I’ve been asked a number of times how I ever got around to writing a book, especially a fantasy story. After attending a literary seminar recently, where the same question arose again, I thought it might be of interest to comment on it here.
I had little formal education, mainly through my reluctance to attend school, but that’s a story for another time. Whatever education I did pick up during those early childhood years came from reading anything I could get my hands on, including library books, newspapers and all kinds of magazines. Comics, especially, sent by my Aunt Lottie from Canada to Belfast during the post-war years, were a great source of highly imaginative and colourful stories. Although I scribbled a childish note or two, to thank her for the comics, it’s a great regret of mine that I never met or spoke to her, to tell her how she was such a major influence in my childhood, by stimulating a lifelong interest in reading.
I’m essentially an ‘ideas’ person, which was a useful trait when I had a business dealing with clients who wanted help with their designs for a wide range of products, including ties, T-shirts, pens, calendars, and all sorts of promotional advertising goods.
As far as creating the story for Timecrack is concerned, I think it probably evolved out of a TV programme I watched years ago. It featured Dr Michio Kaku, a famous Japanese American physicist, an early proponent of string theory, which is something to do with vibration and the fabric of the universe. Don’t ask! I’m still trying to get my head around it!
At this point I had a ‘What if’ question – and as it happens, it was the first of many I asked in the course of writing Timecrack. Dr Kaku had talked about multiple universes and parallel worlds, so my question was:
What would it be like to journey from one world to another? Not to another planet in our solar system, such as Mars, but to a different universe, perhaps one parallel to our own?
I eventually put pen to paper, after reading a report about the Bermuda Triangle stories, on how aircraft, ships and people had mysteriously disappeared, never to be seen again. How could such events take place? I wondered. Could it happen if a strange phenomenon, which I would call a ‘timecrack’, occurred to spirit people into another dimension, a parallel world?
The idea of Timecrack gradually evolved into a fantasy about two young brothers who are accidentally transported into another universe. There, they begin the search for their parents, who, as archaeologists, had disappeared during a dig in Mexico’s Yucatan jungle, also through a timecrack, at a newly discovered pyramid site.
The idea developed into Timecrack, with the story continuing in a second book Copanatec, after a family holiday to Mexico. During this trip we went to the Yucatan to visit the famous Mayan site of Chichen Itza and its pyramids, including the main one, the magnificent El Castillo. It is a stunning place full of Mayan history and the inspiration for many stories, including my own. No doubt, other visitors and writers would have their own ideas about the Yucatan, but mine crystalised fairly quickly into the present story.
Although, I say quickly, that was the idea, but as far as writing it was concerned, a great deal of writing and rewriting took place before it took its final shape.
The ideas coninue to come and I’m in the middle of the third book in the series. Hopefully, it will be available later next year. Keep an eye on this site and I’ll try to keep you up to date on its progress.