Chris: Is that a Time Spinner Mark IV?
Johnny: Yeah, I got it on eBay. Used.
C: I heard those were unreliable. Flakey.
J: Nonsense, I'll show you. Here I'll turn it on.
J: What’s your book called?
|Time Spinner Mark IV|
J: What’s it about?
C: This is a science fiction-based time travel story with primarily teen characters, so it falls under YA time travel. I find that adults are enjoying it too, though.
C: Mystery is my favorite genre to read. I love mysteries, suspense, and thrillers based on solving a crime.
C: So far no visitors have identified themselves as time travelers, but I’m on the lookout for someone to tell me they’re from the future. I’ll definitely listen to any advice they share, especially about lottery numbers.
C: Parker Hayden Media is my publisher. They believed in me from the beginning and have published all three of my books to date. I couldn’t be happier with my publishing team.
J: Who’s publishing your book?
C: I was trying to write a mystery, but it wasn’t going well. I have a lot of fun reading mysteries, but was having absolutely no fun writing one, so I set it aside to write something fun. The most fun thing I could think of was a YA time travel.
C: My son’s former college roommate, Rashed AlAkroka, is an incredible artist. I’ve been in awe of his work for years. He told me that he’d love to create cover art for me if I was ever interested. I feel incredibly fortunate that he offered, and am ridiculously happy with the result.
J: How’d you get your cover?
C: The editing process was surprisingly easy and relatively painless. My editor is very skilled, smart, and detail-oriented, and she did a great job of looking at the big picture, checking continuity, pointing out confusing areas, and asking me the right questions. After her initial pass, I made changes to the manuscript, incorporating her suggestions and corrections, as well as feedback from my critique group and beta readers. Then my editor did a final proofread. I don’t think it could have gone much more smoothly.
C: I have book two in the works, with plans to wrap up the character and plot arcs in book three. After that, I will likely write another set of three books in this series. I’m already brainstorming clues to integrate now for future storylines. Today the planning is going well, but if you ask me next week I might have a different answer—a writer is likely to hit snags in any story, but writing time travel can be particularly sticky and frequently makes my brain hurt!
C: “In Real Time” is actually an important concept in the books. Being “in real time” refers to being in your natural timeline—the one you were born in. When you are in your real time, you are subject to any changes in the timeline. But when you time travel, you are out of your real time and are unaffected by changes to the timeline—you remember the timeline you lived through, even if it gets changed. Yes, I know it’s confusing!
J: When I saw “In Real Time” as the series name, I thought of some kind of gimmick, like a choose your own adventure. Is there more to it than a cool name?
C: I’ve always liked making up stories. I don’t recall when I first started writing them down, but there’s evidence dating back to when I was about ten years old. It’s funny but, as much as I enjoyed writing, I never considered writing for a living. I didn’t come around to that idea until after I’d tried a few other career paths and didn’t feel satisfied creatively. My first novel began in 1990 while I was still working in an advertising agency in Los Angeles. The idea came to me as a “what if” concept: what if when you dream you meet up with the “souls” or consciousnesses of other people who are dreaming. That concept grew into my practice novel, “The Spider Prophet.” I worked on that story for many years, writing and rewriting, learning and starting over. I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day, but it served me well as I learned my craft. The next novel I wrote was Seeds, which was published in 2015.
J: I’m always interested in how people get started, their first book, their break-in moment. What’s yours?
C: There are so many things I like about writers' conferences! I like being in an environment where the focus is writing. I like learning and sharing with other writers. I like the feeling of community. And I find such joy and energy when I teach about writing. Attending a writer’s conference fuels me.
J: We met at a writers conference. What do you like about them?
C: I’ve never lived in San Francisco, but it’s one of my favorite cities. I attended the University of California at Berkeley, and during one summer I took BART under the Bay to “The City” (i.e. San Francisco) for a summer job. I love the architecture, the people, and energy of San Francisco, and I hope that I captured some of that in Quake. (Phew, dodged that hundred thousand dollar bullet!)
J: Where can my peeps find out more about you?
C: Quake was released May 29, 2018. The next installment in the series will be out before the end of the year.
J: I think you're right. Time's all messed up. What did you say this was?