Monday, February 7, 2022

S10 Swimmer Ollie Carter releases debut novel

S10 Scottish Swimmer Ollie Carter loves being busy. Besides swimming he does Muay Thai, and personal training - all alongside his university course. But when Lockdown hit in 2020, he had to find a way to keep positive, active and fulfilled.

When the world was in such a dark place, Ollie took the opportunity to bring the fantasy world he had created to life. He had always loved imagining stories, but the pandemic opened up the chance for Ollie to put his full energy into a writing project.

‘Mythos & World of Terra Tearia’ was released at the end of January by Olympia Publishers and is Ollie Carter’s debut novel. It is a story which takes place in the world of Terra Tearia - an idyllic fantasy-scape where beautiful nature meets all powerful gods.

The novel begins with the creation of Terra Tearia by Zatos Zendar, who has control over all the universe. Zatos Zendar then creates beings called Celestials, who are purposed to look after the new world of Terra Tearia. The story takes the reader through a journey of moral and physical conflict between good, evil and everything in-between.

Speaking of the journey to writing his debut novel, Ollie told us:

“I’ve always loved fantasy and fairy tales, reading about them, and getting lost in that make-believe world. As I got older, I thought, ‘yeah I can do this’, and I started to write short stories. Coming to University helped too, taking optional modules like Philosophy.

“Every movie I watched, or book I read, I started to over-analyse and try and work out what the meaning was. What were the morals, what was the character development? And I loved that because it made it so much more impactful to me.

“My initial goal definitely wasn’t to be publishing a book, I just started by writing down the ideas that had been plaguing my mind for a while and created my own world. Initially writing the book was to help keep me sane, but I ended up going a bit insane!”

A love of fantasy, as well as deep interest in Philosophy gave way to Ollie’s debut, which encompasses both these aspects perfectly.

He was heavily influenced by the works of J.R.R Tolkien, as well as other fantasy worlds such as Game of Thrones. This, alongside the moral learnings from his Philosophy module at the University of Stirling combine to create a unique and thrilling experience. Each character within the story is a representation of a moral.

“I wanted to get the very concept of each moral, for example kindness. I was asking my friends what does kindness mean to you? Then I just amalgamated them all and infused that into one God-like creature, and that would be my definition of what kindness is. They are the walking concept of kindness.

“Of course, kindness doesn’t exist in a vacuum, happiness doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so it was great fun to try and put them all together and then explore the result of what happens. Then you can introduce more negative concepts, like jealousy and greed, which are inevitable, and see the impact they have on the living creatures.”

Despite the reality of being a published author not yet sinking in, Ollie has several pieces of work already in the pipeline, with many more ideas taking shape. These include Bo the Barn Owl – an Owl who wants to be a hero, and an ‘accidentally dark’ trilogy with an all-powerful elf, which is tinged with Star Wars influence.

He even has a character planned who represents himself:

“I’ve got so many ideas! Whenever I have a spare moment, I scribble down on a bit of A4 a plotline about a character I want to make something happen to, or I want to explore a message like loving your family and how that can be difficult at times.

“I have my own little character in my world that is meant to be me. He’s not in this book, but the plan is that when I write many more stories, whether published or not, I just wanted to have a character who’s in full control of the world, and he just has little cameos every now and again.”

Whilst the process of writing a novel was time consuming and challenging, it was one that Ollie loved, and believes has helped him in his competitive swimming journey:

“I wanted to come out of lockdown, more productively than I went in. I was having serious withdrawals from not being able to swim. Writing is a great escape.

“It’s helped in so many ways. It’s something else going on in my life outside of swimming. Swimmers are bad for having just one focus, because of the nature of our sport. In the past, when swimming hadn’t gone well it affected everything and I started to feel bad until swimming picked up. But when you introduce other things, you have more going on with your identity, and are less dependent on results.”

“My advice to anyone who has an idea or a passion for storytelling is to start by simply writing it down. It’s a great way of communicating with your past self, and a great way to reflect on your past ideas. Not everything you write has to turn into anything, but it can be the start of something like a book. Without writing these ideas down nothing would have happened.”

The last few months have been incredibly positive for Ollie, with a spectacular showing at BUCS, alongside teammate Toni Shaw, with both swimmers picking up Para Performance Champion trophies. Ollie also broke a Scottish record in the S10 50m Freestyle at the British Para Winter Short Course meet in December.

He was also included in the British Swimming ‘Podium Potential’ group in January – a recognition of swimmers who have the potential to medal at international swimming events. It is a sign of the dedication Ollie has put into swimming over numerous years.

Now, the Stirling swimmer has his eyes set on another successful year, with the tantalising prospect of a Commonwealth Games in the offing.

“For as long as I can remember being a Podium Potential British Swimming swimmer has always been the aim. Getting on to the squad was a dream come true for me - getting the kit and working with the staff meant so much.

“In a few weeks’ time I’m going to Aberdeen for the World Para-Series, which is the World Championship trials, and my last great opportunity to post a good time for the Commonwealth Games. That’s my main focus at the moment.

“It’s a big year for me and it’s really coming to a head in the next few weeks. This is the end of my current training cycle, so it will be a time for re-evaluation of my performance and position within rankings. I’ve also got my dissertation to write!”


To read 'Mythos and World of Terra Tearia' and support Ollie, you can check out his debut novel on Amazon, Waterstones or Olympia Publishers.