Please welcome today’s Featured Author, Andy Gavin and his novel, Untimed to M/G/W!Andy is relatively new to writing, but he has been crafting worlds and characters his whole life. He founded video game developer Naughty Dog at the age of fifteen and served as co-president for two decades. There he created and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling *Crash Bandicoot* and *Jax & Dexter* franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. Untimed is a time traveling novel centered around Charlie, a boy who is otherwise invisible to everyone around him. It features a cover created by acclaimed fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen and twenty-one full-page interior illustrations by Dave Phillips. And as a special treat, we have an awesome interview with Andy to talk about writing, video games, and we ask him “This” or “That“. Last but not least, check out what AimeeKay had to say about Untimed in her review.
I just finished Untimed by Andy Gavin. For some reason the pictures in between the chapters and the cover gave it a mid-grade feel, but I have to say it is definitely YA. I’ve seen the premise behind the story before, but Gavin was able to present it in a very unique and exciting way.
I really adored the characters Gavin has created. I wasn’t too sure about either Charlie or Yvaine to begin with, but they eventually both won me over. I really liked his Aunt Sofie and Carrot too. In addition to the characters, I certainly enjoyed the world of time travelers he created and how all the events connected – especially the twists closer to the end of the novel.
My biggest complaint (and this is more about personal preference) is about the novels POV. Honestly, I don’t like first person present. *shrug* Sorry it just annoys me. I’ve found that if I enjoy a book I don’t notice it as much – but every once in a while the POV is so distinct it kind of jars the flow of reading and the overall enjoyment of the novel. Untimed is a decent and unique enough story that I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the first person POV as much as I have in other novels in the past. This is saying something considering how much it really does get to me at times. So BIG kudos to you Mr. Gavin for bringing something special and exceptional to the table with Untimed!
Overall, I am excited to read the next book in this series. I can’t wait to see how certain things happen. The ending is a cliffie but more of a “let’s leave it obvious there’s going to be another book” instead of a straight drop off the edge. I’m giving this one 5 out of 5 controllers. Still don’t like the POV, but the story is amazing!
5 out of 5 Time Traveling Controllers
I’m an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There I created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. I sleep little, read novels and histories, watch media obsessively, travel, blog (a million hits last year!), and of course, write.
Untimed is my second novel.
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).
I love history and at first I thought about going to the ancient world, which is my real passion, but I wanted to avoid over-indulging myself and for this first outing stay with a time, place, and celebrity that wasn’t so alien. If I was going back that far, I’d want to capture the monumental shifts in mindset, and it was too much for the first in the series.
Somehow, I always imagined Charlie in Philadelphia, and that led me quickly to Ben Franklin, who is a favorite of mine. In someone else’s book, I would have gone back to 18th century Philadelphia to include Ben, but in reading his autobiography and a couple other biographies, I became captivated by 1720s London, where he spent his late teens. This out of print little book called The Road to Tyburn vividly painted the sordid reality. After reading that, I knew I had to delve into the seedy side of this underworld.
Then, working forward the changes that would occur if Ben died young, I was brought to the domino effect of our revolution on the French, and the incredible impact Napoleon had on Europe. So our heroes end up in 1807 France. Then back in modern Philly, but totally changed, then I wanted at least one more stop, and I wanted it very different, so we pop into 1950s Shanghai, just one where WWII never happened and the British are still in charge! And back to 1725 again to sort things out.
All of these things have in common the influence of the British Empire, directly, as a Colonial power, or a military one.
Untimed’s single first person POV is Charlie, and he was very fun to write. He calls things as he sees them, and given his basic naiveté, that’s pretty funny. We’re inside his head, and nothing is really sacred there. This can also be contrasted with what he does and says, which is sometimes not as bold as he thinks. Dialog-wise, his love interest, Yvaine, is also a blast because she’s incredibly direct and not afraid to work it.
As a serial creator (having made over a dozen major video games) it was interesting how similar the process was to any other complex creative project. Video games and novel writing are both very iterative and detail oriented. They use a lot of the same mental muscles.
I hate to outline, yet I must have a scene or chapter fleshed out before I can write it. If I do, it pops out at 750-1000 words an hour. If not, it doesn’t come at all. But I can only really outline a few chapters ahead.
If I have outlined something, and I’m not feeling physically bad (sick, hungover, etc), I can pretty much pound it out. Where I waste time is in getting to those outlines. Usually, when writing a first draft, I’ll do about 1500-2000 pages a day every day for about two weeks, then be unproductive for a few days, then repeat.
Yep. Right now, I’m writing two more novels and adapting Untimed into a screenplay. The new books are the Untimed sequel and a totally separate short novel that involves old school fairies and iambic pentameter.
We want to know This or That:
- Books or video games? books and WOW
- Xbox 360 or PlayStation? PlayStation – are you kidding?
- Coffee or tea? I’m a café espresso fiend
- The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones? GOT!!!
- Zombie Apocalypse or Robopocalypse? Zombie
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog we hope to see you again really soon!!!
Read the first two sample chapters here >>>
© 2013, Diayll – MotherGamerWriter. All rights reserved.
Latest posts by Diayll – MotherGamerWriter (Posts)
- Simplify Your Shelves: Prepare for The New Releases of 2013 & The Next Generation of Gaming – May 17, 2013
- ARC Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) by Katie McGarry – May 16, 2013
- E3 2013: What to Expect or Hope For From This Year’s Show – May 15, 2013
- Digital Comic Books Give Fans a New and Exciting Experience – May 15, 2013
- Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2013: May Link-Up – May 15, 2013