Clay Waters, an ON TIME Author Interview


Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Clay Waters in his featured interview.


What inspired your story?

The title! The genesis was seeing the algebra term “Solve for X” and thinking it would be a neat title for a murder mystery novel, perhaps set on a campus. Obviously things evolved, including that title (“Z” is more final sounding than “X,” suiting the end-game feel of the story). The plot itself came from my general fascination with the idea of time travel, and the idea of these bored, decadent, transhuman time travelers hopping around to keep themselves entertained.

Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist? 

The two “heroes” have become jaded and callous over time, like an old married couple stuck with each other.

What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?

I like the idea that my two “heroes,” Oxblood and Sinopia, have existed so long along the variable time continuum that they can no longer remember what they were before.

What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?

Science fiction with horrific elements

How have your personal experiences influenced this story?

I certainly hope not.

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

Try not to get cynical with age.

What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?

The ending was a pleasant twist for me.  No spoilers, but my first take was considerably bleaker.


When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about? 

The first completed story (I had wasted a lot of yellow legal paper on opening paragraphs before I learned you needed to plan things out) that I remember: I was seven, and it was a detective story called “The Hangar” (don’t ask, I don’t remember either!). I do remember my killer opener: “I, Donny Rich Hales, from Charleston, South Carolina…”

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.)

Not only not being interrupted, but the assurance that I  likely won’t be interrupted. I can work in silence or in a cacophonous coffee shop, where all the voices run together—but if there’s a chat I can hear at the next table, I get distracted.

What has influenced you most as a writer?

Short story science fiction collections, particularly a couple of very short fiction, less than a thousand words. Something short and sharp that takes one’s breath away is my ideal.

What font do you prefer to write in?

Times New Roman, 12 point

What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?

One of my favorites is “redolent,” because I like how it feels in my mouth and somehow the word sounds like what it means. 

Least favorite? Diffident, because I missed it on the PSAT and still have to look it up in the dictionary. Something about it confuses me. It sounds to me like it should mean “petulant,” but it’s actually more like “modest, shy.”


Clay’s website is, featuring his self-published cozy mystery novel Death in the Eye and links to some of his other published short stories, poems, and reviews. He lives in central Florida, not too far from the amusement parks.

ON TIME is coming in September 30, 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.


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