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The Man That Time Forgot: An Interview with the Authors of Amazon’s #1 “Time Travel” Novel (and GIVEAWAY)

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Stories involving “TIME TRAVEL” can be some of the best sci-fi adventures in the genre. We’ve grown up with such adventures as the Back to the Future series, Doctor Who, The Time Machine and more. With a backdrop of all of history, the stories are endless! During these stories we are confronted with the many dilemmas and disasters that accompany all that is with “messing with time.”

I had the opportunity of talking to the authors of Amazon’s #1 Time Travel themed novel, The Man That Time Forgot, Paul Mitchell and Alan Mechem to talk about their novel, time travel and writing as a team.

“The Man That Time Forgot has been praised for it’s British tone and message. An adventure that takes the reader through Rome, World War II Poland, North England and beyond, The Man That Time Forgot must be read to be believed.”

At the end of the interview we have the details of the GIVEAWAY of a digital copy of the book, The Man That Time Forgot!

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Alan – It’s a tricky question to answer because the initial idea itself changed so much when we were planning and drafting the story. There’s some semblance of it still there. I think it would possibly give away too much to say where I was when I came up with the first idea to anybody who hasn’t read the book yet- It would be like Stephen King saying he came up with the idea for Shawshank while tunnelling out of prison.

What I can say is that I was having a lot of trouble sleeping at the time and I was stunned that nobody had done the idea of somebody leaping through time whenever they fell asleep. While it was a nice little idea it needed something with a much bigger push behind it. Paul added a lot of the urgency behind that. I can say that a road trip through California certainly helped!

What were the positives and challenges of co-writing the book?

Paul – Positives are the sharing of ideas: what works and what doesn’t. Then there’s motivation. It’s easy to let other aspects of your life take over but having someone there to spur you on really helps. The challenges we faced are pretty much what you’d expect: writing styles, pacing and how you view characters need to be in sync and that doesn’t happen over night. You also need to get used to criticism and your co-author changing parts that you may have been happy with.

Alan– Yeah, you have to really know your co-writer. Know that you can be blunt and honest with them. There’s no room for pandering or being polite. Apart from trusting your partner you have to also understand that your partner is 100% of the audience during that time, so if they see a hole or issue with something then you can bet more people will when the book is out. If I really believed in an idea I’d had then I’d invest some hours into writing a chapter or so and then blast it over to Paul. It was better to do that sometimes then just approach him with an idea. ‘I’ve got something, but I’m not ready to send it’ or ‘I’m not precious about this, but’ became regular phrases and buffers.

Any movies, people or books help to inspire your story?

Alan– Paul’s more of a book nut than I am. I certainly remember having a Eureka moment while watching The Pianist… I know that’s the furthest from ‘comedy time travel adventure’ that you can imagine. Obviously Back To The Future is such an inspiration it feels clichéd to even nod to it. We purposely tried to avoid Mad Scientists and Time Travel devices, so in a way BTTF really shaped the story. That’s why we open with a quote from Michael J. Fox. BTTF is in my top 5 films of all time and I think, what it gets right, is that it’s not time travel that sells it. It’s not enough to have a story that says ‘oh look at me I’m in Dinosaur times, isn’t that great’.. you have to ground the story in reality. Make it human. That’s why our message really is about being thankful for what you have. When I studied film and narrative I always thought the importance of messages in movies was tripe… turns out those teachers were right all along!

Paul – You can’t help but be inspired when creating fiction. We’ve each seen so many films and read so many books that even our day-to-day thinking is informed by them. So when it comes to writing you need to use that inspiration but at the same time try and come up with an original take on your subject. As for specifics, 12 Monkeys had a big influence on the rules of time-travel in our book. I think I also watched the Spanish film, Los Cronocrímenes (Timecrimes) around the time we started writing and that follows similar rules in that what you do once you go back in time has already occurred. However, unlike those two films, most of our characters are acutely aware that nothing can be changed and that’s what shapes their outlook on life. In our bad-guy’s case, he revels in it, believing it frees him from any moral obligations.

What are your favorite time travel related movies/books?

Alan– I think it’s clear from my last answer… plus I own a Deloran. My favourite film of all time, however, is Ghostbusters. It’s the perfect song of all time too. I know it’s not technically time travel but I really enjoyed Source Code. Looper too.

Paul– Aside from those already mentioned, the Terminator movies (there were only two, in my book), ST: First Contact, 12.01 and Donnie Darko. I know they’re not brilliant films but I did also enjoy The Jacket and the a little know movie called, Timescape.

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Do you think the resurgence in popularity of Doctor Who has made people more interested in scifi books involving time travel? How has your book been received?

Alan – It’s certainly not done us any harm. I think one review assumed that we were huge Doctor Who fans. We’re not. I think it helps (and I don’t want to lose readers because of this) that neither of us have really seen a lot of Doctor Who. I saw the first few Chris Eccleston ones. I think there’s so much to see and read these days that something had to give, and for me that was Doctor Who. I grew up in a window of time where Doctor Who wasn’t on telly. The writers of the show I know are visionaries (I love me some Sherlock) so I bet it’s good. Especially now. I love ol’ Malcom Tucker.. what a great choice he is for The Doctor.

How did you come to work with Richard Ridings for the audio version of you book?

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We always wanted a classic British voice. When writing the story we always ensured the jokes came from ‘The Narrator’ and rarely, if ever, from the cast. The Book had been out for about a year before we considered releasing an audiobook and, listening to our reviews and to our fans, people really praised the British tone. What we did know was that, whoever read it, needed to be super engaging and bloody funny.

At that time, every morning my son (who had only just turned One year old) would climb into my bed and make an ‘oink’ sound, which translated to ‘I want to watch Peppa Pig’. He was obsessed with it and, not content with it being on TV every living hour of every single day he would also want me to play it on my phone before the sun came up. I used to lay with my eyes shut and listen to episode after episode of Peppa Pig until one day (well… night) it dawned on me that ‘Daddy Pig’ would be perfect.

We sent him a copy of the book and then one day I got a phone call from the man himself. This was after I’d spent a few weeks on IMDB thinking ‘crikey he’s been in everything I ever loved!’. The co-incidences were crazy. The Pianist was an influence. I must have spent from 1989-1991 watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit every single day. Paul and I had sat and watched Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes during our monumental tour of America in a little theatre that we even crowbarred into the book! Rich and I were on the phone for a very long time as not only had he read it he really, genuinely liked it, which was such an honour! I think work started on it only a few days after and every time I got sent a chapter by Rich my hair stood on end.

He’s one of nicest people I’ve ever met, and he brings that warmth and humour to the story.

If you could go to any time in history, where would you go and why?

Alan– Paul and I spoke about this recently. I’d probably go back to the weekend before I had kids and just lay down for the entire time. The. Entire. Time.

Paul – It would have to be a time and place where I couldn’t interfere with anything! If I could view things in a bubble (or ship, from afar) I’d probably do something similar to what they did in, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and witness either the creation or destruction of the earth. Make of that what you will.

Has publication of your book through Kindle and now audio made it easier to access and sell your book worldwide? Is Kindle the norm now in publishing?

Alan– It’s not easier, but as writers you do have a lot more control.. apart from price. Don’t blame us for that. Still, under a pound, or a dollar, for a whole book is a bargain really isn’t it? Especially for what people pay every day for coffee. Or Newspapers. Yeah, I think it’s fair to say Kindle is the norm. I love looking at sales figures and seeing where it’s being bought worldwide, and that people seem to like it. That’s a feeling I never thought I’d have. People are awesome.

If you asked me what the chosen format was to experience the story then it, without question, would be the Audiobook. Rich had added so many new dimensions to the story with his read. It’s really beautiful. Incredibly beautiful really. I know Time Travel may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I’d happily go on record saying that if you don’t enjoy how Rich reads the book then you’ve probably not got a soul.

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How important is science fiction genre to literature?

Vitally. Sometimes there are no other avenues in which we can explore facets of our existence. That’s why all great works of fiction tell us something about ourselves as we are now, no matter when or where the work is set. In many ways it’s a more accessible philosophy – allowing us to explore existential ideas while wrapped in an interesting narrative.

Is there another book in the works?

Paul – Yes, although it won’t be a follow-up to The Man That Time Forgot. Originally there wasn’t a plan to write a sequel but such has been the reception we will write one. Eventually…

Alan – I can’t wait to get back to the story of Andrew Adams, but I’m so happy with our next book because I’m pretty sure it will win an award for most insane concept in the history of literature. I’m not sure if that’s going to be a good thing or not, but that’s what’s exciting.

The Man That Time Forgot is now an AUDIO Book! Get details on how to get your copy HERE.

The Man That Time Forgot GIVEAWAY

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Now YOU can own your very own digital copy of this exciting Amazon BEST SELLER!

HOW TO WIN:

1) You MUST “LIKE” the Legendarium Media Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/LegendariumMedia)
2) SHARE your answer to the following in the Facebook comments: “Tell us your favorite time travel themed movie, book or television show“.
3) Open to ALL WORLDWIDE

ONE (1) random winner will be chosen from the posted answers to the question listed above.

(Don’t forget to SHARE with your friends so they have a chance to WIN as well!)

Entry is open until July 10th and the WINNER will be announced on July 13th. Winner will be contacted via Facebook messaging.

About Steve "Rifflo" Fitch

Steve, also known as “Rifflo”, is a University MBA Administrator in Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife, Lisa and two young daughters, Alexa and Ava. Steve has an extensive background in corporate sales. Steve also worked for ISAF: International Security Assistance Force and the Canadian Military as a recruiter in Human Resources for the operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan. When not immersed in Tolkien works,sci-fi, and film, you can find him training in Muay Thai, and Italian rapier.