Tag Archives: Carus & Mitch

Guest post: Why we write

If you head over to the Liz Loves Books website today, you’ll find my guest post in the ‘Why we write’ series. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I don’t reach a definitive answer to the question. Instead, it’s more a list of things I like about writing, which is a long list.

Today you can also read a short extract from Carus & Mitch on the Speculative Fiction Showcase website.

Book soundtrack: Carus & Mitch

I listen to music while I write. It’s usually drone, industrial or minimal techno. I could wax lyrical about the state of mind induced by Biokinetics by Porter Ricks, Grapes from the Estate by Oren Ambarchi or Water Park by Dirty Beaches. Each story I write is usually accompanied by a particular few albums on rotation.

But that’s by the by. That’s not the kind of soundtrack I want to write about here.

I’ve started creating playlists for each of the longer pieces of fiction I’ve written. You could think of them as soundtracks to imaginary film adaptations, I suppose. But who says that books shouldn’t have soundtracks in their own right? In fact, creating a soundtrack playlist has helped me pin down the tone of stories while I’m still editing them.

I like to make the process convoluted. I’ve come up with a fairly strict set of rules:

  1. The first and last tracks ought to work as an accompaniment to the story’s ‘opening and closing credits’.
  2. The playlist should include diagetic (i.e. in-world) and non-diagetic (i.e. conventional overlaid soundtrack) music. Generally, that means not much vocal content.
  3. Broadly, the tracks should reflect the mindset of the central character. My stories are mostly 1st-person or close 3rd-person POV, so by the editing stage I should have a pretty good idea what makes them tick.
  4. The ordering of the tracks should reflect the changing mood or plot events.
  5. Despite rule 4, the playlist should remain listenable in its own right, without sounding jarring. Unless jarring sounds good.

Carus & Mitch

My novella, Carus & Mitch, is published by Omnium Gatherum on Monday (23rd Feb 2015). It’s about two girls who live entirely alone in a remote house, afraid of the dangers outside. It’s kind of creepy.

Here’s a Spotify soundtrack to accompany Carus & Mitch. Hopefully, it ought to work either as a teaser to reading the story, or a kind of epilogue if you’ve already read it.

It’d probably be counterproductive to explain the reasoning behind each of the track choices. But perhaps it’s worth noting that the 1940s tracks and the ‘Autumn’ educational record are the diagetic (in-world) ones. I like the image of Carus and Mitch investigating a vinyl record collection they’ve discovered in the house.

Mild spoilers: The playlist reflects the book in that it transitions from cosy to queasy to a little bit terrifying. Enjoy.

First review quotes for Carus & Mitch

Here are the first review quotes for Carus & Mitch, extracts from which also appear on the back cover of the book:

Carus & Mitch is punchy and scary and tense and genuinely moving. The central portrait of the book’s sibling relationship captures its mixture of friction and love spot on, with heartbreaking precision. Tim Major is an exceptional writer.”
— Adam Roberts, author of Jack Glass and Bête

“Tim Major takes now-familiar tropes—an apocalypse, a resourceful teenage girl heroine—and recasts them in a bleak miniature portrait of a world ending with a whimper rather than a bang. More The Road than The Hunger Games, blending a John Wyndham-esque melancholy with a dose of existential despair, Carus & Mitch is a compelling, unconventional page-turner. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end.”
— Lynda Rucker, author of The Moon Will Look Strange

”A sad, sweet little book that does post apocalyptic at a soft, intimate level.”
— Garrett Cook, author of Murderland and Time Pimp

”Like life and college, the novella Carus & Mitch will leave you with more questions than answers. But the question you’ll replay over and over in your mind, the question that will keep you up at night will be, “Oh Carus, what have you done?” Tim Major tells Carus & Mitch through Carus, and as with all 15-year-olds, she’s a somewhat unreliable narrator. Grim, bleak storytelling, paired with simmering tension strikes the same haunting chord as Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, and the overall tone is reminiscent of Room by Emma Donoghue and Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.””
— Kristin Luna, Urban Fantasy Magazine

CMFullCover011415 croppedI’m very grateful to Adam, Lynda, Garrett and Kristin for these wonderful quotes. Kristin has also contributed the first review score on Goodreads – an amazing 5 out of 5 stars!

Carus & Mitch will be published by Omnium Gatherum in epub and print formats on Monday 23rd February.

Guest post: The story behind Carus & Mitch

CMFullCover011415 croppedI’ve written a guest post for the online literary magazine, Upcoming4.me. It tells the ‘story behind the story’ of Carus & Mitch, from its origins as a NaNoWriMo draft of a YA novel, through lots of dithering and deletions, before it ended up as a ‘quiet horror’ novella.

The other authors who have contributed ‘story behind the story’ articles put me to shame in their ambition and methodical approach to writing! But I hope some readers will find it useful to read about the haphazard development of this story and the deviations and accidents that became integral to the finished book.

Here’s the article.

Speculative Fiction Showcase interview

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Over on the Speculative Fiction Showcase website you’ll find an author interview with me, covering subjects as diverse as big-screen adaptations, Scrivener, chickens and socks… Oh, and a small amount of discussion about my novella, Carus & Mitch, which will be released in exactly one week’s time!

The book has also been teased on the horror blog, Wag the Fox. My guest post about children in horror fiction will also appear on the Wag the Fox site soon.

Carus & Mitch cover reveal

<Cue drum roll, or whatever sound you feel conjures up anticipation>

I’m very pleased to reveal the cover for Carus & Mitch, which will be published by Omnium Gatherum on 23rd February!

CMFullCover011415 croppedPretty flipping creepy, right? Here’s the back-cover blurb:

Carus is only fifteen but since their mum disappeared, looking after her little sister Mitch is her job. There’s nobody else. Not in their house and not outside, either. There’s something out there, scratching and scraping at the windows.

The barricades will hold.

They have to.

Also, Carus & Mitch now has its own page on Goodreads. Just one step closer to it being a real, actual thing