Interview with Author, Andy Gavin!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Hey everyone! Today I've got a little interview to share with you all with author, Andy Gavin! His latest book, Untimed, is a YA adventure time travel novel that came out last month. Before we get into the interview, here's some more about it. :)

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!

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First off, can you tell us a little about yourself and your book, Untimed?
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.

Have you always wanted to write a book about time travel? Is there a particular reason for this?
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).

If you could choose to be any character out of any book, who would you be and why?
I’d like to be a mega-AI from some “Culture” novel like Consider Phlebas, that way I could think trillions of complex thoughts a second and live forever.

We all know that each author has a different writing style. How would you describe yours?
I’m a very visual writer. I see each scene in my head like a movie and I try to paint it for the reader. I also like to think that my style is very descriptive, yet rapid and compact. I’m very conscious of all the things that need to be conveyed coming into a scene, and I try to dole them out in rapid splashes. I don’t open with a big block of description, but jump right into things and tease out the information and descriptions bit by bit as part of the action. In editing, I try to remove anything non-essential or redundant. Untimed is only 75,000 words, yet a tremendous amount of stuff happens. It’s very spare and efficient.

I like dialogue and action, and I think I’m very good at both. I try to keep the banter snappy and rapid fire, and I like to think I can handle pretty complex action scenes with multiple simultaneous goings on.

If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be and why?
I’ve thought about this a lot. Probably I’d be a telepath/pusher like Professor X. The combo of reading minds and controlling them would be totally badass, if horrifically unethical. And I’ve always been keen on having all the information. A vampire wouldn’t be too bad either if I didn’t have to kill my victims, only snack a bit.

Are you currently in the middle of writing (or planning) any other books? If so, could you tell us a little about it?
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.

Quick-fire Questions:

Favourite Colour? Azure blue. The color of the water off the coast of Capri on a bright summer day. I’m particularly drawn to it in translucent forms: as copper based glazes on pottery (I love a particular Chinese blue glaze made in the Imperial workshops), blue glass of the right hue, or even those “Ice Blue” clear mints.

Favourite Animal? Chinchilla. They’re just too cute.

Favourite Weather? Balmy coastal evenings like you get in Hawaii or Florida.

Favourite Genre? I mostly read speculative fiction (SciFi, supernatural horror, and Fantasy) and so the same would be true of my writing. I wouldn’t usually be drawn to a fully naturalistic story.

Favourite Book? That would be tough. If I had to pick a single favorite it would be George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (and the sequels).

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Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo


  1. I just finished Untimed and really enjoyed it! So it was great to read this interview! :)

  2. This looks really good! I'm not a big fan of the cover but the synopsis sounds really interesting. I love protagonists that are outcasts, haha :D

    Brilliant interview, you asked some really good questions, Rachel. :) I love the idea of time travel and even though I have only read one middle-grade book about the idea (Molly Moon, epic book;)) I am interested to read this. Thanks for posting <3


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