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Blitz Interview with Andrew Gavin, Author of Untimed +Giveaway (INT)

 Hello, ladies and gents!
Please, welcome a lovely and very talented author of The Darkening Dream and Untimed, both of which I highly rated and very much recommended, - 
Andy Gavin!

Andy, what inspired you to write a time travel 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).

Andy, what's easier to create, games or books? Why?

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.

Name three books you wish you'd written yourself.

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. Powers has ability to bring to life the fey in a grounded yet truly otherworldly way and Gates is the best of his many books. It’s totally zany with time travel, werewolves, ancient sorcerers, Romantic poets, and more, yet it totally works.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons. A space opera roughly based on the Canterbury Tales? It’s got not only a massive scope and impressive world building, but repeated and genuine pathos.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Martin has this uncanny ability of making his gigantic cast of characters feel developed and above all, human. He plots like a demon too as the number of twists and reversals is out of control. But fundamentally he really makes you care about the people.

Tell us about your collaboration with Cliff Nielsen and Dave Phillips. Did you have any input in creation of the cover and illustrations of Untimed?

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.

With Untimed it was natural to go back to him, as the first cover rocked. I had the Tick-Tock image in mind all along, still he read the book and then we talked. It was instant agreement, had to be Rapier.

This was my first collaboration with Dave Phillips, the interior illustrator, but I could tell looking at his portfolio that he was an amazing artist. I have a lot of experience judging art, my mother is an oil painter, I half grew up in museums, and video games are all about art.

Dave’s figures had an emotive quality, a correctness of proportion, and a sense of motion that only good artists can evoke. I picked twenty-one scenes from the book that seemed to cover the most characters and iconic moments while being fairly well spaced out and then wrote up detailed descriptions. I had really specific images in my head so I included reference images, particularly costumes and props. Dave did rough drafts of each and pretty much nailed them all. We made a few tweaks and he popped out awesome finished versions. It sounds simple, but it took a few months as he has a day job and twenty-one detailed illustrations takes a while.

Any plans for future projects or news of work in progress you can share?

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.

Thank you so much, Andy!
 I wish you all the best in future projects and can't wait to read more of your books!

Andy Gavin is 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 he 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. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.

 Find Andy:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


Even as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs.

1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.

With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal?

No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be herself.

Amazon  US | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK


Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.

As if that weren’t enough, 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. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.

When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.

And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US($2.99)/UK(£1.94) | The Book Depository US/UK 


ONE ecopy of Untimed.
Open to all.
Ends February 8th 2013.

Good luck!

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