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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Indie Spotlight on Carl Ashmore

Hey everyone,

Earlier this year, I read a book on my Kindle App by fellow "Indie Author" Carl Ashmore, a great guy from the UK. The book is called The Time Hunters, and it was awesome! It is a very enjoyable tale, reminiscent of something CS Lewis or JK Rowling would write, about 2 kids staying with their uncle, who just happens to have a time machine. The kids join their uncle, as well as a couple of other famous characters from history/mythology to search for The Golden Fleece and avoid the evil time travellers.

Carl has graciously answered a couple of interview questions at the bottom of this post, but first, check out this excerpt from The Time Hunters (available on the Kindle, and on the Nook!):

Here’s a brief excerpt from ‘The Time Hunters’:

Becky pulled her dressing gown close and followed him to the rear lawns. She watched horrified as Joe turned a left and stopped at a familiar outbuilding. Joining him, she shot him an angry look. ‘You haven’t broken into Uncle Percy’s laboratory, have you? He said it was out of bounds. If you have, I’ll thump your face so hard it swells like a - ’

‘Quiet,’ Joe barked. ‘Listen…’ He pressed a finger to his lips.

For once, Becky did as he said. The rain was fading now but even through the moaning wind she could hear muffled voices. She grew intrigued.

‘Look round the corner,’ Joe whispered, pointing to the edge of the wall.

Becky hesitated and then slowly peered round.

‘Can you see? Are they still there?’

Becky didn’t respond. Mesmerised by the astonishing sight before her, she didn’t hear his words.

Will was crouched on the waterlogged grass, beside him, a large sandy-coloured animal in a heavy sleep, its chest moving up and down in a slow, consistent rhythm. Uncle Percy stood over them, soaked and exhausted. He held a pair of pliers jubilantly in his hand. The pliers contained a fat, yellowing tooth.

‘Good girl,’ Will breathed, softly patting the creature’s back.

‘Milly should be out for about half an hour,’ Uncle Percy said. ‘What do you say to a nice cup of tea, William? I believe we’ve earned it.’

Will laid the animal’s head lightly on the grass. ‘I deem we have.’

Becky’s head spun like a top. She felt confused and bewildered. Not to see Uncle Percy up at this time of night - she half-expected this would be when he did his inventing. No, looking at the sleeping animal, she knew it shouldn’t be alive at all. She’d seen one before at the Natural History Museum in London. But that was only a life-like reconstruction and not the genuine article.

A Sabre-tooth tiger lay sedated on the lawn of Bowen Hall. A very large, very real Sabre-tooth tiger.

Here, Carl answers a few questions:

What or who inspired you to write ‘The Time Hunters’?

The idea was the inspiration. In 2005, I had an idea about a teenage girl who discovers her uncle is a time traveller and becomes embroiled in a murder mystery and search through time for the Golden Fleece.

The more I considered the possibilities of fusing legend with history, myth with reality, the more it excited me. I reached a point the story had to exist outside my head and so began to write.

However, two years ago, my dad died suddenly and eleven months later my beautiful daughter, Alice, was born. These events sharpened my focus– initially as a way of dealing with grief (‘The Time Hunters’ contains a strong surrogate parent/child relationship) and as a story for Alice to enjoy in the future.

Why did you choose to write for children?

I would never want to write anything else. Writing for children allows me to explore the most fundamental themes - courage, honour, decency, identity, whilst also stretching my imagination to its limits.

In ‘The Time Hunters’ I visit Ancient Greece, Victorian England, Ice Age Kansas and Jurassic London; my characters include Will Scarlet, Jason and the Argonauts, a vegetarian Minotaur and a Megalosaurus called Harold.

Writing for adults could never offer such opportunity for fun. Besides, I’m a big kid so technically I write for an adult audience too.

What are your future writing ambitions?

I have currently writing the ‘Time Hunters’ sequel called ‘The Time Hunters and the Box of Eternity.’ This time the story takes my characters to the eighteenth century Caribbean, so there’ll be plenty of pirates, foaming grog, enormous sea serpents, zombie sharks and Pandora’s Box in the form of Blackbeard’s Treasure Chest!

Carl can be reached directly at


Al said...

This blog has gone so much downhill recently, there's barely any of the original style of posts. Shame.

Mister Teacher said...

Al, I'm sorry you feel that way. Could you expound on this?

Al said...

I just prefer the posts that are about the kids you teach rather than posts like this one, or the guest posts you quite often have. When I first started reading, the latter were the rare posts but in the last few months it seems to be the other way round.

Still, can't please everyone can you? :)

Mister Teacher said...

Al, I appreciate your candor. I know that I didn't use to promote other books. However, I DID start this blog in the first place to promote my own book, and then I just kind of fell into actively blogging about my kids. So while I will still continue to blog about my kids, I've decided to also occasionally showcase other independent books.

I'll also admit that ever since I started the Learn Me Good page on Facebook, I've put more of the "kid-interaction" stuff on there. Every day I try to put something funny that a kid said or did, or that I did, etc. They're short and sweet, way too small for a blog post. So if you're on Facebook, I invite you to "like" Learn Me Good!

Again, thanks for your feedback.

Al said...

I think I must have found you when you were blogging about your kids more which may be why my expectations were more towards those sorts of posts.

I am on Facebook and I will do as you suggest. I'll still visit the blog too!