Like many people of my generation, I have been a fan of time travel stories since I saw Back to the Future in 1985. Time travel captivates you. You can’t help but think about the possibilities of experiencing a different time than your own. Possibly running into a younger (or older) version of yourself or someone in your family tree.
After writing a number of crime novels, I started writing time travel after having a dream one night about four years ago that my son and I had gone back in time to the ’50s. There was nothing of significance going on in the dream, but we were in an unfamiliar house and the owners had left $50 in cash on the table. It occurred to me in the dream (please don’t think less of me!) that taking that $50 and returning with it to the future was the perfect crime, one that couldn’t be traced. I woke up and jotted the dream down in my handy bedside writing journal as creative folks are taught to do. About a week later, I’d come up with the saga of 49er Joe Wilton, the opening scene of WILTON’S GOLD.
Until I started writing a time travel novel, I hadn’t realized the challenges inherent in doing so. Once you start looping your characters it become a tremendous undertaking to keep everything straight. I’ve got notebooks with timelines sketched out in them, digital recordings I left myself while driving and not able to get to a pen and paper, and folders on three separate computers with notepad documents containing time travel scenarios that I never used. In the end, it was very exciting to put it all together and I’m confident that all the pieces are in place. Even then, I have at least 15 different storylines that didn’t make it into WILTON’S GOLD. I intend to use those for subsequent novels and short stories.
Because of its intricacies and the possibility of different interpretations, time travel is a complicated topic – especially because it’s most often associated with action and adventure. So the science (fiction) has to make sense, but not to a point where readers get bogged down in the particulars. But those particulars have to be consistent or you lose credibility in the story. My goal is to take my readers on a journey. WILTON’S GOLD is fast-paced, but I do want people at times to have to go back and reconnect with some of the time travel details.
Always looking for “test” readers for novel excerpts and short stories. If you’re interested, send me a message on Twitter – @CraigWTurner. I’d love to hear from you.