Monday, January 29, 2007

Writers Who Work

This is my second blog posting, and it's taken me almost three weeks to get to it. Unlike my friends, I don't have one of those jobs where I can sit around posting on Internet chat rooms all day. Quite the opposite - I've always been stuck with the type of job where I'm expected to actually work. I have no time, or even access, to this blog during regular working hours (although today is an exception - I took today off to look after my sick wife), and at night I just want to relax with a glass of cola and an episode of Dr. Who. Plus, being a novelist, I have to squeeze some writing into my day, too. So these posts might have long stretches in-between them. Unless I get a job where I can goof off all day. Like my friends.

But therein is a good subject; what do you do if you're a writer who also has to work a day job? If generating cool stories doesn't yet pay the bills, what are you supposed to do?

I have chosen the path of the Temp. It is not a particularly glamorous path - you are basically given the kind of menial or degrading assignments that real employees either don't have time for or consider beneath them. Photocopying, filing, putting the ink and paper into the printers, and lying down on a dirty floor so you can reach the pen your boss dropped under her desk are all the types of work you can look forward to in this less-than-stellar profession. Not fun. Hardly challenging. But I can do it, I get paid for it, and I can squeeze my writing time around it. The worse the job, the greater the incentive to write a bestseller to get me out of there.

Other writers get jobs that actually involve writing. I'd like to get me some of that. Technical writing, movie reviewing, copywriting for ad agencies and so on are the types of work I have so far failed to get. Then there are jobs within the industry: editor for a publishing house, proofreader at a magazine, key grip on a movie set. I've avoided that kind of work for two reasons: one, I fear I'll learn exactly how unlikely it will be to live my dream if I work inside the beast; and two, I'm spectacularly unqualified for that kind of work.

Some writers come at it from the opposite angle - they get a job they love, then write about it. Lawyers write legal thrillers, doctors medical dramas. Maybe I should write about temping.

So what is the perfect job for the aspiring writer? Wish I knew. I've been trying to figure that one out for a long time. I've just never had any interest in a 'real' career, nor have I found a job that excites or drives me. Most kinds of work leave me frustrated and depressed.

But it's not all bad. Each job I've had has built upon the one thing that gets me out of bed at 6:30 every morning - the burning desire to create stories and get them out into the world. Each boring temp job motivates me to keep at it and not give up, because one day my writing talent will pay off. It's not a perfect life, but it is a good one. This summer I will have four published novels to my credit, and I will have been married to the perfect woman for two years. As things go, that's not bad, not at all. If boring temp jobs are the price I must pay, then I'll pay it a little longer.

Now if you will all excuse me, my perfect woman is ill, and needs attending to.

- Timothy Carter

Sunday, January 14, 2007


What ho, everyone. My name is Timothy Carter, and this is my very first blog. This internet stuff is pretty new to me - heck, I only just got off my dial-up account in favour of high-speed. And I still, on occasion, listen to tape cassettes.

But here I am. In the 21st century, even if kicking and screaming. So who am I, and why am I taking up valuable space on the web? I am a writer and novelist, just starting out in the book publishing game, and I've been told that these blog thingies are a good way to promote my stuff. With that in mind, let me fill you in on what I'm selling.

Novels, Rollcall!

Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters
My first novel, published in October 2005 by Llewellyn International. This middle-grade book (ages 8-12) is about a couple of geeky kids who discover that in a past life, they had been intergalactic heroes. Villains from that past life track them to Earth, and the hunt is on!

Published online by SynergEbooks, this one is also a middle-grade title. Two kids battle the monsters that come out of their closets, using blankets for armour (monsters can't bite through blankets) and flashlights for weapons (because monsters fear the light).

Coming July 2007 from Llewellyn International, this one is for the YA crowd, and it's a comedy/fantasy about the end of the world. Vincent Drear, a fourteen-year-old boy, learns the world will be cleansed in order to pave the way for the next epoch. All of humanity must exit the planet by way of several portals that are supposed to have appeared all over the planet. However, those portals are nowhere to be found. Vincent and his closest friends and even his bitterest enemies must find the portals and escape the planet before it is too late.

Section K
Due early March from Burningeffigy Press, this is my first novel for adults. Basically, it is Canada's answer to Men In Black (or the X-Files). A drunk and a womanizer are agents for Section K, the RCMP section that deals with all things paranormal. When people start getting the number 666 on their heads, the agents investigate and discover a plot involving aliens, cults and ghosts. If left unchecked, it could bring about the end of the world.

I'll go into more depth with those books in a future blog. Basically, you can see the kind of stuff I like to write - fantasies and comedies. I write mainly for kids, as that is where my strengths lie, but I do grown up stories when the right ideas present themselves. On this blog I will discuss my writing process, the writing life, what I am working on now and what I hope to be involved with in the future. I look forward to sharing these posts with you, and I hope you enjoy reading them.

Thank you and goodnight.

- Timothy Carter