I met Timothy Carter in October during Can Con, an Ottawa-based Speculative Fiction Conference (http://www.can-con.org/). Timothy gave a fantastic talk and I knew that I wanted to share some of his insights with all of you on Speculating Canada. He, fortunately, agreed to do an interview and share some brilliant insights with all of you.
Timothy Carter author, cat servant, and lover of tea shares his insights on humorous YA fantasy, the bullying phenomenon, writing Queer or LGBTQ2 characters, creating ambiguous characters, writing monsters, religion and supernatural fiction, the power of humour to question the taken-for-granted, the ability of fiction to challenge authority, writing good YA without being preachy, and writing about hate crimes.
Here are a few teasers from the upcoming interview on Thursday Febdurary 7th:
Timothy Carter: “A lot of my protagonists/heroes are kids who are the victims of bullying. One of the oldest bits of writing advice is to write what you know, and I know a lot about bullies. My characters overcome their tormentors the way I never could.”
Timothy Carter: “School officials can brag about their zero-tolerance policies all they want, but that won’t change very much. You can’t just wipe something like bullying out with a hastily-concocted policy; you need to understand why it happens. Why is it so much fun to cause another person pain? And why do we secretly despise the victim? We reward strength and look down on those who are weak, an attitude that encourages (and rewards) bullying.”
Timothy Carter: “The more YA books there are with gay characters, the more young readers will see that being gay is just as acceptable as being straight.”
Timothy Carter: “Monsters aren’t normal, and neither am I! And by normal I mean average and everyday. I like to play around with people’s expectations, suggest one thing and present the exact opposite. People expect monsters to be evil, pure and simple. Especially demons. People also assume that angels are always good. I love writing villainous angels!”
Timothy Carter: “A monster gives you the opportunity to write about Issues without being so obvious about it.”
Timothy Carter: “I hope to encourage readers to question the world around them. Especially authority.”
Timothy Carter: “I like to have morals and lessons come about on their own, rather than saying ‘In chapter 12, Dylan will learn a valuable lesson about sharing!’”
Timothy Carter: “I guess what I’m saying is, if you plan your book to be a “Johnny Learns About Hate Crimes” story, the message will likely feel forced. If one of your characters has a penchant for prejudice, their interaction with the others should bring it out of them in a more subtle, organic way.”
I hope that you get a chance to check out this interview and that you enjoy Mr. Carter’s insights as much as I did. If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of Timothy Carter’s YA novel Evil, you can check it out at https://speculatingcanada.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/bullying-bodies-and-baddies/ . You may also want to check out Timothy Carter’s website at http://timothycarterworld.com/