, but it’s a different kind of fantasy. It’s something that I haven’t seen an awful lot of on the bookshelves yet, and since I’m so very interested in it, I use it as my ‘playground.’ If I can find a way to use the afterlife in what I think is a clever or interesting way, then that’s what I’ll do.“

   “In Epoch, I had a very important scene that used astral projection. For me, it was very interesting to use that as a concept and also to think about how it would work, how a soul would function. I always get annoyed when I read or see stories of people in the afterlife who look exactly the same as they did on earth. They seem to have some kind of physical body, except usually they’re a bit transparent to show that they’re spirits. I always wonder why that is, and The Matrix came up with a great term for that -- residual self-image. You could say their souls are what their mind has created. Very few stories actually go so far as to use that kind of logic. They just assume that, when you die, you are in a spiritual body that looks exactly like you did when you are alive.”

    “‘A Walk-In to Remember’ is the working title for something I just started writing. A ‘walk-in’ is another metaphysical concept, where a soul takes over or possesses another person’s body in order to get them through a difficult time or accomplish an important task. ‘A Walk-In to Remember” will be a sequel to another manuscript that I’ve recently written but haven’t published yet. I’m taking a bit of a chance in assuming that the first one, ‘The Five Demons You Meet in Hell,’ will get published, but ‘A Walk-in to Remember’ is a story I very much want to tell. That’s pretty much how I decide which stories to write. There are certain stories that just speak to me, and they have to be written. And there are other ones that are sort of on the periphery and are waiting for their time. I’ve got a bunch of ideas that I really want to get to, but, at the same time, I’m not yet ready to write them. My mind works in very strange ways, but it does work, and so I tend to do what it says. Right now its says, ‘Do “Walk-In to Remember”’.”

    “‘Apoca-Lynn’ is another one that has been through a number of drafts on my computer. I’m getting my wife to read it right now and get her feedback. It’s another teen comedy, and the best way to describe it is to say it’s my reaction to seeing the movie My Super Ex-Girlfriend. In that movie, there’s this guy who ends up dating a woman who is a superhero, and, when he breaks up with her, she, using her superpowers, takes all kinds of revenge on him. She’s the ultimate guys’ breakup nightmare. The film bugged me because, at the end of the movie, the guy character apologizes to the girl for hurting her feelings.”

    “I thought, ‘Let’s think of all the things that she’s done to him throughout this movie, such as throwing a live Great White Shark into his apartment and nearly killing him and his new girlfriend.’ He was so evil for not faking a relationship with her? I read all kinds of reviews of this film by women who were like, ‘You go girl! You get him!’ That just struck me as incredibly wrong. I’m all for equal rights of the sexes, but I define equality as being equal so ‘Apoco Lyn’s about a teenage girl who, the guy finds out, is psychic. She can read his mind, which has all kinds of problems in terms of what are you saying versus what are you actually thinking. Then, when he breaks up with her, he discovers she can also move objects with her mind as well. She uses this ability to punish him for dumping her, really bringing the pain. I asked myself, ‘How much punishment is a guy supposed to take for breaking up with someone that he realized he wasn’t compatible with?’ The story came from there. I won’t say any more now as there are a few areas in the book that I know need some working on, and I want to get my wife’s feedback first.”

    “‘Apoca-Lynn’ is also one of the few stories of mine that has absolutely nothing to do with any religious concept. After I finished writing Evil? I was like, ‘OK, Epoch’s coming out and then Evil?. Let’s try to do a couple that don’t kick Christianity in the can. I want to show I have range, after all. I’m not just the ‘poke-fun-at-religion guy’.”

    “The only novel I’ve have published for adults is Section K. You can tell it’s for a grown-up audience because there’s sex and swearing in it. My friend Monica S. Kuebler, who works at Rue Morgue magazine, runs her own small press, Burning Effigy Press, that does a lot of small chap books, including one of mine called Product of a Deranged Bottom. She wanted to publish a novel, and she liked my work, so we developed Section K together.”

    “Section K is sort of Canada’s answer to Men in Black. It’s an idea I got after reading Watchers, Moles and Assassins by another Canadian author, Steve Thompson. His book dealt with the RCMP, and in one part he lists all the various sections within the RCMP. He mentioned that there was no section K (I understand there actually is a Section K now, but, at the time of his writing, there wasn’t), and that perhaps it wasn’t listed because it was so secret.”

    “That one bit of Thompson’s book sparked something in my mind. I thought it would have to be like the X-Files, dealing with the paranormal. But, if it’s Canadian, it would be badly underfunded and something of an embarrassment. The RCMP created it simply because there was public pressure to have something going on in that direction, maybe because the Americans seemed so good at it. It’s a very small branch located in Ottawa and staffed with the kind of people that the RCMP would like to pretend they hadn’t hired in the first place. One of them is a womanizing loser who had an ‘incident’ with the Chief’s daughter. The other one is a drunken idiot who has his own issues. But, they are Canada’s only hope. They come across a number of things that, tied together, spell doom for the world unless they can somehow find a way to stop it.”

    ‘I think Section K is pretty funny. Without a distribution chain, however, it’s been no picnic trying to get the word out about it. That’s one of the realities of dealing with a small press, I’m afraid. I try and sell it wherever I can, and I take lots of copies with me when I go to science fiction conventions, reading series or small press events. The first print run was only 500 copies, and most of those are in boxes in my condo. I‘d like to think we’ll sell them all eventually.”

    “We tried very hard to get presales of Section K, hoping that we could use the money from said presales to put towards the printing costs. One of those ways to get the message out was to produce chapbooks – a short story set in the same world and using the same characters that we could produce cheap and sell for a couple of dollars. If people enjoyed the story, they’d find an advert for the novel at the back, along with the information on how to preorder. The first story in this cycle was called ‘The Man-eating Chipmunks of Brockville’ which involved the characters investigating this phenomenon in Brockville. It was a Pied-Piper type of story but involving chipmunks instead of rats. The second one is called Section K Case File 42 The Demon Subway of North York, and it’s about the Sheppard Subway Line. I would go to conventions and sell these chapbooks and say, ‘Please pre-order!’ We received exactly one preorder, and it came from my friend Jeff who helped edit the novel with Monica. No one else wanted to pay ten dollars for something they couldn’t have right away.”

    “I’ve written a couple of feature length film scripts, but sadly I haven’t been able to do anything with them. However, I did write a couple of episodes of a children’s show called The Dumb Bunnies. It was actually doing that which led to my moving from Ottawa to Toronto, as the show was being done by Nelvana here. It started out in a very round about way with me trying to get in with another animation company in Ottawa. At the time, they were doing a show called Flash Gordon. I wrote a spec script for the show and went into their offices hoping to find someone to show it to. I met a guy named Gerald Tripp who just happened to come along to look for his mail and saw me sitting there. I said, ‘I’m just trying to meet someone so that I can show them my Flash Gordon script. He said, ‘You should show it to me. I’m the producer of the show.’ Because Flash Gordon was actually winding down at that point, he couldn’t use me on that show, but he kept me in mind. We kept in touch, and I actually went to work for him as a production assistant for a week. It was the ideal job for me. There I was, working on something that I actually cared about with a good group of people.”

    “Through them I made some other contacts, including someone who was working with Nelvana on another series. I pitched him some of my samples, and he responded asking me to come up with some ideas for his show, The Dumb Bunnies. It was terrific that they were willing to give me a shot at this. Before I knew it, I had a contract to write a script. What a year that was! I was so excited to be writing professionally. This was the big leagues as far as I was concerned. When I moved to Toronto, I got a second contract and wrote a second episode for them. It all seemed to be going every well, but that was the last script writing job I ever had. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out.”

    Tim says that he finds time to write “whenever I can. Mostly it’s finding out what my schedule is and working around that. I do a lot of temp jobs as my way of earning a living. Once I’ve got a job, I’ll arrive at the job site a half hour early, grab myself a cup of tea and do some writing. I’ll also use my lunch hour to do writing in. I write everything longhand first, then type it up at home. I find that little notebooks are much easier to carry around than a laptop. Depending on the size of the notebook, if you can get one that actually fits into your back pocket, you can sneak them out when you’re at work. But don’t tell any of my bosses I said that!”

    “I haven’t really found the ideal job for me yet. When the writing takes off and I become hugely popular and successful, I’ll still want to have somewhere to go during the day. Without a schedule, I tend to be a bit lazy, so it’s important for me to find a job that suits me. You know, one I’ll actually look forward to every morning, and where I’m among good people. Unfortunately, it’s been a bit of a challenge. I’ve never really figured out what I want to be when I grow up.”

    “I knew I wanted to create stories from an early age, and then I found a way that this can actually be done professionally for money, but I’m still not at that level where I’m earning my living from it. Like I said, I’ve realized that I really need a job that gets me out of the house for a significant portion of the day. That gives me a routine, something I can work my writing around. The temp jobs have been good in that I’m qualified to do them, but they’re not terribly great jobs. Now, unfortunately, even those temp jobs are pretty scarce and hard to get. I’ve been unemployed for quite a while now, and I would very much like to eat soon. Not to go into the whole sob story, but it’s been difficult to find even a job that I’ll hate let alone one I’ll love, but I’m still looking for that ideal job.”

Books by Timothy Carter:

This article is based on an interview conducted in Toronto, June 7, 2009 and revised December, 2009.

Visit Timothy Carter’s website at:

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