Once Upon a Time Slip follows young China Winter as she discovers her ability to cross worlds and finds herself summoned by the father of time travel to save humanity. What was the inspiration behind the setup to this thrilling novel?
I am absolutely fascinated by the paranormal, history and the whole steampunk movement. As an artist, a lot of my paintings and sculptures are heavily influenced by these three genres and my interest in art eventually began to seep into my writing. I have a love of antiques and learning as much as I can about past inventors. I also read a lot of scientific journals and have a huge interest in the whole concept of parallel universes, time travel and time slips. My biggest inspiration behind the book was the great Nikola Tesla. Other influences have been the volumes of history books and war stories I have devoured over the years. I wanted contrast in the story and so my main character is a futuristic, steampunk girl. I liked the idea of having a protagonist who would be willing to sacrifice themselves in order to save the whole of humanity if it was necessary.
China Winter is an intriguing character that continues to develop throughout the novel. What were some obstacles you felt were important, to highlight her character development?
The biggest obstacle for China was having to choose sides in war which seemed to have no boundaries. Her loyalties were being tested throughout the story. Being faced with life altering decisions which would have led to suffering and loss, was the ultimate challenge for such a young girl. Falling in love with a dead man led to a fork in her path of destiny.
The story takes place in a steampunk future where wild inventions abound. What were you favorite inventions or tech to create and write for?
Without giving too much away, I loved creating new time travel devices throughout the story. I felt that it was necessary to have more than one mode of time travel transportation in order to give the full impact of how extremely advanced technology is yet to become within the future.
I especially loved writing scenes where ghosts from the past would react to futuristic technology and end up coming to all manner of baffling and humorous conclusions about what they were witnessing
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on the sequel to Once Upon A Time Slip which will become available in 2019. I cannot leave the readers breathless and tingling with anticipation as they stand at the edge of a mighty cliff hanger!
It is the year 2258 when nineteen year old China Winter discovers her ability to cross the veil between worlds. On a quest to find her missing brother Maddox, she finds herself summoned by the father of time travel – Nikola Tesla to help save the whole of humanity; both past and future souls. China must sacrifice so much as she is dragged ever deeper into a treacherous and eternal time war.
Stepping back in time from her steampunk-esque existence, China finds herself caught up in the most incredible battles. Every army that ever existed can materialise in the wrong time or place, at any given moment to lay siege upon the earth. Slipping back and forth between the mists of time, history re-writes itself, playing havoc on the very fabric of reality. Can she survive the world of hauntings, poltergeist manifestations and time slips to save the universe from complete obliteration?
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A Transformed Man details an astonishingly prolific man with unbridled passion as an actor, writer and director with a zeal for mystical life. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I have always been interested in personal transformation and how a person’s beliefs influence their actions. After working with Shatner, I realized what an amazingly energetic and prolific man he was. As his career progress, he was always very open and public with his beliefs and feelings. For me, he was the perfect research subject the perfect example of a transformed man.
This biography is very detailed. What kind of research did you do to ensure accuracy of the subject?
I interviewed people who knew him personally, including the cast and crew of Star Trek, and researched hundreds of public sources and media. Then, I organized everything chronologically, and published a thousand annotated credits of his acting career in a book in the Greenwood Press Performing Arts series called William Shatner: A Bio-Bibliography. That made it much easier to compose an in-depth biography of him that was concise and accurate.
What is one thing that surprises you the most about William Shatner?
His passion for life. He is totally engaged in everything he does. People have no idea how perceptive and sensitive he is. He is also an athletic guy, who stays very active even at the age of 87.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am working on a biography of the Elizabethan alchemist Dr. John Dee that focuses on his mathematical and scientific contributions.
This biography of William Shatner adds some surprises beyond the all the stories of his eccentric behavior. It reveals what really makes the man tick. The author has done his footwork, talking to all the cast and crew and sifting through sixty years of archives, and he has come up with many amazing insights, including the shocking source of the Star Trek franchise. This is a moving portrait of a fascinating man, an in-depth and often unsettling biography of a modern icon. This is a book for people who don’t give a damn about Star Trek.
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Entrancement is a collection of essays from educated professionals with different viewpoints on the topics of dreaming, trancing and the collective unconscious. What inspired you to write this book and bring all these different fields together?
Two things I suppose.
First of all, my own extended experiences over several years of a kind of heightened consciousness in dreaming, ‘musicking’ and of, somehow, communicating with others both near and far away outside time and space. This is described in the first chapter (my own) of the book: ‘There’ (an essay which earned an award from New Millennium writing).
Second I was further inspired by following this up in wider reading and discovering that not only in anthropology (my own discipline) are such things starting to be seriously studied as something of here and now, not just of supposedly strange folk far away or long ago, but also in innovative, if as yet unconventional, scientific thinking. Remarkable. There are now huge numbers of best-selling books by hard-nosed scientists inspired by Einsteinian thinking and, for example, quark theory on, for example, telepathy, dreaming, the consciousness of the universe, life after death and communication – long known and accepted – between dead and living.
The book begins with your own experience on trancing. What is ‘trancing’ and how did that experience happen?
Too long to answer properly here – read the account in the first chapter.
‘Trancing’ is a good concept and nearest to what I and others have experienced. It does however give a somewhat too explicit and, as it were, contrived and deliberate impression. Better to say the experience of somehow being outside time and space and seeing more clearly than in ordinary life’ (though it is there too, hidden).
One major problem indeed (discussed in the concluding chapter) is the absence of an accepted terminology to describe such things.
You bring together experts from many different fields in this book. Were they as enthusiastic about this book as you are?
YES. Both in taking up my initial invitation, in responding to it in their own terms, in the writing and, now, in receiving the finished volume.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Look for the hidden in your own everyday life, find the extraordinary in the ordinary and vice versa: in music, in dreaming, in the miraculous workings of the great world around us. Open your mind – so easily closed by the undoubted but limited insights of the scientific revolution – to what is beyond.
This powerful, ground-breaking study of dreaming, death, music, and shared consciousness brings together a staggering number of fields to explore what we know about dreaming and its interactions with other forms of consciousness. Setting a humanistic, evidence-based context, Ruth Finnegan engages with anthropology, ethnomusicology, sociology, psychology, parapsychology, cognitive science, and more, building a strikingly diverse base of evidence and analysis with which to treat a subject that is all too often taken lightly. Entrancement will quickly prove indispensable for anyone studying these altered states of consciousness and what we can know about how they work and what they do for our minds, bodies, and selves.
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In Beyond Cloud Nine Ace fighter pilot Brooke Davis stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The plot of BC9 was born of two initial premises.
First, as a kid, I loved anything with fighter planes, especially fighter planes in space. Many shows and movies featured the brash young male fighter pilot of which we’re all familiar, but few works of fiction starred a female lead pilot. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced a female lead would give a story a different feel, and it hadn’t been done nearly as often, so I rolled with it.
Second, we’re all familiar with the standard alien invasion story. Powerful aliens hover their gigantic motherships over our big cities. The human military is powerless against them, can’t punch through their shields, etc. Just when all hope seems lost, we humans find the one glaring weakness that will defeat these intelligent yet negligent invaders and hallelujah! The world is saved and everyone bands together in harmony. Can I get an eye-roll, please? With that in mind, I thought to myself, “How can I turn that premise upside down and leverage it to my advantage?” I thus had the antagonists in BC9 use a seemingly cliché alien invasion in a very non-cliché way to push their agenda.
I felt that the technology and science in Beyond Cloud Nine were delivered in such a way that anyone could understand it. Was this by design?
Absolutely. I seek to make my writing accessible to as wide of an audience as possible. I try to take after Arthur C. Clarke, who was a master of taking complex scientific concepts and simplifying them into an easy, breezy read.
The editor of BC9 deserves a lot of credit for teaching me the difference between telling, showing, and experiencing. We’ve all heard that an author should show rather than tell–most of the time; there are instances where telling makes sense. Don’t just write that something happened (telling). Write descriptive language that demonstrates it happening (showing). However, there’s another level beyond showing that better speaks to readers. Don’t just show something happening. Show how it affects the character, physically, mentally, and emotionally (experiencing). Rather than bogging readers down with the technical details of how something works (a pitfall some hard science fiction authors fall into), I try to place my focus on how technology and events affect people.
Brooke Davis is an interesting and well developed female character. What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?
With Brooke, I definitely indulged my inner pessimist. I took everything that annoys me and magnified it tenfold. Also, as discussed earlier, I tried to create a lead that contrasted with the typical suave fighter jock. Brooke is anti-social. You won’t find her in bars tossing back shots.
The guilt of believing she killed her father taints her perception of everything.
A main story arc that’s every bit as important as whether the antagonists are defeated is her journey to work through that guilt and grow.
I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Where does Brooke Davis’s character go in the second novel?
The sequel, Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2), was published in May 2016. It stars Brooke’s niece, Maya, as the girl embarks upon humankind’s first interstellar mission. Brooke plays a critical supporting role even though she remains in the Sol system. “Demoted” to a civilian flight instructor because of her actions at the end of BC9, Brooke seeks to earn her way back into a cockpit. When she learns of the tragedy awaiting the interstellar mission, she takes a series of bold actions to try to get out to Gliese 581 to save her niece and the mission.
While we’re on the subject of sequels, I just sent Beyond Yesterday (Beyond Saga Book 3) off to the editor. The third installment in the tetralogy should be available in the summer of 2017.
Ace star fighter pilot Brooke Davis lives for pushing hundreds of gees in orbital combat, but she’d give it all up in a moment to become the first human to fly faster than light. When Brooke stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government, she finds their goals seductive but their methods abhorrent. With the moral core of human civilization hanging in the balance, she must risk her shot at history, her family, and her life to prevent the schemers from forcing their nefarious brand of salvation upon the solar system.
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