Why thank you, it’s very nice to be here. This might sound a little strange, but “Post Apocalyptic” in its traditional sense doesn’t actually interest me all that much. Rubble-strewn ruined wastelands filled with war-weary characters struggling to survive the indefatigable onslaught of enemy soldiers / monsters / aliens / zombies / mutant germs / regular germs / insert baddie here, has been done to death. I’ve read that story a hundred times.
I’m far more interested in what I call “Post-Post-Apocalyptic”. Wind the clock on a century or two until whatever happened is just a distant memory. People will have a vague idea of what happened, but not the details, and it won’t be relevant to daily life. Rather like the Battle of Waterloo (yes, that was 200 years ago) to people today. And so the Flick Carter stories are set around 200 years in our future, and 150 years after “the end of the world”.
It’s kind of Robin Hood meets Survivors!
Yes, I have to say that your 'future' world appears to have taken a step back in time. It's had the opportunity for its civilisation to strike a balance. Tell me a bit about Flick. She’s not your typical girlie heroine, is she?
Flick, or Felicity Anne Carter, to give her full name is an ordinary teenage girl living in this somewhat dystopian post-post apocalyptic society. She’s not a kid in the sense that we might think of teenagers today—life is short and often brutal. 40 is considered old, and everything happens younger. 15 is the age of majority, when people can marry, vote, get apprenticed, get executed and so on. It’s celebrated every year with the Choosing ceremony, when every fifteen year old legally becomes an adult, and often leaves home to start a new life.
Flick missed out on her Choosing, because her mum died when she was young, and she had to become surrogate mother to her younger siblings. She just slipped into helping her dad with the family business, but legally she was unchosen. That becomes important later.
Her idea of relaxation is getting on her old bike (three new frames, five new sets of wheels, but it’s still the best bike a girl could have…), going up into the chalk hills and finding nodules of flint, which she uses to make stone knives and arrowheads that she can sell. It’s on one of these trips that she discovers something that gets her into a world of trouble.
I do like a feisty heroine! Another of your characters, Socko, seems to have taken up a life of his own too. Why do you think he’s become popular?
Socko is one of those minor characters that, for some reason, gets a life of his own. He’s a Kingsman, which in story terms makes him one of the bad guys, but he’s also a KSI (my equivalent to a CSI, or forensic scientist), and a proponent of what he calls “experimental forensics”. This usually involves things that go bang, or catch fire.
Socko isn’t his real name—that’s Andy Garrett. He’ll swear blind that his nickname came about because he always wore odd socks. But in reality, it’s a case of nominative determinism: SOCO, from which Socko is corrupted, stands for “Scenes Of Crime Officer”, which is the UK version of a CSI.
Socko becomes more important in book 2, which leads to him becoming a full POV character in book 3. And of course he has his own spinoff series of novellas and novelettes, which are more police procedural/cosy mysteries.
I love the way this character grew, all on his own. Do you ever feel like pulling away from this world you’ve created or do you feel there’s more there to discover?
The first two books are basically set close to home: Oxford, Faringdon, Swindon, Bristol. Book 2 has a scene in Madrid, which opens us up to some of the politics in this world. Book 3 opens this up even further. But that also poses new questions that somehow demand to be answered: How come “we” have an airship base in Cherbourg (currently part of France) Whatever happened to Scotland, and parts north? There’s clearly trade going on, with ships in and out of Bristol and Liverpool. Where did they come from, and what’s happening there? Also some people seem to have “easy” access to old technology, how come?
So yes, I do feel there’s lot more to explore, and more stories to be told. we’ll probably leave Flick at the end of this trilogy, but there are certainly ways that she and other characters can make an appearance down the line.
Any hankerings to write something totally different – and if so, what?
I’m an avid reader of science fiction, and particularly space opera. But I don’t think I could write it — I don’t have the military / naval background that that kind of story seems to demand. But having had a taste of detective fiction with Socko, maybe something along those lines, but in a contemporary setting … After all, it’s not like there are any detective series set in/around Oxford, is it? (Okay, Morse. Lewis. Endeavour. Midsomer Murders….)
Thanks, Tim, and good luck with the new trilogy.
You can find Tim's Amazon author page, and links to all his books, here.