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WHEN THE TRUTH LIES (August 2010; $15), is the debut novel from author Timothy Michael Carson. It is the story of four individuals—Michael, Brandon, Uniyah, and Tyrone— who are in pursuit of love, happiness and success until their lives collide and threaten to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve. As they navigate the seductive streets of Atlanta and roam its sexy hotspots, these four individuals will take their biggest chance on finding something that’s eluded them for far too long—true love. But will what they discover during their quests be a truth that sets them free or a truth that takes no prisoners? Only the Truth knows. But what happens When the Truth Lies?
Timothy Michael Carson is a native of Orlando, Florida, but currently resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Currently attending Georgia State University, he is avidly working to complete his undergraduate degree in journalism, public relations.
Timothy’s ultimate passion is writing. In spring 2009, Timothy self-published his first novel “When the Truth Lies” under his own imprint Ready2Speak Publishing. “When the Truth Lies” received moderate success. It has been the featured novel of several book clubs and was spotlighted on the B.R. Burns Blog Radio Show. “When the Truth Lies” saw sales throughout the United States, South Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
In the summer of 2009, Timothy has contributed R&B album reviews, concert reviews, and artist interviews for the New York Times’ subsidy About.com: R&B Guide. Presently, Timothy is working on his second novel, tentatively titled “Love’s Damage” and his third novel, which is the sequel to WHEN THE TRUTH LIES. When not writing, Timothy can be found giving advice to other up-and-coming first time writers that are trying to get their voices heard.
I spoke with Timothy to find out more about his debut novel. Check it out:
TD: In When the Truth Lies you decided to write about four characters (three males, one female) all searching, or discovering love. Do you think men and women experience love and relationships differently and why?
TMC: This is a difficult question to answer as everyone will indeed have their own opinion. I do believe that there is a difference in the way that men and women approach both love and relationships. Part of this has to do with the changing of times, one’s upbringing, and an individual’s exposure and experience with love and relationships. The old saying is: “Men are physical, and women are emotional.” To a certain extent this is true; today’s women are now being just as “physical” as men and are boasting about their ability to become just as emotionally detached as their male counterparts. Turn on the radio and you can hear the female singers and female rappers attesting to this.
When it comes to men, most of us are taught that being too “soft” would make us a punk, sissy, or even “gay.” This is the attitude that most of us have adapted into our adult lives and it carries over into our love lives. So many men are emotionally disengaged, hostile, and even combative within relationships. Some even see that the more sexual encounters they have, the more respect from society and their peers they’ll receive.
Also, it is said that women have the ability to be more forgiving. If they’ve been cheated on or had their heart broken, they tend to bounce back quicker than a man. Most men have a hard time putting themselves back out there to get emotionally hurt again. We tend to hold onto things a lot longer than our female counterparts. I know I personally fall into this category.
Even with these examples, not all of today’s women or men fit into any of the categories that I described. As with most things, there will always be exceptions to every rule.
TD: Why did you decide to make Atlanta the backdrop to your novel?
TMC: At the time that I started to write this story, I was attending Morehouse College and Atlanta was blowing up as the Motown of the south. This was important for Brandon and Uniyah as both were trying to make it into the music industry.
Another reason I choose Atlanta is because it is a southern city having the typecast that African Americans are “well off” and have the ability to prosper financially. This was perfect for Markus, who is an educated business executive.
Finally, Atlanta is a city known for its prominent black gay community. In my 10 years in Atlanta, I’ve known Atlanta to be the city where married men, respected church officials, executives, etc. escape to so that they could explore their homosexual inclinations before returning home to live their heterosexual lives. With Atlanta’s branding as a black gay Mecca and an attraction for “curious” men, I thought that it was the perfect setting for Tyrone.
TD: Your characters face various adversities throughout your novel. Which character did you find more difficult exploring, and which character was easier for you to tell their story?
TMC: There were actually two characters that were quite difficult for me. The first character was Uniyah. As a man, writing a main character from a female’s perspective was strenuous. When writing for Uniyah I had to ask myself how would a woman react, how would a woman feel, and how would a woman think? I didn’t want any female readers to say, “That’s not how we feel” or “that’s not how a woman would react.”
Tyrone was the other character that was difficult for me to write. I’m not an advocate of closeted, or down low, men. I think that their choices in romance often result in heartache and pain. I will say that I sympathize with them because being torn between two worlds must be cumbersome. With Tyrone, I tried to depict his character as objectively as possible. I’ve received a lot of personal emails from both closeted men and those battling with their sexual identities singing their praises on the way that this character was depicted.
The remaining two characters, Markus and Brandon were the easiest characters to write. Much of their characteristics are taken from my own personality so I was able to draw upon my own personal experiences, embellish them a little, and to create the two.
TD: Are there any similarities or actual real-life experiences you drew from while writing When the Truth Lies?
TMC: This novel is embedded with many real-life experiences. Some were of my own and some were experiences of friends. Examples would be the relationship between Markus and his cousin, Tyrone and the grocery scene, Brandon’s first break-up, and Uniyah’s encounter with the night club owner. Although I did switch things up in the book, these were some of the things that were based on true experiences.
TD: What do you want readers to take away after reading your novel?
TMC: Foremost, I would want readers to take away a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment after reading this book. Next, I would like for the individuals who are keeping any type of secret from their significant other to consider the ramifications and damage that a secret can cause if it is brought to light. Finally, I’d like for society to embrace individuals as a whole regardless of their beliefs or sexual practice. I am a strong believer that most men are in the closet because they fear persecution and judgment from society, the church, and their family.
TD: Can readers expect more works from you, and will there be a follow-up to When the Truth Lies?
TMC: Yes readers can definitely expect to see and read a lot more from me in the near future. I am currently working on a new novel called “Love’s Damage.” It will be published by Strebor Books and is slated for a summer 2011 release. In addition, I will be working on a sequel to “When the Truth Lies.” I’d like to release this novel in 2012. I feel that readers now know the characters and what their driving forces are, so I can address other issues and unanswered questions with a follow up novel. For example, I will expound upon Markus’ relationship with his cousin. In the sequel, I will be experimenting with my style of writing and storytelling. Other projects I’d like to accomplish in the near future would be adapting a screenplay for “When the Truth Lies” and establishing my own publishing imprint, Ready2Speak Books.
Timothy has agreed to give away five (5) copies to the first persons to email me with the answer to the following question:
Under what imprint is his debut novel, “When The Truth Lies,” published?
Please send your answer to the email: email@example.com