“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

Travis Stecher Author Interview

Dilation: A 10,000-Year Sci-Fi Epic follows two people from the 21st-century who go forward in time to help stop the extermination of mankind by aliens. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

In late 2015, when the LIGO center recorded evidence of gravitational waves, I became obsessed with the mechanics of time dilation. It was well-documented science that seemed impossibly farfetched, and I spent a lot of time doing calculations that informed questions along the lines of, “what’s to stop this from happening, then?” I got super into Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, several months later I decided to binge-watch it while extremely intoxicated. My mind kept drifting to this notion that it’s entirely possible for people from different times to all meet at the same point in the future, and at one juncture my brain added, “like to stop an alien invasion!” and the flood gates opened.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?

A little of column A and a little of column B. It took me two years to start writing, so I did a lot of character prep during that time. Even secondary characters whose backstories aren’t included have, birth years, careers, ship names, accolades, and more. It helped solidify who each character was in my mind, guiding their actions and responses. At the same time, a lot of the story was written organically, which led to some characters becoming much more than intended, and others having their personalities shifted. For the most part, though, those organic changes were still guided by their existing outlines.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you stayed true to the hard science fiction genre standards?

To be honest, I still feel like I dropped the ball with this. It was almost entirely online, and I grew up in the era where every paper you wrote in school had to be cited with only physical book sources. My life was in constant chaos for a lot of the planning and the rest was during the pandemic, so I intend to lean heavily on physical sources for future books, though none will likely be as hard as Dilation. It is important to me that I get my information correct, which is a philosophy I take from Twain. “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” I researched everything from the breeds of trees in Chattahoochee to quantum entanglement, developing box jellyfish antivenom to language death. I didn’t have any time to travel, so I creeped on every real towns via Google Maps street view. The Arvonia facility is a real test facility, the summer course at Duke is a real biology course…I even charted out travel times between planets for the third act, basing the entire course of events on it. That particular effort was moot, though, and it bothers me to this day that—to the best of our knowledge—the planets’ locations are off.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Like most debut authors, I’ve been primarily job hunting since Dilation‘s release, so I’m only now getting ready to write again. I have a few books ready to go, but I’m fairly sure the next one will be a dark, dystopian, sci-fi that takes place at the end of the universe—after the stars have all died out. It’ll have a hard conceptual foundation, but ultimately be less scientific, simpler in structure, shorter, and with far fewer characters, so I’m still hoping to get it done this year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The human race is doomed for extermination…
But not for another ten thousand years. When the first aliens to visit Earth meet an untimely demise, humanity finds itself marked for eradication by the technologically-advanced beings. In an effort to aid our future defense, Earth’s greatest warriors are groomed throughout the millennia and sent into space at relativistic speeds, exploiting the principles of time dilation to reconvene together for the pending invasion.
Combining elements of hard science fiction with action and suspense, Dilation is a smart, gripping sci-fi thriller that tells its unique story from both ends of the timeline. When biology professor Denise Walker has her expertise cryptically requested by the U.S. Department of Defense, her career takes a drastic shift towards the unraveling of extraterrestrial secrets. In the 126th century, renowned fighter pilot Nadia Raynor arrives only to discover her skills have been rendered useless by fleets of automated crafts. Searching for her place in the era’s military, she crosses paths with historic figures like Isaac Fowler: the DIA agent notorious for causing the impending genocide.

See the events unfold across the ages for all three characters as humankind struggles to survive long enough to face its potential annihilation. From first contact to invasion, Dilation’s captivating saga will keep you turning pages until the very last!

Warning: contains strong language and depictions of gore.

Posted on June 8, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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