Saturday, December 8, 2012

James Paddock: The IAN Interview




James Paddock, Indie Author and avid reader, was born and raised in the Big Sky Country of Montana. The forty-plus years following high school included a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Idaho, service with the U.S. Navy, owner/operator of a small business in South Carolina, a career as a Graphic Designer and a marriage that produced 3 fine children, who then have provided bragging rights for many very fine grandchildren.

James is a daydreamer and apparently, from what he has been told, was that way as a lad, running around the streets of Great Falls, Montana, making up stories for his cousins. It wasn’t until 1993 that James began writing them down as short stories, graduating to novels at the turn of the century. Since then he has produced 7 full-length novels and a novelette. He is now living in Sahuarita, Arizona with his wife, Penny, enjoying the sun and working on his next novel, a Southern Arizona mystery.




IAN. Please tell us about your latest book:
JP. Time Will Tell

Annie seldom thought about her age, certainly never talked about that summer in 1943 when her mother birthed her, about the fact that her mother died that same year, or that it might have been in 1987–there was no way of knowing for sure–or about the fact that after 64 years she had yet to observe her 20th birthday. Already an Iraq War widow, Annie Caschetta must escape the oppressiveness surrounding her and all the memories of her husband of only one year. With the semester over at MIT and the dreaded summer looming upon her, she chooses to escape to a cabin on the edge of Glacier National Park where she can sort through her thoughts and memories alone. However, it is her final, regrettable words during her last few moments with her husband that follow her and continue to haunt her. It is those words which she knows must be fixed, must be unsaid, if she is ever to have a real life again. If only she had a wormhole.

IAN. How long did it take to write Time Will Tell?
JP. Much too long, for sure. Many changes were going on in my life during the two years that Time Will Tell was taking shape. And then, as most all authors will tell you, the rewrites began, followed by the first trusted reader, then the second rewrite, finishing up with a series of line-by-line editing. All told roughly 2-1/2 years to get it market-ready.

IAN. What inspired you to write the Time Will Tell?
JP. Time Will Tell’s predecessor, Before Anne After, (the pair form a time-travel duo) left a huge opening for a sequel. Before Anne After, an almost epic length historic time-travel novel, ended with a character loaded with questions: How, when, and where was she born; how, when, and where did her mother die; how does a wormhole work? It would be well over a decade before these questions would begin to surface and nearly to the end of the second decade before the true importance to all these questions sends her on a journey of recovery from her husband’s death, and so Time Will Tell begins.

IAN. Talk about the writing process.
JP. I am strictly a morning person when it comes to mental creativity. Before retiring from the pesky day job, I would spend approximately one hour each morning on my writing craft (writing, editing, researching, daydreaming) before going to work. Weekends would range from two to five hours each day. Of course I need to knock out vacations, mowing the lawn (pre-Arizona), the honey-do list, napping, colds & flu, just generally being lazy… well, you get the picture.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
JP. I always wing the first draft, that is to say, I’m a pantser. For those who are scratching their heads, pantser refers to writing by the seat of your pants. There is no beginning outline or character profile. I build those as I go, letting the characters tell me who they are. The only character I create is the first one. He, or she, introduces me to the next few and then the story goes organic, heading off in directions I never anticipated with characters I never saw coming. It’s kind of like life, or at least mine.

IAN. How is Time Will Tell different from others in your genre?
JP. Always a tough question. My stories are unique because they come from my head, no one else’s, or as you might surmise from the previous question, from my characters’ heads. I imagine that could be psycho-babbled into originating in my head. I feel I handled time-travel in a very real way, that is to say I make it believable, not Star-Trek believable or Back to the Future unbelievable, but everyday physics as we know it believable. It’s like reading about our own lives with extra-ordinary circumstances and a number of unexpected surprises. I love to surprise the reader.

IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
JP. Time Will Tell and its predecessor, Before Anne After, are available on my publisher’s website, desertbookshelf.com, in both formats, that is trade paperback and e-book.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Time Will Tell?
JP. I want my readers to feel pleased that they took the time from their lives to experience the story, to cry and laugh, to slide to the edge of their seats and say OMG out loud, and at the end to sit back and say, WOW!

IAN. Where can we go to buy Time Will Tell?
JP. For those with Kindles and Kindle apps on their devices visit Amazon and search for me by name or title. For those who still hold on to the need for that paper tactile feel, my trade paperbacks can be ordered at desertbookshelf.com, personalized and autographed by me.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
JP. Although I played with the idea to do a follow-up to Time Will Tell, or to add a fourth to my sabre-toothed cat trilogy, I decided I wanted to do something local to Southern Arizona and in a genre I have never experienced but with which I have always wanted to try my hand. I am, thus, working on a Tucson, Arizona mystery. Authors don’t usually like to share much of their work in progress, so here is my very brief description.

An ex-police officer, private investigator, with relationship issues, a son he hasn’t talked to in years, a daughter in college, and an ex-wife across town, finds himself on the FBI’s most wanted list for a series of murders. Tucson’s serial killer is wreaking havoc upon his life and he and his girlfriend are on the run.

Q. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
A. Please feel free to look me up, or follow me, on:



                
                


Time Will Tell by James Paddock
540 pages
Time-travel, suspense
Desert Bookshelf Publishing



Note: Annie is in the middle of an unexpected meeting with her grandfather and his team…

 “I figured out that there was something seriously amiss when I was thirteen,” Annie said. “It was on my fourteenth birthday when I got into my father’s face about it and, shortly thereafter, learned all the gory details.”

Professor Grae smiled. “You were a child when you started playing Sherlock Holmes. It was decided by your father, your grandfather and your godparents to enlighten you with all the ‘gory details’ as you like to call them, but leave out who the team members were, at least the ones who you would probably be coming into contact with in your academic career. They are Thomas Bradshaw and myself, as well as two others who are not important here and thus of whom I am not at liberty to divulge.”

Annie’s head bobbed with the rocking of her chair, her mind racing through the faces of every professor she knew on the MIT campus.

“It was my life and my mother’s life, so I think I have a right to know. Other than that, you’re still not telling me anything I don’t already know, like why Charles,” the dweeb, she wanted to add, “who was three years old at the time, is here now, why this group is being formed, and what you are planning on doing.”

Professor Grae nodded. “Reasonable questions. I was approached by Professor Bradshaw and Dr. Hair, your grandfather,” he pointed, “about two years ago.”
“I know who my grandfather is.”
“Yes, of course. They asked if I’d join them in forming an exploratory committee to investigate whether enough new knowledge had been developed to restart the program. Two months ago Charles, while in the process of doing his own time travel research and coming up with information and conclusions very similar to your father’s and grandfather’s many years past, found us out. Although he made no indication of revealing his discovery we decided it would be prudent to bring him in. His knowledge and young mind would be valuable. Besides, three people are not enough. To be fully operational, and safe, it’ll take five.”

“So this group has been formed to raise, like a phoenix from my mother’s ashes and the ashes of my father’s failed effort, the time-travel experiments.”
“Your father didn’t fail, Annie,” her grandfather said.

“My mother, your daughter, died. That sounds like a failure to me.”
Dr. Hair closed his eyes.

“There were mistakes made,” Grae said, “but what we learned was as valuable as the discovery of electricity. It was an accident that your mother fell into the wormhole, but it happened and we did bring you, and then her back. The circumstances of her death had nothing to do with time-travel.”

“If she hadn’t traveled back in time 44 years, she would not have died. Then why was it all shut down?”

“First of all, Annie,” her grandfather said, “the program was funded and controlled by the board members of Broad Horizons. Their charter required dismantling as soon as you and your mother returned. It was an emotional trauma, not only for your father and me, but for everyone involved. We were not cold-hearted scientists. The shutdown was a unanimous decision.”

Professor Bradshaw spoke for the first time. “It wasn’t entirely sent into the scrap yard, Annie; at least not in the permanent sense. We sort of expected that we would pull it out again someday, we just didn’t realize this much time would go by.”

“Maybe we’ve been waiting for you,” said Grae.

Annie looked back and forth between the four pairs of eyes and then settled her gaze upon her grandfather. “Why? My mother wasn’t initially involved in the experiment. It was kept a secret from her even long after she accidentally stepped into it. It sent her into labor with me. Can you imagine suddenly finding yourself in a time 44 years in the past with a newborn child to take care of? I’m sure she thought she had gone insane.”

“We sent her a letter that same night,” Grae said, “but as you know, it fell into the wrong hands.”

“Yeah, I know all about the German spy who turned out to be my great-grandfather. I thought I knew everything and now I discover there were other players I wasn’t told about.” She looked down at her shoes. “That’s neither here or there, I guess. The real question is, why do you think I have anything to contribute, and,” she looked up at Professor Grae, “what did you mean by what if I could talk to Tony one more time? Am I hearing what I’m thinking I’m hearing?”

There was nothing but silence from the men. She shook her head. “No! The entire idea is crazy. You were right to shut the thing down because I think you were playing with fire... with God’s fire. You were lucky that the only bad thing that happened was my mother’s death. If you think that I’m going to jump at the chance to go back in time so that I can talk to Tony again, you all are crazy. It may not look like it but I am trying to get over him. I don’t want to drag that out any longer and seeing him again, especially when I know he will die, would probably be more than I could bare.” She stood and shook her head. “No. No not only for me, but I think it should be no for all of you. Destroy this thing and put it away for good.” With those words she strode out of the room and out of the house.

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