Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Tom Prentice in his featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
It was something Stephen Hawking had once said about time travel. He said the best proof that time travel is impossible is “the fact that we have not been invaded by hordes of tourists from the future.” He even held a party to welcome any time travellers that wanted to stop by, only advertising the event after the fact.
Unsurprisingly, no time travellers showed up. But why would they? There would be no advantage to exposing themselves. It occurred to me that the right places to look would be disruptive events in history that time travellers might try to meddle with.
I thought that, if time travel were real, anyone planning any historic action would have to watch their back. Business and governments, as a matter of course, might have to regularly take out policies to protect their plans from temporal interference, just like they might take out liability insurance or something else equally banal.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
John is a nobody. A zombie shuffling through a mundane life. But he all-knowingly narrates from some time hence. Things have changed in his life. To find out what, you have to read on.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
The clandestine anti-time-travel brotherhood known as the Bouncers. Trying to figure out the motivations behind the Bouncers is what led the story into being about beliefs.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
This is a time-travel story, first and foremost. Time travel has always been my favorite sci-fi conceit. And I have always been sniffy when a story couldn’t maintain its own logic. I have tried to write one that makes sense. I hope you think I have succeeded.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
I have never had an axe to grind with religion, because it has played no part in my life. However, so many people seem so angry about religion, but also seem to know very little about it.
I thought that if someone were going to be so critical of something, they should at least learn something about it. So that’s what this story became about: the extremist who thinks knowledge is dangerous and has to learn to open his mind; and the religious apathetic who, in the end, gets the perspective he needs by opening up to a variety of religious ideas.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Seek first to understand. Learn about things and people you aren’t fond of. All you can do is grow.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
My brain briefly swelled up big enough to work out the temporal mechanics of the story. That was exciting. It has since shrunk back down to normal size. I hope it still makes sense.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I think I was about eight. It was about a snail that had lost his shell. Like the rest of us, he was just looking for a place to call home. Complete trash.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
For me, most writing happens when I’m not writing. Dublin is a walking city, and without that half-hour stroll into work every morning and a note-taking app on my phone, I doubt I would ever come up with anything.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
My mom published a book when I was about ten years old. I saw how hard she worked and how proud she was to see it in print. And I was proud, too. It didn’t make us rich, so I understood there was more to it than that. Since then, it has always been a dream and, more importantly, seemed vaguely do-able.
What font do you prefer to write in?
I think my Word defaults to Calibri.
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
There are some fantastic author interviews on the Reading and Writing Podcast.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
✓Onomatopoeia – Just look at it.
X Schedule – however I pronounce it, someone always has something to say.